Editor's note: As part of its Listening Tour, CNN is reaching out to voters to hear what's on their mind as the 2012 presidential campaign season kicks off. GOP hopefuls begin to ramp up the race Monday, when they debate the issues in New Hampshire. It all happens June 13 on CNN, CNN.com/Live and our mobile apps.
Philadelphia is the nation's fifth-largest city, and just like most other places in the United States, it's struggling with budget cuts, layoffs and crime.
As the 2012 election nears, Philly residents say their top concerns include political nepotism, joblessness and a struggling public education system:
"With government, it's like you keep moving up, and you stay and you stay with your old ideas that don't make sense, and they don't work," said Ainé Ardron-Doley, 34, a Philadelphia marketing manager.
Through their grass-roots revitalization efforts, Ainé and her sister Emaleigh persuaded Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter to move up the demolition of dilapidated houses in their neighborhood that have been abandoned for nearly 20 years.
"It's the politician's job to work for us, but it's also the citizens' job to work for ourselves and with government," said Emaleigh, 27, a public relations and marketing manager.
Philadelphia resident Leroi Simmons, an associate pastor at Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church, wants elected officials to make good on their campaign promises and work diligently to assist the working poor.
"What would satisfy me would be folks who are who they say they are," he says. "We have a lot of folks who are poor folks, who really need help, who really could use the political strength that we worked hard 20 or 30 years ago to build."
Ebony Baylis, 21, is flexing her grass-roots muscle as a member of Youth United for Change, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of public education.
"Instead of cutting education and putting money into the police force and to military, they need to take the money from there and put in into out schools," she said. "Knowledge is power. We need knowledge. And without it, what are we gonna do?"
Snockey's Oyster & Crab House has been serving seafood to Philly residents for nearly a century. The first restaurant opened in 1912, just a few weeks after the sinking of the Titanic.
CNN's All Platform Journalist Sarah Hoye talked to Ken Snockey, the restaurant's third generation owner, about the impact of the Gulf oil disaster on his business:
CNN: How has the Gulf oil disaster affected your business, so far?
KEN SNOCKEY, OWNER: We have definitely seen seafood prices go up. We're a 98-year-old oyster house. However, very rarely do we buy our oysters from the Gulf, we are more cold water oriented, and buy from the Chesapeake Bay and north. Shrimp come from the Gulf, and I'd say we've seen about a 25 percent jump in price. Crab meat comes from the Gulf.
CNN: Since you are able to get seafood from other areas in the northeast, do you think you'll be able to avoid a bigger impact?
SNOCKEY: It's going to ripple, and we're well aware of that. I think it will affect everything that comes from the Gulf. It's a big world, but it's a small world now.
CNN: Your family has been in the seafood restaurant business for the past century: do you know of any other disaster that compares to this?
SNOCKEY: I cannot pinpoint a particular catastrophe that affected the industry like this, but the seafood market and restaurants, is more volatile than most. One week you can buy a crate of broccoli for $25 and the next week its $65 because of a frost in Chile. Luckily, it is a big world today, they [shrimp, crab] come from so many destinations than ever before.
But it's a tragedy for those people in the Gulf: how are they supposed to make a living?