2023 Mayoral Primary - Steering Committee Recommendation

Thursday, April 20, 2023

5th Square’s Steering Committee recommends both Rebecca Rhynhart and Helen Gym for Mayor of Philadelphia


Both Gym and Rhynhart had strong questionnaire responses, demonstrating a deep grasp and support for key issues important to 5th Square. Both candidates stand out in a crowded field, and their responses ranked far ahead of other candidates.

Helen Gym

Gym earned our endorsement for Councilmember At-large in all previous election cycles in which she has run, has been our longtime ally, and has an extensive legislative history supporting urbanist causes.

  • On roadway safety, Gym is notably the only Councilmember to publicly support the safest layout for Washington Avenue. She also passed new legislation requiring stricter standards for pedestrian and sidewalk safety around construction sites.

  • Gym has also been an advocate for using the power and influence of city government to grow transit ridership through a lens of equity. She wrote and passed the Commuter Benefits bill ensuring that people who take transit to work have access to the tax benefits they are entitled to under Federal law. She also joined us as a vocal proponent for free transfers, free fares for children under 12, and expanding SEPTA institutional passes. 

  • Gym is the only mayoral candidate to have a section of her campaign website prioritizing our core issues of improving pedestrian and bicycle safety, reducing vehicle-related deaths and growing SEPTA ridership.

  • Gym’s record on housing is impressive – enacting several pieces of legislation aimed at preventing evictions – which has since become a model for other cities.

  • Gym has also prioritized public spaces in her platform including a goal to fully fund parks and libraries. 

Gym’s focus on equity and social justice is essential to move our urbanist movement's goals forward to make a more resilient, equitable, and safer city for all residents.

Rebecca Rhynhart

With her work history in municipal finance, including serving in several mayoral administrations, and as an independent auditor – Rhynhart is qualified to execute important initiatives that align with our urbanist vision for Philadelphia.

  • Rhynhart used her most recent position as City Controller to increase transparency around city services and spending, including conducting and releasing data around paving and potholes and sanitation performance metrics

  • Rhynhart’s focus on the delivery of basic city services including street sweeping and on-time trash pickup will contribute to more livable neighborhoods.

  • Based on her questionnaire response, we believe Rhynhart understands and is in alignment or willing to study many of our platform goals, such as supporting roadway safety infrastructure and boosting efforts to build SEPTA ridership.

  • Rhynhart showed an understanding on why legalizing SRO’s and ADU’s would be transformative to Philadelphia’s housing crisis. 

  • Rhynhart has also committed to fully funding parks and libraries. As Controller she pushed to have the soda tax money kept dedicated to better support Rebuild efforts. 

Rhynhart has a record as a pragmatic leader who could use data to help move the needle on important urbanist issues in Philadelphia.


We are proud that since our founding in 2014 we have shifted the political discourse on our core issues, such that many candidates have begun to prioritize them in their platforms. Our questionnaire and platform has made the rounds as the earliest and most comprehensive source on urbanist issues. 

Thanks to 5th Square’s advocacy, all the candidates directly addressed roadway safety and the housing crisis. We also helped build support for the Roosevelt Blvd Subway with several mayoral candidates – including both Rhynhart and Gym – pledging their support at a televised candidate forum.

The fact that we have more than one candidate who will champion our issues shows the amazing progress we have made from previous mayoral races!

5th Square’s steering committee therefore recommends you vote for either Helen Gym or Rebecca Rhynhart in the upcoming primary on May 16th.

If you are still undecided between these two candidates, please read their candidate questionnaires for yourself with an eye on issues that concern you most, and we encourage you to educate yourself on their policies around pressing issues outside of urbanism.