State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

Attorney general candidates run on reform

Written by Mary Wilson, Former Capitol Bureau Chief | Mar 31, 2016 2:48 PM

The state has an entire agency dedicated at least in part to the men and women who have served in the military. The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs boasts 22,000 military and civilian personnel. It manages veterans' homes and administers a variety of veteran benefits and outreach initiatives.

But for Joe Peters, Republican candidate for state attorney general, "it's simply not enough."

Peters is promising to create a "veterans' advocate" position and dedicated staff within the Office of Attorney General, if he's elected in November. The former Scranton cop and federal prosecutor who spent 15 years working in OAG said the veterans' advocate position could be modeled off the Office of Consumer Advocate now housed within his old agency.

"I don't think anyone disagrees that we need to do this better," said Peters on Thursday. "This is not a political move. This is recognizing a deficiency on our part as a society, as a commonwealth."

He is not the only AG candidate campaigning on hiring plans and proposed reforms.

John Rafferty, a state senator and Peters' only opponent in the Republican primary, has called for new e-mail ethics policies in the wake of the e-mail scandal that has dragged down two state Supreme Court justices and has ensnared dozens of others who exchanged raunchy messages that were caught on state computer servers.

On the Democratic side of the race, Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala has yet to announce any grand new plans, but candidate John Morganelli, district attorney for Northampton County, has said he would remove the top staffers in the Office of Attorney General in an effort to start fresh after the tenure of Kathleen Kane. Josh Shapiro, another Democratic candidate and chair of the Montgomery County board of commissioners, has said he would establish a chief diversity officer within the Office of Attorney General.

Published in State House Sound Bites

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