Statewide Candidates Gather at Forum to Discuss Issues
Attorney general and state treasurer candidates spoke.
Voters in Northwest Philadelphia had a chance to hear from three candidates running for statewide offices in the Democratic primary on Tuesday night at a community forum held at West Oak Lane Charter School.
Kathleen Kane and Patrick Murphy are running against each other for their party’s nomination for attorney general, and Rob McCord is running for re-election as the state treasurer.
In her speech, Kane introduced herself as a native of Scranton who moved back to her hometown after getting her law degree from Temple Law School to join the prosecutor’s office. Having prosecuted over 3,000 cases, she said her experience ranged “from the crime scene to the courtroom and back to the classroom.”
The mother of two small boys, she has made a name for herself as a prosecutor of child sexual abuse and elder abuse cases in particular.
“We can not walk away from those children,” she said. “Are we going to choose a politician or a prosecutor for attorney general?”
Kane said the office is held by a Republican and has been for the last 32 years.
"We can take that office back this year,” she said.
Kane has been endorsed by President Clinton, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Philadelphia Daily News. She reminded those listening that the Attorney General is “the most powerful consumer advocate” for citizens of our state.
Questions for Kane reflected concern about the “Castle Doctrine” or “Stand Your Ground” law, which was recently amended in Pennsylvania by lawmakers in the House and Senate to expand self-defense rights.
Kane said that the duty to retreat first “has been taken out of the statute,” and said that the Pennsylvania law “is based on subjective and not objective standards, and we have to change that.”
Patrick Murphy, also running for the Democratic nomination for Attorney General, is a Philadelphia native. Murphy grew up in a row house in Northeast Philly, he said, and attended a community college before enlisting in the Army and going on to complete law school. He worked as part of the JAG Corps and was the first Iraq War veteran elected to Congress, having completed two deployments oversees after Sept. 11.
“In Iraq, I have seen what an AK-47 does to the human body,” he said, “and there is no reason an AK-47 should be on the streets of Philadelphia.”
He emphasized that his support for gun control earned him the grades of D- and F on his voting record from the National Rifle Association (NRA).
Murphy also said if elected he would take steps to protect the environment. He said that in the past four years, there have been over 3,300 environmental violations by domestic oil drillers in the state.
He pledged to prosecute these crimes.
“They have illegally dumped entire tankers full of fracking fluid in the environment, and then falsified the records,” he said. “”And how many went to jail? None.”
In addition to being “tough and smart on crime,” Murphy said that steps need to be taken toward prevention as well, including restoring funding for public education.
“We have cut $1.2 billion from education,” he said, “and 70 percent of inmates in Pennsylvania do not have a high school degree.”
Rob McCord, who is currently the state treasurer and is running for re-election, was the last statewide candidate to speak.
“I believe that politics when well-played is a team sport,” he said.
Since his election in 2008, McCord has made great efforts to return unclaimed personal property to Pennsylvania citizens. Since January 2009, the McCord Treasury has returned more than $330 million in unclaimed property to rightful owners or heirs and generated around $300 million for the General Fund from property that cannot be returned.
McCord urged people who think they might be owed money to check the database at http://www.patreasury.gov.