HARRISBURG, Pa. — Newswatch 16 was there as Josh Shapiro took the oath of office just after noon at the Capitol, becoming the 48th governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
In his acceptance speech, Gov. Shapiro preached bipartisanship, emphasizing his support from Independents and Republicans in the election when he rolled up a powerhouse 15-percentage point victory over the Republican nominee, State Senator Doug Mastriano.
"It was people from all walks of life, from rural, urban, and suburban communities. You united to tell me what you think. You showed the underlying goodness within our commonwealth that you want a society that creates opportunity for all people. From God's country to Gettysburg, I heard you when you said you want good schools for our kids, safe communities, and an economy that gives people a shot and lifts them up. You also sent a clear message — Democrats, Republicans, and Independents — when you came together to resoundingly reject extremism here in Pennsylvania."
Gov. Shapiro did not spell out specific goals but pledged to work with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to move Pennsylvania forward.
"To those who didn't cast a vote for me, I heard you too. And I will do my best every day to be a governor for all Pennsylvanians. But right now, now is the time to join together behind the unified 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 said.
"He's got a full plate, and it's a busy job, but I really have great faith that he'll do a wonderful job," said Rep. Bridget Kosierowski, (D) 114th District in Lackawanna County.
The Hazleton Area High School marching band provided some of the pomp and circumstance for Gov. Shapiro's swearing-in. For many of the students, it was their first trip to the Capitol in Harrisburg.
"Everyone was shocked and surprised when we were asked to be a part of this event, but everyone was so excited, and we prepared very well in a short amount of time," said senior Aria Forte.
"This was an outstanding experience for the students and for Hazleton Area High School. They worked so hard this year," Joe Stefanko said.
Pittston Mayor Mike Lombardo was among those from northeastern and central Pennsylvania on hand for the history-making day.
"It was a great message that the governor delivered," Lombardo said. "I look forward to working with him. I think we have a lot of optimistic days ahead of us."
It's the first time since 1959 that one elected Democrat followed another in the governor's office and the first time that Democrats won three straight elections for governor in Pennsylvania.