What does Inauguration Day mean for Pennsylvania? It’s all in here.
The Trump transition terminates
As of noon today, we have a new President of the United States of America. What does that mean for Pennsylvania?
Keystone Crossroads will be following eight Donald Trump voters throughout the next four years to see what impact his presidency has on their lives. So far, it’s a mixed bag: most are taking a wait-and-see approach, but at least one supporter has already gotten cold feet.
Philadelphia city officials are examining what a Trump presidency might mean for the bottom line. About 10 percent of the city’s budget comes from Washington, funding that could be imperiled by the city’s sanctuary status, among other issues.
Education leaders across the state are considering what Secretary of Education nominee Betsy DeVos will mean for Pennsylvania. Keystone Crossroads’ education reporter Kevin McCorry spoke to WHYY host Jennifer Lynn about the “lightning rod” nominee.
Trump’s infrastructure plan also has implications for the Keystone State. Local advocates for passenger trains are hoping that increased investment in infrastructure will be a win for rail safety. And Trump’s plan to bring private funding to the table is getting bipartisan support.
“As someone who’s strongly opposed Trump’s election and is concerned about what Trump will do as president, I would say the one silver lining in a very dark cloud is that he seems to have a more Democratic position when it comes to transportation and infrastructure,” said U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle of Philadelphia.
And for all the Pennsylvanians on the Affordable Care Act, talk of repeal is getting mixed reviews. Repealing Obamacare could have negative impacts on rural hospitals, the fight against opioid addiction and those who joined the exchange after the election.
But for many Pennsylvanians, Obamacare hasn’t been a boon. In fact, it’s been a burden. They’re hoping repeal will come with a replacement that makes healthcare more affordable.
Then again, not all Pennsylvania voters were on Team Trump. Some who opposed Trump are traveling to D.C. the day after the inauguration for the Women’s March on Washington.
Other politicos in the news
Trump isn’t the only politician making headlines in Pennsylvania. The three row offices got new occupants — or newly inaugurated old occupants.
After a year plus of controversy, the new Attorney General, Josh Shapiro, started his term by releasing a new code of conduct for the office. The incoming treasurer is facing an uphill battle with a large state budget deficit. And Auditor General Eugene DePasquale was sworn in for a second term before jumping into the unemployment center funding debate.
Senator Bob Casey says he is planning to veto nominees for three cabinet-level positions: Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education, Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General and Scott Pruitt for Environmental Protection Agency Administrator. Casey started the new legislative session by proposing two bills that would help to bring jobs back to struggling communities.
Pennsylvania mayors in D.C. this week for the U.S. Conference of Mayors say they are just going to keep trying to build strong cities, no matter what is happening in the federal government.
Meanwhile, former Harrisburg Mayor Stephen Reed will go to trial next week, the next turn in a decades-long political saga.
What can Pennsylvania learn from Ontario’s education system? That’s a question we explored a few weeks ago in a multi-part series.
Keystone Crossroads’ Kevin McCorry told WPSU that his big takeaway from the reporting trip was, “here is another place, doing things completely differently. They are very close by and by comparsion, they’re doing better than us.”
Pennsylvania struggles on a few fronts, including the question of funding equity. Proposals to change the current funding system would be slow to implement, if they pass at all.
The state is taking some steps that would help to emulate our neighbors to the north, including reducing the state’s reliance on standardized testing as a measure of success.