Terry Gillen announcing run for mayor of Philadelphia

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File photo: Terry Gillen, then director of the city's Office of Federal Affairs, in July 2010. (JONATHAN YU / Staff Photographer/File)

Terry Gillen, a former top aide to Mayors Michael Nutter and Ed Rendell, will formally announce her candidacy for mayor of Philadelphia in her Center City neighborhood tomorrow.  

That makes her the first candidate to hold a ceremony making an entrance to the race.

"I think my experience working with Mayor Nutter and Mayor Rendell is a positive," Gillen said today. "I think what people are looking for is someone who knows how to run a city, to be an executive and has experience in urban policy. I think I have all that."

Gillen, a Democrat, was political director for Nutter's 2007 campaign, ran the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority for his first three years as mayor and resigned early this year after serving as the city's first director of federal affairs.

She ran unsuccessfully for City Council in 1999 and for the state House in 2004.

Gillen casts her candidacy as a battle between "old Philadelphia and new Philadelphia," hoping to build a coalition of longtime residents tired of the city's politics and newer residents with different notions of leadership.  She also rejects the "old way of thinking" that ranks the potential of candidates by their race, neighborhood and the ability to attract support of key party leaders.

"I think that whole notion of how one gets elected in Philly is going away," Gillen said. "It's changing. I think Mayor Nutter's election was the beginning of that.  And I think we're really on the verge of reshaping Philadelphia politics in a fundamental way."

Gillen and former City Solicitor Ken Trujillo have already formed political action committees to accept campaign contributions for the mayor's race.  

State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams and City Controller Alan Butkovitz are also expected to be part of the crowded field.  City Council President Darrell Clarke, Councilman Jim Kenney and former Councilman Frank Rizzo Jr. have also been mentioned.

Former state Sen. T. Milton Street Sr. in April posted on Facebook an announcement that he plans another run in the Democratic primary election for mayor.  Street, who served time in federal prison for unpaid taxes, took 24 percent of the vote against Nutter in the 2011 primary.

Gillen's event will happen from 11 a.m. to noon in the 2300 block of St. Alban's Place.