Looking to the Future: Focusing on Regionalism with Philadelphia’s New Mayor Cherelle Parker 


Laura Manion, far left, with Cherelle Parker, far right.
Image via Chester County Chamber of Business and Industry.
Laura Manion, far left, with Cherelle Parker, far right.

Nov. 7 marked a momentous occasion when Cherelle Parker, the first woman and first black woman to hold the position, was elected the 100th Mayor of Philadelphia.  

The Philadelphia native has been ingrained in her community throughout her service as a State Representative, leading the Philadelphia delegation and serving on the City Council.  

Parker’s election marks a new beginning and an opportunity for the collar counties surrounding Philadelphia, including Chester County, to restore a relationship with the City. In a recent visit to the Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry’s (CCCBI) Annual Women Influencing Business Dinner, Cherelle spoke to a room full of two hundred business and nonprofit leaders in Chester County about the importance of regionalism. Her hopeful comments about the bright possibilities that lie ahead of our region garnered resounding support from the night’s attendees, just a small representation of Chester County’s diverse population.  

The importance of Cherelle’s proven track record of bipartisanship cannot be understated. She has a history of strong relationships with both Democrats and Republicans thanks to her time in the state legislature. Parker spent much of the campaign trail discussing the need to work with all stakeholders to improve the city’s relationship with state lawmakers and the surrounding communities. At a time when civility is seemingly the missing piece of the puzzle in effective governance, many leaders in Harrisburg have remarked about her reputation for working across the aisle.  

The Chamber is working diligently to create and maintain relationships with elected officials from both parties at the local, state, and federal levels to further our agenda and advocate for our members. Bringing a partner like Cherelle and her team from the city to our bipartisan discussions will help strengthen the Philadelphia region. In Chester County, we have many residents who work for companies headquartered in or have a strong presence in Philadelphia. Many companies of the CCCBI Board and our membership fit that description. The bottom line: all of us should want to work with the Parker Administration. It is our hope that the business community will work with the Parker Administration in the collar counties to revitalize the public-private partnerships throughout the region and welcome a revitalized sense of prosperity. 

In a few short years, Philadelphia will see hundreds of thousands of visitors with America250, MLB All Star Game, FIFA, and other large annual events. These events present a unique opportunity for the entire region to benefit from hotel stays, restaurant visits, and retail purchases from both locals and tourists. CCCBI is looking forward to working closely with our community partners, especially the Brandywine Valley Tourism Board, Chester County Economic Development Council and other local tourism and economic groups, to capitalize on these events in Philadelphia and drive more spending here in Chester County.  

According to CCCBI member EConsult Solutions, the southeast region represents just 5 percent of Pennsylvania’s land area and 32 percent of its population but generates 41 percent of statewide economic activity and 38 percent of Pennsylvania’s tax base. With the upcoming landmark events added to these statistics, our region will see a massive increase in economic activity.  

One thing is certain: what happens in the city of Philadelphia affects us here in the suburbs. Recent years have seen the city battling crime and strife. Looking ahead, a vibrant Philadelphia results in a vibrant Delaware Valley region. Parker has proudly committed to the City of Philadelphia that she plans to reignite economic growth by providing safer and cleaner communities. A clean, safe city that encourages growth and innovation yields positive outcomes for southeastern Pennsylvania as a whole. We are here to offer a hand in any revitalization efforts that increase business growth and open communication. With a surge in tech startups, bio-med life sciences, and other growing employers throughout the region, we have an opportunity to put the focus back on business as we move into future economic growth.  

We look forward to working with Mayor-elect Parker during her tenure and excitedly extend our hand here in Chester County as a resource for her, the City of Philadelphia, and our region.  

Laura Manion

President and CEO, Chester County Chamber of Business and Industry

Caitlin Ganley

Board Chair, Chester County Chamber of Business and Industry

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