Stephens drops out of attorney general race

State Sen. John Rafferty will likely have no competition in the Republican primary for attorney general, now that state Rep. Todd Stephens has dropped out of the race.

On Saturday, in caucuses of state committee members, Rafferty won 31–26 in the Southwest and 35–4 in the Northwest.

Adding in totals from the Southeast and Central caucuses, Rafferty had built a 162–82 lead.

“Today was a great day for the Rafferty for attorney general campaign, and I am very thankful for the support I received,” Rafferty said. “With the strong support I have received so far, I am confident that my campaign will successfully earn the endorsement of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania and win the election this November.

ldquo;I want to applaud and thank Rep. Todd Stephens for running a spirited campaign for the endorsement and I look forward to working with him to restore credibility and competency to the Office of Attorney General.”

Rafferty represents the 44th Senatorial District, which includes parts of Montgomery, Chester and Berks counties. He served as a deputy attorney general, prosecuting Medicaid fraud. He’s been endorsed by the Pennsylvania State Troopers Association, the Pennsylvania Fraternal Order of Police, the Pennsylvania Professional Firefighters Association and the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane, a Democrat, has been indicted on charges of perjury and obstructing administration of law. She is not expected to seek a second term.

Democrats who are running for attorney general are Allegheny County District Attorney Steve Zappala, Pittsburgh lawyer David Fawcett and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Stollsteimer. Other Democrats expected to run are Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli and Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro.

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Former congressman Joe Sestak, a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, spoke at the United Neighborhood Centersof Northeastern Pennsylvania and Dress for Success Lackawanna.

“For four decades, the middle class — working families realizing their American Dream — was the largest economic group in the nation, but that is no longer the case,” Sestak said. “The middle class has been outpaced by the growth of both the highest- and lowest-income households. For the first time in our history, our children may have less economic mobility than their parents. The American Dream can — and must — be restored for the sake of the middle class, for working families and for our children.”

Sestak supports raising the minimum wage to $10.60 an hour; making permanent the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit set to expire in 2017; reinstating the year-round Federal Pell Grant program that was cancelled; reauthorizing and updating the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act to help states fund secondary and postsecondary education programs for career pathways; and changing the student loan formula to cut interest rates by more than 30 percent, making college significantly more affordable and allowing graduates to more fully participate in the economy by enabling them to spend their money on goods, services and homes instead of student loans taken out years earlier.

“For generations, America’s working families have been out there on the front lines, building up our nation so that our children have the chance for a better life,” Sestak said. “If we want to make sure that American Dream remains a reality, we must honor the hard work of these families by electing leaders who will work even harder on their behalf once elected to office.”

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The America Rising Political Action Committee is criticizing Democratic Senate candidate Katie McGinty for attending the Pennsylvania Society gala in New York City while the state has yet to pass a budget.

McGinty was chief of staff tp Gov. Tom Wolf until quitting to run for Senate.

“Katie McGinty still hasn’t taken responsibility for the crisis she helped create. Katie McGinty showed her true colors as a self-interested politician when she abandoned her state to advance her career; the fact that she has the nerve to ask Pennsylvanians for a promotion proves how out of touch she is,” said Amelia Chassé, America Rising PAC press secretary.

Braddock Mayor John Fetterman, also seeking the Democratic nomination, also attended.

Another candidate, Joe Sestak, did not attend.

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Mayor Michael Nutter signed a City Council ordinance sponsored by Councilman Curtis Jones that authorizes a ballot question to establish and define the responsibilities of an independent and permanent Commission on African-American Males in the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter. The question will appear on April 26.

ldquo;The Commission on African-American Males has been an important tool in supporting and addressing the challenges that impact African-American males in Philadelphia. Making permanent the Commission ensures that African-American males, and their perspective, will be heard throughout our local government,” Nutter said.

The question that will appear on the ballot for voters to answer is as follows:

ldquo;Shall The Philadelphia Home Rule Charter be amended to provide for the creation, appointment, powers and duties of an independent Commission on African American Males, which would study and recommend responses to challenges facing African American males in Philadelphia?”

ldquo;We need to continue to look at the lack of access to quality education and economic opportunities for African-American males and how that affects their daily lives,” Jones said.

The Commission was originally formed by Mayor Wilson Goode in 1991. ••