By Melissa Daniels | PA Independent
HARRISBURG — On her first day in office, Kathleen Kane passed down some advice to future female trailblazers.
“Mothers in the commonwealth can rightly promise their daughters, and grandmothers can rightly promise their granddaughters, that anything is possible,” said Attorney General Kathleen Granahan Kane. “Go and find your dreams. It will be there. It is achievable.”
As the first female, and the first Democrat, elected as attorney general of Pennsylvania, Kane has a thought or two to share about achievement.
The former Lackawanna County prosecutor was sworn in to the office Tuesday at a ceremony in the Pennsylvania State Capitol, marking the start of a much-hyped –and history-making – term.
Kane, who donned an off-white skirt and jacket for the occasion, spoke to a crowd of around 500 onlookers, comprising family, friends, and fellow government officials.
Gov. Tom Corbett was seated front and center.
In introducing Kane, former attorney general candidate and Philadelphia attorney Dan McCaffery told the audience how Kane was a veritable unknown at the start of her campaign. But she ended up triumphing over Republican David Freed by receiving more than 3.1 million votes, garnering more than any other Pennsylvania candidate in 2012.
“She outpolled an incumbent president of the United States by the name of Barack Obama,” McCaffery said, igniting cheers, whistles and applause. Sitting in the front row, on Corbett’s right, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey applauded, nodded, and smiled.
“I think that sends a message to the boys in Harrisburg,” McCaffery followed up.
Now that she’s broken the mold, all eyes will turn to how Kane handles her biggest campaign promise: that she would investigate how Corbett, as attorney general, handled the Jerry Sandusky investigation. She said earlier this month she plans on appointed a special investigator to do the job.
But the spotlit ceremony of an inauguration is not the place for such controversial specifics.
During her first address, Kane spoke about ridding the streets of gangs, guns and drugs. She talked about protecting vulnerable Pennsylvanians, like children and the elderly, from those who seek to harm them. And she talked about collaboration, saying that government only sees progress when people of all backgrounds participate.
“With every election as with every new day, we have the opportunity for progress. It’s time for progress to prevail,” she said.
Towards the end of the ceremony, while the crowd listened to a rendition of “God Bless the U.S.A.,” Kane’s young son Zack appeared to collapse out of lightheadedness. Nearby adults seated him at the bottom of the rotunda staircase, causing a ripple of worry throughout the crowd.
Kane rushed to her son’s side, crouching next to him the ground.
Gov. Corbett stepped forward to lend a hand and offered a water bottle. Kane patted Zack’s neck with damp tissues, and loosened his shirt collar. Dozens of Pennsylvania’s most powerful politicians looked on.
Later it was reported that Zack had not been feeling well, but recovered.
Those in the room knew what they saw: Being a parent, a mother no less, does not yield to any historic moment.
“She’ll be Attorney General for at least the next four years, but it’s clear she’ll be a mother for life,” McCaffery said.
Contact Melissa Daniels at [email protected]