Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro’s lack of bipartisan leadership during his first nine months as governor has resulted in the passage of very few policy initiatives, notes Philadelphia Inquirer columnist and Commonwealth Foundation Executive Vice President Jennifer Stefano in her recent column. With Democrats controlling both the governorship and State House, the governor’s record has been a legislative flop.
Stefano takes sharp aim at Shapiro’s lack of legislative action: “Through the end of July, only 15 bills reached Shapiro’s desk. This contrasts—according to an analysis by the Commonwealth Foundation going back to 1975—with an average of 86 bills signed into law by his predecessors in the same time frame.
“By that standard alone, Shapiro is the least productive governor of Pennsylvania in the last 50 years,” she writes.
Here’s what Shapiro has been doing: He failed for months to close a deal on the budget, which is still unfinished. He traveled out of state to audition for a future presidential run. He has mostly kept quiet about the sexual harassment complaints that led his longtime political ally and top political aide, Mike Vereb, to resign after being accused of sexually harassing (and then retaliating against) a subordinate. Shapiro also vetoed his own priority of passing Lifeline Scholarships. …
Many in Harrisburg saw Shapiro as a political savant—a moderate Democrat who could win over not just swing voters but Republicans as well. His ability to cut through the bureaucracy on the I-95 disaster only added to this sheen. …
His savant status was called into question this July when Democratic House Majority Leader Matt Bradford upended Shapiro’s hard-won deal with Senate Republicans on Lifeline Scholarships. When Bradford broke ranks with the governor, Shapiro was forced to veto Lifeline Scholarships.
Shapiro once said he would fight for Pennsylvania children the way he would fight for his own kids. It’s hard to believe Shapiro would veto a program leaving his kids stranded in schools where they suffer violent and dangerous conditions…
The Lifeline, or the voucher program [the Republican priority], and the Level Up program that Democrats support are really the linchpin to getting to a complete resolution here, state Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa said a few weeks ago.
But Costa also noted they need leadership. Until we reconcile those two differences, we’ll be at a logjam here. Ending that logjam requires a governor.
Shapiro can’t wait for another bridge collapse to get something done.
He needs to build bridges with Republicans after burning them on the Lifeline Scholarship deal and to start leading his party to pass effective legislation that benefits all Pennsylvanians.
You can read Stefano’s entire column here.
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