Pat Murphy Returns To S. Philly Roots

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BY MARIA MERLINO/ I’m sipping a cup of tea at the Penrose Diner when in strides Patrick Murphy, Democratic candidate for Attorney General of Pennsylvania.

Usually when I interview political types, they are surrounded by an entourage, but not Murphy; he’s brave enough to face me alone. Tall, handsome, clean-cut, with blue eyes that can go from twinkling to piercing, and a smile that would make any dentist proud, Murphy looks like the type of guy you would want on your team. His roots in this area go deep, very deep.

PATRICK MURPHY with S. Phila. Athletic Hall of Famer Ken Adams. “Pennsylvania treats Philadelphia like a stepchild, when in actuality it is the engine that runs the state.”

“I’m a Rapone from my mother’s side, Margie Rapone from 15th & Shunk Streets,” Murphy explained.  “Her mother, my grandmother, was Katherine Logan from 19th & Ritner. She married Joseph Rapone. Margie married my dad, Jack Murphy. He served in the Army and then became a police officer in the 4th District . He retired after 22 years. My uncle was Inspector Joe Rapone from the South Division from 1974 to 1983. My cousin Pepe Rapone is from 2nd & Mifflin and is a Philadelphia Highway Patrolman. Another cousin, Lisa Wilson, a Rapone, is with the Christopher Columbus Charter School. My uncle, Billy Rapone, was with the 11th Airborne and served in Viet Nam. I joined the 82nd Airborne due to his influence.”

As a teenager, Murphy made pocket money by working with the Eagles and the Phillies. “I was a security guard in the 700 level during football season. Now you can just imagine a 120-lb. kid trying to keep control,” he laughs. “But it was the best training for me to become a paratrooper and parachute into enemy territory to prosecute terrorists in Iraq!” During his summer years, he was also part of the crew to keep a huge inflatable Phillies Phanatic from collapsing.

If elected as the chief law-enforcement officer, Murphy will partner with local officials to keep South Philadelphia safe. “For 30 years the Attorney General’s office has been under Republican control and out of touch with this area,” he begins. “We know the challenges South Philly faces. We must get illegal guns off the street. I’ve been partnering with Councilman Kenyatta Johnson and District Attorney Seth Williams.”

Another plank is education. “We have to be aggressive in the causes of crime. Gov. Corbett cut $1.2 billion in the education budget. 70% of inmates don’t have a high-school diploma because they were truant. We have to be proactive on getting these students to school every day, otherwise it’s a pipeline from school to prison.”

Murphy is also concerned about white-collar crime. “We have to fight crime wherever it happens and not look the other way. Fraud, waste and abuse in the private sector mean our tax dollars are being scammed from us. We would have more dollars to give to Medicaid recipients.”

As for his opponent, Kathleen Kane, Murphy has this to say: “The fact she was a major financial contributor to Tom Corbett and she’s getting funded with $2.4 million from one anti-union trucking company that publicly stated unions are a thing of the past, shows her disdain for the living wage. I’m a guy who went from a community college to a professor of at West Point, teaching our next military leaders constitutional law — that gives every American the right to assemble in the workplace. My father is 65 years old and works a full-time job in security and two part-time jobs. He makes $9.50 an hour. My opponent has attacked me for getting support from labor, calling it ‘special interest’. She’s talking about people I grew up with, people like my father who only want a fair wage for his work.”

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