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Shapiro Speaks To First Year In Office

Gov. Shapiro at opening of new State Archives building

In a pair of question-and-answer sessions held 24 hours apart, Gov. Josh Shapiro discussed his accomplishments and disappointments in his first year in office.

The 50-year-old governor sat down for a conversation with KDKA’s Jon Delano and admitted that he didn’t get everything in 2023 that he wanted.

“I know we got some unfinished business to do, and that’s a product, I think, in many ways of the fact that I’m the only governor in the nation – the only one – with a divided legislature, meaning I’ve got one chamber run by Democrats, the other by Republicans,” Shapiro said.

When asked what his top accomplishment has been as the Commonwealth’s chief executive, Shapiro said, “I always hate to sort of single out one thing. I think in general, we’re getting government working again. We’re delivering for the good people of Pennsylvania — investing in education, public safety, economic opportunity.”

The following day, Shapiro spoke at the grand opening of the new Pennsylvania State Archives building.

The new building houses the Commonwealth’s archival collections – more than 250 million documents that are kept in perpetuity by PHMC for all Pennsylvanians. These collections were transferred to the new building throughout late summer and early fall of 2023 – a process equivalent to moving a typical three-bedroom house 78 times.

The governor took questions at the ceremony’s conclusion and was queried about his Administration’s low number of bills signed compared to recent leaders.

“Somewhere in the archives here, there’s probably a curriculum that talks about how a bill becomes a law,” he said. “And you may remember this from elementary school, it has to pass in the house and it has to pass in the Senate in identical forms. And then it comes to the governor for his signature.

“The fact that the number of bills that have reached my desk may be slightly less than Governor Wolf’s is a reflection of the fact that we have a divided government. “I’m the only governor in the nation with a divided legislature – one chamber led by Republicans, one chamber led by Democrats. And I’ve been saying the whole year that those chambers and those leaders of both parties need to learn how to work effectively together.

“I’ve seen some real positive steps that they’ve taken, and together we were able to pass a common sense bipartisan budget that invested more in public education than ever before.

“We’ve gotten a lot done together. But it is also true that those leaders need to figure out ways to continue to work effectively together. They have a chance over these next few days when they return to Harrisburg to build on the work we’ve done. But just to be clear, they left a lot of work for themselves for the last minute here. And they have to step up and get more bills to my desk and make sure that the productivity that the people of Pennsylvania deserve is coming from these lawmakers.

“To be fair, there are some bills that have passed in one chamber and not the other. And so they’ve got to figure out how to rectify those differences. The House under Rep. Patty Kim’s (D-103) leadership passed a minimum wage increase to $15 an hour yet the Senate hasn’t taken it up. The Senate has passed an important education reform component giving scholarships to poor children in trouble struggling school districts. The House hasn’t taken that up. Those are just two examples of bills that are passed in one chamber and not the other. We’ve got to make sure that they work through those issues, to consider those bills and get them to my desk as quickly as possible.”

Shapiro also reiterated his comments on the statements made by University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill before a congressional committee.

“I’ve been very clear and consistent in my comments, and I’ll restate them here. I thought the President’s sworn testimony in front of Congress a few days ago. was unacceptable, and I thought it was shameful. Leaders have a responsibility to speak and act with moral clarity. And President McGill and for that matter, the other university presidents failed that test.

“I think the board at Penn (of which Shapiro is a non-voting member) needs to now make a determination as to whether or not the views that she stated under oath reflect the views and values of the board at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Pennsylvania as an institution. I made it clear to them that they need to act and they need to act swiftly.”

One Response

  1. Other than the voucher issue, his first term has been flawless. Also, he is definitely the best Governor at PR since Ridge.

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