People

Cherelle L. Parker

Distinguished Alumni Fellow; Councilwoman from the 9th District, City Council of Philadelphia

Councilwoman Cherelle L. Parker proudly serves the Ninth Council District in Philadelphia, which stretches through northwest and northeast communities, including East Mt. Airy, West Oak Lane, East Oak Lane, Olney, Lawncrest, Burholme and Oxford Circle.

Prior to her election in November 2015, Cherelle served for 10 years as the State Representative for the 200th Legislative District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, where she made history by becoming the youngest African-American woman ever elected in September 2005.  As State Representative, she earned a reputation for being one of the most effective, politically-savvy and proactive legislators in the region.

During her tenure in the House, Cherelle served on the powerful Appropriations Committee, as well as the Labor and Industry, Professional Licensure, Rules, and Transportation committees. Additionally, she was twice elected by her Philadelphia colleagues to serve as chair of the Philadelphia Delegation in the House. In 2013, she was also appointed vice chair/Democratic chair of the House Committee on School Safety.

Widely recognized for her strong organizational, strategic planning and oratorical skills, Cherelle championed several key pieces of legislation, amendments and policy initiatives including, but not limited to: 

  • The Philadelphia Tax Fairness Package which provided the city of Philadelphia with the authority to collect delinquent property taxes thereby generating additional revenue for the School District of Philadelphia (SDP), create the LOOP (Long term Owner-Occupant Program), expand tax-payment installment opportunities,  and jumpstarted the conversation regarding the property tax uniformity clause;
  • Act 89 of 2013, the Commonwealth’s historic Transportation Bill which will invest $2.3 billion in the state’s aging roads, bridges and transportation infrastructure, including a $450 million investment in public transportation;
  • Local $2 per pack cigarette tax implemented to generate additional recurring revenue for the SDP during a period a gross underfunding; and
  • Act 75 of 2012, which strengthens victims’ rights by permitting expert testimony in cases of sexual assault.

As  State Representative, Cherelle also fought vigorously to safeguard Philadelphia’s Paid Sick Leave ordinance, ensure that school district resources were used in the classroom and providing our students with access to high-quality resources, and to preserve the city’s ability to secure local safety ordinances protecting residents against the sales and use of illegal guns. 

As Councilwoman, Cherelle serves the diverse constituency of the Ninth District with the same dedication and tenacity she employed during her time in the Legislature. Cherelle’s mission to bridge the gap between the “haves” and the “have-nots” continues to be her driving force for change.  She has dedicated her life to using her voice to advocate for the passage of progressive public policies that will enhance the quality of life for the middle class, senior citizens, women, children and families alike while promoting job creation and sustainability, economic development, an equitable public school system and consumer protection laws.

As chair of Council’s Labor and Civil Service Committee, Cherelle is working to address Philadelphia’s retirement security crisis, particularly for workers who do not currently have access to a retirement savings plan through their employer. She is also exploring ways to resolve some of the problems associated with reverse mortgages, further illustrating her passion for neighborhood stabilization.

Additionally, Cherelle is vice chair of Council’s Committee on Commerce and Economic Development, and serves as a member on the committees on Rules; Appropriations; Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs; Transportation and Public Utilities; Education; Housing, Neighborhood Development and the Homeless; Environment; Disabled and Persons with Special Needs; Global Opportunities and the Creative Economy; Aging; Children and Youth.

Cherelle is also a member of several service-oriented organizations, boards and commissions also working to improve the community at-large. Moreover, as an Eisenhower Fellow, in 2010, Cherelle joined the Women in Leadership program to study political systems in South America. 

A graduate of Lincoln University and former English teacher, Cherelle is a wife and mother residing in East Mt. Airy. She enjoys reading, traveling, cooking and spending time with family and friends. 

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Contact Information

Fels Institute of Government
University of Pennsylvania
3814 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Phone: (215) 898-2600
Fax: (215) 746-2829

felsinstitute@sas.upenn.edu