What Fresh Hell Is This?

May 9, 2015

Meet The Candidate - Hugh McGough

A few weeks ago I stumbled across this campaign ad:

It's caused something of a buzz statewide - take a look at this from PoliticsPA:
Judge Hugh McGough, who has already received the endorsements of Allegheny Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, released a video today in which Mayor Peduto actually raises his voice for McGough.

The ad, which draws similarities to a Chevy Chase SNL skit from the 1970s, features Peduto repeating McGough’s talking points by shouting into the camera with his hands cupped around his mouth.

McGough tells viewers that, “…it’s hard to get voters’ attention when you are running for judge. Mayor Peduto is helping me out.”
Let's flesh out some of those talking points.

On the "highest possible rating from the Bar Association."  The Judicial Excellence Committee of the Allegheny County Bar Association, rated McGough as "Highly Recommended" and they define "Highly Recommended" this way:
The candidate:

a. Exhibits pre-eminence in the law by way of outstanding legal ability and a wide range of experience, either in a specialized field of law or a more varied practice, and has a reputation in the legal community as standing at the top of his or her profession.
b. Possesses a reputation for the utmost integrity and temperament to excel as a judge of the court for which he or she is a candidate.
c. Exhibits outstanding citizenship by way of community and professional contributions
d. Is an exceptional individual who will enhance or has enhanced the competence, dignity and public perception of the bench.
On being named a "Legal Champion."  At a program titled "The Pathway to a More Inclusive Bench" and sponsored by the Pennsylvania Interbranch Commission for Gender, Racial and Ethnic Fairness, ACBA Diversity Collaborative Committee, in conjunction with the Women in Law Division, the Homer S. Brown Division, and Young Lawyers Division, and the diverse affinity committees, McGough (and three other judges") were named "Legal Champions" for
...their work in paving the way to a more inclusive bench through their advocacy on behalf of and mentoring of historically underrepresented attorneys.
On being named an asset for families.  This comes from McGough's endorsement from the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers:
“As a teacher at Allderdice High School, I have seen the positive effects Magisterial District Judge Hugh McGough has had on our students. He takes the time to understand what is really going on with the student and his or her home life and makes decisions accordingly. Hugh McGough holds children accountable for their actions, but gives them the opportunity to learn and grow from their mistakes,” said PFT 400 Political Action Committee Vice Chair Saul Straussman. “Hugh McGough will be a real asset to our children and families on the Court of Common Pleas.”
I had the good fortune to sit down with the candidate a few days ago.  (For the sake of full disclosure, I went to grad school two decades ago with Hugh's husband, Kris.)  And in conversation, McGough comes across as a thoroughly knowledgeable and compassionate Judge who's interested in justice and fairness, taking the time to describe the job he does (District Magistrate), the job for which he's campaigning, and how the experience from the first would help him with the second.

We spent a good deal of our conversation discussing his time dealing with truancy cases and how that's given him experience with families in crisis.  In this setting, he said, "truancy" does not mean "kids playing hookie to go fishing."  It's a sign of something gone wrong far deeper, problems intermixed with some large scale social problems, for example poverty.  What does it mean for a family living in poverty if, at the end of the process, the full punishment for truancy is a $300 fine?

That's not a simple question so its answer isn't simple either.

The ad should be running now in the local Pittsburgh market. [Peduto (with his hands cupped around his mouth): THE AD SHOULD BE RUNNING NOW IN THE PITTSBURGH MARKET!!]

1 comment:

EdHeath said...

Good ad. Subtly referencing a boomer favorite doesn't hurt anything either.