Guest Editorial: Gov. Shapiro must balance principles and pragmatism

Democrat Josh Shapiro is now the 48th governor of Pennsylvania.

Shapiro, 49, succeeds term-limited Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf. He is the first governor of Pennsylvania since 1966 to be elected to succeed a member of his own party. Democrat Austin Davis, 33, is now Pennsylvania’s first Black lieutenant governor.

Shapiro has a strong mandate to govern from the middle.

In the midterm election in November, Pennsylvania voters rejected extremism.

Shapiro achieved an impressive 15 percentage-point victory over the far-right Republican nominee, state Sen. Doug Mastriano. He received support from independents and Republicans in the election.

“Now is the time to join together behind the unifying strength of three simple truths that have sustained our nation over the past 2 centuries: that above all else, beyond any momentary political differences, we value our freedom, we cherish our democracy and we love this country,” Shapiro said at his inaugural ceremony at the state Capitol Tuesday.

Shapiro has vowed bipartisanship in personnel and policy.

He is already making good on that promise.

He has nominated a demographically and politically diverse Cabinet.

He named two Republicans to major positions—former Philadelphia elections commissioner Al Schmidt as secretary of state and former state Sen. Pat Browne of the Lehigh Valley as secretary of revenue. His nominees from both parties tend to be from the middle.

A practical degree of bipartisanship will be necessary to achieve his goals in Harrisburg, especially in today’s political climate.

Republicans have a narrow and likely temporary 101-99 advantage in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Democrats won 102 of 203 seats in the November general election. Democrats are likely to recapture the majority after the Feb. 7 special elections to fill vacancies in three heavily Democratic Allegheny County districts. There is a six-seat Republican majority in the state Senate.

To be an effective and successful governor, Shapiro must stand by his core principles on protecting the rights of Pennsylvanians, particularly on voting and access to abortion, and practice pragmatic governing to make progress on important quality-of-life issues.

Reprinted from the Philadelphia Tribune

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