Two new faces joined the ranks of elected citywide officials on Jan. 2: Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner and City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart.
The two shocked political observers when they pulled off a surprising upset in the May primary, both defeating establishment candidates on reform platforms that were seen as being buoyed in part by an anti-Trump backlash.
Krasner, a lifelong defense attorney who has never previously served as a prosecutor, laid out a grand vision for the future of Philadelphia in his inaugural address.
“Today, we start the long road toward trading jail and trading death row for schools,” Krasner said. “A movement was sworn in today. … On behalf of that movement and as nothing more than a technician for that movement, I thank you.”
Krasner, Philly’s 26th DA, takes over an office with a staff of 600 and a budget of some $40 million. It was previously run by interim DA Kelley B. Hodges, who stepped in to replace former DA Seth Williams after he resigned in August and pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges.
Krasner has issued a long list of promises about criminal justice reform, from changing how sentences are sought to whether or not evidence found in a stop-and-frisk can be used for a criminal case, but the reality of his promises remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, Rhynhart, Philly’s first female controller, promised a new era of transparency at the office of the city’s financial watchdog. Rhynhart also vowed to examine the Philadelphia Parking Authority as one of her early tasks in office.