Kelley Hodge selected interim Philadelphia District Attorney

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Kelley Hodge selected interim Philadelphia DA. Dann Cuellar reports during Action News at 11 p.m. on July 20, 2017. (WPVI)

In a historic vote Thursday, among 83 judges, Kelley Hodge was named the first African American woman to head the office of the Philadelphia District Attorney.

She is a former Assistant District Attorney in the office and, in her first television interview, she tells Action News that she could never imagine that one day she would return as district attorney, even on an interim basis.

"I'm really, really humbled and honored. It's really something that I couldn't really imagine or conceive of," Hodge said.

Hodge was elected by the Board of Judges of the Court of Common Pleas in the 1st Judicial District to fill the remaining term of disgraced D.A. Seth Williams.

She spoke about her top priority as interim D.A.

"To restore integrity to the office, to restore faith of the community in the office and then looking to the transition that will take place the next few months," Hodge said.

Hodge started in 1997 as a public defender in Richmond, Virginia. She became an asstistiant district attorney in Philadelphia under Lynne Abraham in 2004. She was appointed as Philadelphia Safe Schools Advocate in 2011 by then Governor Tom Corbett. Currently, she is in private practice with the Elliott Greenleaf law firm in Blue Bell.

"I wanted to do this because I believe in the office and I enjoyed the time there. I'm happy to go back and do this for the time frame that I have and hopefully I'll do it very well cause that's my intention," Hodge said.

The election process was overseen by President Judge Sheila Woods-Skipper and Judge Frederica Massiah-Jackson.

By tradition, the 83 judges who voted, placed their ballots in a battered old top hat.

After three rounds, Hodge won with 83 votes to complete the second term of Seth Williams, who resigned last month in a federal corruption case and is awaiting sentencing.

"We want to make sure that the leadership at the top is sending a clear message that we are running the office that has integrity, that has a mission and goal that it will be fair and treat everyone decently," Woods-Skipper said.

"And after the votes were tallied, this is the result and a very positive result," Massiah-Jackson said.

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Kelley Hodge selected interim Philadelphia DA. Monica Malpass reports during Acton News at 6 p.m. on July 20, 2017.

Hodge says she does know yet when she starts.

"I have to talk to the president judge in order to set up the swearing in as to when that will take place," Hodge said.

Though not official, it is likely to take place within the next few days.

"The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office congratulates Interim District Attorney Hodge on her appointment. We are excited to welcome her back to the Office, and we look forward to working with her throughout her term in office," the District Attorney's Office said in a statement.
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