The Lead

Rendell fundraiser, Casey campaign manager among leaders of Shapiro’s inaugural committee

By: - November 30, 2022 3:56 pm

Gov.-elect Josh Shapiro, Lt. Gov.-elect Austin Davis, and Gov. Tom Wolf speak during a press conference at the Capitol on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022 (Capital-Star photo).

A prominent Democratic fundraiser, a former campaign manager for U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, and a Philadelphia securities lawyer are among the co-chairs of Gov.-elect Josh Shapiro’s inaugural committee.

The group will lead the planning and fundraising efforts for the inauguration of Shapiro and Lt. Gov.-elect Austin Davis on Jan. 17. 

“This inauguration will be a fun, interactive series of events that represent our entire commonwealth, focus on service to others, and continue bringing people into the Shapiro-Davis Administration,” Shapiro’s campaign said in a statement.

Incoming First Lady Lori Shapiro and incoming Second Lady Blayre Holmes-Davis will serve as honorary co-chairs. 

Amanda Warren, the finance director for Shapiro’s campaign committee, Shapiro for Pennsylvania, will serve as the inauguration’s executive director.

Notably, the committee includes two students who are leaders of high school and college student organizations that supported Shapiro. 

The committee will have six co-chair positions:

  • Darren Check is a partner at the Philadelphia financial law firm Kessler Topaz Metzler Check and was a significant supporter of Shapiro, with more than $85,000 in contributions to his campaign, according to campaign finance reports.
  • William Dunbar is founder of Dunbar Public Affairs & Associates in Philadelphia and is also a trustee of Lincoln University.
  • Vanessa DeSalvo Getz is president of SALVO Strategies in Pittsburgh and worked for Casey’s, D-Pa., campaigns for state auditor general, treasurer and governor and was Casey’s western Pennsylvania campaign manager when he was elected to the Senate in 2007.
  • Kenneth Jarin, a partner at the Philadelphia law firm Ballard Spahr, was a backer and fundraiser for former Gov. Ed Rendell.
  • Michelle Kessler is the director of the northeast and central divisions of the United Food and Commercial Workers union Local 1776.
  • Shapiro’s campaign said the committee reflects the diverse, statewide coalition of support for Shapiro and Davis and will work to ensure the inauguration reflects all Pennsylvania’s attributes.

This is the full list of inauguration committee members:

  • Philip Ameris, president of the Laborers’ District Council of Western Pennsylvania 
  • Carolina DiGiorgio, CEO of Congreso
  • Varsovia Fernandez, CEO of PA CDFI Network
  • Jeff Freedman, co-creator of QBurgh 
  • Dr. Katherine Himes, associate professor of medicine, University of Pittsburgh and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
  • Shamsul Huda, trustee to the board at Bucks County Community College and board president of the International Festival Foundation
  • Betsy Bechtolt Magley, principal of Bcauses, LLC
  • Taneise Marshall, self-employed small business owner
  • Mollie McCurdy, retired lawyer
  • Ruby Mundok, Students for Shapiro chapter lead and Millersville University student
  • Evan Myers, senior vice president of Accuweather
  • Genesis Ortega, communications manager for the city of Allentown
  • Dennis Pagliotti, president and business manager of Bricklayers Local 1
  • Alison Perelman, executive director of Philadelphia 3.0
  • Todd Reidbord, principal at Walnut Capital
  • Izzy Saler, director of High School Students for Shapiro and student at Lower Merion High School
  • Marla Tobe Werner, co-founder and CEO of Givver
  • Jill Zipin, chairwoman of Democratic Jewish Outreach PA

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Peter Hall
Peter Hall

Peter Hall has been a journalist in Pennsylvania and New Jersey for more than 20 years, most recently covering criminal justice and legal affairs for The Morning Call in Allentown. His career at local newspapers and legal business publications has taken him from school board meetings to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and many points of interest between. He earned a degree in journalism from Susquehanna University.