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Meet Helen

Helen Gym is a tough Philly mom, a teacher, a long-time community organizer, and a former City Councilmember. She has spent her career fighting for our communities to be safe, educated, healthy, and prosperous. 

Now, Helen is running for Mayor because Philadelphia needs a proven leader who will fight for the city we call home and knows how to get results. Helen has a 30-year track record of taking on our city’s biggest challenges and delivering solutions that improved people’s lives, even when others said it was impossible. She’s been doing it way before she had a formal title or political power, and she’s not stopping anytime soon.

Helen only ever got into politics because she saw what can happen when a political system goes wrong – schools and libraries being closed, people being evicted from their homes, communities being subject to violence, families being deported, and workers being denied living wages. For her, giving up on our city has never been an option.

She has never sat on the sidelines when people are being hurt and harmed, like when she worked with the US Department of Justice to transform one of the most dangerous high schools in the state, South Philly High, into a safe place to learn in less than two years.

During two decades of community organizing work, Helen helped lead a broad-based coalition fighting for quality public education in the wake of a state takeover of schools and mass school closings in mostly Black and Brown neighborhoods. Over and over again, she stepped in to protect communities from corporations and power brokers pursuing profit at the people’s expense.

Following a city-wide campaign that brought neighbors together behind her reform agenda, Helen joined City Council in 2016. She promised to take all of us into City Hall with her – championing the boldest agenda for safety, prosperity, and equity. And she delivered.

Helen showed that together we were unstoppable, even when faced with pretty tough odds. From a single seat on City Council, she took on the city’s biggest fights and achieved results that made a real difference in people’s lives. Her legislative record is a testimony to the power of a people-led agenda for change.

Helen worked alongside Philadelphia parents, students and teachers to restore nurses, counselors, social workers, clean water, and arts and music to our public schools. She built the most successful eviction prevention program in the nation – keeping thousands of Philadelphia families in their homes and cutting our city’s eviction rate by two-thirds. Helen helped launch the city’s first mental health crisis response units so police officers can focus on solving violent crimes and community members can get the care they need. She also wrote and passed the groundbreaking Fair Workweek law that guaranteed stable schedules and predictable pay for over 130,000 hourly workers.

As Mayor, Helen’s top priority will be to ensure that every Philadelphian is safe and feels safe. That’s why she’ll declare a State of Emergency on Day One, bringing all agencies together around an all-hands-on-deck strategy to address the gun violence crisis. Helen will employ a comprehensive, unified approach to public safety by getting illegal guns off our streets; reducing 911 response times; providing interventions to stop those in the path of violence; and supporting victims of violence in their path to recovery.

From safer communities to stronger schools to truly affordable housing, we need a champion who will never give up on our city. Helen’s biggest enemies are cynicism, apathy, and the belief that nothing ever changes in this town. She’s no stranger to overcoming big obstacles and delivering for everyday Philadelphians.

Helen believes that the purpose of government is to make people’s lives better. As Mayor, she’s ready to deliver what every Philadelphian wants and deserves – peace and safety at home, dignity at work, and a good education for their children.

Helen is running on a platform that leaves no one behind and lifts this city up family by family, neighborhood by neighborhood, and school by school. She’s running not for herself, but for all of us, because she knows it will take every community, every family, and every person to rebuild this city and make it the best place in the country to live in and raise a family.

It’s time to fight for our city and for our future. Let’s get this job done — together.

What We’ve Accomplished Together

Making our communities safer

  • Helped launch the city’s first mental health crisis response unit so police officers can focus on solving violent crimes
  • Secured emergency funding for school safety zones, cleaner and more brightly lit streets, and new intervention programs for high-risk youth
  • Shut down abusive youth residential facilities like Glen Mills and helped lead on statewide reform of juvenile justice policies
  • Worked with the U.S. Dept. of Justice to turn around a public high school that had been on the state’s most dangerous list for years before she was involved


  • Restored nurses, counselors, social workers, arts & music programs, and clean water to every public school
  • Held the first-ever hearings on the issue of youth homelessness and won the first city budget line item to address youth homelessness
  • Led the first reform of the 10-year tax abatement, which returned millions of dollars back to our schools
  • Led a 17-year movement to end the state takeover of our public schools


  • Created a nationally renowned eviction prevention program, praised by the Biden White House, that reduced evictions by roughly two-thirds, keeping thousands of Philadelphians in their homes
  • Passed the most expansive “Fair Workweek” law in the nation, ensuring stable schedules and predictable pay for more than 130,000 hourly workers 
  • Established a Department of Labor focused on workers’ rights and helping win workers tens of thousands of dollars in back wages
  • Secured $20M a year for the Housing Trust Fund to support affordable housing initiatives and eviction prevention efforts


Helen is committed to building a Philadelphia that will become the most desirable city in America to call home – a community that is safe, neighborhoods that are affordable, where anyone can start a business, raise a family, and feel like the city has their back.

In 2020, Helen Gym wrote the first mandatory eviction diversion law in the country, which has led to a roughly 70% reduction in evictions in Philadelphia, keeping thousands of families in their homes. Working with tenants, landlords, administration officials and community leaders, Helen’s eviction diversion program prevents families from losing their homes, while ensuring that landlords are also protected.

The law has been praised by the White House as a gold standard for the nation. Municipal court delays have decreased by two months, and a Penn Medicine study credited the law with helping save lives and reducing the spread of COVID-19 during the pandemic. Gym extended the law beyond COVID-era protections, and recently won another extension through June 30, 2024 as well as targeted rent assistance support.

Just as Helen was relentless in her fight to protect Philadelphia families who rent, Helen will never stop working to reduce crime so our children are safe and families can thrive. Helen will take immediate action to make the city safer starting with declaring a State of Emergency to align every city department along the common goal of ensuring every Philadelphian feels safe, and is safe, in their neighborhoods. Helen will prioritize ensuring that 911 calls are responded to quickly, increase mental health first responders so police can prioritize solving & preventing violent crime, and engage community leaders in interventions with especially at-risk youth, who are most likely to be in the path of violence. She will also direct our police department to collaborate with state and federal resources to go after dangerous illegal guns and get them off our streets.

What People Are Saying

Relentless, whip-smart, meticulously prepared and utterly fearless…

Philadelphia Magazine

Her leadership sets a standard for public office holders across the country.

EMILY’s List Rising Star 2017

One of Philadelphia’s vanguard leaders in the city’s social justice movement…

Talk Poverty
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Philadelphia needs a fearless fighter who will never give up on our communities. Helen’s leading the charge for the safe, vibrant, thriving Philadelphia that every person in this city deserves.
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