Today, Helen Gym launched her campaign for City Council At-Large in the Democratic Primary.  Gym, a former elementary school teacher and co-founder of Parents United, a parents’ organization advocating for better public schools, has spent over twenty years working to ensure every child has access to a high-quality, public education.

While Gym focused on her education background and the need to improve public schools, she did not shy away from other important issues:

“It is time for us fight to make the lives of working Philadelphians better by raising wages and benefits, to fight for economic policies that encourage small businesses and entrepreneurs and make sure that everyone pays their fair share, to fight for transparency so that the days of buying access and doing business behind closed doors finally come to a close, and to fight for our public schools.”

Gym, was joined by students, faith leaders, parents, teachers, small business owners, and working men and women.  Mark Tyler, public school parent and Pastor at Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church; Sadie Sprague-Lott, high school senior at SLA; and Jerry Jordan, President of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT) spoke about their support for Gym.

Jordan also announced that the PFT, which has 12,000 members, is endorsing Gym’s candidacy:

“The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers enthusiastically endorses Helen Gym for City Council At-Large. We will support her campaign with the same energy and commitment that she has shown in her fight for quality public education in Philadelphia.

When it comes to public education, Helen Gym is, by far, the candidate most qualified to speak to the challenges facing Philadelphia’s schools. She has been a tireless advocate for our city’s schoolchildren and educators. Helen combines the knowledge of an educator, the compassion of a public school parent and the heart of a social justice activist. She will make an outstanding member of City Council.

Over the years, Helen Gym has been one of the PFT’s most vocal and important allies. As she kicks off her campaign, I know Philly’s educators are ready to reciprocate the support she has shown us by helping to get her elected.”

Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers also released the following statement:

“Helen’s leadership in the community has been an inspiration to all who believe in all children having the opportunity to dream and achieve their dreams. She has stood for justice – educational and economic. She has stood shoulder to shoulder with parents, students and teachers as they fought for fixing, not closing neighborhood public schools, for appropriate funding and local control.

Recognizing the ripple effects that public schools have on local economies, we know that Helen will bring together the community to help resurrect Philly schools so they can contribute to the city-wide, long-term economic recovery. A city cannot thrive while its schools struggle. We are proud to stand with her now as she has done with our public schools so many times, and we are looking forward to building on our already strong relationship.”