My first challenge is to talk about this without using the metaphor “changing landscape”…
Second, I will try to stick with the “facts” as few papers carry much news about the state legislature races and totals.
But let’s start with the gubernatorial election. I’m sure you all know that Attorney General Tom Corbett won, rather handily. In an earlier blog, I talked about the possibility of a Corbett regime that followed the New Jersey pattern. Wednesday Governor Christie announced layoffs of 1,200 (http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9J9CSAG0.htm).
On the campaign trail, and reiterated in yesterday’s news coverage, the Governor-elect has said state agencies will be taking a 10% cut. FYI: some days we are categorized as a state agency, some days we aren’t. But, either way, it’s not a good scenario.
Next, the state House (the Senate did not change at all in terms of composition — retirees were replaced by members of the same party everywhere). For the bulk of the campaign, we had an intense interest in the House elections. The Democrats had a slender majority since 2006, so we wondered how it would hold up under the pressure of the 2010 mid-term elections, when the party in power in the White House usually takes a hit.
They didn’t do well.
As of the latest count, the Republicans rule the House with a 112-91 majority. Tidal wave, tsunami, sweep…pick your metaphor. It’s not the largest in state history, but it’s a big swing (the D’s lost 72 in 1938).
The current majority leader, Todd Eachus (Luzerne), lost. As did a swath of D’s immediately south and east of his district in a surprise — everyone knew the Philly suburbs was a battleground. And there were incumbent losses by the D’s in the southwest, too.
This switch in the party with the majority, of course, has consequences — we expect changes in policy and approach to issues. We’ll see if the campaign rhetoric is followed by governing on the platform, but it will definitely be a shift.
As to leadership — early speculation has Minority Leader Sam Smith (Jefferson) moving up to the Speaker’s position.
And current whip Mike Turzai (York) becoming Majority Leader.
In terms of education leadership, currently it’s Paul Clymer (Bucks Co) in Education, and Bill Adolph (Delaware Co), who has only recently become minority chair of Appropriations.
Laura and Lauren noted Wednesday morning in our post-mortem meeting that none of those four come from districts surrounding our 14 campuses.
That’s the current view from Harrisburg. It’s early November. Everyone here is interested to see what will really happen when the changes come into effect in January.