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Governor Wolf: Welcome to (same kind of) Harrisburg

It’s certainly been an interesting week and a half for Pennsylvania’s new “different kind of Governor” and political observers.  Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania’s 47th Governor, took his oath of Office shortly after noon on January 20, and outlined his goals for the state and calling for bipartisanship in Harrisburg (See story below.)  Legislative reaction to his inaugural address was positive, and hopes for many were high that a spirit of new graciousness would ensue and help leaders find compromises to benefit all Pennsylvanians.

That afternoon, Governor Wolf’s cabinet took their oaths of office, and the new Administration was formally ready to go.

By Wednesday, the Governor, his top staff, and cabinet members spent much of the day in training sessions on ethics and the state’s open records law.  That was after the governor signed two executive orders banning anyone in the executive branch from accepting gifts and outlawing no-bid legal contracts.

By the next morning, Wolf had recalled 28 lame duck appointments that Governor Corbett had made before leaving office, and had fired the state’s newly seated director of the state Office of Open Records (See story below.)  The action to fire Erik Arneson is already in the courts, and the Senate has moved toward confirming 13 of the recalled appointments in spite of the recalls.

At the end of the week, Wolf was holding a virtual open house in the Capitol, greeting state employees, who stood in line by the hundreds to meet and get selfies with the new Governor.  Over the weekend, planning for the projected “Snowmageddon” which failed to materialize took over the headlines, but by Monday, lawsuits, Senate action on gas royalty bills, and a gubernatorial expression of support for passage of a medical marijuana bill were in the headlines.

This week, Governor Wolf announced he would be naming two temporary appointments to the state Supreme Court, and on Thursday, signed an executive order reversing a Corbett administration executive order that allowed drilling for natural gas under state lands, fulfilling another campaign promise. (Story below)

Outside the capitol, but inside the Harrisburg beltway, it was reported that a grand jury had recommended state Attorney General Kathleen Kane be charged with perjury, false swearing, official oppression and obstruction of justice, and Kane’s attorneys were successful in getting the Supreme Court to at least temporarily halt action on those recommendations.  

And today, Harrisburg was surprised at news that Rob McCord, our state Treasurer was resigning effective February 12, to return to private industry amid rumors that he may be subject to an FBI investigation.

» Watch Video of Governor Wolf’s Inagurual Address