DA candidates field questions at Venango Republican forum

Submitted Fri, 04/05/2013 - 9:51am by Andy Alm

OIL CITY – Drugs and street crime took the spotlight at a public forum in Oil City last night featuring the Republican candidates for District Attorney of Venango County.

The three candidates responded to questions including how to deal with repeat offenders, thoughts on the second amendment, and questions aimed at various reforms within the Venango County court system.

Shawn White says much of the crime in Venango County can be traced to drugs and alcohol.

“The major crime right now, as I tried to allude to, is substance abuse.  I think if you take a look at the statistics, you’ll see about 80 to 85% of all crimes coming through have some kind of substance abuse with it, whether it be alcohol or drugs.”

Beyond the public safety aspect, Mike Hadley says cleaning up the streets would have a broader economic impact.

“If we don’t have safe streets, the economy can’t grow, no businesses are going to come here, and no one is going to move here.  In fact, it’s going to be the opposite.  People are going to move out.”

Unlike White and Hadley, candidate Brenda Servidio has never in her career served as a defense lawyer.  It’s a distinction Servidio, a current assistant in the Venango County DA Office, played up as a strength at last night’s forum.

“My mindset is that of a prosecutor.  Defense lawyers have a different mindset.  They look to protect their client, whereas I look at how are we going to protect and make safe the community as well as how we are going to secure restitution for the victims.”

James Carbone is running for DA on the Democrat ticket.

Also appearing last night was coroner candidate Christina Rugh, who is running for the Republican nomination unopposed.  Her opponent Adam Guthrie dropped out of the race yesterday, citing family and business concerns.

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