Last updated: February 19. 2013 12:55PM - 551 Views

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SIXTEEN DAYS until Pennsylvanians cast their votes for U.S. senator; a state treasurer to collect, invest and protect the commonwealth's financial assets; a new attorney general to be our chief law enforcement officer; and auditor general – the state's fiscal watchdog-in-chief.

Following months of careful consideration, In the Arena is prepared to endorse the following candidates for these important positions.

AUDITOR GENERAL: In the Arena endorses Republican John Maher of Allegheny County.

Maher, 53, is an eight-term member of the state House of Representatives. He also is a certified public accountant and a magna cum laude graduate of Duke University. While at Duke he earned a degree in management sciences/accounting; he also studied at Oxford University in England.

Maher is an intelligent businessman, hardworking member of the House and would become the first CPA elected as the commonwealth's chief auditor and financial watchdog.

His Democratic opponent is three-term House member Eugene DePasquale, 41, of York County. DePasquale is a graduate of the College of Wooster, has a master's degree from the University of Pittsburgh and received his law degree from the Widener School of Law.

Recently, however, DePasquale signed a weird and disturbing pledge to govern by opinion poll results. We already have too much government by polls and it infects every level of government. An auditor general must not be swayed by the polls but rather do what's right regardless of prevailing sentiments or political consequences.

When asked about that bizarre pledge, Maher said the only pledge he will make is to provide professional auditing services to the taxpayers of the commonwealth.

John Maher gets it. And he should get your vote for auditor general.

ATTORNEY GENERAL: In the Arena endorses Scranton native and Democratic nominee Kathleen Kane, 45, of Lackawanna County for the office of state attorney general.

Kane is a graduate of the University of Scranton and Temple University School of Law. Her Republican opponent is Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed, 42, of Camp Hill. Freed is a graduate of Washington & Lee University and the Dickinson School of Law.

Kathleen Kane has prosecuted thousands of cases during her 13 years as assistant district attorney for Lackawanna County. Qualified and experienced, Kane possesses the independence and integrity indispensable to this office. If successful, Kane will become the first woman elected attorney general.

Pennsylvania voters should make it so.

TREASURER: Businessman and incumbent Democratic state Treasurer Rob McCord earns an ardent In the Arena endorsement. A graduate of Harvard University, McCord received his MBA from the Wharton School of Business and has been a wise steward of the public treasury.

Washington County Commissioner Diana Irey Vaughan is McCord's Republican opponent. Irey Vaughan is serving her fifth term as minority commissioner and attended a two-year business school in West Virginia.

This one's not even close. Investing more than $80 billion, McCord, 53, is widely recognized as an outstanding treasurer. Re-elect McCord and sleep well at night.

U.S. SENATE: In the Arena gives its enthusiastic endorsement to incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

A resident of Scranton, Casey, 52, is a graduate of Holy Cross and earned his law degree from Catholic University of America. A strong supporter of Medicare and Social Security, Casey is a member of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee and serves on committees dealing with aging, health, education, labor and agricultural issues, while chairing the Joint Economic Committee.

An impressive freshman senator, Casey is a tough and experienced man of integrity who has earned your support for a second term.

Casey's opponent is multimillionaire, GOP right-wing activist Tom Smith of Armstrong County. Smith, 65, owned more than 50 coal mines in western Pennsylvania and is spending millions to get elected. His extreme plans would be harmful to the people of Pennsylvania.

On Nov. 6, send Bob Casey back to the Senate for US.

Kevin Blaum's column on government, life and politics appears every Sunday. Contact him at kblaum@timesleader.com.

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