Writer: Joey Garrand
3 minute read March 2021 — The Biden-Harris Administration is now at the helm of the country, and with a new administration comes new legislation and regulations that local business and community leaders need to watch. Many of Philadelphia’s leaders are anticipating that the changes to come will be impactful. From university presidents to managing partners of law firms, the consensus is that the new administration will have an overall positive impact on the Greater Philadelphia community.
Brenda Allen, President, Lincoln University
We’ve begun to see more interest in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and minority institutions over the last decade. I’m anticipating even more investment as this administration talks about social justice, including disparities. Much of the disparity we see along racial lines correlates to education, so it’s critical to make sure people of color have access to education. Many health disparities are based on the fact that people do not have access to knowledge on nutrition. Many HBCUs are U.S. treasures but some of the infrastructure is crumbling. We are fortunate that we’ve been able to invest in some of our historic campus buildings but some HBCUs are being forced to close older buildings. We just received a $20 million gift from McKenzie Scott, which is a record, and we are seeing more and more of this recently.
Stephanie Resnick, Managing Partner, Fox Rothschild LLP
With every new administration, there are new plans, policies and legislation. We’re hopeful we can capitalize on that. For instance, with labor and employment, I anticipate there will be a real uptick based on legislation the new administration has indicated it will strongly push through. Certainly, in the cannabis area and corporate, we can expect to see more regulations, which will lead to more regulatory analysis. I also think it’s safe to predict there will be changes in immigration policy, generating greater demand in that practice area. There are bound to be changes across the board, so there are actually very few areas where there will not be increased demand.
Michael Rashid, Commerce Director, City of Philadelphia
We are optimistic that the Biden-Harris administration will be strong partners in our recovery. They have expressed a desire to increase direct aid to state and local governments, which is desperately needed, and have also been clear about the intent to partner closely with leaders at all levels of government to ensure a strong, speedy recovery. We’re looking forward to the passage of the American Rescue Plan, which will provide the needed relief that Philadelphia — and its residents and business owners — deserve.
Two specific topics we’re advocating are increasing the minimum wage and investing in infrastructure. Currently, the minimum wage in Pennsylvania is $7.25 an hour, one of the lowest in the country. It hasn’t been increased in nearly 20 years, and the city of Philadelphia is unable, by law, to do it on our own locally. Increasing the minimum wage will bring thousands of Philadelphians out of poverty.
Infrastructure represents an incredible opportunity for the Philadelphia area, and the Biden administration has said it wants to invest billions of dollars in infrastructure improvement in urban areas. We want to be ready for when that investment comes, with shovel-ready projects on-hand in partnership with the business community.
Jeremy Grey, Executive Vice President, Industrial Development, Hilco Redevelopment Partners
We see many strong synergies with the new administration. Specifically, the administration’s focus on the environment, sustainability, economic growth and infrastructure investment fully aligns with our mission of transforming obsolete industrial sites that have run their useful lives and putting them back into commerce. In Philadelphia, our master plan calls for building 13-15 million square feet of state-of-the-art facilities, which will focus on sustainable initiatives, including infrastructure to support electric vehicles, solar energy, energy efficient building envelopes and light fixtures, water efficient plumbing fixtures, and extensive landscaping plans. All of these initiatives will lay the groundwork for LEED certification for the proposed facilities, which will be negotiated with future tenants to achieve. Our plan includes the planting of thousands of trees, very few of which currently exist on the 1,300 acres today. We’re also addressing climate change issues, including rising sea levels through a master plan that raises our property above 100-year floodplain levels to elevations that are above and beyond what is required by current codes and regulations. These design initiatives and others align with the new administration’s focus on creating a cleaner, more sustainable economy and environment.
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Photo Credit: https://www.whitehouse.gov/