Last month, Larry Krasner won the Democratic primary in the race for Philadelphia’s district attorney position. Krasner, a civil rights attorney, has been a vocal supporter of progressive values and reform.
His stances on issues like mass incarceration and immigration resist those taken by President Donald Trump and his administration at the national level. And Krasner, who is running against Republican candidate Beth Grossman, has emphasized his opposition to the policies of the Trump administration.
“If local district attorneys simply stand up and say, ‘You go ahead, we’re not going to be a part of your plan…’ he will have great difficulty carrying out almost all of what he’s trying to do,” Krasner said of Trump, according to an article from The Intercept.
Krasner’s commitment to progressivism is essential to creating positive change in Philadelphia, despite the state of national politics in the wake of the Trump administration. All eligible voters should pay attention to the DA race and vote in the fall general election. But my fellow progressives especially need to participate if we want Philadelphia to remain a liberal beacon, especially on issues related to human rights.
Immigration is one issue Krasner said he plans to focus on given that Philadelphia is a sanctuary city. One goal of sanctuary cities is to decrease the fear of deportation among undocumented immigrants, so they don’t fear local authorities and will report crimes to the police. Krasner said he plans to protect the Fourth Amendment rights that guard people from unlawful searches and seizures. He also said he’ll oppose the renewal of databases that would identify undocumented immigrants as “deportable.”
It is important that undocumented immigrants aren’t taken advantage of given their vulnerability. It is also important that our city is seen as a welcoming place for all people.
Mayor Jim Kenney has also offered support for Philadelphia’s sanctuary city title, even as Trump has threatened halting federal funds to such cities. With two offices working together to protect immigrants, our city would be able to resist problematic immigration policies proposed by Trump, like the travel bans that have been proposed to limit travel to the United States from specific Muslim-majority countries.
If elected, Krasner also hopes to reduce prison sentences, especially for low-level drug offenses, which is important so our judicial system can focus on more serious crimes.
With fewer people in prison, we would be able to offer those looking for rehabilitation opportunities for education or work experiences, and we would be able to keep families together.
Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions is looking to reignite the drug war with prosecution of low-level drug offenses and mandatory minimum sentences. If Krasner were elected district attorney, he could offer an alternative approach and influence other states to resist the renewal of the war on drugs.
Krasner plans to reduce punishment for low-level drug offenses, like the possession or distribution of marijuana. He also wants to help those suffering with drug addictions by treating addiction as a mental illness and offering rehabilitation, rather than sending them to jail. This plan would benefit the individuals while allowing more serious criminal cases to be tried in Philadelphia.
Krasner as a progressive candidate offers the idea that we as a city are fighting back and working to fight against the policies set forth by the current administration.
We need strong, progressive state and local leaders who are ready to fight back against Trump’s policies, especially those that threaten human rights. Krasner, I believe, is one of those leaders.
It is critical that we actively participate in local governments during the fight to resist the current administration. The candidates we elect for local positions can better represent what our city stands for and make our values known to national leaders.
Monica Mellon is a senior strategic communications major. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.