Pennsylvania state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, the recently endorsed Democraticcandidate for auditor general in the state, is set in his vision and goals for the office. As the first openly gay Black man endorsed by a political party for a statewide office in Pennsylvania, Kenyatta’s candidacy has made state history.
During the interview, Kenyatta emphasized the role of the auditor general.
“The auditor general’s office, I think, can best be explained as really being the public advocate for the state,” he said. According to the state’s website, the auditor general leads an office that “is responsible for using audits to ensure that all state money is spent legally and properly.”
Kenyatta said the office is that of a problem solver. If he elected, he said that he has plans to bring back school audits and create a bureau of labor and worker protections. Kenyatta sees his role as pivotal in representing and advocating for underrepresented communities,
“It’s time that Pennsylvania’s watchdog be an underdog,” he said.
Focusing on current issues, Kenyatta criticized the proliferation of book bans and inadequate mental health support for youth, especially in the context of LGBTQ+ rights. He highlighted the Central Bucks School District’s controversial actions by the former school board, including a $700,000 severance payment to its superintendent, as an example of potential misuse of public funds.
In that district, after the conservative anti-government extremist group Moms for Liberty-endorsed candidates were crushed nationwide during November’s elections, the outgoing board voted to pay its exiting superintendent the astonishing severance.
“This is not just about recouping the dollars in this one school district, though,” Kenyatta said, explaining the need for broader systemic change.
Kenyatta’s personal experiences as a gay Black politician, which include facing death threats and security concerns, have profoundly shaped his approach to public service. “I am not going to be intimidated from fighting for my neighbors, my community,” he said.
Reflecting on his historic endorsement by the Democratic Party of Pennsylvania, Kenyatta noted the importance of his candidacy for future diverse candidates. “I recognize that I am [making history], and I don’t want to lose sight of that,” Kenyatta said.
He said that he believes this endorsement shows that consistent advocacy for working people and families pays off.
As the interview concluded, Kenyatta passionately articulated his belief in the power of diverse representation in government, asserting the importance of his candidacy not just for Pennsylvania but for the broader national political landscape.
“Every single time one of us runs, every single time we put a chip in that ceiling, it makes it easier for the next person to run,” he said.