Archive | November 2014

Wolf announces steering committee members

Gov.-elect Tom Wolf announced the 11 members of his steering committee, which will assist his transition team in evaluating state agencies, commissions, departments and functions.

The members are:

  • Neal Bisno, president of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, the state’s largest union of nurses and healthcare workers
  • David Barasch, a former U.S. Attorney in Harrisburg who also served as the lead counsel in cases involving the Three Mile Island nuclear accident
  • Aradhna Oliphant, president and chief executive operator of Leadership Pittsburgh Inc.
  • Mark Nordenberg, former chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Law
  • Phyllis Mundy, 12-term state representative in the 120th Legislative District
  • Robert Brooks, mayor of Murrysville, Westmoreland County and a member of the Franklin & Marshall College Board of Trustees
  • Julie Wollman, president of Edinboro University
  • Shanin Specter, partner at Kline and Specter, P.C. in Philadelphia\
  • Carl G. Cooper, diversity consultant who works with law firms to improve diversity in the workplace
  • Nilda Iris Ruiz, president and chief executive officer of Asociacion Puertorriquenos en Marcha, Inc.
  • Joseph Meade, director of government and external affairs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art



Wolf announces transition team leaders

Gov.-elect Tom Wolf announced a team of leaders who will help him make the transition into the governorship.

Thursday’s announcement came three days after Wolf named former gubernatorial candidate Katie McGinty as his chief of staff.

The leadership on his transition team is as follows:

John A. Fry, transition chair: Fry is the president of Drexel University. He previously served as the president of Franklin & Marshall College and as the executive vice president of the University of Pennsylvania.

C. Kim Bracey, transition vice chair: Bracey is the mayor of York. Elected in 2009, Bracey became the city’s first African-American mayor. She previously was the York’s director of the Department of Community Development.

Jim Brown, transition vice chair: Brown is the chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Robert Casey Jr., D-Pa. He previously served as chief of staff to former Gov. Robert Casey Sr. and as the state secretary of general services. He also was a partner at the law firm Dilworth Paxson and a founding partner of SCP Partners, a venture capital firm.

Cynthia Shapira, transition vice chair: A community activist, Shapira also serves on the board of the Allegheny County Airport Authority and chairs the Pennsylvania Center for Women in Politics at Chatham University. She also is the secretary of the Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and a commissioner of the Pennsylvania Commission on Women.

Denise Smyler, counsel: Smyler is the founding attorney and owner of the Smyler Firm, which joined Wadud Ahmad and Joseph Zaffarese to form Ahmad, Zaffarese & Smyler in September 2013. Smyler is a commercial litigator and public finance attorney who has represented various municipalities, corporations and government entities for more than two decades.

Mary Soderberg, budget deficit and fiscal stabilization task force chair: Soderberg previously served as the budget secretary to former Gov. Ed Rendell. She has served as executive deputy secretary of the budget and chief financial officer of the commonwealth. Soderberg also was the vice chancellor for finance and administration of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education for two years and the executive director of the House Democratic Appropriations Committee for more than a decade.

Josh Shapiro, budget deficit and fiscal stabilization task force vice chair: Shapiro is a the chairman of the Montgomery County Commissioners. He previously represented the 153rd Legislative District for seven years and served as a Congressional staffer in Washington.



Gov.-elect Wolf taps McGinty as Chief of Staff

Governor-elect Tom Wolf named Katie McGinty as his chief of staff, citing her broad experience in the state and federal government.

McGinty, who led the Wolf-affiliated Campaign for a Fresh Start during the gubernatorial campaign, has more than 25 years of public service, including a stint at the White House during former President Bill Clinton’s administration.

“She will be an asset to my administration and to the people of Pennsylvania,” Wolf said in a statement. “In federal and state government, Katie worked with diverse interests to achieve meaningful change change in difficult environments. Her experience will help me work with Republicans and Democrats to move Pennsylvania forward.”

Wolf defeated Republican Gov. Tom Corbett last week, becoming the first challenger to knock out an incumbent governor in Pennsylvania’s modern history. However, Republicans added to their majorities in both the state Senate and House.

McGinty previously served as both Clinton’s deputy assistant and as the chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, where she worked to pass environmental legislation and led initiatives to redevelop brown fields, preserve key ecosystems and improve environmental protection.

Former Gov. Ed Rendell nominated McGinty in 2003 to serve as the secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. She was the first woman to hold the post.

McGinty, who also has experience in the private sector, unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination last spring. She finished fourth of four candidates.

Wolf will be inaugurated Jan. 20, 2015.




Election recap: Wolf, more GOP lawmakers headed to Harrisburg

Pennsylvania voters elected a new governor yesterday, opting to replace the Republican incumbent, Tom Corbett, with Democrat Tom Wolf.

Despite their decision to send Corbett packing, voters also increased the GOP’s majorities in both the state House and state Senate. So don’t expect Wolf to waltz into Harrisburg and quickly push across his agenda.

The Republican majority in the state Senate grew by three votes, giving the GOP a 30-20 edge. That came despite a Democratic push to regain control of the chamber for the time since 1994. That played out prominently in Delaware County, where Republican Tom McGarrigle won the open seat in the 26th District, a $4 million race in which he topped Democrat John Kane by four points.

The GOP majority in the state House — which was never in jeopardy — grew by eight votes. Republicans now hold 119 seats to the Dems’ 84.

Here’s a recap of what happened yesterday among Delaware County’s state lawmakers:

26th Senatorial District
Tom McGarrigle, R, 44,870
John Kane, D, 41,544

159th Legislative District
Michael Ciach, R, 3,793
Thaddeus Kirkland, D, 8,827

160th Legislative District
Stephen Barrar, R, 13,058
Whitney Hoffman, D, 7,850

161st Legislative District
Joe Hackett, R, 12,612
Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D, 9,916

163rd Legislative District
Jamie Santora, R, 11,362
Vince Rongione, D, 9,963

164th Legislative District
Saud Siddiqui, R, 3,011
Margo Davidson, D, 12,164

165th Legislative District
William Adolph, R, 15,293
Charles Hadley, D, 8,382

166th Legislative District
Sarah Armstrong, R, 8,007
Greg Vitali, D, 13,814

Results are unofficial.