Response to Larry’s Op Ed

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In his op-ed, my opponent in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s race wrote about the current health care reform and how, among other things, it threatens public safety.

 

The subject of his op-ed is an attempt to deflect his greatest weaknesses as a candidate for Philadelphia District Attorney – his complete lack of prosecutorial experience and well-established personal disdain for the actual functions of the District Attorney’s Office. Namely, prosecuting those accused of crime, advocating for victims of crime, and serving as Philadelphia’s chief law enforcement officer. Those accused of crime are entitled to the best defense and this is what my opponent has done for his entire legal career. However, he has never served the interest of public safety and anyone who looks at his record as a lawyer and political candidate can plainly see that this is not his priority. This should be a major concern to all Philadelphia residents, regardless of political affiliation.

In his op-ed, my opponent fails to address how lack of health insurance would affect victims and survivors of crimes. This includes individuals who are hospitalized for months due to vicious assaults and gunshot wounds; those who have lost loved ones to homicide who will deal with the emotional trauma for the remainder of their lives; those who have been sexually assaulted and, months and years after physical wounds have healed, still deal with emotional trauma warranting therapy. In my two decades as a prosecutor, I have served those individuals who have been gravely injured at the hands of others

The Pennsylvania Victims Compensation Assistance Program (VCAP) does contribute to some of these costs, including reimbursement of insurance co-pays, out of network expenses and other out-of-pocket costs. However, it is the payer of last resort and the overall maximum amount award is $35,000.  VCAP pays an average of $13 million dollars per year on behalf of crime victims.  Having experience with VCAP, I believe that increasing the maximum award amount is something for which a District Attorney can and should advocate.

My opponent makes no mention of the disturbing 20% increase in city-wide homicides or the epidemic of domestic violence and sexual assaults. Nor has he mentioned throughout his campaign the concerns of the vast majority of Philadelphians who simply want their neighborhoods to be free from crime and to have a good quality of life.  He wrote:

As a citizen of Philadelphia and a candidate for District Attorney, I stand with you to defend the safety, the health, and the well-being – I indeed the very lives – of the people of our city and state We must do more than resist; we must resist and then build a more just society

 

In his use of the word “resist”, it is clear that my opponent is using a catch phrase of a national protest movement and has neither the experience nor the desire to perform the essential functions of a District Attorney’s Office – those functions that contribute to and hopefully improve public safety.  In the day to day tasks of trying to earn a living, raising children and taking care of family, most Philadelphians don’t want to resist.  They want to be safe.

The issues of Medicaid and health care coverage are indeed critical but they are legislative issues to be resolved at the state and federal levels. My opponent has built personal wealth from defending those accused of crime and suing the police department and the city. Now, in his candidacy, he is running on a combination of protest group narratives and national talking points. In America, he has the right to run for public office, by it may be more appropriate for Larry to run for a legislative office and not for District Attorney of Philadelphia.

 

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