Philly Needs Its Own Version of the State of the Union Address

At least one mayoral candidate thinks it's a "great idea." Plus: Meet the nine-year-old college student from Bensalem.

philadelphia mayor jim kenney, who should have to give his own version of the state of the union address

Imagine if grumpy Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney — seen here looking grumpier than normal — and all future mayors had to give their own city-specific version of a State of the Union address each year. (Getty Images)

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Philly Needs Its Own Version of the State of the Union

On Tuesday night, millions of people around the country will tune in to hear President Joe Biden give the annual State of the Union address. He’ll try to convince us that the country isn’t falling apart. He’ll tout his successes. The subject of a certain Chinese spy balloon will likely come up. The Democrats in the audience will cheer him. Most Republicans will boo him, because that’s just what we do these days during a State of the Union address. And no doubt Fox News will over-report the moment (or moments) when Biden will inevitably use the wrong word.

So why don’t we have our own version of the State of the Union address in Philadelphia? We really should. And, unlike the one in D.C., it should be before a large in-person public audience. Imagine if our lame duck mayor had to get up in front of a packed house at, say, the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall or Temple’s Liacouras Center to tell us all how things are going each and every year.

Kenney’s days in office are numbered, with the primary coming up in May followed by the general election in November. Come next January, a new mayor will be inaugurated. And a great way to kick off their mayorship will be to hold a State of the City address, one month later in February (the usual time for the country’s State of the Union address). And then keep up the tradition year in and year out.

“It’s a great idea,” councilperson-turned-mayor candidate Allan Domb told me on Tuesday morning, pointing out that the mayor does address council each year, but nobody really pays attention. “The more you can communicate with the people of Philadelphia, the better. Sometimes people forget that the mayor is supposed to serve the people. Every person in the city. If elected, I’m going to change the way we answer phones in the City of Philadelphia to ‘Thank you for calling the City of Philadelphia. How may we help you?’ People would drop dead.”

Anyway, the State of the Union address is happening on Tuesday night at 9 p.m.

Speaking of the State of the Union

Some Pennsylvanians invited to tonight’s event:

Sara Harvey: A little girl from Lower Southampton who has raised more than $20,000 for retinoblastoma research after doctors diagnosed her with the condition.
Chris DeShields: The SEPTA driver who just thwarted a carjacking in Philly using his bus.
Kelsey Leigh: An abortion-rights advocate from the Lehigh Valley.
Chris Barrett: The head of Poconos tourism, who is advocating for Amtrak service between Scranton and New York City.
Lee and Dennis “Freedom” Horton: Two brothers from Philly wrongly convicted of murder. They spent close to 30 years in prison until it was proven that their friend was the actual culprit. John Fetterman and Tom Wolf helped them get out in 2021.

We’re Pretty Sure That’s Against the Law

Yet another dummy tried to bring a loaded gun (with a bullet in the chamber!) onto a flight at PHL. ICYMI: This is not nearly as uncommon as you would think.

I Didn’t Know This Was a Thing

Philly gets its first-ever SneakerCon.

Have They No Shame?

Somebody stole an autographed Jalen Hurts photo from an ALS charity event!

About That Grammys Hip-Hop Tribute

The New York Times explains how Philly’s own Questlove pulled it off, cramming 50 years of the genre into 15 minutes, generally to critical acclaim.

So Much for Your Parental Bragging

This nine-year-old Bensalem kid went from third grade to twelfth grade in under three years.

OK, Enough Already

Philly church does their “Alleluia” song to the tune of “Fly Eagles Fly.” Can we please just get to the game already?

Even the Art Nerds Are Getting In On It

Art museums in Philly and Kansas City have an “artful” wager going on. (Sorry, WHYY, but the “artful” in the headline is kind of making me wince.)

And from the Locked-and-Loaded Sports Desk …

Hey youse guys!

So what are we all supposed to do while we sit and twiddle our thumbs and wait for Sunday’s big game? How about some reading? The Inquirer’s Matt Breen has a good story on the unlikely genesis of Jason Kelce’s football career, complete with fun photos of the Eagles center from his college days.

And speaking of unlikely, what, do you think (and we’re sure the multitudes of sports-betting apps out there have the odds calculated), are the chances of this?

But you know what? Not everybody in the universe cares about football. Maybe you’re more interested in Philly’s forthcoming Major League Cornhole team, the Bell Ringers — the first in the nation! Which sort of poses the question: Who you gonna compete against, Bell Ringers? As for us, we couldn’t possibly care less about cornhole. How are you gonna monetize watching it, for chrissake? It’s like watching paint dry.

‘Scuse me, who’s that Sixer who wants to be traded?

Speaking of which, the Flyers played.

All Philly Today Sports Desk coverage is provided by Sandy Hingston.