Three Democratic row officers, including Pa. attorney general, sworn in


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HARRISBURG -- Kathleen Kane, Pennsylvania's first woman and Democrat to be elected attorney general, is now officially on the job, after a standing-room-only crowd watched her take her oath of office Tuesday.

Ms. Kane told the state Capitol rotunda crowd that she's ready to take on public corruption, scam artists and violent criminals.

"To those who commit such heinous and violent acts, especially against those least able to protect themselves, my message to you is: We are coming," Ms. Kane said, as her husband and two sons stood nearby.

"You will see the Office of Attorney General take a leadership role on the front lines," the former Lackawanna County assistant district attorney continued. "We will be aggressive, efficient and mission-focused."

Seated in the front row were Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, a fellow Scranton native, and Gov. Tom Corbett -- Ms. Kane's predecessor as attorney general and a target of many of her criticisms during the campaign.

As she concluded her remarks, her younger son, Zach, began to slump in what looked to be a fainting spell. Her husband came over to take off the 10-year-old's jacket and loosen his tie.

Ms. Kane then crouched to tend to the boy, and Mr. Corbett offered a bottle of water and a handkerchief. He stopped Ms. Kane as the event wrapped up, whispering a few words to her as the crowd dispersed.

"The governor told me to let Zach know that he fainted on the altar of his sister's wedding when he was 16," Ms. Kane said later, adding that Zach was doing OK. "I said to him, well, then the handkerchief you provided me was from one fainter to another. ... That was very nice of him."

Ms. Kane, 46, was among three Democrats sworn in Tuesday after they swept the state row offices in the November election. Treasurer Rob McCord is beginning his second and final term, and taking over as auditor general is former state Rep. Eugene DePasquale of York.

She entered the attorney general's race as a relative unknown, but armed with significant personal sums to invest in her campaign and a sharp critique for how the office investigated former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, she won the primary and defeated Republican David Freed in November.

"Today was about ceremony and pageantry, and tomorrow it's all about substance for the next four years," she said afterward. "It's about what we can do to make our streets safer, it's about what we can do to eradicate public corruption and everything that we talked about during the campaign, it starts tomorrow."

Her review of how the office under Mr. Corbett handled the Sandusky matter will begin shortly, she said.

Another controversial item will soon be hitting her desk in the form of the pending contract with Camelot Global Services PA LLC, which is expected to take over management of the state lottery.

As attorney general, Ms. Kane must approve that contract, although she has limited authority to reject such a document.

Mr. DePasquale and Mr. McCord took their oaths of office before packed crowds in buildings near the Capitol.

Mr. DePasquale pledged his work will not stop when he uncovers trouble.

"Anybody can throw stones, and anybody can tear down a house," he said. "If we find problems, in my view, it does absolutely no good if you also don't offer concrete, realistic solutions to try to fix the problem, and that is something we're going to do as well."

He pledged to train his focus on his own agency, as well as others, to ensure his office is running efficiently. One of his first official duties would be the start of a performance audit of how the Department of Environmental Protection safeguards water.

Mr. McCord, who has been mentioned as a potential Democratic gubernatorial candidate next year, spoke about the office's accomplishments from his first term before making a transition to what sounded like a campaign speech about the possibilities of government.

"We can do far better, and the time is coming when we need to replace a pinched pessimism with optimistic innovation," he said, as applause from the Democrats crowding the room drowned him out. "Thank you, thank you, thank you. Now, let's go get 'em."

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Harrisburg bureau chief Laura Olson: lolson@post-gazette.com or 717-787-4254. Karen Langley: klangley@post-gazette.com or 717-787-2141.


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