On the Issues: Who Will be Philadelphia's Next District Attorney?


One Step Away is Philadelphia’s first newspaper produced by those without homes for those with homes, with a mission to create jobs and advocate for social change.

A team of One Step Away vendors had the opportunity to sit down with both candidates running for the office ofDistrict Attorney (D.A.) of Philadelphia. In this spring's primary, progressive civil rights and criminal defense attorney, Larry Krasner, won in a hotly contested race for the Democratic nomination, in which he united a diverse coalition of organizations and helped mobilize a historically high voter turnout. Beth Grossman — who served as an Assistant District Attorney for over 20 years under Lynne Abraham and Seth Williams, and has managed the Dangerous Drug Offender Unit and the Public Nuisance Task Force — ran uncontested in the Republican primary.

Philadelphia's next Chief Prosecutor will inherit a crowded prison system, an opioid crisis growing in severity, and an office seeking to regain public trust after former District Attorney Seth Williams was outed on corruption charges.  One Step Away vendors Eric, Tammy, Randall, and Jeff created a list of questions on some of the issues that matter most to us.

What made you decide to run, and what's the first positive change you would make?

Larry Krasner: I decided to run because I looked at the candidates and I did not see hope for real change. I have been in the system — meaning in court four to five days a week, visiting people in jails for thirty years, dealing with people who have every sort of difficulty in life, including mental illness, addition, [and] homelessness; and I feel like real change is absolutely necessary.

So, what would be the first thing I'd do? I would recruit the right people to be prosecutors and fill any openings that may exist. In terms of my policies, I'm very adamant about stopping the pursuit of the death penalty, about ending mass incarceration, about changing civil asset forfeiture so they stop taking grandma's house for what grandkid did or did not do. I'm also adamant about ending cash bail and having a different bail system because I believe cash bail essentially becomes prison for poor people. And then changing a lot of procedures that have resulted in innocent people ending up in jail and guilty people going free.

Selected answers on generocity.org

Read the rest of the cover story by finding a street vendor in a yellow vest, or by visiting Arch Street United Methodist Church, 55 N Broad St, 10am – 1pm Mon, Wed or Fri.