Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Wolf Calls on State to Lead It's a New Day for Pennsylvania as 47th Governor Officially Takes Office

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Wolf Calls on State to Lead It's a New Day for Pennsylvania as 47th Governor Officially Takes Office

Article excerpt

HARRISBURG - Tom Wolf was sworn into office Tuesday as the 47th governor of Pennsylvania, telling a crowd of dignitaries and citizens at the state Capitol that he will devote his administration to the goals of jobs that pay, schools that teach and a government that works.

"With a large deficit, stagnant wages and a shrinking middle class, there is no question that our challenges are great," he said. "But let's remember - the last time that America went through a great transformation, it was Pennsylvania that led the nation through the great transformation, the Industrial Revolution. We led then - and we can lead today."

The wealthy Democratic businessman, a native of a small York County town named after his family, unseated Republican Gov. Tom Corbett by nearly 10 points after capitalizing on voter dissatisfaction that stemmed in part from the incumbent's handling of funding for public schools.

With his hand on a mid-19th-century family Bible, Mr. Wolf took the oath of office from Judge Penny Blackwell, a senior judge in the York County courts, as his wife, Frances, and daughters, Sarah and Kate, looked on. The inauguration took place in the rear of the Capitol, where U.S. flags and red, white and blue bunting hung. Guests seated along Commonwealth Avenue were bundled against the 40- degree chill.

As he did on election night, Mr. Wolf called upon the founding of Pennsylvania as he spoke of how he would lead it.

"Pennsylvania is an idea that all things are possible," he said. "We have always pursued the idea that all things are possible with boldness and courage.

"And I refuse to believe that we are any less innovative, any less entrepreneurial, any less committed to building a better future today than our ancestors were."

Opponents of natural gas drilling, determined to seek an end to hydraulic fracturing despite Mr. Wolf's pledge to instead impose a new tax on it, interrupted the ceremony with chants of "ban fracking now." Mr. Wolf addressed the protesters, asking for their help in developing the state's natural resources "in a way that is clean, safe and sustainable."

Eight people were arrested for disorderly conduct, according to a spokesman for the Department of General Services.

To succeed, Mr. Wolf will have to work with Republicans, who hold the majorities in the state Senate and House of Representatives, and in his remarks he cited the swearing-in remarks of House Speaker Mike Turzai, R-Marshall, and the new Pennsylvania Supreme Court chief justice, Thomas Saylor. In the coming months, the new governor and General Assembly will need to settle on a way to close a projected $2 billion shortfall in next year's budget.

"We're going to have to find some common ground," Mr. Turzai said afterward. "It's going to take work, and I think the sooner we can begin dialogue on those, the better we are. …

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