Ken Powell

by Barbara Olson

Ken Powell, a longtime Hill resident, attorney and judge, is running for a position on the Common Pleas Court in the primary election, which will be held May 21.

Powell, 64, ran for judge four years ago and was not elected. He was, however, appointed by then-Governor Ed Rendell to Municipal Court in 2009 and to the Court of Common Pleas by Governor Tom Corbett this year.

Powell has lived in Chestnut Hill for more than 20 years with his wife, Rita, and their children. But he’s not a “native” Hiller. He grew up as a Catholic boy in Grays Ferry. One of six children of a Philadelphia police officer, Powell went on to attend La Salle College High School in nearby Wyndmoor. He earned a law degree, as well as a master’s degree in social work, from Temple University.

Powell is a Republican and was the longtime leader of the 9th Ward Republican Committee. Despite his Republican registration, he’s hasn’t been pegged as a partisan – it was a Democratic governor who appointed him to the bench.

Before becoming a judge, Powell was an attorney and recently flew around the world representing pharmaceutical companies.

Since becoming a judge, Powell has used his spare time for volunteer work.

For the last four years he has been volunteering with Project HOME, an organization that provides aid and support to the city’s homeless population.

He also mentors inner-city youth at the Honickman Learning Center at 23rd and Berks streets. At the center, Powell mixes his his mentoring with a “moot court” where kids can learn about being lawyers.

Although he hasn’t been elected, Powell points to a fairly substantial resume of public service in the City of Philadelphia in addition to his four years on the bench:

− Probation officer

−Assistant District Attorney under Ed Rendell

− 30+ years of trial experience

− Director of drug treatment for the Philadelphia Court System

− Nearly 4 years on the bench by appointments

Powell said that to win – he’s trying to win one of six seats among 22 candidates – it is critical that he carries the 9th and 22nd Wards of Chestnut Hill and Mt. Airy.