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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, October 29, 2015

LV Dems Rally For Supreme Court Candidate Kevin Dougherty

Local Dem officials backing Judge Kevin Dougherty
Philadelphia Judge Kevin Dougherty is a candidate for the Pa. Supreme Court. Elected in 2001, I had heard he is a reformer who has revamped Philadelphia's challenging Family Courts, making that county a model for the rest of the state. I also liked his emphasis on problem solving courts like a veterans' court.

I met him speak before the primary and became an instant fan. I love his explanation of his role as a judge. He views it as "serving the most at-risk and marginalized, the poor and working poor. The average day individual who walks our streets and roads in the desire and hope that they may be safe, in and outside of their home. Each day, every day, we see the worst that life can offer our families and children. Each day, every day, we have a vision, and we implement that vision so that we have a period or a series of accomplishments and successes which advance the health and welfare of our families."

When invited to a rally for him early last night at his Westgate Mall campaign HQs, I attended.

Though he obviously has an Irish name, I was unaware until today that he is first generation Irish. Don't tell Morganelli, but both his parents came here from the old sod. He grew up on the streets of South Philly.in what he called the Irish ghetto, though it's really a blue collar neighborhood.

Being Irish makes one the Universal Minority. We are the Jews of the Irish Sea, the blacks of the British Isles, the Mexican gardeners of English country estates. In short, we know what it is like to be treated like shit, although most of us start putting on our own airs pretty quickly.  

Dougherty is the first member of his family to get a college and then a law degree, but his real education was on the streets. That helped him as a prosecutor under Lynn Abraham, and even more when he became a judge dealing with juveniles.

Like judicial candidate Sam Murray, Dougherty also spent a few years as a Master in juvenile court.

He was particularly tough on kids who went on rampages with Flash Mobs, where they might meet in an area of Chinatown or on Washington Street's Vietnamese area and terrorize minority businesses. For every lie a juvenile told him, he would go away a year.

He also got a handle on truancy by forcing parents to attend lectures on parental responsibility. ... Or they could go to jail.

Some have criticized Dougherty because he is from Philly. "I had no choice in where I was born," he joked. "That was a decision made by my parents."

Others, mostly anti-union types, are critical because Dougherty's brother, known as Johnny Doc, is a prominent labor leader who heads up IBEW Local  98. Close to 40 trade union members were at Dougherty's rally yesterday. He considers their support a badge of honor.

Numerous local officials and labor leaders were with Jodge Dougherty, including NorCo DA John Morganelli, State Senator Lisa Boscola and State Rep Dan McNeill.

"He really wants to make a difference in people's lives," said Boscola. Morganelli added that Dougherty is very tough on violent crime, but willing to give deserving people a second chance. Danny McNeill called Dougherty the "best candidate I ever say in my whole life," and then embraced him in a gigantic bear hug

Dougherty's funeral services are on Wednesday.

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