The Times Herald (Norristown, PA)

‘We’re going to chart our own course’

Gov-elect Shapiro opens transition, to stay AG until January

- By Marc Levy and Brooke Schultz

HARRISBURG >> Pennsylvan­ia Gov.elect Josh Shapiro gave his first Capitol news conference last week as he begins the transition to his new job, pledging to work constructi­vely with lawmakers and saying he will remain as attorney general until he is sworn in as governor in January.

For now, Shapiro, a Democrat, is navigating the massive task of sorting through what is likely to be thousands of applicatio­ns to fill top posts in his administra­tion as he gets his arms around the government of the nation’s fifth-most populous state.

Appearing alongside Lt. Gov.elect Austin Davis, as well as outgoing Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, the 49-year-old governor-elect said he is confident of a smooth transition.

Shapiro, the state’s two-term attorney general, scored a massive 14 percentage point win over Republican rival Doug Mastriano in last week’s midterm election and became the first candidate since 1966 to succeed a governor of the same party in Pennsylva


Shapiro’s campaign policy director, finance director and press secretary will take on key roles in the transition team and inaugural committee.

Otherwise Shapiro gave few details about the transition, such as who will lead the transition committees or the dozens of people who will participat­e in them, as well as how the inaugural festivitie­s will be financed. He promised more announceme­nts in the coming days.

Although promising a smooth Democrat-toDemocrat transition, Shapiro has split with Wolf on several important policies — including Wolf’s top climate-change priority, which is to make Pennsylvan­ia the first major

fossil fuel state to impose carbon-pricing — and emphasized that there will be difference­s between his administra­tion and Wolf’s.

“Obviously, we’re going to leave our own mark, and we’re going to chart our own course and I know that’s what Gov. Wolf would want us to do,” Shapiro said.

Shapiro and Davis will be sworn in Jan. 17.

Shapiro said he will continue serving as attorney general until he is sworn in. After that, he said, he will nominate a successor to the Senate for confirmati­on to fill the remainder of his fouryear term lasting through 2024. He said he will announce a nominee in the coming weeks.

Shapiro will take office with the state in a stable financial position, thanks to strong tax collection­s and billions in federal pandemic aid in a government

that doles out more than $100 billion a year in state and federal money.

However, it also has challengin­g long-term fiscal issues, such as a relatively slow-growing economy, a ballooning retirement-age population and a shrinking working-age population.

Republican­s will return in January with a 28-22 majority in the Senate. Control of the state House of Representa­tives went to the Democrats after incumbent Todd Stephens fell short to Democrat Me- lissa Cerrato.

Shapiro said that he and Davis — who will preside over the state Senate as part of the lieutenant governor’s duties — have spoken with Sen. Kim Ward, R-Westmorela­nd, who is on track to become the Senate’s top-ranking member, the president pro tempore.

Shapiro has emphasized

that his victory was helped by Republican­s and independen­ts, and that he must work with lawmakers with bipartisan­ship in mind.

“I’m convinced we’ll find common ground,” Shapiro said. “I’ve got a history of bringing Republican­s and Democrats together to get things done and that mandate I have is not just an electoral mandate, but what I hear clearly from voters is they want us to get things done in this building.”

Follow Marc Levy on Twitter: timelywrit­er. Brooke Schultz is a corps member for the Associated Press/ Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalist­s in local newsrooms to report on undercover­ed issues.

 ?? THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? Democratic Gov.elect Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvan­ia speaks during his first
Capitol news conference after the election, Nov. 16, 2022, in Harrisburg, Pa.
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Democratic Gov.elect Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvan­ia speaks during his first Capitol news conference after the election, Nov. 16, 2022, in Harrisburg, Pa.

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