Shapiro sworn in as governor

Said in address, ‘Hope defeated fear’

Young blond woman with glasses smiling

By Molly K. Peters

Knightly News Reporter

HARRISBURG – Gray skies couldn’t keep thousands of people away from the Capitol Tuesday as Josh Shapiro took the oath of office as Pennsylvania’s 48th governor.

To some, the dreary 32-degree weather in Harrisburg represented the long campaign to victory for Shapiro, a Democrat who ran for governor while serving as attorney general. Shapiro delivered to a large crowd outside the Capitol a promising address after being sworn in by Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Debra Todd.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Debra Todd administers the oath of office to Josh Shapiro in Harrisburg on Tuesday. The image is projected onto a large screen. Photo by Molly K. Peters

“You … sent a clear message – Democrats, Republicans and Independents – when you came together to resoundingly reject extremism,” Shapiro told the crowd, as recorded by numerous media outlets. “Together, hope defeated fear. Unity triumphed over division. We proved that we value our freedoms, and we’re willing to do the hard work necessary to protect our fundamental rights. And to those who didn’t cast their vote for me, I heard you, too. And I will do my best every day to be a governor for all Pennsylvanians.”

The diverse crowd, which included blue-collar workers seated next to white-collar workers, people of many ethnic and racial backgrounds, and citizens young and old, seemed a testimony to Shapiro’s promise in the wake of his record-breaking election victory.

“I am particularly touched that several of our former governors are with us today,” Shapiro said. “It’s an honor to have Gov. Ridge, Gov. Schweiker and Gov. Corbett here – and Gov. Rendell watching from home.”

Tom Wolf, whom Shapiro succeeded after Wolf’s second term, also attended.

People at Shapiro’s inauguration behind the Capitol in downtown Harrisburg.
Photo by Molly K. Peters

Shapiro’s inauguration reflected themes of justice, strength, unity and service, tolerance and inclusion, a theme reflected in Todd using three Bibles to swear Shapiro in.

One was a family Bible with which Shapiro has been sworn in to every public office he has held since 2005. These offices include state representative, Montgomery County commissioner and attorney general.

The second was a Hebrew Bible he acquired after the 2018 mass-shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue, in Pittsburgh, which survived unharmed.

The third Bible was from the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History, in Philadelphia, which belonged to Herman Weitzman, a U.S. soldier who carried the book while fighting in World War II.

Shapiro, who practices, and is open about and proud of his faith, is the commonwealth’s third Jewish governor, after Milton Shapp and Ed Rendell.

“And now, in this place of tolerance, I stand before you, a proud American of Jewish faith who just took the oath of office to be the 48th governor of this great commonwealth on a Bible from the Tree of Life Synagogue, the scene just four years ago of the deadliest act of antisemitism in our nation’s history,” Shapiro said. “Pennsylvanians can indeed find light in the midst of darkness and drown out the voices of hate and bigotry. You see, in every chapter of this Pennsylvania story, we got better. We got stronger. We got more tolerant.”

Carol Reddick, of Philadelphia, sang the national anthem, leaving the crowd moved. The Pittsburgh Youth Chorus, Hazleton Area High School Marching Band, African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas Choir from Philadelphia and the Lincoln University Choir also performed.

“And so, with my faith firmly rooted in ‘We the People’ of Pennsylvania, with my heart open to others and my eyes fixed ahead, I am prepared to do my part to move our commonwealth forward,” Shapiro said. “Thank you for this honor. May God bless you and watch over the women and men of the Pennsylvania National Guard. Thank you.”

Comment or story idea? Contact KnightlyEditors@CentralPenn.Edu.

Edited by media-club co-adviser and blog editor Professor Michael Lear-Olimpi.