Corbett Promises to Be Realistic about Pennsylvania's Challenges
Bumsted, Brad, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
HARRISBURG -- Gov.-elect Tom Corbett intends to give an inaugural address today that is "realistic about the challenges facing the state," with a tone that offers hope and encouragement, said his spokesman.
Pennsylvania faces an estimated $4 billion budget deficit that will require much of Corbett's attention during his first months in office, spokesman Kevin Harley said. Other priorities include legislative reform, school choice, curbing lawsuit abuse and selling the state liquor stores. But don't expect specifics today, he said.
Corbett, 61, a Shaler Republican who will become Pennsylvania's 46th governor, wants government to live within its means and hopes to build "an education system that competes with other states and nations," Harley said.
Governors' inaugural addresses tend to be thematic, not policy recitations.
"They set the tone of where they would like to lead the state and why," said Vincent Carocci, press secretary to the late Gov. Robert P. Casey. Democrat Casey followed Dick Thornburgh, the last governor to hail from Allegheny County. Thornburgh, a Republican, was in office from 1979-1986.
Inaugural speeches have this in common: They are not memorable, Carocci said. "It's not so much (that) the speeches are bad, but there's so much going on, it distracts from the words."
Crews erected grandstands behind the state Capitol to seat 4,500 people, but freezing rain predicted for this morning could force organizers to move the swearing-in ceremony indoors to the Forum Building, which seats 2,000.
As with past inaugurals, Corbett's will have its controversy: Environmentalists plan to stage a rally near the Capitol to protest Corbett's expected pro-business stance toward Marcellus shale natural gas drilling. More than 200 people, including some from Pittsburgh, are expected at the rally. …