The son of working parents from a union home, Rich Lazer is a progressive activist who served as Philadelphia Deputy Mayor for Labor. Rich has been focused on improving his community from an early age – starting at 13 when he helped organize clean up efforts to revitalize his local playground in South Philadelphia.
Rich graduated from LaSalle University in 2007 and took a job with then Philadelphia City Councilman Jim Kenney – one of the most progressive and forward-thinking members of Philadelphia City Council. There, Lazer helped Kenney work to advance LGBTQ+ equality, immigrant rights, gender and racial equity and justice, and the decriminalization of marijuana.
As Kenney’s Deputy Mayor for Labor, Rich negotiated the settlement of key union disputes. His work at the Philadelphia International Airport ended years of labor strife by establishing fair collective bargaining for historically disenfranchised, low-wage workers. He was instrumental in resolving the 2016 SEPTA strike, and the five-year contract stalemate between the School District of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers.
Rich assisted Kenney on a number of key progressive initiatives, such as: criminal justice reform, quality pre-k, pay equity, minority business development, the recruitment of women and people of color into the trades, LGBTQ+ rights and standing up for immigrants.
Rich also serves on the board of the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) and Philadelphia Works Inc. — where he was a strong advocate for apprenticeship and workplace diversity. He also served on numerous community boards, including serving as Chair of Victim/Witness Services of South Philadelphia, Vice President of Whitman Council, Inc. and President of the Burke Playground Community Fund.
Rich and his wife Lindsey live in the Whitman neighborhood of South Philadelphia with their two children, John (5) and Abby (2). They are parishioners at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Roman Catholic Church in Philadelphia.