'We want you': Shapiro stresses need for diverse hires in next Pa. gov's administration

Eric Scicchitano
The Daily Item, Sunbury, Pa. (TNS)

Governor-elect Josh Shapiro hung the proverbial "Help Wanted" sign in Harrisburg on Wednesday, calling on Pennsylvanians of all backgrounds and political perspectives to apply for roles on his transition team and within the budding administration.

One requirement of all applicants: ditch the partisan mindset.

"Anyone willing to take off the red jersey, the blue jersey and just wear a Pennsylvania jersey, we want you to know that you're welcome to be part of our team," Shapiro said from the Governor's Reception Room inside the State Capitol.

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Full details on the transition and impending inauguration in January are a work in progress. Three campaign staffers were named to leadership roles for both. Akbar Hossain will serve as executive director of the transition, Amanda Warren as executive director for the inauguration, Manuel Bonder as communications director for the transition and inauguration.

Shapiro said he will serve in his current role of attorney general until he's sworn in as governor. By law, he said the first deputy — a position held by Michelle Henry — would rise to the position of acting attorney general. He said he'd share his intent next week to formally nominate a successor to fulfill the remaining two years of his term.

FILE - Pennsylvania Democratic gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro speaks at an election night event, Nov. 8, 2022, in Oaks, Pa. Gov.-elect Josh Shapiro will take office with a decisive mandate from Pennsylvania voters, who overwhelmingly rejected a Republican drive to pare back abortion rights and voting laws in the premier battleground state. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

Additional announcements are also expected next week. Further information, including a link to submit resumes, is available at www.shapirodavis.org.

Shapiro and Lieutenant Governor-elect Austin Davis joined Gov. Tom Wolf for their first formal session with capitol media since unofficially winning the election last week. Shapiro and Davis each reiterated campaign pledges of building a diverse, representative administration, remarking often that it must look like the citizenry they're elected to represent.

The governor-elect said the same of hiring more law enforcement. More local police officers will be hired under the Shapiro-Davis administration, Shapiro said, and they must live in the communities they'll serve and look like the people they'll protect.

Public safety, job creation and quality education were stressed by Shapiro, all of which were part of his campaign platform.

Schools must be fully funded, he said, pledging to emphasize vocational education and ensuring mental health counselors are available in each school building.

"When I'm governor, we will end our reliance on standardized testing," Shapiro said.

Investments in apprenticeship programs and stripping college degree requirements for "thousands" of state government jobs will be part of the plan to ensure fair economic opportunities for all, he said.

Shapiro and Davis each alluded to their election victory over the Republican ticket of state Sen. Doug Mastriano and state Rep. Carrie Lewis DelRosso. Shapiro said the electorate stood up to extremism, defended real freedom and was in search of common ground.

Davis, who will become Pennsylvania's first Black lieutenant governor, said voters chose unity, love and progress.

"With this historic win, we are proof that Pennsylvania will be a place where all are welcome and all have the opportunity to achieve 'The American Dream,'" Davis said.

The incoming executive officeholders stood nearby as Wolf, closing out his second term, highlighted accomplishments during his term: a streak of four budget surpluses, building a nearly $5 billion rainy day fund, and protecting women's reproductive rights.

"We've done all these things without raising taxes and, in fact, we've reduced some taxes," Wolf said.

The next step, Wolf said, is for Shapiro to build on the progress achieved in the past eight years.