Dave Kralle, a Republican candidate in the 169th Legislative District, last week released a plan to combat child sexual abuse.
Kralle favors removing the criminal and civil statutes of limitations for sexual abuse against children.
The candidate also wants Pennsylvania to become the 50th and final state to allow expert testimony at trial, so judges and juries can understand why victims sometimes do not report their abuse immediately.
For those who are required by law to report sexual abuse of children, Kralle favors giving them training to identify the characteristics of an abuser. In addition, he’d require them to report the abuse to law enforcement, not simply a superior within their organization.
“It is critical that we take the necessary steps to combat the worst of the worst,” he said. “These individuals deserve to experience the strongest arm of the law. Gone are the days where they can hide behind technicalities. When I am elected as a state representative, Pennsylvania will be coming after these scumbags and they can’t hide.”
The seat has been vacant since Republican Dennis O’Brien joined City Council at the beginning of the year. Kralle served as an aide to O’Brien in his House and Council offices.
An April 24 special election will match Kralle against Democrat Ed Neilson, a former electricians union official who served in the administration of Gov. Ed Rendell.
Also on that day, Kralle will face teacher John McCann in the GOP primary.
“I am wholeheartedly supporting Dave Kralle for this seat that I held for the past three decades,” O’Brien said. “I ask the people of Northeast Philadelphia to join me in voting twice to make him our next state representative.”
Neilson is unopposed in the Democratic primary.
If Neilson wins the special election, he would serve in the minority, as Republicans hold a 110-87 advantage in the House of Representatives. There will be a total of six special elections on April 24, with Democrats heavily favored to win at least four of them.
Neilson, who was deputy secretary in the Department of Labor and Industry under Rendell, has been endorsed by Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 and International Association of Fire Fighters Local 22.
“As our state representative, he will be a fierce defender of Philadelphia’s vanishing middle class and a vigilant protector of our public safety,” said Bill Gault, president of Local 22.
While Kralle has said he’d reopen O’Brien’s office at 9811 Academy Road, Neilson would look for a site that doesn’t require constituents to walk down steps. Kralle said that, as he campaigns door to door, many people, including senior citizens, tell him they’d like to see the office reopened.
“They want it, and I’m happy to oblige,” he said.
Teacher Dan Collins will appear on the ballot as a Democratic candidate in the 172nd Legislative District. An objection to his candidacy filed with the Pennsylvania Department of State was denied.
Terry Devlin, a supporter of freshman Democratic Rep. Kevin Boyle, filed the challenge. Two years ago, he challenged the nominating petitions of Collins and two other foes of Boyle.
Collins is knocking on doors and counting on the support of some ward leaders who want to see the incumbent lose. Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 is also backing Collins, who’ll be listed above Boyle on the ballot by virtue of a random draw.
Meanwhile, Boyle commissioned a poll showing him with a lead of 63 percent to 10 percent over the lesser-known Collins.
Municipoll surveyed 572 likely primary election voters. A poll memo said, “Newt Gingrich’s fantastical hopes of winning the Republican primary for president are more grounded in reality than are Dan Collins’ chances of winning his party’s primary election for state representative.”
The Republican candidate is Al Taubenberger, president of the Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.
The Philadelphia chapter of the National Organization for Women Political Action Committee has endorsed Numa St. Louis, who is challenging veteran state Rep. Mark Cohen (D-202nd dist.) in the primary.
“Numa St. Louis is unequivocal in his support for women’s rights — especially of women’s access to health care,” said Terri Falbo, president of Philadelphia NOW. “Given the current repressive environment in the Pennsylvania Legislature and its ‘War on Women,’ Philadelphia NOW is focused on endorsing candidates, such as St. Louis, who support women’s rights without regard to political expediency. As an educator and community organizer, St. Louis has a record as an advocate for more accessible health care, sound educational reform and immigrant rights.”
Cohen said the PAC has supported him in the past, but did not contact him this year. He believes St. Louis received the nod because his aunt, 61st Ward Democratic leader and former judicial candidate Sharon Williams Losier, has been active with NOW.
The incumbent supported a referendum on the issue of abortion when the issue surfaced in the 1980s.
Despite the endorsement for his opponent, Cohen believes he’ll win the Olney-based 61st Ward because his office is located there and staff provides good constituent service. He expects to sweep to victory overall.
“My goal is to carry every election division,” he said.
Former congressman Joe Sestak last week headlined a fund-raising reception for Nathan Kleinman, who is mounting a write-in campaign against U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz in the Democratic primary.
The March 16 reception took place at a private residence in Springfield Township. Among the guests was retired Philadelphia Police Capt. Ray Lewis, who was arrested during Occupy Wall Street protests in New York.
Also last week, Kleinman received a $2,012 donation from Ben Cohen, the co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream company.
Kleinman also spent time last week protesting the new city ban on outdoor feeding of the homeless. And he took part in a National Day of Action for Sudan, including a 24-hour fast.
Public Policy Polling released an automated telephone interview survey last week showing former state Rep. Sam Rohrer with a small lead in the five-way Republican primary for U.S. Senate.
Rohrer, who lost the Republican primary for governor in 2010, took 16 percent of the vote, followed by wealthy retired businessman Tom Smith (12 percent), decorated Vietnam War veteran David Christian (10 percent), attorney Marc Scaringi (8 percent) and party-endorsed businessman Steve Welch (5 percent).
The remainder of the 564 people surveyed were undecided.
The deadline to register to vote in the primary is 5 p.m. on Monday, March 26.
Applications with a March 26 postmark will be accepted even if they arrive after the deadline.
Citizens who wish to vote for Democratic or Republican candidates in the primary must register in the same party as their preferred candidates.