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March 26th Ups and Downs

PA’s Former Health Secretary is confirmed to serve as the U.S. Assistant Health Secretary, a former state Senate candidate is charged for his role in the Capitol riots, plus the Harrisburg Democratic Committee endorsed a candidate for mayor. All of that and more are in this week’s Ups and Downs.

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Rachel Levine. A historic confirmation. Former PA Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine was confirmed by the U.S. Senate this week to serve to be the Assistant Secretary for Health at the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Levine is the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the Senate. 

Meg Snead. Gov. Tom Wolf announced that Meg Snead, who most recently served as Gov. Wolf’s Secretary of Policy and Planning, will take over as the Human Services Secretary. Snead will take over the position effective April 30, when Sec. Teresa Miller steps down to take over as the president and CEO of the Kansas Health Foundation

Mike Doyle. The Allegheny County Democrat who chairs the panel’s subcommittee on communications and technology took a prominent role in a hearing this week with Big Tech CEOs. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that lawmakers “trained bipartisan anger at the CEOs of Facebook, Twitter, and Google” for allowing the spread of disinformation and provided the “strongest statements yet that Congress intends to strengthen a key internet liability law to hold tech companies accountable.” 

Frank Scavo. Fallout from the January 6 Capitol riots in Washington D.C. continues. The Scranton Times-Tribune reports that Scavo, who previously launched unsuccessful GOP campaigns for the state Senate’s 22nd District in 2020 and the state House’s 114th District in 2019, was charged with four misdemeanors for his “role in the Capitol riots” on January 6. Scavo plans to plead not guilty, according to the Scranton Times-Tribune.

Bruce Kraus. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Kraus’ bill to ban ownership of “popular but potentially problematic” small red-eared turtles, alligators, and crocodiles passed in a 9-0 vote. The Tribune Review reports that Mayor Bill Peduto supports the legislation and will sign the law. 

Bunny Welsh. The former Chester County sheriff, along with her boyfriend, have pleaded no contest to misdemeanor theft charges, according to KYW Newsradio

Wanda Williams. The Harrisburg Democratic Committee is backing a challenger to the incumbent Mayor in the upcoming primary election. PennLive reports that the Harrisburg Democratic Committee has endorsed Harrisburg City Council President Wanda Williams for mayor of Harrisburg. Although opponents are shrugging off the endorsement, it is the first time since 2009 that the committee has endorsed in a mayoral primary. 

Darren Snyder. The Wilkes-Barre City Controller pleaded guilty on Wednesday to a summary offense of public drunkenness, which was issued last Friday, according to the Citizens Voice

Sam Sanguedolce. There’s a new District Attorney in Luzerne County. Following legislation that Gov. Tom Wolf signed on Tuesday, First District DA Sam Sanguedolce has taken over for Stefanie Salavantis, who resigned due to her campaign for county judge, the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader reports. 

PLCB. The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board was dealt a loss this week when the PA Supreme Court upheld a lower-court ruling that determined the PLCB had been “violating a 2016 law by prohibiting wine dealers from shipping wines directly to retailers and restaurants that sell wine for take out,” according to the Philadelphia Inquirer

Kayla Portis. The fourth-generation Sharpsburg resident made history by becoming the first Black person to serve on borough council, according to the Tribune Review. Portis was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Greg Domian and she plans on seeking the nomination in the upcoming May primary for a full four-year term. 


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