Health - January 23, 2015

Corbett exits office; Wolf sworn in

Governor Tom Wolf was sworn into office as Pennsylvania’s 47th Governor on Tuesday with promises of sweeping reforms to job markets, public education and state government.  During his speech, the chief executive highlighted his career in business that makes him an “unconventional governor.” Wolf, a Democrat, also stressed the importance of working together to solve the problems facing Pennsylvania, in reference to a need for bipartisanship when negotiating with the Republican-controlled legislature.

Anti-fracking protesters briefly interrupted Wolf’s speech. He addressed the crowd of protesters, hoping to assuage their concerns by finding safe, sustainable solutions to natural gas extraction. Wolf hopes to institute a natural gas drilling tax to help defray the budget deficit. 

Following the inauguration ceremony, Wolf signed two executive orders in an effort to emphasize his commitment to increasing government transparency: one banning state employees from accepting or soliciting gifts and another requiring competitive bidding for contracts granted to private attorneys. 

Following four years of low approval ratings, Governor Tom Corbett left office on Tuesday as the only one-term governor in the modern history of Pennsylvania.  Yet Corbett’s time in office was not without some successes.  Corbett was able to eliminate walking around money (WAMs) from the budget and successfully advocated for and secure a $2.3 billion dollar transportation funding package. The transportation funding package enabled PennDOT to repair over 10,000 miles of roads and thousands of bridges throughout the Commonwealth and created long-term infrastructure funding. Corbett plans to live in Pittsburgh with his wife, Susan, and take care of their grandchildren. Corbett says he will be taking time to consider a number of opportunities, including teaching on the collegiate and post-graduate levels, since he is not yet ready to retire.

Lt. Governor Mike Stack was also sworn into office on Tuesday. Stack was sworn in by his mother, Felice Stack, a retired Philadelphia Municipal Court judge. Stack is the first Senator elected to the position since The Winter Group's own Mark Singel was elected as Lt. Governor in 1986. Stack then called for bipartisan cooperation as the new administration takes office. As Stack takes office, Lt. Governor Jim Cawley is also moving on. Earlier this month he accepted a position as CEO of the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey. And most recently, he has also been nominated by Governor Wolf to serve on the Board of Trustees at Temple University, Cawley’s alma mater for both his undergraduate and law degrees.