PA-BGT: Isenhour to Head Administration Negotiations

IsenhourLawmakers in Harrisburg are cautiously optimistic about a productive summer session with news emerging from the Governor’s office about who will (and won’t) be at the negotiating table.

Gov. Tom Wolf’s Chief of Staff Mary Isenhour looks set to lead the administration’s side during budget negotiations this time around, after meetings during last year’s nine-month standoff were bogged down by too many people, Chris Comisac of Capitolwire reports.

Though others will still be included in budget meetings, everything will have to be approved by Wolf and Isenhour, making it clear to GOP legislative leaders who they will be negotiating with.

Last September, after two months of fruitless negotiations over the 2015-16 budget, the Governor and GOP leaders changed tactics and started holding meetings without much of their support staffs.

Though smaller meetings didn’t immediately bring about results – a final budget finally passed in March – those close to the negotiations look at the move as a productive first step, according to the report.

“Watching closely the process the last time around, I think, and even talking to the caucus leaders and their staff, there was a general frustration in that you never knew who was going to be in the room and who was going to be speaking for the Governor,” a lobbyist source told Capitolwire. “Back in the day, we knew if John Estey was there, that was it, he was the voice for Rendell. Same thing under the Ridge administration, there was only one voice.”

There are signs that this summer will not be dominated by gridlock, with lawmakers looking at the legalization of medical marijuana as a sign that compromise and effective government are still possible in the State Capitol.

On Tuesday, the slowly regenerating bipartisanship was further encouraged when House Republicans delayed consideration of a resolution from the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee to stop Wolf’s new oil and gas regulations, according to the report.

22 Responses

  1. Fact great campaigners are not always great government staffers!!!! Total Laugh.
    Wolf spent millions of his own money to buy an election.
    Corbett was hated across the state.
    Mary who was Not in charge of his election trying to give her credit is a Joke.
    Mary was and is a dog of Wolf to boss around.
    Wolf and his Mary without his millions could not win Dog catcher.
    Live in the real world..

  2. Fact great campaigners are not always great government staffers. Governor Wolf has been very loyal to campaign staff hiring many of them to important positions on his staff. Some with disastrous results. Too many yes people in the room hurt the Governor. Some are now either leaving or being transferred to less demanding positions. Mary Isenhour is a great campaign consultant. Maybe too good at campaigning. How does Mary build trust with the GOP Lawmakers when she has worked so long and hard to defeat in campaigns many of these same GOP Lawmakers to get a State Budget passed. Maybe less people involved in the process is a good idea. I’m just not convinced having someone who has had conflicts in the past is the best choice to deal with THE PARTY OF NO.

  3. Come on people…school budgets are like frickin sink holes…ther will never be enough cash for the cesspool ..

  4. I would love to see the IP Address records of these commenters – sure sounds like someone with an ax to grind is posting under multiple names. Mary Isenhour is unequivocally the best person for the job: she is well respected by Republicans and Democrats alike, she is sharp, grounded, and personable. If there’s anyone who can get it done, it’s her. This may have been one of the smartest moves Wolf has made.

  5. Who’s next after Mary and Will wreck the train? Let me guess: Flavia Colgan gets pulled out of retirement? Oh no wait I heard Holly “the lush” Kinser looking for a handout?

  6. Sounds like a lot of jealous people here, and people that have lost political battles to Mary (and possibly a few drinking games).

    The real problem with the budget negotiations are the republicans refusing to do their jobs responsibly.

  7. Blackmailing him maybe??? Mary has No idea even what day of the week it is…..
    Why did he hire her??? Wolf has to know she makes him look like a fool.
    Look at his wolfpack. Total losers with fatcat Tax paying jobs. Everyday His “Wolfpack Staff” is getting moved around to other positions. Fail at one move onto another.
    State Party Staff is packed with Wolfmisfits.

  8. Disappointed Dem and Observer are out of their minds. Mary Isenhour is a drunk and the only negotiation she will win is between bar stools…and that is iffy.

  9. Little resentment not hardly.
    Sadness. Wolf remember when Mary told you she could get you the party endorsement? How did that work out for ya?
    State smiles to your face. State is laughing behind your back. Mary mary mary will you sit and cry? Or stab more Democrats in the back? How did the 13 work out for you??? Democrats will fight back… Keep that in mind.

  10. This must be Wolf’s way of lining her up to be fired. Couldn’t do it any other way – when she fails at this – and it is worse than last year – he will have to let her go.

  11. Seems to be just a little resentment here. Mary will do a much better job.

  12. So now we have High on Pot Governor and a Local Drunk as chief of staff.
    You just cant make this shit up..
    Pa going to hell in a hand basket

  13. Mary will be a formidable negotiator when they get to the field operation part of this year’s budget negotiation.

  14. Count me as skeptical that a major budget compromise is going to take place on time in an insane election year with a massive tax hike proposed on one end and a hard-line, obstructionist machine on the other.

  15. This will be great. Mary will just take all the Republicans to McGrath’s and bet the Wolf budget against the Republican’s budget on who can drink the most and still stand on one foot and sing 3 choruses of “We Are Family”. And Mary will win – no contest.

    That is not a compliment, by the way.

  16. Conflict
    Mary get-even and baby husband Pattonboy House spy
    Hey Wolf remember the Democrats who are elected not your wolfpack sign holders.
    Wolf and his Mary GO AWAY. You have no respect anywhere in Pa.
    Check out that face….. ugh

  17. Is this a f!!!! Joke???? She was banned from the Senate Dems under Rendell. This will be worse than last year. Wolf is trying to tank his own party. Embarrassing.

  18. Estey? The guy who’s been working with the FBI and stole $13,000 of the $20,000 they gave him for bribes?

    Yeah. Maybe not the best model, but surely one a lobbyist would like.

    Maybe they should just put the lobbyists in a room to work out the budget, and cut out the middlemen (the elected officials).

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