HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Josh Shapiro was sworn in as Pennsylvania’s 48th governor on Tuesday highlighting bipartisanship and democracy.
“I am humbled to stand before you today as Pennsylvania’s 48th governor,” Shapiro said at the start of his remarks from the podium. “Along the winding road that has led to this moment, I have been grounded in my faith and family.”
In his speech, Shapiro did not spell out specific policy aims, but he emphasized themes that he has developed before and after the election: that voters are embracing democracy, rejecting extremism and asking their leaders to protect their rights and make progress on important quality-of-life issues.
“Now is the time to join together behind the unifying strength of three simple truths that have sustained our nation over the past two-and-a-half centuries: that above all else, beyond any momentary political differences, we value our freedom, we cherish our democracy, and we love this country,” Shapiro wrote in prepared remarks.
House Republican Leader Bryan Cutler responded to Shapiro’s swearing in with congratulations and the hopes of bipartisanship.
“As a candidate, Gov. Shapiro offered many policy proposals that provided a path to bipartisan accomplishment and real progress for our shared goals,” said Cutler. “As we look ahead, it is our hope that Gov. Shapiro governs under that same spirit and with a true willingness to find common ground.”
The ceremony included three bibles for the swearing-in process including a Hebrew bible provided by the Tree of Life Synagogue.
Additionally, the ceremony featured an invocation led by local interfaith leaders who will deliver a joint prayer over the governor and the Commonwealth.
The inaugural ceremony included performances from:
- The Lincoln University Choir, Lincoln University was founded in 1854, is located in Chester County, and is the nation’s first degree-granting HBCU.
- The Pennsylvania State Police Honor Guard, the Commonwealth’s chief law enforcement officers, will perform the presentation of colors.
- The African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas Choir, from the Historic African Episcopal Church of Philadelphia, currently consists of 60 singers, ministers, and musicians. The choir’s membership represents more than 10 different area churches.
- The Pittsburgh Youth Chorus serves the Western Pennsylvania region through exceptional choral music education and artistry, with a focus on personal development, community engagement, travel, and cultural exchange.
- The Hazleton Area High School Marching Cougars, a local high school marching band from Northeastern Pennsylvania and the Cavalcade of Bands American A Champions
- Roland Scarinci, a World War II veteran and Philadelphia native, will be leading the Pledge of Allegiance. Roland will celebrate his 100th birthday on February 18, 2023
Among those in attendance were former Governors Tom Wolf, Tom Corbett, Mark Schweiker, and Tom Ridge. Senators Bob Casey and John Fetterman were also among the dignitaries who traveled to Harrisburg on Tuesday.
Shapiro also highlighted guests that included victims of wage theft, gun violence, and sexual abuse, some of whom he worked with as Attorney General.
Stephanie Mack and Brittany Sisca, the wives of Pennsylvania State Trooper Martin Mack and Trooper Branden Sisca, who were killed in the line of duty last March, were also in attendance.
“Thank you for being with us today,” said Governor Shapiro. “We continue to honor and respect your husbands. May their memories be a blessing.”
The full speech can be read below
Shapiro, a Democrat who was elected to two terms as attorney general, became the first Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate to receive 3 million votes during the November election.
Shapiro received 56.49% of the vote to Republican State Sen. Doug Mastriano‘s 41.71%. Libertarian Matthew Hackenburg received 0.96%, Green Party candidate Christina PK Diguilio received 0.46%, and Keystone Party candidate Joseph Soloski received 0.38%.
Shapiro ran unopposed during the May primary, focusing much of his attention early on the Donald Trump-endorsed candidate Mastriano.
The winner of the last six governor’s races has won by more than 200,000 votes. Only seven Pennsylvania governor’s races since 1900 have come within 100,000 votes, the last time being in 1986.
Until Shapiro’s election to replace two-term Gov. Wolf, Democrats had not held the Governor’s Residence for three consecutive terms since 1848. There had not been back-to-back Democrat governors in Pennsylvania since 1955-63.
Once sworn in, the 49-year-old Shapiro will be the youngest governor of Pennsylvania since Schweiker, 48, in 2001. Because Schweiker was promoted following Ridge’s resignation, Shapiro will be the youngest elected governor in Pennsylvania since Dick Thornburgh in 1978.
During his campaign, Shapiro has highlighted his positions on abortion rights, education, criminal justice, voting rights, and healthcare.
Shapiro says that he will support and defend Pennsylvania’s abortion laws up to 23 weeks into pregnancy with consultation from a physician, and after 24 weeks if a woman’s life or health is at risk.
Shapiro’s hand-picked Lt. Gov. Austin Davis was also sworn in on Tuesday, making him Pennsylvania’s first African-American lieutenant governor. State Senate Pro Tempore Kim Ward served as acting lieutenant governor for approximately two weeks between Fetterman’s resignation to serve in the U.S. Senate and Davis’ swearing-in.
Davis was sworn in during a session of the State Senate on Tuesday.
“Today we are sending a message to the next generation of leaders – young people across our state, and especially Black and brown young people – that Pennsylvania has and will always be a place where all are welcomed and where everyone has the opportunity to succeed,” said Davis, in his inaugural remarks.
The Associated Press contributed to this report