State Capitol Packed as Row Officers Take Oaths

It seemed like around every corner at the state capitol complex, Tuesday, was a Democrat taking the oath of office.  Hundreds filled the rotunda and spilled into the hallways to catch a glimpse of Kathleen Kane being sworn-in as the first Democrat and the first woman elected Attorney General in PA. 

“I’m proud, I’m excited and I’m just thrilled that everyone came out to support us the way that they did,” Kane told reporters afterward.  “It wasn’t just the election, they’re here today too.”  Kane has vowed to launch an investigation of the way the Jerry Sandusky case was handled at the AG’s office, and says she’s close to naming a Special Deputy Attorney General whose sole job will be that probe.

Across the street at the Pennsylvania State Museum, Eugene DePasquale became the state’s independent fiscal watchdog when he took the oath of office as Auditor General.  He’ll start by reviewing internal operations to ensure everything is running efficiently.  “I think it is entirely wrong to go out and start banging away at other agencies, and saying they need to become more efficient, if we’re not going to look at ourselves as well,” DePasquale said in his inaugural address. 

While DePasquale is the first York County resident to hold statewide office since Governor George Leader in the 1950s, he’s downplaying any historical significance.  “That’s kind of some fun talk, but – at the end of the day – if you do your job people will remember you well, if you don’t do your job they won’t.” 

Both DePasquale and Kane are serving in new positions, but Treasurer Rob McCord took the oath of office for a second time on Tuesday.  Looking ahead to his second term, McCord says he will continue to find innovative ways to save and make money for the people of Pennsylvania.  Under his watch, McCord says, the Treasury has produced $1.6-billion dollars in investment returns and averted $300-million dollars in erroneous state payments.

Radio PA’s Top 10 Pennsylvania Stories of 2012 – Part 2

As 2012 draws to a close, Radio PA is looking back at the top 10 Pennsylvania stories of the year as voted on by the news staff and other members of the statewide media. In this installment, we reveal stories 7 through 5, beginning with a groundbreaking election victory.

Click the audio players to hear Radio PA’s recap of each story.

#7 – Kathleen Kane & the Democrats   2012Top10-7FINAL
Pennsylvania had never elected a woman as state Attorney General. Pennsylvania had never elected a Democrat as state Attorney General. In one night, Kathleen Kane shattered both of those barriers. Kane’s victory on November 6th was part of a Democrat Party sweep of Pennsylvania’s row offices, as Treasurer Rob McCord won re-election and State Representative Eugene DePasquale was selected the next Pennsylvania Auditor General. Political analyst Terry Madonna of F&M College in Lancaster says the victories have provided the Democrats with a “deep bench” for future statewide elections. Kane says she hopes her victory can show young women throughout the Keystone State that anything is possible. During her campaign, Kane repeatedly said she plans to investigate Governor Tom Corbett’s role in the prosecution of Jerry Sandusky (Corbett was the Attorney General who launched the Sandusky case and opponents of the governor have been critical about the timing and handling of the probe). The stage is now set for a contentious relationship between Tom Corbett and his former office in 2013 and beyond, and Kathleen Kane’s groundbreaking election win is Radio PA’s #7 Pennsylvania story of 2012.

#6 – “Superstorm” Sandy   2012Top10-6FINAL
The convergence of multiple weather systems in late October brought back memories of 1991’s “Perfect Storm,” but forecasters went with a different term to describe this one as the term “Superstorm” entered the media lexicon. The main component of this dangerous mix was Hurricane Sandy. As it approached the Mid-Atlantic region, emergency declarations were declared and states braced for the worst. In Pennsylvania, there were more than a dozen deaths associated with the storm, but the Commonwealth avoided widespread flooding and other major damage as Superstorm Sandy weakened immediately after coming ashore. New Jersey and New York were not so fortunate, as the storm surge wiped out entire communities. Power was out in parts of Pennsylvania for more than a week, with over 1.2 million customers out at the height of the storm. Parts of New York and New Jersey were out even longer as utilities tried to rebuild the damaged power grid. “Superstorm” Sandy blows in as Radio PA’s # 6 Pennsylvania story of 2012.

#5 – The Death of Arlen Specter   2012Top10-5FINAL
The Warren Commission’s “Single Bullet Theory,” the Clarence Thomas & Robert Bork SCOTUS confirmation hearings, the impeachment of President Bill Clinton…name a major story of the past 50 years and odds are you’ll find Arlen Specter’s name associated with it. The longtime Pennsylvania U.S. Senator died on October 14th of this year after a third round with cancer. Specter was PA’s longest-serving Senator, having served from 1981-2010. His defeat in the 2010 primary election came about one year after his controversial switch to the Democrat party, but the Kansas native was always a political lightning rod, sometimes voting counter to his own Republican party’s interests during his 30-year career in Washington. The moderate used his farewell speech in 2010 to chastise his former GOP brethren, who he claimed were engaging in “sophisticated cannibalism” by targeting fellow Republicans who don’t vote with the party 100% of the time. Specter was 82 years old when he passed away, but he leaves a fiercely independent legacy in a time when political parties are drafting further away from the political center. The death of Arlen Specter checks in as Radio PA’s #5 Pennsylvania story of 2012.


Check back soon for stories #4, #3 and #2…


RadioPA Roundtable

Radio PA Roundtable 11.09.12

On this week’s Radio PA Roundtable, Brad Christman and Matt Paul recap Election Night in Pennsylvania, and preview the potential conflict between Attorney General-Elect Kathleen Kane and Governor Tom Corbett.  Also, you’ll hear their experiences covering this past week’s scheduled execution, which was stayed at the 11th hour.  It would have been the state’s first execution since 1999.

Radio PA Roundtable is a 30-minute program featuring in-depth reporting on the top news stories of the week.

Click the audio player below to hear the full broadcast:


Pennsylvania’s Attorney General Candidates Clash

The two candidates for state Attorney General locked horns in Harrisburg Monday night during their only debate of the campaign. Former Lackawanna County prosecutor Kathleen Kane, the Democratic nominee, focused her jabs on the investigation of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, again saying she would launch an independent probe into the handling of that case.

Kane has been critical of the charges being filed only after former Attorney General Tom Corbett was elected Governor. She says Republican nominee David Freed could not launch an independent investigation, as he was the governor’s “hand-picked” candidate. Freed has stated that he would launch a review of the case, if elected, but he would not comment further because he could be handling possible appeals.

Governor Corbett has stated in past interviews on that much of the key information in the Sandusky case did not come in until late 2010 or early 2011, as he was being inaugurated, and he says the end result – convictions on 45 counts of child sexual abuse – show that the office of Attorney General did the right thing.

Freed attacked Kane’s record, saying her attitudes toward the job show her lack of experience.

Recent polls show Kane leading the race, but with a large number of undecideds yet to make up their minds. Pennsylvania voters have never elected a Democrat to the Attorney General’s post.


Kathleen Kane Takes Democratic Nomination for Attorney General

Pennsylvania has never elected a Democrat to be state Attorney General. Pennsylvania has never elected a woman to be state Attorney General. With one more victory in November, Kathleen Kane could invalidate both of those statements in one fell swoop.

Kane won the Democratic nomination for Attorney General on Tuesday, coming out on top in a bitter campaign against former Congressman Patrick Murphy. A heated ad war highlighted the rough and tumble election, making it one of the most widely watched races as the returns came in on Tuesday evening. Kane led all the way on Tuesday and with more than 99% of precincts statewide reporting, she had taken the win by more than 40,000 votes. Kane will move on to face Republican David Freed in November. Freed is Cumberland County’s District Attorney.