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Cherelle Parker

Born:   September 10, 1972

Birthplace:   Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Zodiac Sign:  Virgo

Career and Life

Cherelle Lesley Parker is an American politician. She is currently the Mayor Philadelphia. She defeated David Oh as the Democratic nominee in the 2023 Philadelphia mayoral election. When sworn in, she will be the first woman to hold the position.

Parker served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 2005 to 2015, representing the 200th district in Northwest Philadelphia. She was elected to represent the ninth district on the Philadelphia City Council in 2015 and re-elected in 2019, serving as majority leader from 2020 to 2022.


In September 2022, Parker resigned from City Council and announced her candidacy for Mayor of Philadelphia.[3] She won the Democratic primary on May 16, 2023.

Parker was born in the Mount Airy neighborhood of Northwest Philadelphia to an unmarried teenage mother. Her mother died when Parker was 11, and she was raised by her grandparents, a disabled Navy veteran and a domestic worker who both grew up in the South. In 1990, as a senior at Parkway High School, Parker won a citywide oratorical contest; in addition to receiving a cash prize and a trip to Senegal and Morocco, she was introduced to then-City Councilmember Marian B. Tasco, who hired Parker as an intern.


Parker graduated from Lincoln University in 1994 and briefly worked as a high school English teacher in Pleasantville, New Jersey, before returning to Councilmember Tasco's office in 1995, filling a variety of roles for the next decade.

In 2005, Parker ran in a special election to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to fill the seat left open by LeAnna Washington after Washington was elected to the Pennsylvania State Senate. Parker won the election. She remained in that office for ten years, five of which she was chair of the Philadelphia delegation. Her accomplishments in the House of Representatives include the "Philadelphia Tax Fairness Package", a special cigarette tax, and the 2012 Act 75, which amended state law to allow expert testimony in sexual assault cases.

When Tasco retired from city council in 2015, Parker sought to succeed her. The Democratic Party chose Parker to run as her replacement, and she won. During her time on the city council, she has led the passage of the "Philly First Home" program.

In January 2020, Parker defeated Bobby Henon to become majority leader for Democrats on the city council. In February 2021, Parker was elected to the chair of the board for the Delaware River Port Authority.

On September 7, 2022, Parker resigned from the City Council and announced her candidacy for Mayor of Philadelphia in the 2023 election. Following her resignation, she registered as a state lobbyist, representing Longwood Gardens and Moore College of Art and Design.

Parker ran as a moderate Democrat compared to more progressive candidates in the primary. Her campaign focused on crime and public safety, pledging to hire 300 new police officers and opposing the establishment of a supervised injection site in Philadelphia. While Parker opposed the policing tactic known as "stop-and-frisk" during her City Council tenure, she supported Terry stops during her mayoral campaign, saying, "Terry stops are what I wholeheartedly embrace as a tool that law enforcement needs, to make the public safety of our city their number one priority. It is a legal tool."

Polling showed a statistical tie in the primary, with Parker, former City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart, and former City Councilmember Helen Gym in the lead.  Parker was endorsed by many labor unions and members of the city's political establishment, including former mayoral candidates Maria Quiñones-Sánchez and Derek S. Green. While Parker lagged in fundraising behind most of the major candidates, campaign finance reports showed only she and Rhynhart raised a majority of their funds from Philadelphia residents.

On May 16, 2023, Parker was declared the winner of the Democratic primary, receiving 32.6% of the vote and defeating her closest opponent by ten percentage points due to her strong support in Black and low-income neighborhoods.

Parker would not campaign for almost a month after winning the crowded Democratic primary, citing complications to an earlier Root canal treatment. After recovering, Parker has refused to debate Oh claiming that the 7 to 1 voter registration advantage the Democrats had made any effort to interact with Oh a waste of campaign resources. Jennifer Stefano of the The Philadelphia Inquirer called Parker's move to cut out Oh "Trumpesque" and "a danger to our democracy." In the five elections since 2003, where the Republicans never got more than 21.7% of the vote, there had always been a debate between the Republican and Democratic candidate. Lauren Cristella, president and CEO of the Committee of Seventy also criticized Parker's refusal to debate Oh, stating that this is the first time in 24 years without a debate.

Parker agreed to have a joint interview with Oh at the Please Touch Museum where the pair took questions from Children for their vision of Philadelphia. There, Parker stated that she wishes to see Philadelphia be the "safest, cleanest, and greenest big city in the nation, with economic opportunity for all." Shortly afterwards Parker agreed to face off against Oh in a single debate on October 26 over the radio on Philadelphia’s Morning News on KYW. As of September 27 Parker has only taken on an additional $875,000 in campaign donations compared to her $2.2 million during the primaries, outspending Oh (who raised $467,000) nearly 2:1.

Parker married Ben Mullins, a leader in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, in 2010. They live in the Mount Airy section of Philadelphia.

In 2011, Parker was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and driving the wrong way on a one-way street. She was convicted and lost her appeal in 2015. She began serving her sentence of three days in jail, a $1,000 fine, and a one-year license suspension.


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