The two Democrats vying for the party’s Superior Court nomination met briefly Friday afternoon in a debate organized by the Pa. Federation of Democratic Women. They found more in common than not.
Joe Waters is a municipal judge in Philadelphia. He emphasized his background as a police officer and his working class roots to the audience of about 60 Democrats.
“I bring a different perspective to this,” he said. “It’s a working-class, row house perspective.”
Michael Wojcik is an attorney from Allegheny County. He announced his bid only a few days ago.
Both men expressed support for gay rights and women’s rights.
“I would be personally governed by my personal beliefs, which are that LGBT rights, the rights of all to marry, are basic civil rights,” said Wojcik. “I would be guided by that view that we all should have the same rights regardless of who we are, what color we are, who we love, or what our walk in life is.”
They agreed that Marcellus shale drillers should proceed with caution.
They also took a few shots at Vic Stabile, the Cumberland County attorney who they agreed was the likely Republican candidate.
“Their candidate is probably gonna be Vic Stabile, and he’s a Tea Partier. We can beat him,” Waters said.
(Stabile was the chair of the Cumberland County Republican party and is among the furthest away from the Tea Party wing of the GOP).
“I agree with Mr. Waters that the candidate from the other side will probably be Vic Stabile and we can beat him. But only with the right candidate,” said Wojcik (as Waters grinned and pointed to himself).
Most commonly, the Pa. Superior Court hears appeals from county Courts of Common Pleas.
Waters’ head start was evident. His campaign – including campaign manager Josh Morrow, who ran Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s race in 2012 – worked the room and handed out literature.
Behind the podium, his Philadelphia accent, loud voice and familiar tone carried through the room throughout the 15 minute debate.
“The quickest way in the world to make a man a feminist is to make him the father of a daughter,” he said, asked about equal rights. “They face an uphill battle wherever they go.”
“The Suprior Court of Pennsylvania will be the first line of defense for them. That’s where we get the opportunity to actually make law. The Superior Court handles more cases than the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and that is the first place where we make those decisions.”