The Philadelphia Tribune: Editorial: Keir Bradford-Grey in the Democratic primary for attorney general

All the candidates running in the Democratic primary for Pennsylvania attorney general are well qualified.

They are: Keir Bradford-Grey, the former Philadelphia chief public defender; Eugene DePasquale, a former state auditor general and three-term state representative; Joe Khan, a former Bucks County solicitor; Jared Solomon, a state representative from Northeast Philadelphia; and Jack Stollsteimer, the district attorney in Delaware County.

Among the strong field of candidates, we endorse Keir Bradford-Grey for attorney general.

Bradford-Grey is our choice to replace the current attorney general, Michelle Henry, who took over after Josh Shapiro was sworn in as governor and will not seek a full term this year, leaving this the only office on the statewide ballot without an incumbent.

Bradford-Grey has the leadership skills, extensive courtroom experience and executive experience of a large government agency to become an effective attorney general for Pennsylvania.

Bradford-Grey is currently a partner at Montgomery McCracken law firm. She concentrates her practice on white-collar and government investigations and criminal defense.

Prior to joining Montgomery McCracken, Bradford-Grey was the chief defender of the Defender Association of Philadelphia, where she led a staff of over 500 and managed an annual budget of over $50 million.

In this role she forged collaborations between city and state elected officials to advance reforms in policing and built community-government partnerships that empowered community members to be part of the justice reform process.

She has served a combined 21 years in public defender roles in state and federal courts. One of her best-known cases was defending Michael White, earning his acquittal for the Rittenhouse Square stabbing of Kyle Schellenger.

While serving in Montgomery County as a chief defender, she helped advance programs that worked to reduce in-school suspensions and increase mentoring opportunities for those in the juvenile justice system as diversionary measures.

In Philadelphia, she worked with City Council to craft the recently passed driving equity laws addressing the over-policing of Black drivers and to form the Police Oversight Commission to improve police-community relations.

“My leadership, my knowledge of people, and the system, really allows me to advance better solutions,” she told The Tribune.

Bradford-Grey’s lone drawback is a lack of prosecutorial experience. This would be a clear detriment if she were running for local district attorney. The state attorney general role, which focuses on protecting consumers and combating scams, requires a different set of qualifications aligned with Bradford-Grey’s skill set and experience as a litigator, legal adviser and executive. Gov. Josh Shapiro did not have prosecutorial experience either and was an effective attorney general.

Bradford-Grey seeks to address gun violence and the sources of guns in the community, pointing to a lack of enforced regulations on gun sales, including background checks and failure to register transfers. She also wants to mandate microstamping of guns, allowing law enforcement to track bullet casings to specific firearms, which should improve arrest and conviction rates.

Bradford-Grey has a commitment to advocating for underserved communities. She is the only woman running out of the five Democratic candidates for attorney general. If elected, she would become Pennsylvania’s first Black attorney general.

Auditor general

The auditor general monitors how public dollars are spent. The office conducts financial audits and monitors state-funded programs.

In the Republican primary for auditor general, we endorse incumbent Tim Defoor, who has done a solid job. He has worked to transform the auditor general’s office in a nonpartisan way, focusing on auditing local pension funds and making sure county offices and district courts handle state money properly. Elected in 2020, DeFoor is the first Black to win a statewide office in Pennsylvania.

Here are endorsements in other races in Tuesday’s primary.

In the Democratic primary for president: Joe Biden

Biden has returned normalcy and dignity to the president’s office. In his tenure, Biden has revived the economy through the American Rescue Plan, funded a successful vaccination plan and helped schools reopen safely, and delivered a bipartisan infrastructure law to rebuild the nation’s roads and bridges, upgrade public transit and provide high-speed internet.

The Biden administration appointed Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman to ever serve on the Supreme Court. He has signed an executive order to hold police accountable, ban chokeholds and restrict no-knock entries by police.

In the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate: Bob Casey

Casey is not flashy but effective. In addition to being a common sense voice in the Senate to protect the rights of African Americans and other racial minorities, women and workers, Casey has passed key legislation. He secured passage of a landmark law to help families of children with disabilities save for their long-term care through tax-advantaged, 529-style saving accounts.

In the Democratic primary for Congress in the Third District: Dwight Evans

Throughout his long public service career as a former state representative and now congressman, he has worked to expand access to economic and educational opportunities.

Evans currently serves on the influential Ways and Means Committee, which oversees Social Security, Medicare, taxes and trade. His priorities include using the tax code to increase affordable housing, repair school buildings and strengthen the social safety net.

In his first term, he secured passage of a bill designed to reduce costs for small business owners who apply for loans through the Small Business Administration. He also supported a criminal justice reform bill that became law, the First Step Act.

The Tribune reports that “Evans brought $16.62 million into the district in the last fiscal year to fund 14 community projects, according to a report from his office. Those projects include affordable housing, more access to nutritious foods, and mental health services. His constituent services team helped residents recover $16.8 million from government entities, including $7.4 million back from the IRS.

“This year, Evans has been influential in securing a $317 million grant for SEPTA to purchase new rail cars for the Market-Frankford Line, a record award for the transit authority, and $185 million for the Chinatown ‘Stitch’ to cover over the Vine Street Expressway through the heart of the neighborhood.”

Evans is an effective congressman who has earned re-election.