Shapiro, Davis inauguration recap | Five for the Weekend

Davis, 33, is the youngest lieutenant governor in the nation

By: - January 21, 2023 6:30 am

Gov. Josh Shapiro delivers his inaugural address to Pennsylvania outside the Capitol in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023. (Commonwealth Media Services)

Happy weekend, all. 

Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro and Lt. Gov. Austin Davis took their respective oaths of office in Harrisburg on Tuesday, vowing to be a results-driven administration that listens and advocates for the voiceless.

“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,” Shapiro said in his inaugural address.

Davis, who, at 33 years old, is the youngest lieutenant governor in the nation, made a similar pledge in his speech, calling on lawmakers to put politics aside and work for the benefit of all Pennsylvanians.

“Pennsylvanians want leaders who will put delivering real results for them and their families above all else,” Davis said in his inaugural address on Tuesday. “Because of this, I say to my colleagues in the Senate and the House that we must no longer measure our success through the counting of insignificant political points, or transient headlines. Our success must be measured by the results we deliver for Pennsylvanians and their families. The only victories that matter are those achieved on behalf of the people we serve.”

Read more from Inauguration Day here:

‘Our democracy is a constant work in progress.’ Shapiro sworn in as Pa.’s 48th governor

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

In Lancaster, a celebration of Shapiro, Davis and ‘the goodness of Pennsylvania

As always, the top five stories from this week are below.

Gov. Josh Shapiro and Lt. Gov. Austin Davis host a ceremony to sign their administration’s first executive order on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023, at the Capitol in Harrisburg. (Capital-Star photo by Marley Parish)

1. In his first executive order, Shapiro removes degree requirement for thousands of state jobs

On his first full day in office, Gov. Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, signed his first executive order, removing a four-year degree requirement for tens of thousands of state government jobs.

Shapiro — who took the oath of office on Tuesday with Lt. Gov. Austin Davis — said the order applies to 92% of commonwealth jobs, estimating that roughly 65,000 positions in the state will be open to Pennsylvanians regardless of whether they hold a college degree.

“In Pennsylvania, the people should decide what path is best for them, not have it decided by some arbitrary requirement or any arbitrary limitation,” Shapiro said during a public signing ceremony on Wednesday.

Pennsylvania Capitol Building. May 24, 2022. Harrisburg, Pa. (Photo by Amanda Berg, for the Capital-Star).
Pennsylvania Capitol Building on Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in Harrisburg, Pa. (Photo by Amanda Berg for the Capital-Star).

2. Shapiro’s nominees to public safety roles include the first woman to head the state Department of Corrections

Gov. Josh Shapiro has named five nominees to lead Pennsylvania public safety agencies, including the first woman to lead the state Department of Corrections.

Shapiro nominated Laurel Harry, a 24-year veteran of the state prison system, to serve as secretary of corrections.

Harry started her career as a drug and alcohol treatment specialist at SCI-Waynesburg, in Greene County, and rose through the ranks to serve as superintendent at SCI-Camp Hill, in Cumberland County, for the past 10 years.

Pennsylvania Capitol Building. May 24, 2022. Harrisburg, Pa. (Photo by Amanda Berg, for the Capital-Star).
Pennsylvania Capitol Building on Tuesday, May 24, 2022. (Photo by Amanda Berg for the Capital-Star).

3. What to know about this week’s inauguration and what’s ahead for the Shapiro-Davis administration

Gov.-elect Josh Shapiro and Lt. Gov.-elect Austin Davis — Democrats who won big in the November election — will take the oath of office this week, marking the beginning of a new administration with an ambitious policy platform and likely challenges with navigating a divided Legislature.

Shapiro, a 49-year-old from Montgomery County who currently serves as the state’s prosecutor, and Davis, a 33-year-old former state representative from Allegheny County, vowed to build an administration that “looks like Pennsylvania,” where those “closest to the pain should be closest to the power.”

A proposed reduction to Pennsylvania's corporate net income tax could be included in this year's state budget.
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

4. A deep-pocketed donor from Pa. is moving onto the national stage. That’s a problem | Opinion

Pennsylvania has a Jeffrey Yass problem. And it’s quickly becoming the country’s Jeffrey Yass problem.

It’s been said before. We are now saying it collectively and in partnership with community organizations across the commonwealth. If you have not heard the name Jeffrey Yass before, we aim to change that.

Yass, worth an estimated $30 billion according to Forbes, is the richest man in Pennsylvania using his wealth to influence democracy at all levels. Between 2021 and 2022, Forbes estimated his net worth doubled, stating in a 2021 profile that the pandemic was a “boon” to his bottom line. Yass is a significant investor in TikTok and online gambling mediums which reportedly contributed to his recent windfalls.

From left: Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, Gov. Tom Wolf, and Pardons Sec. Brandon Flood. (Photo by Sarah Anne Hughes)

5. Outgoing Gov. Wolf sets clemency record, granting 2,540 pardons

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, who is set to end his term in office next week, issued more pardons than any previous governor in Pennsylvania history, his administration confirmed this week.

Wolf issued 2,540 pardons in his eight-year tenure, surpassing the previous record of 1,122 granted pardons held by former Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell.

“I have taken this process very seriously — reviewing and giving careful thought to each and every one of these 2,540 pardons and the lives they will impact. Every single one of the Pennsylvanians who made it through the process truly deserves their second chance, and it’s been my honor to grant it,” Wolf said in a statement.

And that’s the week. We’ll see you back here next week.

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry.