Northeast Times

Talking the talk

Dav­id Freed (left), the dis­trict at­tor­ney in Cum­ber­land County who is run­ning for at­tor­ney gen­er­al, Bob Bran­stet­ter (cen­ter), and Marc Collazzo (right) sit down to talk about Dav­id’s in­ten­tions at the Ara­mingo Diner, Wed­nes­day, Septem­ber 12, 2012, Phil­adelphia, Pa. (Maria Pouch­nikova)

Start­Frag­ment

Dav­id Freed, the Re­pub­lic­an can­did­ate for Pennsylvania at­tor­ney gen­er­al, met loc­al news­pa­per re­port­ers last week at the Ara­mingo Diner in Port Rich­mond.

State Rep. John Taylor (R-177th dist.) ar­ranged the vis­it.

Freed has got­ten to know Taylor and oth­er state law­makers in his ca­pa­city as dis­trict at­tor­ney of Cum­ber­land County, a mid-size county of about 240,000 people not too far from Har­ris­burg. As dis­trict at­tor­ney of a county near the state cap­it­al, he has ad­voc­ated to the le­gis­lature on vari­ous is­sues.

“Freed seems like a good guy,” Taylor said.

In the Nov. 6 elec­tion, Freed will face Demo­crat Kath­leen Kane and Liber­tari­an Marakay Ro­gers.

Kane is a former as­sist­ant dis­trict at­tor­ney in Lack­awanna County. In the primary, she de­feated former Bucks County con­gress­man Patrick Murphy, thanks in part to an en­dorse­ment from former Pres­id­ent Bill Clin­ton.

Freed be­lieves the dif­fer­ence between him and Kane is his ten­ure as dis­trict at­tor­ney.

“Ex­ec­ut­ive ex­per­i­ence makes me most qual­i­fied for the job. Once you take the oath of of­fice, the wins and losses are on you,” he said. “I have the ideas and en­ergy to do the job. I’ve got a good story to tell.”

Freed, 42, is the son-in-law of former state At­tor­ney Gen­er­al LeRoy Zi­m­mer­man. He is pro-life and a mem­ber of the NRA, and pro­claims him­self a fan of the Fly­ers, 76ers, Eagles and Phil­lies.

Re­pub­lic­ans have won all eight races for at­tor­ney gen­er­al since the post be­came an elec­ted of­fice in 1980. However, Demo­crats en­joy a voter-re­gis­tra­tion ad­vant­age of more than 1 mil­lion, and many of the races have been close.

In of­fice, Freed would seek to fund sur­veil­lance cam­er­as, po­lice car video equip­ment and anti-gun vi­ol­ence ef­forts, par­tic­u­larly in Phil­adelphia.

“That’s a place I see the at­tor­ney gen­er­al lead­ing,” he said.

Freed, whose par­ents were edu­cat­ors, also wants to be part of a bi­par­tis­an team of dis­trict at­tor­neys, po­lice chiefs and county sher­iffs to pro­mote early child­hood edu­ca­tion as a way to keep young people from be­com­ing vic­tims or per­pet­rat­ors of crime.

As for the il­leg­al drug is­sue, Freed fa­vors put­ting a heavy pres­ence of law en­force­ment of­ficers on the street to ar­rest deal­ers.

“We’ve got to dis­rupt their busi­ness,” he said.

••

State Rep. John Taylor, first elec­ted in 1984, is fa­cing a chal­lenge from Demo­crat Will Dun­bar, 28.

As in­cum­bents of­ten do with little-known chal­lengers, Taylor, 57, is ig­nor­ing de­bate re­quests from his op­pon­ent.

If the two did de­bate, Taylor said, it would be the “worst even­ing of that kid’s life.”

“We bring the de­bate to the people door to door and through the press,” Taylor said, adding that he ex­pects to see his op­pon­ent at com­munity for­ums.

Dun­bar would spend the de­bate knock­ing Taylor for what he sees as put­ting his party over the people be­cause of his votes on voter ID and oth­er is­sues. He be­lieves a de­bate would force Taylor to ex­plain why he sup­ports an ef­fort that would move the dis­trict north to Re­pub­lic­an-friendly areas of May­fair.

Taylor has been knock­ing on doors for the last 12 weeks or so and hopes voters see the race as a one-on-one battle in a heav­ily Demo­crat­ic dis­trict that Pres­id­ent Barack Obama will likely carry hand­ily.

“He’s de­pend­ing on the top of the tick­et,” Taylor said of Dun­bar.

In 2008, Taylor won with 59 per­cent of the vote against Harry Eng­gass­er.

The Web site Polit­ic­sPa.com be­lieves Taylor is in a fight. It lists the 177th as the 10th-most like­li­est in the state to switch party con­trol.

The in­cum­bent plans to be ag­gress­ive in telling voters in over­whelm­ingly Demo­crat­ic areas such as Ju­ni­ata how to sup­port him even if they plan to sup­port Demo­crats for oth­er of­fices. He’s con­fid­ent of vic­tory, even con­tend­ing that Dun­bar will struggle to get more than 10 votes in his home di­vi­sion.

••

Joe Rooney, the Re­pub­lic­an chal­lenger to U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-13th dist.), is get­ting nowhere in his at­tempt to get the in­cum­bent to de­bate him.

Rooney said his op­pon­ent is “hid­ing.”

In a “Dear Ms. Schwartz” let­ter, he wrote, “To make this easy for you, I am even will­ing to sup­ply you with a series of ques­tions to an­swer and votes to de­fend so you can ad­equately pre­pare your­self.”

Schwartz’s of­fice de­clined to com­ment on Rooney’s re­quest.

••

State Reps. Mark Co­hen and Brendan Boyle were among the del­eg­ates at the re­cent Demo­crat­ic Na­tion­al Con­ven­tion in Char­lotte, N.C.

For Co­hen, it was his sixth con­ven­tion and third time as a del­eg­ate. He said he liked the speeches giv­en by Pres­id­ent Barack Obama, Vice Pres­id­ent Joe Biden, former Pres­id­ent Bill Clin­ton and Mas­sachu­setts Sen. John Kerry.

Co­hen said he was in­spired by the re­marks and noted that TV view­er­ship was high­er for the Demo­crat­ic con­ven­tion than the Re­pub­lic­an gath­er­ing in Tampa a week earli­er.

“I think they made a per­suas­ive case. Polls show that Obama has gained since the con­ven­tion,” he said.

Boyle was a del­eg­ate for the first time. He spent some time work­ing in his role as chair­man of the House Demo­crat­ic Cam­paign Com­mit­tee, but spent plenty of time in the con­ven­tion hall.

“To me, the high­light was Bill Clin­ton’s speech,” he said.

Boyle had a good enough seat that he could tell when the former pres­id­ent was us­ing the tele­prompt­er and when he was ad-lib­bing.

Asked why Obama de­serves re-elec­tion while presid­ing over an eco­nomy with mount­ing debt, high un­em­ploy­ment and gas­ol­ine prices and a rot­ten hous­ing mar­ket, Boyle poin­ted to 30 con­sec­ut­ive months of job growth.

Boyle equated Mitt Rom­ney’s policies to those of former Pres­id­ent George W. Bush, who pushed the eco­nomy “com­pletely off the cliff,” in his opin­ion.

The biggest con­tro­versy of the Demo­crat­ic con­ven­tion came when the plat­form com­mit­tee re­moved ref­er­ences to God and Jer­u­s­alem be­ing the cap­it­al of Is­rael.

Los Angeles May­or Ant­o­nio Vil­larai­gosa, chair­man of the con­ven­tion, called for three voice votes of del­eg­ates to re­in­sert the men­tions of God and Jer­u­s­alem. Though most del­eg­ates op­posed put­ting God and Jer­u­s­alem back in the plat­form, Vil­larai­gosa de­clared the mo­tion had passed.

Neither Co­hen nor Boyle was in the hall at the time. Co­hen was at a re­cep­tion for Jew­ish elec­ted of­fi­cials. Boyle was delayed by trans­port­a­tion and se­cur­ity is­sues.

••

Sev­er­al Re­pub­lic­an act­iv­ists have filed a com­plaint with the Phil­adelphia Board of Eth­ics re­gard­ing a de­cision by May­or Mi­chael Nut­ter to use tax­pay­er funds for staffers Lauren Walk­er and Tu­mar Al­ex­an­der to at­tend events at the Demo­crat­ic Na­tion­al Con­ven­tion.

“This de­cision by Demo­crat­ic May­or Mi­chael Nut­ter to dip in­to the city tax­pay­ers’ pock­ets to send city em­ploy­ees, who can­not be in­volved in polit­ics, to go to the most polit­ic­al of all events, the Demo­crat­ic Na­tion­al Con­ven­tion, is not only bad policy but a vi­ol­a­tion of the city Home Rule Charter,” said Rick Hell­berg.

When New Jer­sey Gov. Chris Christie at­ten­ded the Re­pub­lic­an Na­tion­al Con­ven­tion in Tampa, Fla., the Re­pub­lic­an Gov­ernors As­so­ci­ation paid the ex­penses for him and his fam­ily. Ci­vil­ian aides had to use their va­ca­tion time and pay for travel, lodging and meals.

••

The men’s club of the Con­greg­a­tions of Shaare Shamay­im will hold a can­did­ates for­um on Sunday, Oct. 28 at 9 a.m.

The pub­lic is in­vited. The syn­agogue is loc­ated at 9768 Ver­ree Road in Bustleton.

The hosts will be edu­cat­or/law­yer Ruth Hor­witz and former state Sen. Bob Rovn­er. ••

End­Frag­ment

You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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