LIVE COVERAGE: The inauguration of Gov. Josh Shapiro and Lt. Gov. Austin Davis

Up-to-the-minute coverage from the Capital-Star on the transfer of power in Pa. today

By: - January 17, 2023 9:00 am

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).

All day today, the Capital-Star will bring you the very latest on the inauguration of incoming Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro and Lt. Gov. Austin Davis. Shapiro replaces outgoing Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf who is leaving office after serving the constitutional maximum of two, four-year terms. Davis, the first Black man to hold the state’s second-ranking office, replaces former Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who was elected to the U.S. Senate in last November’s general election.

Stay with us for live coverage from the inaugural festivities at the state Capitol on Tuesday afternoon and from the inaugural celebration in Lancaster County on Tuesday night.

11 months ago

A celebration of Shapiro, Davis and ‘the goodness of Pennsylvania’

By: - 9:46 pm

In front of an electrified crowd at his inaugural celebration Gov. Josh Shapiro said he was humbled and grateful and eager to get to work for the people of Pennsylvania. With Lt. Gov. Austin Davis by his side, Shapiro said the celebration featuring big-name performers with Pennsylvania roots wasn’t just about his and Davis’ electoral victory.

Gov. Josh Shapiro addressed an electrified crowd at his inaugural celebration on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023. (Capital-Star photo by Peter Hall)

Tonight is a night to celebrate Pennsylvania, the goodness of Pennsylvania,” Shapiro said following a performance by Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill. “A place where we believe in opportunity, a place where we believe in real freedom.”

“And, yo Meek, the place where we believe in second chances,” Shapiro added in a shout-out to Mill’s recent pardon by former Gov. Tom Wolf on drug and weapons charges from 2008.

Shapiro and Davis’ inaugural event was held in a massive production studio at Rock Lititz, a Lancaster County performance rehearsal facility. Sweeping lights, open bars and lounge areas gave the space a nightclub atmosphere. 

In addition to Mill, performers included Motown legend Smokey Robinson, Pittsburgh rapper Wiz Khalifa, and Mt. Joy, a Los Angeles-based rock band with roots in Philadelphia.

Singer Smokey Robinson performs at Gov. Josh Shapiro’s inaugural celebration on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023. (Capital-Star photo by Peter Hall)

Robinson, regaling the crowd with stories about his collaboration with singer Stevie Wonder, also said he had spent some time with Shapiro.

“Great choice, you guys,” Robinson said.

Before the evening’s entertainment, supporters, family and friends of Shapiro and Davis mingled and sampled from a smorgasbord of Pennsylvania foods including pierogies, pork and sauerkraut, cheesesteaks and Primanti Brothers sandwiches.

Those in attendance expressed excitement and optimism about what the Shapiro-Davis administration could accomplish in the next four years. 

Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill performs at Gov. Josh Shapiro’s inaugural celebration on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023. (Capital-Star photo by Peter Hall)

“I think the Shapiro-Davis team will do fantastic work for the state,” Lowell Thomas, a Philadelphia attorney, said. 

Thomas added the start of the new administration brought a feeling of rebirth, hope and  optimism.

“It’s corny stuff, but it’s important,” Thomas said. “After the pandemic we need to get out and breathe some fresh air and hopefully do it with some money in the bank.”

Brian Hudson, the former executive director of the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, worked on Shapiro’s transition team as a member of a committee on finance, insurance and housing.

“I call it opportunity,” Hudson said, calling Shapiro a governor attuned to the people. “Delivering services, I think that’s what’s going to happen.

Mike Begley, who worked on Shapiro’s security detail in the attorney general’s office, said he was proud to attend the event with his wife Cindy.

“He can work with everybody,” Begley, of Abbington, Montgomery County, said. “He’s a guy that listens to people and knows how to solve problems.”

 

11 months ago

A star-studded lineup at the inaugural celebration

By: - 8:29 pm

The Shapiro-Davis inaugural celebration has a bunch of big names on the bill: Smokey Robinson, Meek Mill and Wiz Khalifa. They’re following a couple of smaller-name performers from Philly: the 76 Stixers drum line and the Los Angeles-based rock group Mt. Joy.

Last updated: 8:34 pm

11 months ago

Scenes from the Shapiro/Davis Inaugural Ball in Lititz, Pa.

By: - 6:22 pm

Capital-Star Senior Reporter Peter Hall has the details:

 

11 months ago

Pa. politicians, advocates welcome Gov. Josh Shapiro to office

By: - 2:22 pm

This story was updated at 2:43 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023 to include additional reactions. 

As Gov. Josh Shapiro took the oath of office in Harrisburg on Tuesday, various politicians and interest groups sent their best wishes to the newly sworn-in chief executive and his incoming administration. This story will be updated as more reactions become available.

State Rep. Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster:

“I welcome Gov. Shapiro and congratulate him on being sworn-in to office today.

“As a candidate, Gov. Shapiro offered many policy proposals that provided a path to bipartisan accomplishment and real progress for our shared goals. As we look ahead, it is our hope that Gov. Shapiro governs under that same spirit and with a true willingness to find common ground.

“Over the last 12 years, House Republicans have shown we care about Pennsylvania by being the leading voice in limiting the size and scope of government, delivering on fiscal responsibility and championing individual liberty. Regardless of where we may agree or disagree with the new administration, as a caucus, we will remain true to the values and principles that have a proven record of success for improving the lives of Pennsylvanians.”

State Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh:

State Rep. Nick Pisciottano, D-Allegheny:

State Rep. Emily Kinkead, D-Allegheny:

State Sen. Amanda Cappelletti, D-Delaware:

U.S. Rep.  Summer Lee, D-12th District:

U.S. Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa.:

Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey:

Philadelphia House Delegation of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives:

Pennsylvania State Education Association President Rich Askey: 

“Gov. Shapiro and Lt. Gov. Davis take office as strong proponents of public education, Pennsylvania students, and the hardworking educators and support professionals in our schools,” Askey said. “We look forward to working with both of them and the Legislature to ensure our students continue to have the tools they need to succeed.

“Gov. Shapiro has demonstrated his strong commitment to education by nominating Dr. Khalid Mumin to be Pennsylvania’s secretary of education. Dr. Mumin is an extraordinary leader and a committed educator, and we have every confidence that he will hit the ground running, working to ensure that every student in every one of Pennsylvania’s public schools gets the best possible education.

“Throughout the gubernatorial campaign, Gov. Shapiro remained focused on ideas that work in public education. He has promised to reduce the time students spend on standardized tests, keep our schools safe, and expand access to vocational, technical, and computer training.

“Gov. Shapiro also recognizes that too many students are struggling with mental and emotional health issues. He will take steps to ensure that every school building in Pennsylvania has at least one mental health professional so that kids can access help when they need it.

“On behalf of the 177,000 educators and support professionals I represent as PSEA’s president, I want to congratulate Josh Shapiro and Austin Davis and pledge to work with them to make Pennsylvania’s public schools the very best that they can be.”

Last updated: 2:49 pm

11 months ago

Full Text: Gov. Josh Shapiro’s inaugural speech, as prepared for delivery

By: - 1:33 pm

Here is the full text of Gov. Josh Shapiro’s inaugural speech, as prepared for delivery:

I am humbled to stand before you today as Pennsylvania’s 48th Governor. Along the winding road that led to this moment, I’ve been grounded in my faith and family.

And so I begin by saying to my high school sweetheart and Pennsylvania’s First Lady – I love you, babe. Lori and I are blessed with four amazing children – Sophia, Jonah, Max and Reuben. They’ve sacrificed so much so we could serve and I am so grateful to each of them. We will work as hard for your children as we do ours.

I appreciate our history making Chief Justice, Debra Todd, for doing me the honor of administering the oath of office.

May wisdom and the pursuit of justice continue to guide you and your fellow Justices of the Supreme Court, several of whom are with us today.

I’m pleased to be joined by the legislative leaders and legislators of both parties – another history maker, President Pro Tem Ward, Speaker Rozzi, Leader Pittman, Leader Costa, Leader McClinton and Leader Cutler – I look forward to making progress together.

And I’m pleased to be joined by Acting Attorney General Henry, Treasurer Garrity, and Auditor General DeFoor.

I am grateful to have members of our congressional delegation here in Harrisburg, led by Senator Fetterman and Senator Casey.

We say a special prayer today for our senior senator for a full and speedy recovery. There is no doubt that you’ll be stronger than ever and continue to do good for the people of Pennsylvania for many years to come.

To our history making lieutenant governor, Austin Davis, and his wife, Blayre, thank you for joining Lori and me on this journey, for your partnership and for your commitment to service.

I am particularly touched that several of our former Governors are with us today.

It’s an honor to have Governor Ridge, Governor Schweiker and Governor Corbett here – and Governor Rendell watching from home.

Your presence formally celebrates the peaceful transfer of power. It also reminds us that while I am now entrusted with this awesome responsibility – it is just for a moment in the long history of our Commonwealth.

I’ll now do my part to build on your work and to leave this place better off – the way that each of you did before me.

And, of course, I want to recognize my dear friends, Governor Tom Wolf and First Lady Frances Wolf.

Lori and I are so grateful for your friendship over nearly two decades and your guidance through this transition.

Governor Wolf has led our Commonwealth and our residents through some of the most challenging times in our history – and he has done so with integrity, acumen, and an unwavering commitment to service.

Governor Wolf expanded health care to nearly 1 million Pennsylvanians, invested record amounts in our public schools, and modernized state government.

Thanks to his leadership we now find ourselves in the strongest financial shape in the history of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, allowing us to make critical investments for tomorrow.

Governor, you have exemplified what I spoke of a moment ago. You inherited the work of those who came before you, you served with honor, and you are leaving us in a better place than when you started. Thank you.

I set out to build a Cabinet and senior team that looks like Pennsylvania, and reflects the people and the communities that I just took an oath to serve and protect.

Led by our Chief of Staff, Dana Fritz, sitting behind me here today, is the most well-qualified and diverse set of public servants in our history.

I look forward to doing this work, with them, for you.

But most of all, I want to thank you, the good people of Pennsylvania.

You inspired me. You taught me important lessons.

You invited me into your homes, your union halls, your places of worship and your community centers.

We walked our main streets together and I listened to you. I heard your stories.

And those stories fuel my drive to serve.

Your struggles give me purpose. Your smiles and your tears have filled my heart.

Your problems have become my priorities. Your causes, my concerns.

And together we’ve taken on the powerful and empowered the people.

People like Alexis, who was ripped off by a predatory student lender and whose story inspired a fight to take on that powerful entity and bring real relief to thousands of Pennsylvanians.

Like Tim, who did backbreaking work on our roadways for decades, just to have company executives steal his hard-earned benefits but whose courage led to accountability and change.

Like the families I’ve met who lost loved ones to the opioid crisis.

They’ve shared their grief with me, but also their resolve to keep up the fight to protect others from the dangers of addiction made worse by corporate greed.

And like the thousands of brave survivors I’ve met, who come no matter where I am, and in hushed tones tell me their stories of abuse so that the institutions who cover it up can be held accountable.

Your stories and your courage have stayed with me. And, they will motivate me each and every day as your Governor.

Because ultimately, in a functioning democracy, it’s your voices that should be heard in the halls of government.

The voices of people like Danielle, who has bravely told us her own story about her decision to have an abortion to save her life and who I’m honored to have on this stage with me today.

The voice of the grandma in Lawrence County who I met over 15 months ago in the first week of our campaign. She came up to me, grabbed me by lapels, pulled me close, and in that stern voice that only comes from a grandma, looked me in the eye and said do not let us go back to what it was like before Roe.

And thanks to so many of you, we won’t.

The small business owners like Jarrod Bets who owns a community barber shop in Lancaster and is with us on stage today.

Like so many others, he told me about his dream and built it and now just needs a level playing field to thrive.

I remember the voices of the grieving moms who have lost their children to gun violence.

Your children mattered and so do you. Thank you for being on the stage with me today.

I remember the students, brave enough to speak openly with me about their mental health struggles. They’re the strong ones and it’s up to us to help them.

The family farmer looking to leave his land to his daughter, but lacking the capital to make the investments to carry on the family legacy long enough to see her take over.

And the voices of those who put on the uniform at home and abroad to keep us safe and those they leave behind in service to all of us.

We are joined today by Stephanie Mack and Brittany Sisca, the wives of Trooper Martin Mack and Trooper Brandon Sisca who were killed in the line of duty a few months ago.

Thank you for being with us today. We continue to honor and respect your husbands. May their memories be a blessing.

You, the good people of Pennsylvania, will always be my north star.

I’m mindful of the fact that you’ve shared those stories with me because you believe I can make a difference for you.

And that is humbling – humbling that you’ve entrusted me with such a great responsibility.

Not just the honor to serve as your Governor, but the responsibility to stand up for what’s right, to bring people together and to get things done for you.

That is my covenant with you – the people.

That is our deal.

You spoke up loud and clear and gave me direction with your voice and with your vote – a record number of votes in fact.

People from all different walks of life – from rural, urban and suburban communities united to tell me what you think.

You showed the underlying goodness within our Commonwealth – that you want a society that creates opportunity for all people.

From God’s Country to Gettysburg, I heard you when you said you want good schools for our kids, safe communities, and an economy that gives people a shot and lifts them up.

You also sent a clear message – Democrats, Republicans and Independents – when you came together to resoundingly reject extremism.

Together, hope defeated fear.

Unity triumphed over division.

We proved that we value our freedoms, and we’re willing to do the hard work necessary to protect our fundamental rights.

And to those who didn’t cast their vote for me, I heard you too. And I will do my best every day to be a Governor for all Pennsylvanians.

Now is the time to join together behind the unifying strength of three simple truths that have sustained our nation over the past two-and-a-half centuries – that above all else, beyond any momentary political differences – we value our freedom, we cherish our democracy, and we love this country.

Our democracy is indeed now stronger because that historic coalition came together and fought for it, voted for it. But our democracy is not a given.

As our own Pennsylvania history shows, our democracy is a constant work in progress.

Pennsylvania’s first Constitution in 1776 was regarded as the most democratic of its time, but it still took another 150 years for women to gain the right to vote.

Pennsylvania was the first state to pass a law abolishing slavery just four years later in 1780 – but it took until 1847 for total abolition.

We worked at it. Together. Because we value our freedom and we, as a people, are committed to progress.

Consider this – our Commonwealth was founded on the promise of religious tolerance.

Pennsylvania, a place where Penn invited all to come and live and worship in peace and security.

And now, in this place of tolerance, I stand before you, a proud American of Jewish faith who just took the oath of office to be the 48th Governor of this great Commonwealth on a bible from the Tree of Life synagogue, the scene just four years ago of the deadliest act of antisemitism in our nation’s history.

Pennsylvanians can indeed find light in the midst of darkness and drown out the voices of hate and bigotry.

You see, in every chapter of this Pennsylvania story, we got better. We got stronger. We got more tolerant.

Our story is one of progress and prosperity, and today we come together under the banner of this new Administration to write our next chapter with a keen understanding of our history and the voices that will guide our future.

It will require all of us to build on Penn’s promise.

My own faith teaches me that no one is required to complete the task, but neither are we free to refrain from it.

In this Capitol and throughout our Commonwealth, we have a unique responsibility to keep doing the hard and necessary work to strengthen the democracy that was born here 246 years ago.

Each of us can make a contribution. And, in many different ways, we’ve shown that when it is all on the line, Pennsylvanians step up, and do their part.

We rallied. Like Gen-Z who continue to make progress on climate change and gun violence and reproductive rights.

Like the two women in Montgomery County who bravely walked into a county courthouse and asked for a marriage license before it was legal and sparked a movement.

Like those who marched with Dr. King at Girard College during the Civil Rights movement to demand righteous change.

Like the Pennsylvania service member who carried with him one of the other bibles I was sworn in on, when he fought to save the world from fascism and defeat the Nazis in World War II, and earned himself a Purple Heart in the process.

They stepped up. The Pennsylvania way.

We are all stewards of our democracy, and I’m mindful that as we celebrate the peaceful transition of power, we are proving once again that our democracy endures and the collective work to strengthen it continues.

This work is more important now than ever, because over the last several years, we have been reminded of the fragility of our democracy. How we have to keep working at it, keep fighting to protect it.

Here in Pennsylvania, we didn’t allow the extremists who peddle lies drown out the truth. We showed that our system works and that our elections are free and fair, safe and secure.

We assume this obligation to defend democracy not merely to honor the work of our ancestors but rather to build on a foundation so we can make progress for our children.

Only by setting the table of opportunity and inviting all to sit and partake, can we advance the cause of real freedom.

The kind of real freedom that comes when we devote real resources to that young child’s public school to make sure she has a shot.

The kind of real freedom that comes when we invest in public safety to make sure she lives past her 18th birthday.

The kind of real freedom that comes when we create pathways to new opportunities by investing in vo-tech and job training programs like the ones that prepared IATSE members to construct this very stage and trained apprentice cabinet makers from the Carpenters Union to craft this podium I now speak from.

The kind of real freedom that comes when you live in a Commonwealth that respects you for who you are – no matter what you look like, where you come from, who you love or who you pray to.

Real freedom that makes government a productive force for good. That allows us to tackle big challenges again and dream of brighter, more prosperous tomorrows.

Where our air is clean, our water pure and our communities healthier and our economy stronger.

Where poverty doesn’t get ignored and prosperity isn’t limited to certain zip codes.

Where political differences cause debate, but do not give rise to demagogues.

The real freedom that leaves its citizens with the confidence of knowing that the doors of opportunity will swing open for them if they push through.

Where everyone gets a shot and no one is left behind.

That is real freedom. That is our challenge. That is our calling. And, that is the next chapter in our Pennsylvania story that we start writing today – together.

I honor the work of those who came before me, I affirm my pact with the people to listen and be your voice, and I accept the responsibility you’ve bestowed upon me to be the next link in the chain of progress – with humility.

And so, with my faith firmly rooted in we the people of Pennsylvania, with my heart open to others and my eyes fixed ahead, I am prepared to do my part to move our Commonwealth forward.

Thank you for this honor. May god bless you and watch over the women and men of the Pennsylvania National Guard.

Thank you.

Last updated: 1:34 pm

11 months ago

The Shapiro family hits the inaugural stage

By: - 12:31 pm

Moments ago, Gov-elect Josh Shapiro, his wife, Lori Shapiro, and four children ascended to the inaugural stage outside the state Capitol. The Shapiros’ children introduced their parents.

The Shapiro family (screen capture).
The Shapiro family (screen capture).

11 months ago

A full house waiting for Josh Shapiro’s inauguration

By: - 12:11 pm

With ceremonies slated to start momentarily, here’s a look at the east front of the Pennsylvania Capitol, and the crowd gathered for the Gov. Josh Shapiro’s inauguration. Over the past few minutes, elected officials and members of the incoming cabinet, and the the state Supreme Court have been introduced and have made their way to the stage.

Capitol East Wing - Shapiro inauguration.
(Screen Capture)

11 months ago

Austin Davis sworn in as Pa.’s 35th, first Black lieutenant governor

By: - 11:18 am

Former Allegheny County state Rep. Austin Davis was sworn in before the state Senate on Tuesday as the 35th lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania and the first Black Pennsylvanian to hold the office. 

Davis remarked on the historic moment by acknowledging that the accomplishment “was paid for by the blood, sweat, and tears of those who came before me.”

In his first speech as lieutenant governor, Davis repeated his belief that “the people closest to the pain should be closest to the power” and pledged to be a champion for Pennsylvanians who haven’t felt heard by their elected officials. 

“The things that unite us are so much greater than the things that divide us,” Davis said, calling on his colleagues in the Senate to cast politics aside and instead focus on delivering results for Pennsylvanians. As part of his duties as lieutenant governor, Davis will preside over Senate sessions.

“We won’t let you down as your next governor and lieutenant governor,” Davis said in closing. “Now, let’s work.”

11 months ago

A look at today’s inaugural program

By: - 11:12 am

From our friends at PolitcsPA:

Last updated: 11:22 am

11 months ago

Shapiro on his way into Pa. Senate chamber for Austin Davis’ swearing-in

By: - 10:21 am

From Gillian McGoldrick of the Philadelphia Inquirer:

11 months ago

The special guests joining Gov.-elect Josh Shapiro onstage today

By: - 10:19 am

From our colleague Justin Sweitzer of City & State Pa.

11 months ago

How Gov.-elect Josh Shapiro is spending his morning

By: - 9:45 am

An update, from Tom Sofield, of LevittownNow.com:

 

Last updated: 9:47 am

11 months ago

A farewell from Gov. Tom Wolf and First Lady Frances Wolf

By: - 9:00 am

As Pennsylvania’s first couple prepared to leave office on Monday, Gov. Tom Wolf and First Lady Frances Wolf posted a thank-you note to the commonwealth’s residents on Tom Wolf’s official Twitter feed.

Last updated: 9:01 am

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