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HARRISBURG (KDKA) — It had all the tradition of a gubernatorial inauguration at the state capitol – music, the presentation of the colors, the National Anthem by Philadelphia singer Bobby Hill, and an invocation by Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Rabbi Jeffrey Myers.
“May the overwhelming love and unity demonstrated by the good people of Pittsburgh become a model for the type of community that is possible throughout this state,” the rabbi prayed.
Using a family Bible from the 1800’s held by his wife Frances, the governor took the oath of office from Chief Justice Tom Saylor.
“I, Tom Wolf, do solemnly swear….”
Once sworn in, Wolf quickly pointed to his new Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, known for his preference for t-shirts, jeans, and shorts, who appeared at the Inaugural in a coat and tie.
“Don’t you think the necktie looks pretty good on John?” Wolf asked.
The governor’s inaugural remarks were short on specifics but long on bipartisan accomplishments in partnership with the Republicans who control the legislature.
“Pennsylvania has created over 200,000 new jobs — good jobs that support families. We’ve improved more than 20,000 miles of roadways, restored 1,900 bridges,” noted the governor.
The litany included a billion dollars for public schools and turning a budget deficit into a surplus.
But he got his biggest cheers for health care.
“We’ve expanded Medicaid to cover 720,000 Pennsylvanians.”
And he drew a clear distinction with gridlock in Washington.
“We’re not like Washington. We can work together here in Harrisburg. We can get things done.”
Now, the Democratic governor’s salute to his Republican colleagues was reciprocated by a tweet from Republican House Speaker Mike Turzai, promising to work with the governor to find common ground.
Congratulations to @GovernorTomWolf on the swearing in of your second term. As Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, we all look forward to working with you, finding common ground for a more prosperous Pennsylvania.
— Speaker Mike Turzai (@RepTurzai) January 15, 2019
The governor will present his budget in February where specifics will be detailed and differences arise.
In the meantime, on Tuesday night the governor hosted a big party at the Farm Show Complex with food and drink from all over the state and appearances by the Pirate Parrot and the Penguins’ Iceburgh.
The total cost of the event is, at last count, over $1.7 million, donated by contributors, not paid by taxpayers.