Kevin Johnson (not the ex-NBA player and mayor of Sacramento) is forming an exploratory committee to run for mayor. Johnson is the pastor at Bright Hope Baptist Church, near Temple, which has not only a large following but some political muscle behind it.
Although Johnson, who lives in Overbrook Farms, may be relatively new to Philly politics, Bright Hope is not. Former U.S. Rep. Bill Gray III and his father were pastors at the church, at Cecil B. Moore Avenue and 12th Street.
Gray, who became the highest-ranking black congressman ever and helped launch the careers of countless Philadelphia politicians, died last year, and Johnson gave his eulogy.
Councilwoman Marian Tasco, a Gray disciple, is also a member of the church. Johnson, who says his top priority is education, has criticized the district’s school closure plan in the past, and could strike a contrast between himself and perceived frontrunner Anthony Hardy Williams, a ed reform proponent.