2019 Mayoral Candidate


Anthony Williams

Party: Democrat
Previous occupations: State Representative for District 191; PepsiCo executive; small business owner
Campaign Website
Philly Progressives Profile
Candidate questionnaire: Completed
Contact information:
Williams grew up in West Philadelphia, and still lives in his childhood home. He entered private business after college, but the Philadelphia MOVE crisis, which was in his own neighborhood, influenced him to enter politics. He first served as a State Representative, and has served in his current role as a State Senator since 1998.


Please see the completed questionnaire linked above for more details.


  • Opposes the soda tax, and believes there are other ways to fund pre-K programs and the Rebuild initiative (source)

  • Supports raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour (source)

  • Supports increasing preferences for local hiring with city contracts (source)

  • Supports reducing the wage tax and business taxes in general (source)

  • Plans to implement a plan called “Better Way To Reduce Poverty And Grow Jobs For A Better Philadelphia,” which Williams claims will reduce poverty by half before he leaves office (questionnaire)

  • Generally supports cutting taxes in order to encourage business growth in Philadelphia (questionnaire)

  • Supports prioritizing local hiring when spending public dollars (questionnaire)

  • Supports amending the Home Rule Charter to increase the dollar amount that triggers the request-for-proposal process in City contracting, which would make it easier for small businesses to win contracts (questionnaire)

  • Supports creating more City internship programs and summer jobs for students (questionnaire)

  • Plans to appoint a cabinet-level official to address poverty (questionnaire)

  • Plans to connect court, City, and school district data to help address poverty (questionnaire)

  • Plans to create an annual economic plan for the City (questionnaire)

  • Supports exploring options to create a public bank (questionnaire)

  • Vows to fix the City’s property assessment system, and to refund those who have paid too much in property taxes (questionnaire)

  • Vows to lower the City’s wage tax (questionnaire)


  • Supports universal pre-K (source)

  • Advocates for increased public school funding through a fair funding formula (source)

  • Advocates for expanded access to charter schools (source)

  • Williams ran against current Mayor Kenney in the 2015 primary, and received $7 million in support from a super PAC advocating for vouchers and charter schools (source)

  • Authored Pennsylvania’s charter school legislation (source)

Public safety

  • Created the Philadelphia Illegal Gun Task Force (source)

  • Supports a “focused deterrence” strategy, which focuses on individuals and areas that account for the most crime (source)

  • Supports placing cameras at high-crime spots (source)

  • Supports using drones and cameras to crack down on illegal dumping (source)

  • Supports convening community organizations and community members to make an anti-violence task force and plan (questionnaire)

  • Supports increasing training for town watch organizations (questionnaire)

  • Supports using the City’s Health Department to treat violence as a public health crisis (questionnaire)

  • Plans to work with the City Controller to audit the City’s $50 million spent on violence prevention programs (questionnaire)

  • Vows to declare a state of emergency regarding violence in order to empower the police commissioner to coordinate all City offices to reduce violence (questionnaire)

  • Supports hiring and training more community relations officers to stop violence before it happens (questionnaire)

  • Views poverty reduction as one of the key methods of reducing violence (questionnaire)

Criminal justice reform

  • As a State Senator, sponsored Pennsylvania’s “clean slate” legislation (source)

  • As a State Senator, sponsored probation reform legislation (questionnaire)

  • Supports equipping police officers with body cameras (source)

  • Opposes stop-and-frisk policies (source)

  • Supports using city government to hire returning citizens and increasing education and job training opportunities (source)

  • Supports introducing incentives for private employers to hire returning citizens (source)


  • Supports expanding protected bike lane networks and expanding enforcements to keep bike lanes clear (source)

  • Supports implementing citywide street cleaning (source)

  • Supports increasing funding for libraries and recreation centers (source)

  • Supports increasing efforts to repave streets and remove potholes (source)

  • Supports expanding the Broad Street Line to the Navy Yard (questionnaire)

  • Supports creating more mass transit infrastructure along Roosevelt Boulevard (questionnaire)

  • Supports eliminating transfer fees and making SEPTA free for those under 12 years old (questionnaire)

Governance and ethics

  • Supports creating a whistleblower program for City employees to report corruption and waste (source)

  • Supports making the Office of the Inspector General a permanent department (source)

  • Supports increasing funding for the Board of Ethics (source)

  • Advocates for more funding from the State for courts (source)

  • Supports establishing an independent budget office, like the Congressional Budget Office (source)

  • Generally supports increasing budgeting transparency, as per a specific plan (source)

  • Plans to end the DROP retirement program if the City cannot make it revenue-neutral (questionnaire)

Civil rights

  • Supports Philadelphia’s sanctuary city status (questionnaire)

  • Supports creating an independent office in City government to receive and manage sexual harassment complaints (questionnaire)

  • As a State Senator, created legislation to ban “conversion therapy” for minors (questionnaire)

  • As a State Senator, sponsored legislation to strengthen protections against workplace discrimination and sexual harassment, and to re-enact Pennsylvania’s hate-crimes statute (questionnaire)

  • Supports increasing diversity in government hiring and contracts (questionnaire)


  • Williams ran for governor in 2010 (source)

  • Williams ran against current Mayor Kenney in the 2015 primary, and received $7 million in support from a super PAC advocating for vouchers and charter schools (source)

  • Williams effectively received his current position as State Senator from his father, Hardy Williams. In 1998, Hardy Williams announced his retirement several hours before the deadline for nomination petitions. His son, who knew beforehand, already had the signatures needed and was the only Democratic candidate (source)