Pennsylvania's Latino voters are only growing in number.
Just getting FORTY UNDER 40
Joanna McClinton, the new Democratic leader of the House, and other faces of the future.
Benjamin J. Connors Esq., CAE
on being awarded the
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Contents | NOVEMBER 2021 EDITOR’S NOTE … 4
Why ballot questions should be written in plain language
RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA … 7
Keystone State Republicans are coming around to the idea of legalizing pot
THANKSGIVING DAY PARADE … 8
These famous folks from Pennsylvania have done more than just sign autographs
LATINO VOTING … 10 We look at the Latino voting surge and what it means for upcoming elections
JOSH SHAPIRO … 12 He’s emerged as the central figure in the governor’s race JOANNA MCCLINTON … 14
The House minority leader’s faith-based foundation prepared her for the job at hand
FORTY UNDER 40 … 21 Meet the rising stars in Pennsylvania politics
WINNERS & LOSERS … 62
Who was up and who was down last month
City & State Pennsylvania
IT’S OFFICIALLY space heater-season at my desk, and while I’ll miss the “summer October” few of us enjoyed for a little while, the month of November – for me – triggers thoughts of hoodie weather, hot toddies, Thanksgiving – and, of course, Election Day. Yes, it was weeks ago, but I love Election Day because I’m a nerd and usually study ahead of time who is on the ballot. Equally important are the ballot questions. This is where it can get tricky for some voters. While some of us already have our minds made up before we get to the polls (or vote by mail), the ballot questions can stump even the sharpest so-called know-it-all. Take for example, the City of Allentown, which tried to pull a fast one on its residents in this month’s election by awkwardly wording a ballot question that would have removed English as the city’s official language. It read: “Shall paragraph B of Section 101 of the City of Allentown Home Rule Charter be removed from the Charter?’’ That section of the city charter states that English is Allentown’s official language, but unless the average voter looked that up ahead of time, odds are good they wouldn’t have understood the question. Voters are often being asked for permissions in stilted, convoluted language and would rather just skip over the ballot questions or instinctively vote “yes,” thinking they are doing the right thing. Putting the questions in plain language would benefit everybody, especially people who are unfamiliar with legal jargon. As I write this, some ballots are still being counted and Pennsylvania saw a huge voter turnout, especially for an odd-year election. I’d say that’s a good sign. And we cover examples of that in this month’s magazine, starting with a story on voting trends in Latino communities across the state. It appears members of all political factions are trying to connect with people in these communities, which will lead to better representation and higher voter turnout. We tracked Josh Shapiro and his bus tour as it made its way across the state during his campaign for governor. A friend and trusted source recently told me he thinks Shapiro is one of the best administrators in the state and stands a good chance of winning. That no other Democrat has put up a challenge speaks volumes. (Granted, it’s early yet.) As she approaches her one-year mark as House minority leader, Joanna McClinton reflects on how she got there in the first place and what she plans to do to pave the way for the next generation of women in charge. And we tip our hat to 40 young people who have done a whole lot in not so many years. They are entrepreneurs, executives, elected officials – and they are just getting started.
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and all of the awardees, for being named City & State's 40 under 40 2021!
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December 2, 2021 | 1:00 – 4:30pm CITY & STATE PA’S VIRTUAL HEALTHCARE SUMMIT will offer industry executives, public sector leaders and academics a half day virtual conference dedicated to fostering partnerships between government and the private sector to improve the delivery of healthcare services. We will hear from policy makers, healthcare organizations and advocacy groups within the healthcare industry in three separate panel discussions.
Managed Care & the ACA in Pennsylvania Panel • Jessica Altman, Insurance Commissioner;
Acting Secretary Pennsylvania Department of Human Services
Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson U.S. House Representative PA-15 District and Justin Sweitzer, Senior Reporter, City & State PA
Pennsylvania Insurance Department
• Zach Sherman, Executive Director; Pennie The Crisis of Pennsylvania’s Aging & Vulnerable Populations Panel • Maria Collett, RN, State Senator; Pennsylvania •
State Senate Nora Dowd Eisenhower, Executive Director; Mayor’s Commission on Aging
Innovative Health Programs & Services in Pennsylvania Panel • Douglas Jacobs, MD, MPH, Chief Medical •
Officer & Chief Innovation Officer; Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Christopher Chamberlain, MS RN CHEP, Vice President, Emergency Management; The Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania
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EMOCRATS HAVE routinely introduced legislation to legalize pot in PA, but the state has not puffed, but rather passed on the idea of legalizing recreational marijuana. But now that two of the state’s neighbors (we see you New York and New Jersey) have legalized it, there appears to be newfound interest in the idea within the state Capitol. State Sens. Dan Laughlin of Erie and Mike Regan of Cumberland have both backed bills that would legalize getting high. If more get on board, “going green” will have a much bigger meaning in Pennsylvania.
JAN HAVLICEK/SHUTTERSTOCK; SENATE REPUBLICAN COMMUNICATIONS
Are Republicans blazing a new trail toward legal weed?
City & State Pennsylvania
Support for marijuana legalization in Pennsylvania has grown since 2006. (Credit: Franklin & Marshall College Center For Opinion Research)
MARCH 2006: 22% FEBRUARY 2013: 36% MAY 2017: 56% MARCH 2021: 59%
3.4 BILLION How much in sales the state has generated since the onset of its medical marijuana program.
581 PUFF By Justin Sweitzer
The number of dispensary sales since the program began in 2018.
“I believe that, especially since the states around us are now legalizing it, and our citizens are going to be driving across the border to purchase these products elsewhere, I think it is rather inevitable. ” – State Sen. Dan Laughlin
The number of patients and caregivers included in Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program. The estimated annual tax revenue that could be generated by taxing recreational marijuana at roughly 35%, according to a 2018 report.
HISTORY ON PA 8
FRED ROGERS “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” was viewed by millions each day and often tackled difficult subjects, helping to break the color barrier when Francois Clemmons joined Rogers on set.
TURKEY TIME is almost here, so we’re recognizing some of the top trailblazers this holiday season, from those who first shaped our nation to the political influencers of today.
WILL SMITH West Philly born and raised, Will Smith once pulled the plug on shooting a movie in Georgia because of a recent passage of a law he found to be regressive and restrictive to non-white voters.
NELLIE BLY Even without her trip around the world, Bly would be remembered for her innovations, her charity work and her contributions to literature and journalism.
TAYLOR SWIFT The “Shake It Off” singer has been more vocal about politics in recent years, starting in 2018, when she donated to the March for Our Lives campaign to end gun violence.
TINA FEY Sure, you know her from “SNL” and “30 Rock,” but Tina Fey is known for her charity work to end world hunger and has been a vocal advocate for women’s rights and the LGBTQ community.
PINK The Doylestown singer stuck up for the Norwegian women’s beach handball team when they were fined for wearing shorts instead of bikini bottoms during a championship game.
ARADE November 2021
City & State Pennsylvania
Some famous Pennsylvania historymakers – then and now.
By City & State
KEVIN HART A critic of cancel culture and advocate for free speech, Kevin Hart has said that people should stop assuming comics have bad intentions and take them for what they are – entertainers.
WILLIAM PENN It should go without saying the namesake of our state gets a place in our parade. He founded the commonwealth and the principles installed in our Constitution.
BOB SAGET This Abington High School graduate plays it coy when it comes to his political leanings, but never fails to keep his loyal fans in stitches when it comes to his raunchy taste in humor, political or otherwise.
RICHARD GERE Philly native Richard Gere is an advocate for human rights in Tibet and has been an outspoken critic of China because of its oppression of the Tibetan people. Back at home, he’s endorsed Democrats for president and donated to their campaigns.
The Latino vote in Pennsylvania is only growing
ENNSYLVANIA IS changing and politicians have to catch up. The 2020 census results revealed more than just how voting maps can be drawn, but they also showed the growing influence of Latino voters in Pennsylvania politics. “The truth of the matter is that from here on out, there is no candidate who can win Pennsylvania without courting the Latino vote,” state Rep. Manuel Guzman told City & State. “It’s not a community that you can kind of just brush aside anymore. It is a community that you actively need to engage with and actually get your hands on the ground and get feet on the ground.” Within the last 10 years, the Keystone State’s demographics have changed significantly. The commonwealth’s white population fell by more than 500,000, while the Hispanic population grew by about 330,000. Latinos now make up the majority of the population in Allentown, 29% of Bethlehem, 69% in Reading and 15% in Philadelphia. Luzerne and Lehigh counties also saw jumps in their Latino populations by 25,000 and 31,000, respectively. And a 45.8% increase in the Latino population in Philadelphia accounted for about two-thirds of the city’s overall population growth. Following all those increases, Latinos now make up about 8% of the state’s population. Census data shows that the population accounted for just 3.2% of the state population in 2000 and about 5.7% in 2010. Guzman, who represents the City of Reading, was the Latino constituency director for President Joe Biden’s campaign in Pennsylvania. He said that while both Democrats and Republicans will have to work for the Latino vote, he’s seen the Democratic Party ignore them before. “The party has taken people of color for granted and taken our votes for granted,” he said. “I’m not surprised that many Latinos feel disenfranchised and feel left out of the political process, because quite frankly, I can imagine that no one has cared enough to knock on somebody’s door to ask them about what they care about and what they
Politicians are quickly learning to court the Latino vote. But which side does it better?
look for in a representative.” Even though Biden received the majority of Hispanic votes in 2020, former President Donald Trump made gains among the group overall, according to Pew Research Center. Engaging with Latino communities is a must, but not every community is the same. When talking to Allentown’s mayoral candidates and advocates last month, one message was clear: Latino voters are not a monolith.
By Harrison Cann
“Latinos are getting more engaged now than ever. They’re tired of just sitting on the sidelines,” Tim Ramos, the Republican candidate for mayor, told City & State. “I think it’s about high time that both parties do the job and start recognizing that the Latino community is telling [them] that they need to start having real solutions and start listening to them if you want to earn their vote.” Ramos, who said he cherishes his Puerto Rican heritage and has remained active in
City & State Pennsylvania
Tuerk defeated Republican Tim Ramos in the Allentown mayoral race earlier this month.
his community for years, served as the vice chair of the Lehigh County Republican Committee. He said Latinos in Allentown care about real world issues over identity politics and that played a role in the gains Trump made in Pennsylvania. “At the end of the day, what people want is to provide for their families,” Ramos said. Latino voters may not have liked Trump’s attitude or rhetoric, but keeping their businesses open and thriving were top priorities. In cities like Reading and Allentown,
voters will be looking for candidates that don’t just pander to them but understand their community and work to properly represent them. Allentown’s recent mayoral election resulted in the city’s first Latino mayor. Mayor-elect Matt Tuerk is of Cuban descent. He said his ability to speak Spanish went a long way in connecting with city residents, many of whom said officials never attempted to reach out to them. “They need to take Latino voters very seriously,” Tuerk said of Democratic candidates. “[The party] can learn from what is happening here and take that to places like Lancaster and Philadelphia and have a positive impact.” But what exactly is happening in cities like Allentown and how can candidates engage with voters? Diana Robinson, civic engagement director at Make The Road Pennsylvania, said it comes down to candidates actively listening instead of just talking, and more importantly, understanding the values and cultures of the communities they’re looking to represent. “We make up such a big percentage of these communities, but oftentimes, we don’t see elected officials who represent us or our values,” Robinson said. “We are invested in supporting and elevating candidates that will not only look like us but support our values and our struggles.” Make The Road Pennsylvania is a Latino organization that helps low-income and working-class immigrants in Philadelphia, Berks and Lehigh counties fight for change in their communities. Robinson said they’ve been working on voter registration efforts to help communities get more involved. The issues that matter most to them are not uncommon. During the pandemic, many people were worried about health and safety, affording rent and utilities and quality education. Will Gonzalez, executive director of Ceiba, told City & State: “this is not complicated.” “It’s paying attention. It’s listening. It’s talking,” Gonzalez said. “If you think that only speaking Spanish is going to do it, [you’re] wrong. It’s not just speaking Span-
ish. It’s hearing what the needs are for that constituency.” Ceiba is a coalition of Latino community-based organizations in Philadelphia. Gonzalez said the 2020 election proved Democrats need to do more to maintain the Latino voting bloc, but that the issues are not limited to either party. Campaigns and organizations have numerous tactics to improve outreach to voters, particularly people of color. Although it may sound easy to engage with communities to understand their values, Guzman says cultural competence must be an integral part of campaigns.
”Latinos are getting more engaged now than ever. They’re tired of just sitting on the sidelines.” –Tim Ramos
“The number one thing is having cultural competence within these campaign structures, someone who understands what the situations on the ground are like, and can direct candidates in terms of the pitfalls to avoid,” he said. In addition to his work on the Biden campaign, Guzman also helped Reading Mayor Eddie Moran get elected. He said past campaigns have failed to truly connect with Latino voters who can be transient in cities like Reading. Going out to meet them and getting your message across must go beyond just using Google Translate to print materials in Spanish, he said. “We care about bread and butter issues just like everyone else,” Guzman said. “But you also need to invest the resources right and real dollars that are necessary to turn out these very hard-to-reach voters.”
Fight Club Josh Shapiro’s followers grow daily as he has framed himself the ‘fighter’ for the next governorship.
By Justin Sweitzer
each side. With “The Fighter” by Gym Class Heroes playing in the background, Shapiro wanted voters to know that he would never back down from a fight as the state’s next governor. It became a common refrain throughout Shapiro’s time on the campaign trail in October, when he made stops in 18 Pennsylvania counties as part of his “Big Fights Bus Tour,” where he highlighted his vision for Pennsylvania. He trekked from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia and from Abington to Erie, and said the case for his candidacy is clear: he has the track record and the tenacity to tackle the state’s most pressing issues. “I have a strong record of taking on big fights,” Shapiro said in an interview with City & State PA, reflecting back on his time as a state representative, chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, and now, Pennsylvania Attorney General. Throughout his time on the trail, Shapiro walked through his record as a public official, from his work to close Montgomery County’s financial deficit to an earthshat-
Shapiro is the likely Democratic nominee for governor of Pennsylvania.
tering investigation led by his office that revealed widespread sexual abuse within Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses. But while Shapiro is happy to tout his record in public service, he also acknowledges that there are plenty of battles ahead of him. He listed education as a top priority, saying the state needs to develop a comprehensive blueprint for it and help students chart a pathway from pre-K all the way through college or vocational training. He has also said the state needs to do more to protect the environment from the impacts of climate change, while simultaneously protecting union jobs. Shapiro said he would make a determination on the future of Gov. Tom Wolf’s plan to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
once elected to the governor’s office, but stressed that the state could reduce emissions and create jobs by developing a plan to cap Pennsylvania’s abandoned oil and gas wells. The Democratic attorney general also said he wouldn’t shy away from rejecting proposals that would limit abortion access, voting rights or the ability of workers to unionize. “I won’t be afraid to use my veto pen,” Shapiro told City & State, echoing a common refrain he’s stressed to voters on the campaign trail. But while Shapiro has been quick to show his fighting spirit in the early months of his campaign, he’s also hoping to be a unifier. “I’ve got a track record of bringing Democrats and Republicans together, both
T EACH STOP along the campaign trail, Josh Shapiro sent a message to voters before ever stepping off his blue bus, emblazoned with an impossible-to-miss “Shapiro For Governor” decal on
City & State Pennsylvania
The Montgomery County native is entering the race with no primary opponent and $10 million in the bank.
electorally … as well as governing, and I’m prepared to meet this moment and tackle these big challenges,” he said. During campaign stops across the state, Shapiro supporters said they were drawn to the candidate for his devotion to the causes he cares about, as well as his track record. “Not only does he have the knowledge, but he has the courage to stand up and speak what needs to be said. Not all politicians are able to do that as well as he does,” said Maria Sweet, a retired Centre County college professor who spent time as an education policy analyst for former Gov. Dick Thornburgh, a Republican. “It’s rare to find somebody with those qualities [in] either party,” she said. Marty Tuzman, a Montgomery County resident who owns the Philadelphia-based Jenkintown Building Services, was at Shapiro’s campaign launch event in Abington on Oct. 13. Tuzman said he has worked with Shapiro on reentry and workforce development projects and always found Shapiro to have shown passion, as well as having “a heart that is there for the people.” Shapiro has made clear that there are a host of issues he wants to address as governor, but he’ll have to clear some more hurdles before he gets there, including some daunting political headwinds. Shapiro is hoping to win a statewide contest in a midterm election year that could be precarious for Democrats. With a Democrat in the White House and Republicans nearly sweeping this year’s statewide ju-
dicial races, Pennsylvania politicos are in agreement that Shapiro has his work cut out for him. “If you put him in a different cycle, I think he’s unstoppable,” said a Republican operative with experience working on statewide campaigns who agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity. “I think
”Not only does he have the knowledge, but he has the courage to stand up and speak what needs to be said.” –Maria Sweet
he’s a really good candidate. He’s talented, he raises money, he’s very focused and deliberate on how he goes about things. The question is going to be, is that enough in a Biden midterm?” Christopher Nicholas, a veteran Republican political consultant, agreed. Nicholas said that since the gubernatorial race will occur during a midterm election, and at a time when President Joe Biden’s approval
rating is low, Republicans will have an advantage heading into 2022. “When you look at the political environment, you have to put that now as a definite edge for the GOP, and that is primarily driven by something that Josh Shapiro or John Fetterman can’t control, which is what’s going on with the federal government and President Biden’s approval rating,” Nicholas said. He added that Shapiro will likely have to fend off attacks about his tendency to leave positions before his term is up, as Shapiro left both the Pennsylvania General Assembly and the Montgomery County Commissioners to seek other elected posts. That’s not to say Shapiro isn’t heading into 2022 in a favorable position. He’s entering an election year with no primary opponent and $10 million in the bank, while an ever-growing field of Republicans will have to make their case to voters as to why they should be the GOP nominee. Chris Borick, the director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion, said Shapiro has put himself in the best-possible position to run for governor despite the political challenges facing him in the midterms. And for a candidate who is itching for a fight, Shapiro is going to get one. “By all likelihood, Josh Shapiro, with all his attributes and assets, is heading into headwind in 2022,” Borick said. “And thus, he’ll need all those things to be able to win this race.”
A Higher Plane CityAndStatePA .com
How House Democratic Leader Joanna McClinton’s evangelical upbringing shaped the way she sees the future.
By Harrison Cann
EFORE SHE BECAME a lawyer, Joanna McClinton was singing hymns in church and hosting a gospel radio show during vacation Bible school in Southwest Philly. All that was before a global pandemic and political strife split the country apart. Things are different now. She’s still a believer, but she does a lot of her speaking from the state Capitol in Harrisburg, where she works. People listen to her now, and she has been breaking barriers since her time in the legislature began. The biggest milestone came last year when she was elected as the Democratic leader of the state House, and in the process, becoming the chamber’s first female floor leader and the first Black woman to lead a party in Harrisburg. Pennsylvania currently ranks 31st in the nation in the number of female lawmakers in the state legislature. The 2021-2022 General Assembly is nearly 30 percent female, just below the national average. As she approaches her one-year mark as minority leader, McClinton reflected on how she adjusted to the new role, how she got there in the first place and how she can pave the way for others after her. Admittedly, McClinton never wanted to become a politician. Growing up, she said her career ambitions shifted from lawyer to actress to hairdresser, and then, preacher. Surprisingly, she’s been able to check a couple of those off her list. She served in church as a youth for more than a decade and is now an ordained minister. She went
City & State Pennsylvania
McClinton has represented the 191st House district in Delaware County and Philadelphia since 2015.
on to graduate from Grace Temple Christian Academy in her native Southwest Philadelphia and later earned a dual degree in political science and leadership in global understanding from La Salle University. At Villanova, she earned her law degree. Democratic Whip and fellow state Rep. Jordan Harris has known McClinton almost their entire lives. He said they went to vacation Bible school together as children and even hosted a gospel radio show in Philadelphia as teenagers. He said two things, in no particular order, drive McClinton more than anything: family and faith. “She’s always been ahead of her time,” Harris told City & State. “She’s an exceptional student and a very deeply spiritual person.” McClinton, 39, grew up in a tight-knit family with a role model in her mother, who worked at a local university while also running a small catering business. “I always was pretty fortunate to see my mom as a model of a hard-working woman,” she told City & State. “[She] devoted a good portion of what would be her personal time to giving back in the faith realm, whether it was running a summer camp in our church or something like that. I got to see that we have the ability to do something to help other people. That was certainly a preeminent force in my life and motivates me still.” McClinton has utilized those motivations to make her way to one of the highest public offices in the state. She has more than just her family and faith to thank, as her legal experiences have also shaped the kind of lawmaker she is today. Through law school, McClinton worked at the Regional Housing Legal Services in Montgomery County and the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. Her last semester at Villanova led her to start her career as a public defender. She said one of the most notable issues facing youth in the criminal justice system is a lack of support at home. “Working with clients at the public defender’s office, you hear stories about them not completing high school, about them raising themselves, about them not having supports at home, and it just seemed to be a really common denominator, unfortunately,” McClinton said. After working nearly a decade as a public defender, McClinton said she was encouraged to apply to become chief legal counsel
to state Sen. Anthony Williams by Tamika Lane, who held the position before being elected judge. Going from Philadelphia to Harrisburg was a huge adjustment for her. “It was an entirely new world. I was in the place for the first time as a lawyer where I was starting all over again,” McClinton said. Even though she had to start at square one in learning the legislative process and rules of the Senate, Williams said her dedication to the work never wavered. “Sometimes she literally followed me around my office to find out what I was thinking or asking how to do a better job,” Williams told City & State. “I’d have to tell her to just relax, take five feet back and that we’ll catch up at some point. She was extremely committed to serving.” That dedication paid off. When the seat in West Philadelphia where McClinton lives opened up in 2015 following the resignation of then-Rep. Ron Waters, Williams knew she would be a great fit. McClinton, on the other hand, didn’t have any interest in running for office. She said she went to a couple of public meetings and began to realize despite not having political motivations, she did have the desire to advocate and be a voice for others. So she ran – and won the Democratic nomination and the special election in August 2015 – becoming the first female to represent the 191st House District. Once in the Capitol, Williams said colleagues immediately saw McClinton was “smart, intelligent and full of energy.” She became a strong advocate for disadvantaged communities, spending time as a member of the Legislative Black Caucus, LGBTQ Equality Caucus and Women’s Health Caucus, among others. In 2017, longtime House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody appointed her to the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing to advise fair criminal justice sentencing policies. When she quickly made waves in the state House, and when Dermody lost his re-election bid last November, some colleagues began to set their sights on McClinton as his replacement. “I honestly thought it sounded a little silly. But the member called me and said, ‘You’re the only woman in leadership. When will we have another opportunity with this type of vacancy to at least try?’” McClinton remarked. “You don’t want to just try to do something because there’s a
City & State Pennsylvania
void. You have to have real purpose and intention.” That purpose was quickly made clear for McClinton. Her colleagues in the state House of Representatives chose her as minority leader. McClinton, alongside state Sen. Kim Ward, who was elected the Senate majority leader, became the state’s first female floor leaders in the process. McClinton said that day was proof that anyone can get your phone number, as she received countless calls and texts from friends, family and an abundance of unknown numbers. “It was an overwhelming feeling, and the next day, it was still surreal,” she said. “People wanted to do interviews and I just remember thinking, ‘I’m exhausted from all the angst leading up to the race. I can’t do a television interview. I look terrible.’” The scale of it all soon subsided and
”Her priorities are her family and her faith. That’s not something we hear a lot about in politics today.” –State Sen. Anthony Williams
During her time as a public defender, McClinton focused on criminal justice reform.
turned into a feeling of great responsibility and opportunity. It had been more than 40 years since a person of color was a party leader in Harrisburg. “It means a lot, not to just women, but anyone who feels they’re not heard or are being dismissed and overlooked. Her priorities are her family and her faith. That’s not something we hear a lot about in politics today,” Williams said. “It can be very inspirational, but frankly, it’s much more than that. Her story is much broader and means more to others and not just women and people of color.” There’s no downplaying anyone breaking glass ceilings in the state Capitol, but that’s not all that matters to McClinton. She said what’s most important is if that person isn’t ensuring the door is open for
McClinton said it’s important to her to set up the next generation of women leaders.
City & State Pennsylvania
others after them. “It’s no good being the first if there won’t be a second, third or fourth,” McClinton said. “How do we get ourselves organized so that when I’m off the scene that there are other serious women state representatives that are considered for this role? How are there real opportunities for women to not just come after me but surpass me?” Once taking over her leadership role, McClinton’s demeanor didn’t change. Although she said she was taken aback when so many members wanted to ask questions and make comments, she quickly realized that’s not a form of criticism but a recognition of power and a call for change. Williams and Harris said she handled the transition well. “These roles help you grow and help you ensure more of a sense of urgency. They help you open your eyes to more things than you ever thought,” Harris said. “She was committed to making sure everyone’s voice was heard and that everybody had an opportunity for input.” “[She acted] with a steady hand, not overreacting, not overreaching and not always engaging. She was thoughtful about the next step that should be taken. That doesn’t necessarily always come to a young leader that’s trying to make an imprint, but that’s just not Joanna’s M.O.,” Williams said. He noted that there were discussions about McClinton’s next political move almost immediately after her election as minority leader. He said she dismissed them “with a lot of vigor.” Rather, McClinton says she’s focusing on the job at hand. Democrats in Harrisburg have spent the last year attempting to implement voting reforms, such as allowing automatic and same-day voter registration and protections for absentee and early voting, but to no avail. They’ve also called for federal pandemic relief funds to be spent on closing gaps exposed by the pandemic, including earmarking a large portion for public school districts across the state. Those ambitious goals have yet to be met as the General Assembly has sided with keeping most federal funds in savings for future emergencies. “I’m really determined that I’m not going to be discouraged by what I’ve seen
thus far. Every week is a new opportunity … a new page and a new chapter where we’re presented with the opportunity to do the right thing,” McClinton said. “We have a responsibility to make sure that we don’t have our children winning or losing because they’re not at a school that has the supports to give them an education and chance at life.” Unsuccessful in getting the desired voting reforms done in time for this past November election, McClinton said that still remains a top priority going into 2022. Another priority is the redistricting process that’s underway. McClinton is one of five members of the state’s Legislative Reapportionment Commission. She and Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa represent Democrats on the commission, while Ward and House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff represent Republicans. Chair Mark Nordenberg, former chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh, is the nonpartisan appointee who’s played a critical role in swing votes. The redrawing of legislative maps will have significant effects on elections in the state for the next 10 years. McClinton said getting her resolution regarding prisoner data reallocation approved was a major step in the right direction. Her resolution, approved by a 3-2 vote, will allow incarcerated individuals in state correctional facilities to be counted at their last home address and not the district in which the institution is located, an act referred to as prison gerrymandering. Another resolution, proposed by Ward, was approved at the following meeting, scaling back McClinton’s resolution to only include inmates whose sentences end prior to the 2030 census. “I’m thrilled the commission ended prison gerrymandering,” McClinton said. “For the most part, the majority of inmates in state facilities will be counted at their home addresses, which is really a matter of justice and humanity.” McClinton has previously indicated her focus is not on moving on to higher political office. Right now, she said she’s committed to getting through the 2021-2022 legislation session, with the duty to help people and small businesses get the support they need.
JOHN NEUROHR On Being Named to City & State's
40 UNDER 40 LIST
Darrell Davis and all the other City & State
Forty Under 40 honorees on this well-deserved honor!
City & State Pennsylvania
THE 2021 PENNSYLVANIA FORTY UNDER 40 They're paving the way for what comes next in politics.
E’RE WITNESSING A changing of the guard in the commonwealth. Whether you’re looking at the upcoming gubernatorial race, contested congressional seats, or even local mayoral and county elections, Pennsylvania politics is being introduced to some fresh faces. In this issue of City & State magazine, we’re recognizing some of the most influential Pennsylvanians under the age of 40. These newcomers include advocates, attorneys, nonprofit and business leaders, and some of the highest-ranking lawmakers from across the state. We’re pleased to introduce City & State Pennsylvania’s 2021 Forty Under 40.
Portraits by Amanda Berg
22 CityAndStatePA .com
SHAUNA BOSCACCY LOBBYIST & GENERAL COUNSEL Maverick Strategies Shauna Boscaccy joined Maverick Strategies as a lobbyist in 2018 after serving as the policy director for former state Sen. Scott Wagner’s gubernatorial campaign. Boscaccy has extensive experience in state government, working in a variety of roles for the Pennsylvania House Republican Caucus before joining the Wagner campaign. She spent time as legal counsel to both the House Insurance and House Judiciary committees, and also served as the executive director for the House Liquor Control Committee. During her time in the House Republican Caucus, Boscaccy advised House members on legislative proposals and goals and helped advance legislative changes. Prior to her time working in state government, Boscaccy spent close to a decade working for Haines & Associates, a boutique litigation firm based in Center City Philadelphia that specializes in injury claims, medical malpractice, legal malpractice and commercial disputes. She is a graduate of Gettysburg College and Widener University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in political science and her law degree, respectively. She also obtained a grant writing certification from Temple University. Boscaccy is a member of the Burgess McCormac Foundation and a board member of the Camp Hill Borough Human Relations Commission. She lives in Camp Hill with her family.
Boscaccy amassed a vast understanding of the state's liquor laws during her time in Harrisburg.
City & State Pennsylvania
JOHN BRADY PHILADELPHIA DIRECTOR Pennsylvania Democratic Party
LISA SCHLAHER PHOTOGRAPHY; GIANNI HILL
Brady has been an organizer and political advisor for the Democratic Party since he was a teenager.
A born and raised Manayunker, John Brady has been involved in Philadelphiaregion politics ever since he began as a Democratic committeeperson at age 19. Today, he is the youngest senior staff member in the history of the Philadelphia Democratic Party and one of the youngest members of the state Democratic committee. He notes Theodore Roosevelt’s famous quote: “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing,” as guiding inspiration. During his time working in Philadelphia politics, he has gone from a consultant and event planner to a strategist and organizer. Now, as the Philadelphia director of the Democratic Party, he is putting in said hard work and utilizing his knowledge to modernize the party. Brady said his mentors include Micah Mahjoubian, policy director for state Sen. Sharif Street and Democratic Party committeeperson; James Harrity, executive director of the 3rd Senatorial District and political director for Laborers Local 57; and congressman and chair of the Philadelphia Democratic Party Bob Brady (no relation). In addition to his work with the state Democratic Party, Brady is a board member of Liberty City LGBTQ Democrats, an executive board member of Philadelphia Young Democrats and Pennsylvania Young Democrats and a trustee of his alma mater Roman Catholic High School.
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MICAH BUCY ASSOCIATE Hawke, McKeon & Sniscak, LLP & Cannabis Law PA Micah R. Bucy is an attorney at Hawke McKeon & Sniscak, LLP, where he represents commercial clients in highlyregulated industries – including the energy sector – before administrative courts, civil courts and local hearing boards. His clients include those in the petroleum, natural gas and electricity industries, and Bucy often works closely with other attorneys at the firm on energy litigation issues. He also is active with Cannabis Law PA, a practice area of Hawke McKeon & Sniscak. In the cannabis space, Bucy’s work focuses
on business formation, licensing, administrative appeals and regulatory and compliance issues, among others. Bucy was a member of the litigation team that helped align the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act’s Clinical Registrant Program with the intent of the legislature to prioritize cannabis research. He also helped litigate a case that resulted in a 2021 Commonwealth Court decision that determined the Pennsylvania Housing Authority could not deny Section 8 housing for medical marijuana patients. Bucy also has helped clients apply for grants and licensing applications in Pennsylvania and across the country. He is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, Maryland and North Carolina, and is a graduate of Cedar Crest High School in Lebanon County, Coastal Carolina University and the University of Maryland School of Law.
STEVE MILLER PHOTOGRAPHY
Bucy joined Hawke McKeon & Sniscak LLP as an associate in March 2015.
Bucy works with fellow firms well established in energy litigation in Pennsylvania.
City & State Pennsylvania
SAMUEL CHEN FOUNDER AND PRINCIPAL DIRECTOR The Liddell Group
Samuel Chen is founder and principal of the Liddell Group, a political strategy firm based out of Allentown.
In addition to hosting a TV show, Chen also wrote a book on the 2016 election.
Samuel Chen knows a thing or two about Pennsylvania politics. As the founder and principal director of The Liddell Group, Chen helps craft strategies and develop messaging for elected leaders, political candidates and organizations, and has represented some major figures in state and national politics, including former Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Pennsylvania Deputy Attorney General Gordon Denlinger. Before launching The Liddell Group in 2015, Chen spent time working in both houses of Congress and has worked for several elected officials, including Sen. Pat Toomey, U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent and former Gov. Tom Corbett. Chen hosts “Face The Issues,” a news journal television show produced by Lighthouse TV that airs in the Philadelphia media market. Not only does he have an extensive background in politics at the state and federal levels, but the political strategist and television host is also dedicated to passing his knowledge on to the next generation of politicos. Chen is currently a program director and assistant professor of political science at Northampton Community College, where he directs the George S. McElwee Forum for Excellence in Public Service. He is a graduate of Baylor University, where he studied philosophy, political science and church-state studies.
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BENJAMIN CONNORS PRESIDENT & CEO General Building Contractors Association Benjamin Connors is a Philadelphia native who joined the General Building Contractors Association in 2015. That year, he was named president and CEO of the GBCA, and in that role, he oversees the GBCA’s staff and helps breathe life into the vision outlined by the association’s board of directors. Since taking over in 2015, Connors has spearheaded an expansion of the association’s membership, and also serves as a trustee for more than $6 billion in union benefits and training funds. He is an active member of various boards and committees in the construction and business sectors, including the Center for Architecture and Design, the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia, the March of Dimes Annual Transportation, Building & Construction Awards and Associated General Contractors of America’s Executive Leadership Committee. He’s also a board member of the Penn Treaty Museum and an affiliate member of the Carpenters Company of the City and County of Philadelphia. In 2019, Connors was honored by Association Trends with the organization’s “Young & Aspiring Professional Award.” He is a graduate of Rutgers University, where he studied political science and labor studies. He also received his law degree from Rutgers Camden School of Law, where he served as Student Bar Association President.
Since taking over in 2015, Connors has expanded his association's membership.
City & State Pennsylvania
BRITTANY CRAMPSIE PRESS SECRETARY
Brittany Crampsie was named press secretary to the Senate Democratic leader and caucus in 2017.
GENERAL BUILDING CONTRACTORS ASSOCIATION; JAMES ROBINSON; CHAMBER OF COMMERCE FOR GREATER PHILADELPHIA
Pennsylvania Senate Democrats During her short time in Pennsylvania politics, Brittany Crampsie went from reporting to consulting before being named the press secretary to the Senate Democratic Leader and caucus in 2017. After receiving a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in political science from Lehigh University, she eventually made her way to central Pennsylvania. She began her career in Harrisburg as an editor at PoliticsPA, an insider blog on electoral and legislative news around the commonwealth. From there, she went into public affairs, spending years consulting for progressive clients while at Triad Strategies and Shelly Lyons. In addition to consulting, Crampsie has also been a regular contributor for abc27 and PCNTV. Now in her fourth year as the press secretary for state Sen. Jay Costa and Senate Democrats, Crampsie serves as a spokesperson and develops messaging for the Senate minority leader and caucus. On top of her work in politics, she spent time on the board of directors at the United Way of Pennsylvania and currently serves as an alumni ambassador for Lehigh. Prior to her nomination to City & State Pennsylvania’s Forty under 40 list, she was recognized in PoliticsPA’s “30 Under 30” list and Central Penn Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” list. She credits her mentors Pete Shelly at Shelly Lyons and Tony Lepore, chief of staff for Costa, for helping her along the way.
Davis is adept at connecting his clients with stakeholders and government officials.
DARRELL DAVIS PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT MANAGER DoorDash A New York transplant living in Philadelphia, Darrell Davis has quickly made a name for himself in the commonwealth. Davis currently serves as the public engagement manager at DoorDash for the midAtlantic region and leverages his political experience to engage with lawmakers and stakeholders. He’s also part of the organization’s public policy team, where he contributes to community engagement and advocacy efforts. Davis received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice with a minor in political science at SUNY Plattsburgh.
Prior to joining the growing technology company, he served on various political campaigns. He moved to Philadelphia to work on then-President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign in 2012, followed by Jim Kenney’s mayoral run in 2015. He later worked in the Kenney administration before serving as the state African-American outreach director for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2016. He then spent more than four years as manager of local government and civic affairs at The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia. In addition to his government affairs work, Davis is a member of the board of trustees for both YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School and Friends of Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School, which look to utilize local partnerships to empower young adults to develop skills and find job opportunities.
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CHRIS DELUZIO POLICY DIRECTOR University of Pittsburgh Institute for Cyber Law, Policy, and Security
Deluzio is policy director for the University of Pittsburgh Institute for Cyber Law, Policy and Security.
An Iraq War veteran, Deluzio served as a Civil Affairs liaison for Special Forces.
COLE HANDERHAN; JOSE RODRIGUEZ, JPROD EVENT RESOURCES LLC
Chris Deluzio has many titles to his name, and with any luck in the 2022 elections, he may add congressman to that list. Deluzio is the policy director of Pitt Cyber, where he focuses on the intersection of technology and voting rights, elections and government algorithms. The Pittsburgh native is also an Iraq War veteran, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate, a voting rights attorney and a Democratic candidate for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 17th Congressional District. Following his service, Deluzio earned his law degree from Georgetown University and clerked in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. As a lawyer, Deluzio has worked to protect elections at the Brennan Center for Justice and has provided pro bono legal representation with The Veterans Consortium and for indigent tenants in Allegheny County. He’s also part of the Pitt Faculty Organizing Committee with the United Steelworkers fighting for unionization. In his latest efforts, Deluzio hopes to succeed U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb in Washington D.C. While on the campaign trail, he’s talked about defending voting rights and democracy, protecting Social Security, veterans benefits and the power of unions. The state’s new congressional maps have yet to be determined based on the recent U.S. Census data, but that hasn’t stopped Deluzio from affirming his candidacy, regardless of how competitive the seat turns out to be.
Del Valle is government affairs director for the Pennsylvania Apartment Association.
City & State Pennsylvania
ANDRE DEL VALLE DIRECTOR OF GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS Pennsylvania Apartment Association During the height of the pandemic, Andre Del Valle understood the housing instability crisis and the occasional struggles between landlords and tenants. Before joining the PAA in February, Del Valle previously worked as a Voting Access Campaign Manager for Pennsylvania Voice, where his work focused on voter protection efforts for communities of color. He also ran for state representative in 2020, seeking the Democratic nomination for the 175th House District seat. Before that, he spent time as a legislative aide for Philadelphia City Councilmember Maria Quiñones Sánchez, where he helped rally support for legislation, drafted citations and resolutions and tracked the advancement of various bills through Council. He also spent time as a coalitions coordinator for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. Del Valle’s political activity helped him get elected as the first Latino president of the Philadelphia Young Democrats, as well as the first Latino president of the Pennsylvania Young Democrats. Under his leadership, Philadelphia Young Democrats were named the “Large Chapter of the Year” in 2019 by the Young Democrats of America. Del Valle is a graduate of both La Salle and Temple universities, where he received his bachelor’s degree in political science, government and Spanish, and his master’s degree in public policy, respectively.
Affordable housing has been a priority for Del Valle throughout his work in politics.
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BETHANY HALLAM COUNCILMEMBER AT-LARGE
Bethany Hallam is an at-Large Council member of the Allegheny County Council.
Clean air and clean water are two of Hallam's major political platforms.
In 2019, Bethany Hallam was elected as a member of Allegheny County Council after mounting a historic bid for the county-level seat. Not only did Hallam defeat the incumbent council president in the Democratic primary, she also became the youngest person ever elected to a countylevel position in Allegheny County. Hallam broke other barriers too, as she was one of the first people in the nation to run for office as a formerly incarcerated person in longterm recovery from an opioid use disorder. Hallam’s personal experiences, coupled with her primary challenge to a powerful opponent, earned her national media attention throughout the course of her campaign. Her campaign prioritized progressive causes, including increased oversight of the county jail, expanding access to public transportation and improving government transparency – which ultimately earned her the support of 53% of voters in the 2019 election. Hallam now represents more than 1.2 million Allegheny County residents as an atlarge member of council, and has made jail oversight a chief priority during her time in office. Hallam is also a member of the Allegheny County Board of Elections, which is tasked with administering elections. As part of the board, Hallam advocated for an extensive voter education campaign in 2020 to inform voters about changes to various voting policies and procedures.
Allegheny County Council
WITF proudly celebrates Blake Lynch
Congratulations to our friend and colleague, Joe Hill, one of City & State’s PA 40 Under 40!
Senior Vice President & Chief Impact Ofﬁcer
on being named to City & State PA’s Forty Under 40. Congratulations to all the Forty Under 40 Honorees!
The Cozen O’Connor Pennsylvania Public Strategies Team Harrisburg | Philadelphia | Pittsburgh copublicstrategies.com
© 2021 Cozen O’Connor
Congratulations Alison Perelman & Trey Miller Governor Rendell and the Rendell Center for Civics and Civic Engagement congratulate our Board Member Alison Perelman and Governor Rendell's Chief of Staff Trey Miller! We heartily agree with their "Forty under 40" recognition!
See the amazing work we are doing and the educational resources we have to offer at rendellcenter.org
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City & State Pennsylvania
PRESTON HELDIBRIDLE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Pennsylvania Youth Congress
Few have gotten involved in Pennsylvania politics as early as Preston Heldibridle. A graduate of Dallastown Area High School’s Class of 2017, he’s played a critical role in advocating for inclusive LGBTQ policies in the commonwealth. Heldibridle served as state policy director for the Pennsylvania Youth Congress, the nation’s first youthled statewide LGBTQ organization, from 2017 until 2021, when he became the organization’s first transgender person to be named executive director. While with PYC, he helped defeat a bill that would remove health care coverage for trans youth enrolled in the Children’s Healthcare Insurance Program. He now oversees the organization’s relationships with more than 400 LGBTQ student groups, in addition to his work assisting school districts with inclusive policies, advocating for local non-discrimination laws, and leading responses to attacks on transgender youth in the General Assembly. Throughout his career, Heldibridle has spoken outwardly against bills such as those aimed at limiting transgender youth from participating in interscholastic sports, arguing that there ought to be inclusion without compromising the rights and safety of everyone. He says that PYC remains focused on advocating for non-discrimination and hate crime-related legislation to explicitly provide legal protections on the basis of gender idenity or sexual orientation. He remains focused on promoting gender recognition legislation that would make it easier for individuals to change their legal name and gender marker.
Heldibridle is executive director of the Pennsylvania Youth Congress, based out of Harrisburg.
Heldibridle is the first transgender person to head the Pennsylvania Youth Congress.
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SCOTT HEPPARD DISTRICT CHIEF OF STAFF Congressman Brendan Boyle Scott Heppard has been serving in the office of U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle for more than a decade. He began working for then-state Rep. Boyle in 2010 and served as field director and campaign manager during Boyle’s first congressional campaign in 2013. Once Boyle was in Washington, Heppard started as the district director in 2015 and took over as the chief of staff at the end of 2020. In his current position, Heppard oversees office operations for the congressman and works with staff in both
Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. on executive outreach and legislative and communications strategies. As a United Food and Commercial Workers union alum, he’s helped Boyle advocate for labor rights and fair treatment of workers. In addition to his political work, Heppard also serves on several local boards, including Fox Chase Cancer Center's Community Advisory Board and Glen Foerd on the Delaware, the only riverfront estate in Philadelphia open to the public. He is a graduate of Temple University, where he earned degrees in economics, political science, and business administration, and remains a resident of the Philadelphia region. When he’s not working in politics, Heppard enjoys coffee and cycling and remains a frustrated but hopeful Flyers fan.
Heppard has helped advocate for labor rights and fair treatment of workers.
S. TOBIN; COZEN O'CONNOR
Scott Heppard is Chief of Staff to Congressman Brendan Boyle in the Philadelphia area.
City & State Pennsylvania
JOSEPH HILL GOVERNMENT RELATIONS PRINCIPAL Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies Joseph Hill, born and raised in the City of Philadelphia, is the lead government relations and public advocacy principal for Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies in the city and southeastern Pennsylvania region. In his second stint with the firm, Hill plays a key role in its executive and legislative advocacy and policy monitoring efforts. Hill received a bachelor’s degree in government and philosophy from Georgetown University. Prior to beginning his burgeoning career in politics, he served as chair of the Philadelphia Youth Commission and testified before the House Budget Committee on higher education policy. He later went on to serve as a Teach for America corps member, where he taught middle school social studies and science, before going to Capitol Hill to serve in a number of roles in the office of U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr. Hill then served as deputy political director for the Hillary for America campaign in the commonwealth, director of public participation for the Democratic National Convention Committee, and then as a government relations professional with Cozen. Hill took a brief hiatus to take over the position of deputy campaign manager and political director for Gov. Tom Wolf’s successful reelection campaign in 2017 and 2018, before returning to Cozen in his current position. Today, he serves on several boards, including Mural Arts Philadelphia, the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts and Historic Philadelphia, Inc.
Joseph Hill is the Government Relations Principal for Cozen O'Connor Public Strategies.
Hill plays a key role in Cozen's executive and legislative outreach efforts.
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Joshua Kail is a state representative serving Pennsylvania's 15th legislative district.
Before taking office, Kail represented small businesses as an attorney.
Joshua Kail is among the youngest Republican representatives serving in the General Assembly. He was born and raised in western Pennsylvania, attended Geneva College and Regent University School of Law, lives in Beaver, and now serves part of Beaver and Washington counties. Before running for office, he built a record of developing privatepublic partnerships working as an attorney representing small and midsize businesses. He also spent time as a solicitor for several boroughs and served for Beaver County’s Children and Youth Services. Describing himself as proSecond Amendment, pro-life and pro-jobs, Kail promises to further develop the 15th district’s energy sector. His other priorities include controlling taxes while modernizing education and scaling back overregulation. When it comes to education, Kail says “every child is different,” and that “giving students and parents more choice in talent development will make our kids more valuable entering the local job market and offer more fulfilling and well-rounded lives.” Kail, who was appointed to serve on the House Education, Environmental Resources and Energy, Judiciary, and Rules committees in the 2021-2022 legislative session, says two of his many mentors are fellow state Rep. Jim Marshall and the Hon. Judge Deborah Kunselman. Most recently, he announced he will introduce a constitutional amendment to reform the Supreme Court’s King’s Bench powers in an effort to depoliticize the Court’s powers.
HOUSE REPUBLICAN PHOTOGRAPHY
City & State Pennsylvania
Llerena is executive director of Make the Road PA, an organization that backs justice for Latino communities.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Make the Road PA Maegan Llerena is executive director of Make the Road PA, an organization dedicated to empowering Latino communities and communities of color throughout the state. Under Llerena’s watch, Make the Road PA is focused on building power within communities, promoting equity and intersectionality, as well as sustainability. Llerena began her time at Make the Road PA as an intern and later became program director, before ascending to executive director. She is also the Pennsylvania
state director for Make the Road Action, the political arm of Make the Road. As an organizer, Llerena has worked to inform community members about local issues, and, while an intern at Make the Road, she helped create its Allentown Organizing Center, which focuses on issues like immigration, police brutality and abortion rights. She is also a member of Pennsylvania Voice, a statewide coalition dedicated to expanding power for communities of color that is made up of more than 30 advocacy organizations. Llerena received her bachelor’s degree in social work from Cedar Crest College and is currently seeking her master’s degree from Temple University. Born in New York, Ilerena is the first-generation daughter of Peruvian immigrants. She currently lives in the Lehigh Valley area.
Llerena once organized a large vigil for a victim in less than 72 hours.
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Lovitz is Senior Vice President of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce.
JONATHAN LOVITZ SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT National LGBT Chamber of Commerce A recognized public policy advocate, community organizer and aspiring public servant, Jonathan Lovitz has a lot of ideas for the Keystone State. He currently serves as senior vice president for the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce and has political goals beyond that, as he’s also running for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives' 182nd district on a “pro-economy, proequity, and pro-solutions” campaign. Lovitz brings experience from NGLCC where he oversees government policy and the organization’s legal, construction and pharma task forces. He’s also contributed to more than 20 local and state laws aimed to help small businesses, particularly veterans, those with disabilities and LGBTQ-owned businesses. Lovitz received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in performance at the University of Florida and made the shift toward advocacy a few years later. He became a vocal LGBT advocate shortly after and joined NGLCC in 2015 as the director in New York. After making his way to Philadelphia, he helped found the PhillyVoting.org initiative to expand voter registration and protect citizens’ rights to vote during the pandemic. He also spends time as a mentor with AmeriCorps PA and Students Demand Action PA, which works to end gun violence in the U.S. He’s helped to raise funds for the Philadelphia Diversity & Inclusion Summit and Liberty City Democrats and serves as a member of the board of directors of the Global Philadelphia Association and the William Way LGBT Community Center.
Lovitz is running for a Pennsylvania House seat in the 182nd District.
TERESA LUNDY PRINCIPAL AND FOUNDER
City & State Pennsylvania
In addition to being a PR whiz, Lundy is also a certified diamontologist.
JOE MAC CREATIVE; MICHAEL GRAY, TML COMMUNICATIONS
TML Communications Since founding TML Communications in 2015, Teresa Lundy has worked with clients in both the public and private sectors throughout Pennsylvania, offering a full range of public relations and communications services. Lundy has worked closely with public officials and advocates to push for criminal justice reforms in Pennsylvania. She represents clients ranging from Doordash and Lyft to the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office and the Laborers’ International Union of North America Local Union 57. Lundy and her firm, which celebrated its sixth anniversary this year, have also worked with government offices and agencies to promote masking and vaccinations throughout the COVID-19 pandemic in an attempt to reduce the spread of the virus in Philadelphia. Lundy was honored for her work in the communications field by AL DÍA, which named her to the “AL DÍA 40 Under Forty” list earlier this year. Lundy’s work can be seen throughout various mediums, including racial equity plans, videos, radio campaigns, billboards, social media and more. She is a board member of the Temple University Klein College of Media and Communication Alumni Association, a member of the board of governors for the Philly Ad Club, a member of the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP and a member of City & State Pennsylvania’s advisory board.
A natural problemsolver, Lundy has the tools to connect people with solutions.
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BLAKE LYNCH CHIEF IMPACT OFFICER WITF, Inc. Blake Lynch was named WITF’s senior vice president and chief impact officer in August and is entrusted with leading the station’s community engagement efforts, as well as its fundraising, corporate sponsorships, marketing and sales. In this role, Lynch oversees efforts to expand the station’s impact and reach, as it currently serves 19 counties across central Pennsylvania. Lynch was most recently the director of community relations for the City of Harrisburg, where he was the liaison between
the city’s Bureau of Police, members of the community and officers in the field. Prior to that, he was the director of development for the Boys & Girls Club of Harrisburg, where he was tasked with securing grants and other gifts supporting the organization’s efforts to provide various programming to Harrisburg area youth. He is currently on the board of directors for both the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank and the Hamilton Health Center in Harrisburg, and serves on the advisory board for the First National Bank of Pennsylvania. Lynch is a lifelong central Pennsylvania resident and a graduate of Messiah College, where he currently serves on the President’s Leadership Council. Lynch lives in the Harrisburg area with his wife and their two sons.
Lynch oversees outreach for WITF, which reaches 2.3 million people in Pennsylvania.
JOANNE CASSARO; PROVIDED
Lynch is Chief Impact Officer at WITF, Inc. in Harrisburg.
City & State Pennsylvania
NEIL MAKHIJA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR IMPACT
Makhija is executive director of IMPACT, the nation's leading Indian and South Asian civic organization.
Makhija serves as president of the South Asian Bar Association of Philadelphia.
IMPACT is the nation’s leading Indian American and South Asian civic and political organization, and Neil Makhija has put its name on the map. The Philadelphia-based attorney leads IMPACT and its affiliates on their mission to engage South Asian and Indian American communities and help them run for, win, and be successful in elected office. Makhija was born and raised as a son of immigrants in Carbon County and went on to earn his law degree at Harvard Law School. His legal work focused on issues of consumer protection, workers’ rights and public interest, and he now serves as a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He has represented the City of Philadelphia against opioid manufacturers and a group of parents and children in the first class-action lawsuit against JUUL Labs, Inc. Makhija was the Democratic nominee for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives 122nd District in 2016, during which time he won a court case protecting the rights of students and recent graduates to run for office in their home state under the Pennsylvania Constitution. In August, he was chosen as one of 13 Asian American and Pacific Islander civil rights leaders to meet President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris at the White House to discuss immigration and voting rights. When not advocating or doing legal work, he serves as president of the South Asian Bar Association in Philadelphia and as a member of the board of trustees at his alma mater, Sarah Lawrence College.
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CARL MARRARA VICE PRESIDENT OF GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association As the vice president of government affairs with the statewide business organization representing the interests of manufacturers, Carl Marrara oversees PMA’s strategic external communications and lobbying efforts throughout the commonwealth. He advocates for pro-growth policies on behalf of PMA, focusing on building coalitions with stakeholders such as regional chambers, trade groups and think tanks. He acts as a writer, producer and reporter for a weekly half-hour news program on Pennsylvania business and government called “PMA Perspective.” He also maintains a partnership with the Business Industry PAC by deploying the “Pennsylvania Prosperity Project,” a voting and legislative toolkit for employers to engage their employees on political activism. Marrara earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Elizabethtown College and a master's degree in public policy from New England College, where he currently serves as a part-time lecturer. Marrara is a member of the Business Industry PAC Prosperity Project Steering Committee and the Elizabethtown College Alumni Association Harrisburg Chapter, where he serves as president-emeritus.
Marrara edits the PMA Bulletin, which analyzes issues facing today's workers.
City & State Pennsylvania
Marrara is Vice President of Government Affairs for the Pennsylvania Manufacturers' Association.
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Miller is chief of staff to former mayor of Philadelphia and governor of Pennsylvania Ed Rendell.
SEAN MELOY VICE PRESIDENT OF POLITICAL PROGRAMS LGBTQ Victory Fund
Rendell has endorsed Miller as a strong administrator, organizer and civil servant.
TREY MILLER CHIEF OF STAFF Former Gov. Ed Rendell Trey Miller has worked for some big names in his young career. As chief of staff for former Gov. Ed Rendell, he manages Rendell’s political initiatives and private sector endeavors, including overseeing strategic campaign support efforts at the local, city and state levels. Miller also serves as the primary liaison between Rendell and his various board and advisory positions. Miller worked closely with President Joe Biden’s campaign to organize fundraisers and distribute information in the Philadelphia area.
Following the election, he teamed up with Ballard Spahr on a variety of initiatives involving the White House and federal government. Prior to his time working with Rendell, Miller got his start in organized labor. While studying political science and government as an undergraduate at Temple University, he spent time as a grievance and arbitration intern and union scholar for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, known as AFSCME, in both Harrisburg and Washington, D.C. Now, Miller is in his second year studying law at his alma mater in the evening division of Temple University Beasley School of Law. Miller enjoys watching sports, and although he lives in Philadelphia, he says he will always root for his New York teams and suffer through the Knicks’ struggling seasons.
ETHAN FUJITA; SHANNON PEPE
Sean Meloy is in his fourth year as vice president of political programs for the LGBTQ Victory Fund & Institute, the only national political action committee dedicated to electing LGBTQ people at all levels of government. In his role, Meloy oversees all political operations, managing candidate endorsements and engagement and creating and implementing outreach strategies. The Pittsburgh native graduated from Pennsylvania State University with degrees in political science and secondary education. His political career began when he served as a staff assistant to U.S Rep. Mike Doyle’s reelection campaign in 2010. He then stayed on his Washington, D.C. staff. Meloy went on to serve as campaign manager for Kristin Cabral’s congressional campaign, director of LGBT engagement with the Democratic National Committee, and then deputy national director of outreach for Keith Ellison’s 2017 race for DNC chair. He also worked to garner LGBTQ support for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Meloy was appointed to the Pennsylvania State Democratic Committee in 2017 and serves as the chair of its LGBTQ caucus. He also sits on Gov. Tom Wolf’s commission on LGBTQ Affairs and on the board of the Steel City Stonewall Democrats. With the redistricting process underway, the Victory Fund and Meloy have focused their efforts on ensuring that independent and LGBTQ individuals are treated as a community of interest.
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JOHN NEUROHR DIRECTOR OF CLIENT RELATIONS & ENGAGEMENT
Neurohr is Director of Client Relations & Engagement at Shelly Lyons based out of Harrisburg.
Client relations and engagement are specialites for Neurohr at Shelly Lyons.
John Neurohr has a wealth of experience in communications for progressive causes, with more than a decade of experience crafting communications and messaging plans at the local, state and federal levels. He’s currently the Director of Client Relations & Engagement for Shelly Lyons Public Affairs & Communications, a position he’s held since February 2020. Prior to his time at Shelly Lyons, Neurohr was the communications director for the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, a progressive think tank and research center based in Harrisburg. He also spent time as the communications director for Keystone Progress and ProgressNow, the latter of which is a 22-state network of progressive advocacy organizations. Neurohr began his career as a deputy press secretary and strategic communications manager at the Center For American Progress before handling communications for America Votes, a nonprofit that advances progressive policies. He is a member of the Education Voters of Pennsylvania Parent Advisory Committee and cochair of Why Courts Matter – Pennsylvania. Neurohr is a graduate of Ithaca College and George Washington University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in political management, respectively. He also has a graduate certificate in project management from Cornell University. Neurohr lives in Butler County with his wife and two sons.
LORI GEHR PHOTOGRAPHY; JOSE MAZARIEGOS OF JMAZ PHOTION
Shelly Lyons Public Affairs & Communications
A. SALEWA OGUNMEFUN EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Pennsylvania Voice A. Salewa Ogunmefun is finishing off her first full year as executive director of Pennsylvania Voice, a political organization that seeks to have a more inclusive democracy and to expand the power for communities of color in the commonwealth. A Nigerian-American social justice organizer, Ogunmefun has gained experience throughout the Keystone State and the nation’s capital, beginning her career as a consultant with Field Strategies, a Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm, where she worked on programs to reach historically neglected communities. She went on to spend time as the political director of One Pennsylvania, the founding executive director of ImpACT Inc., and the civic engagement and political manager of the Center for Popular Democracy. At Pennsylvania Voice, Ogunmefun brings more than a decade of electoral campaign and field operations experience. She oversees the organization’s more than 44 partnerships with state and local organizations looking to create a more accessible and reflective democracy. As a former employee of the School District of Philadelphia, she says she advocates for policies that prioritize people over profits and strengthen community relations. One of her most notable accomplishments is the time she spent with workers and advocates pushing for the passage of Fair Workweek legislation in Philadelphia, which requires employers to provide employees with notice of their schedules and anticipated work hours.
Ogunmefun once led field efforts to register 10,000 new voters across the state.
Ogunmefun 47 is executive director of Pennsylvania Voice, an organization that connects communities of color.
City & State Pennsylvania
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ALISON PERELMAN EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR State Rep. Jason Ortitay earned his bachelor's and his master's degrees all by the age of 21.
JASON ORTITAY STATE REPRESENTATIVE Currently in his fourth term as a state representative for the 46th House District, Jason Ortitay has emerged as a lawmaker focused on efforts to make state government more accountable – and more transparent – to the citizens it represents. This session, Ortitay has made government oversight a chief priority, as he sponsored a measure to investigate an administrative blunder at the Department of State that led to a proposed constitutional amendment getting delayed. He also called for investigations into a data breach that jeopardized the personal information of 70,000 Pennsylvanians.
Ortitay also had legislative language signed into law this session that updates requirements for tax credit applicants and brokers and improves transparency among those applying for tax credits. He currently serves on the House Education, Environmental Resources & Energy, Gaming Oversight and State Government committees. Prior to his time in the General Assembly, Ortitay ran his own cheesecake company and spent five years working at PNC Bank in retail banking and treasury management. He is a graduate of Robert Morris University, where he received his bachelor’s degree in business management, and Stetson University, where he received his Master of Business Administration. Ortitay lives in Cecil Township with his wife Amanda, their daughter Delaney.
Ortitay's cheesecake company has helped raise over $100,000 for charity.
Philadelphia 3.0 As the founder and executive director of Philadelphia 3.0, Alison Perelman spearheads the organization’s efforts to reform and modernize Philadelphia politics. Perelman heads the nonprofit and PAC, which is dedicated to supporting reform-minded candidates running for Philadelphia City Council. Under her watch, Philadelphia 3.0 focused its electoral efforts on the city’s 3rd councilmanic district, supporting a candidate that would go on to become the first challenger to defeat an incumbent council member since 1995. Philadelphia 3.0 also trained hundreds of Philadelphia residents to run for committeeperson seats. Perelman is the co-founder of the Better Philadelphia Elections Coalition, which advocates for the modernization of Philadelphia elections and for the elimination of the Philadelphia City Commissioners office. She also cofounded Open Wards Philadelphia – an initiative focused on reforming the city’s ward system. She serves on the board of directors for Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia, The Forum of Executive Women, The Rendell Center for Civics and Civic Engagement, the Bella Vista Neighbors Association, and is a Democratic committeeperson for Philadelphia’s 2nd Ward. She is a graduate of both Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania and lives in Philadelphia’s Bella Vista neighborhood with her wife and son.
Platt is an associate with Bellevue Strategies, a Center City-based government relations firm.
City & State Pennsylvania
JULIE PLATT ASSOCIATE Bellevue Strategies
Before politics, Platt spent some time studying HIV/ AIDS prevention in Africa.
As Bellevue Strategies’ health, human services and education policy leader, Julie Platt is driven by a passion to assist communities that don’t always have access to power. Platt has been at Bellevue since early 2020 and her clients include labor unions, nonprofits and Fortune 500 companies. Platt has been instrumental in pushing laws that mandate corporate transparency and require paid sick leave for frontline workers in Philadelphia. She has also spent considerable time working on political races, serving as the campaign manager for Greg Weyer’s bid for Philadelphia judge; field director for state Rep. Sara Innamorato’s campaign for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives; deputy campaign manager for Emily Skopov’s bid for the state House; and a deputy campaign manager for Delco Victory 2019, in which she helped manage eight separate campaigns for public office. Throughout her time working in campaign management, Platt has been responsible for both paid staff and hundreds of volunteers, and has managed a $1.5 million budget. She has been honored for her work in the political and advocacy realms and was named to The Incline’s “Who’s Next in Politics” list in 2018. She served as the National Association of Social Workers’ Pennsylvania representative in 2018 and currently volunteers with multiple Philadelphia-based organizations, including Better Civics and Street Soccer Philadelphia.
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CLARE POZOS SENIOR ADVISOR TO THE U.S. ATTORNEY Eastern District of Pennsylvania Few have made their way up the legal ladder as quickly as Clare Pozos. In her 11th year working in the U.S. Attorneys’ Office, Pozos has served as senior advisor to the U.S. Attorney since May 2018. In her current role, Pozos leads the Office of Public Affairs and Engagement and works to strengthen the office’s relationships with law enforcement and community partners. She also oversees communications with the Department of Justice, the public and the press, and continues to prosecute criminal cases related to narcotics, fraud and public corruption. Pozos began serving as an assistant U.S. Attorney back in 2010,
first in Washington D.C. and now as the second-ranking official in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She leads charging decisions, employment and administrative matters and policy initiatives, as well as heads the office’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. She also had a brief congressional run in 2018 when she ran for the state’s 7th Congressional District in the House of Representatives. Pozos has a bachelor’s degree in history from Harvard University and a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School. Today, she resides in Delaware County with her husband and their two children. When not working or spending time with family, she serves on the boards of the Lankenau Medical Center Foundation, Rock School for Dance Education and the Agnes Irwin School.
Pozos oversees communications with the justice department and the press.
MAYA TORGERSON; STEN HARTMAN
Pozos is Senior Advisor to the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, headquarted in Philadelphia.
City & State Pennsylvania
ALEX REBER MANAGING PARTNER Miller Dixon Drake, PC Alexander Reber is coming up on his 15th year with Miller Dixon Drake, PC, a CPA firm in downtown Harrisburg. Reber, who began as a senior accountant, has worked there since graduating with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and business from Lebanon Valley College in 2007. He began his current role as managing partner at the beginning of 2021, but he’s more than just an experienced accountant. Reber’s public service includes a decent amount of volunteering. He serves as chair of the Harrisburg City Audit Committee, is a member of the Upper Dauphin Industrial Redevelopment Authority and is a member of the Legislation Committee of the Pennsylvania Institute of CPAs. More notably, Reber was elected as treasurer of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, an honor that makes him the youngest state Democratic officer in memory and the first openly LGBTQ officer. What’s more, Reber recently co-founded and serves as treasurer for Turn South Central PA Blue, a political action committee seeking to elect more quality Democrats to public office in Dauphin and Cumberland counties. With expertise in campaign finance and business administration, he’s currently running for re-election as tax collector in Millersburg Borough, where he lives with his husband.
A longtime CPA, Reber is running for re-election as tax collector in his town. Reber is the managing partner at Miller Dixon Drake, PC, based out of Harrisburg.
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GEOFFREY ROCHE SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT Dignity Health Global Education As senior vice president of workforce development for Dignity Health Global Education, Geoffrey Roche uses his experience in hospital administration and business development to further DHGE’s mission of providing health carefocused workforce development opportunities to health care professionals across the globe. He is currently an adjunct instructor teaching graduate-level courses at Moravian University, focusing on the intersection of law, regulations and ethics in health care. He also serves on the board of directors for
the United Way of Pennsylvania. Roche spent two years as executive director at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, where he served as an advisor to help expand the university’s health sciences programs, while also working to expand academic and business partnerships with the university. He also worked for Lebanon Valley College for three years, serving as Vice President, Strategic Initiatives and Secretary of the College, and as an adjunct instructor of health administration. Roche also served on the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s COVID-19 Health Equity Response Team, where he focused his efforts on Pennsylvanians over the age of 65. He is a graduate of East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania, where he received his master’s degree, and Moravian University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in political science.
Roche helps educate patients on the right kind of health care for their needs.
Roche is Senior Vice President of Workforce Development for Dignity Health Global Education.
City & State Pennsylvania
MICHAEL SCHLOSSBERG STATE REPRESENTATIVE
HOUSE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS
State Rep. Mike Schlossberg is in his fifth term serving the people of the 132nd House District in Lehigh County. His start in politics began in 2009 when he became the youngest member ever elected to the Allentown City Council. And just three years later, he was elected to the state House. Today, he sits on the House Rules Committee and was elected by his colleagues to serve as the House Democratic Caucus Administrator. Schlossberg made his way to the Keystone State when he attended Muhlenberg College, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in political science and psychology in 2005. He followed that up with a master’s degree in the same subject from Lehigh University. During his time in the legislature, his openness about his experiences with mental illness has helped the General Assembly make strides in changing the conversation and destigmatizing many issues. He’s also a vocal advocate for improving education, particularly in school districts like Allentown. Schlossberg was the primary sponsor of the Level Up funding plan earlier this year, which invested $100 million in the 100 poorest schools in the commonwealth, including $6.4 million to his home district. Schlossberg also sits on the Mental Health & Justice Advisory Committee for the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.
State Rep. Michael Schlossberg has represented the 132nd district since 2013.
Schlossberg helped secure $6.4 million for the Allentown School District.
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ZACH SHAMBERG PRESIDENT AND CEO Pennsylvania Health Care Association Health care issues aren’t discussed in Harrisburg without Zach Shamberg weighing in. As the president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Health Care Association, he emerged as one of the state’s most vocal advocates for the long-term care community in 2020 and has fought for resources for nursing homes ever since the start of the pandemic. More than 18 months later, his advocacy holds steadfast as the legislature and stakeholders grapple with continued staffing shortages in nursing homes. As the leader of the PHCA, Shamberg represents more than 400 member facilities across the commonwealth. He has joined other longterm care facility leaders in expressing concern for the vaccine mandates, arguing that they would make hiring even more difficult. He recommended alternatives, such as testing requirements or plans for workers who may be affected by a mandate. Shamberg graduated from Ursinus College with a degree in communications and politics before working for state Rep. Todd Stephens. After spending time as a campaign manager and chief of staff for Stephens, Shamberg eventually made his way to PHCA. Representing long-term care providers, workers and residents in the state, he previously served as director of advocacy and legislative affairs before taking over as president and CEO in April 2019. He is also currently a board member of the Pennsylvania Coalition for Civil Justice Reform.
Shamberg is president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Health Care Association.
Shamberg's PHCA represents over 400 longterm care facilities in PA.
TORI SHRIVER POLITICAL DIRECTOR
ROGER THAT PHOTO; NADINE SHERMAN
Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters Tori Shriver leads efforts on behalf of the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters to mobilize more than 41,000 members from seven states – including Pennsylvania – in support of both labor issues and pro-labor candidates. Shriver lobbies lawmakers for policies that improve worker’s rights, while also overseeing the union’s endorsement process for political candidates. To carry out the endorsement process, she conducts interviews with political candidates and recommends to her union which candidates to support. Shriver was named the union’s political director this year after spending four years as its deputy political director, where she focused on labor policy and politics. After being named the union’s political director, Shriver listed protecting workers’ safety standards, prevailing wage policy, infrastructure investments and stopping wage theft as her top priorities. In a statement following her appointment, William C. Sproule, the executive secretarytreasurer of the EAS Regional Council of Carpenters, said that she would be a “major asset” in the union’s efforts to protect worker rights and educate elected leaders. Before joining the EAS Regional Council of Carpenters, Shriver was a political organizer for the Keystone + Mountain + Lakes Council of Carpenters and spent time as an intern with Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania. She is a University of Pittsburgh – Johnstown graduate, where she studied political science and history.
Shriver's focus is on protecting worker's rights, a fair wage and safety standards.
City & State Pennsylvania
Shriver is the political director of the EAS Regional Council of Carpenters.
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JARRETT SMITH LEGISLATIVE DIRECTOR SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania As SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania’s legislative director, Jarrett Smith leads efforts to advance policies supported by the caregivers and health care professionals that make up the statewide union, which represents 45,000 members across Pennsylvania. Throughout his tenure at SEIU, Smith has pushed for safe staffing ratios for nurses, won CARES Act funding for home care workers, organized support for union contract campaigns and helped advance legislation focused on health care facility ownership changes. Before he was the union’s legislative director, Smith was
SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania’s representative for government relations, where he helped advance the union’s policy programs, led state and local legislative campaigns and developed relationships with elected officials and stakeholders. He spent a year and a half at NextGen America, where he was the organization’s state director, leading a youth voter engagement program comprised of 55 full-time staff and 72 college fellows that registered more than 25,000 people to vote. Smith is currently the Legislative Liaison Committee Chair of the Philadelphia Rent Control Coalition, which advocates for inclusive housing reform in Philadelphia. He also serves on the board of Young Involved Philadelphia, where he is co-programming chair and works to help plan events that promote civic engagement among young Philadelphians.
A singer, Smith earned a degree in vocal performance from Penn State in 2013.
Smith is the legislative director for SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania.
City & State Pennsylvania
Trometter is Vice President of Operations for Penn Strategies, a consulting firm based out of Harrisburg.
ISAIAH THOMAS COUNCILMEMBER AT-LARGE Philadelphia City Council
Trometter was once a Trump appointee, working closely with the White House.
PHILLIP TROMETTER VICE PRESIDENT OF OPERATIONS Penn Strategies
JARED PIPER; ERIC STASHAK PHOTOGRAPHY
First elected to Philadelphia City Council in 2019, freshman member Isaiah Thomas has made helping essential workers, Black-owned businesses and the arts and entertainment industry key priorities during his time in office. Just this year, Philadelphia City Council approved two “Driving Equality” bills from Thomas designed to curb negative interactions between police and drivers by limiting when an officer can pull over drivers for secondary traffic violations. Thomas said the bills will help eliminate discriminatory traffic stops and lead to “safer and more equitable” streets in Philadelphia. When Council passed the legislation, Thomas said he could breathe “a sigh of relief” knowing that his bill would take steps to limit racially-motivated traffic stops. Thomas currently chairs Philadelphia City Council’s Streets Committee and serves on a number of boards and committees outside of the government body, including the Thomas & Woods Foundation, PIAA District 12 and the African American Museum in Philadelphia. Thomas got his start in politics by working part-time for former state Rep. Tony Payton Jr., which helped motivate him to run for an at-Large Philadelphia City Council seat in 2010. Thomas came up short, but nine years later, found success in another attempt at an at-Large seat.
As the vice president of operations at Penn Strategies, Phillip Trometter oversees the firm’s daily operations, while also performing economic development consulting work for municipalities and counties across Pennsylvania. Trometter was an appointee of the executive office of former President Donald Trump to serve in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, where he worked with the White House, congressional staff and federal agencies to further Opportunity Zone development on the east coast, including the
stastes of Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington D.C. Prior to his appointment in the Trump administration, Trometter was a senior vice president at Penn Strategies and did consulting work for political campaigns for the governor and lieutenant governor, as well as county and municipal elections. He has experience in state and local political campaigns and nearly 10 years in communications and advocacy work. Trometter was previously a member of the Loyalsock Township Planning Commission and a Pennsylvania state coordinator for Count on Coal, a nationwide advocacy group dedicated to promoting the use of coal power. He is a native of Williamsport and studied at Penn State University in Harrisburg and Arkansas State University, receiving a master's degree from the latter.
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MITCH VIDOVICH VICE PRESIDENT OF GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS Independence Blue Cross
Vidovich is Vice President of Government Affairs for Independence Blue Cross.
Vidovich served five years under U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey before starting at IBX.
Mitch Vidovich plays a crucial role in advancing Independence Blue Cross’ policy objectives as the company’s vice president of government affairs. Prior to his current role, Vidovich was Independence Blue Cross’ director of government affairs for five years. Vidovich has an extensive background in working for elected leaders and political campaigns, including stints working for U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey and former Republican presidential nominee John McCain. He uses that experience – as well as the connections he developed throughout his time on campaigns and Capitol Hill – to help further Independence Blue Cross’ agenda. In charge of the Independence Blue Cross Political Action Committee, one of the largest PACs in the state, Vidovich helps establish partnerships between stakeholders and the IBC Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to improving health care through innovation. In this space, he focuses on mental health and health equity. Vidovich is also board president for the Delaware County Child Advocacy Center, an advisory board member for SRI Capital and a board member for the Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry. He is a graduate of Susquehanna University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree, and Villanova University, where he earned his master’s degree.
City & State Pennsylvania
JESSICA FORD NEALE; PROVIDED
STATE REPRESENTATIVE State Rep. Martina White is a bit of a political oddity these days. She’s a rare Republican in a city that predominantly elects Democrats. But that fact hasn’t stopped her from finding success in her political career. Not only has White been elected to threestraight terms representing the state’s 170th legislative district, but after her election in 2015, White became the first new Republican to win in the City of Philadelphia in 25 years. And she has continued to rise through the ranks of her party’s leadership. White was elected chair of the Philadelphia Republican Party in 2019 and was chosen by her peers as House Republican Caucus secretary in November 2020. She chaired the House Republican Transportation Infrastructure Task Force, which developed legislative recommendations for how to address the state’s transportation-related woes. Throughout her tenure in the House, White has sponsored legislation to increase the number of scholarships available under the state’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit scholarship program, as well as a separate proposal that would allow people to sue sanctuary cities and withhold funding for such cities that refuse to work with federal immigration officials. White is a graduate of Elizabethtown College, where she received a bachelor’s degree in business administration. She is a lifelong resident of northeast Philadelphia.
A lifelong resident of Northeast Philly, White represents the 170th House district and was first elected in 2015.
In 2015, White became the first new Republican elected in Philly in a quarter century.
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State Sen. Lindsey Williams represents parts of Allegheny County.
LINDSEY WILLIAMS STATE SENATOR
Once fired for trying to unionize her colleagues, Williams is now a legislator. JAMES ROBINSON
State Sen. Lindsey Williams burst onto the political scene during the highly-watched 2018 campaign, where she narrowly defeated Republican Jeremy Shaffer. Since then, Williams has become a strong voice in the Democratic caucus as she serves Allegheny County residents in the 38th district. Williams has been a consistent fighter for workers’ rights, even before her time in the legislature. After graduating from Dickinson College, she earned her law degree from the Duquesne University School of Law. She spent time as the director of advocacy at the National Whistleblowers Center, but she lost her job following attempts to unionize the center’s small workforce. Williams took her wrongful termination case to the National Labor Relations Board and eventually got her claim resolved. From there, she went on to work for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers before deciding to run for office. Now, as the minority chair of the Senate Education Committee in this legislative session, Williams continues her fight for more equitable education funding for school districts across the commonwealth. She has also advocated for fair treatment of all students in schools, most recently introducing legislation to protect LGBTQ students from being discriminated against by schools that receive tax credits and scholarship funding from the state.
City & State Pennsylvania
Yu is the Senior Editorial Associate at Resolve Philly, an organization working to change how journalists report the news.
JINGYAO YU SENIOR EDITORIAL ASSOCIATE
MATTIE MARIA SIMBARCELOS
Resolve Philly As the senior editorial associate at Resolve Philly, Jingyao Yu helps carry out the organization’s mission to improve how historically misrepresented communities are covered by the press. In her current role, Yu works to elevate certain narratives and voices, with a particular focus on immigrant communities. Before joining Resolve Philly, she spent years working in the nonprofit sector, with an emphasis on health care, aging, senior care, domestic violence and other issues. Yu previously worked for Penn Asian Senior Services, a Pennsylvania-based home care agency focused on the state’s Asian population, where she worked as a development
officer, project supervisor and PACE associate. Outside of her work at Resolve Philly, Yu is a member of the Asian Americans/ Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy Philadelphia chapter. She serves on the board of the Asian Mosaic Fund, a philanthropic organization focused on building networks of donors and supporters to financially support nonprofits and programs that support AAPI communities. Yu is also a member of the Lenfest Visioning Table, a group of journalists, media professionals and community leaders that provide guidance and help shape the Lenfest Institute’s mission. Yu received her bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, and her master’s degree from Drexel University. Editor’s Note: Samuel Chen, Joseph Hill and Teresa Lundy are members of City & State PA’s advisory board.
Yu worked in the nonprofit sector for years before joining Resolve Philly.
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CITY & STATE PENNSYLVANIA MANAGEMENT & PUBLISHING Publisher Susan Peiffer firstname.lastname@example.org Group Publisher Tom Allon Event & Sales Director Lissa Blake Vice President of Operations Jasmin Freeman Comptroller David Pirozzi
Who was up and who was down last month
LOSERS THE BEST OF THE REST
LAWRENCE TABAS Lawrence Tabas, chair of the Pennsylvania Republican Party, has to be happy right now. Republicans won three state appellate court elections on Nov. 2, in a showing of political strength one year out from the midterms. Republicans will be hoping they can replicate this success when the governor’s office and a U.S. Senate seats are on the ballot next year. JOSH SHAPIRO In October, Shapiro launched his long-awaited campaign for governor with a statewide bus tour and announced he has more than $10 million in the bank to support his bid for governor. With a contentious battle on the horizon, that cash is going to be a big asset for him as November 2022 gets closer. If Shapiro skates through the primary election without an opponent, he’ll have millions on hand in the general, a luxury his GOP opponents likely won’t.
CREATIVE Creative Director Andrew Horton Senior Graphic Designer Aaron Aniton Photo Researcher Michelle Steinhauser Junior Graphic Designer Juliet Goodman ADVERTISING email@example.com Senior Sales Executive Michael Fleck firstname.lastname@example.org Sales and Events Coordinator Laura Hurliman email@example.com
KELCY WARREN Warren is chair of Energy Transfer Partners, the Texas-based pipeline company in charge of the Mariner East II natural gas pipeline project in Pennsylvania. Last month, the company was charged with 48 environmental crimes, including drilling fluid spills into lakes, waterways and residential properties since 2017.
DIGITAL Digital Director Michael Filippi Digital Marketing Manager Caitlin Dorman ADVISORY BOARD Chair Governor Ed Rendell Board members Leslie Gromis-Baker, Gene Barr, Samuel Chen, Joseph Hill, Teresa Lundy, Anne Wakabayashi, Ray Zaborney, Tricia Mueller
THE REST OF THE WORST
SEAN PARNELL Yes, the former Army ranger and current Republican U.S. Senate candidate received an endorsement from Donald Trump, but since that time, things have been moving in the wrong direction. Parnell previously sought a gag order against both his estranged wife and her attorney as his personal issues spilled into an increasingly-contentious GOP primary. After that gag order request was denied, Parnell’s wife accused the U.S. Senate hopeful of choking her and hitting her children, allegations which Parnell denies. SHAE ASHE Shae Ashe resigned as president of the Norristown Area School Board last month after facing scrutiny for allegedly sending suggestive messages to a 17-year-old student. Messages obtained by the Delaware Valley Journal show Ashe told the student he wished she was 18 and made other inappropriate remarks. Ashe’s boss, state Sen. Amanda Cappelletti, later suspended him.
Vol. 1 Issue 5 November 2021 Pennsylvania's Latino voters are only growing in number.
Just getting FORTY UNDER 40
Joanna McClinton, the new Democratic leader of the House, and other faces of the future.
Cover photography: Amanda Berg
CITY & STATE PENNSYLVANIA is published monthly, 12 times a year by City & State NY, LLC, 61 Broadway, Suite 1315, New York, NY 10006-2763. Subscriptions: 202.964.1782 or firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright ©2021, City & State NY, LLC.
ED GAINERY FOR MAYOR CAMPAIGN; WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
ED GAINEY This five-term state representative solidified his victory in the race for mayor of Pittsburgh last month, defeating Tony Moreno after taking down incumbent Bill Peduto in the primary last spring. Gainey, a Pittsburgh native who grew up in the city’s low-income housing, will now be the first Black mayor in the city’s history.
Another month means another set of Winners and Losers in the Keystone State. Earlier this month, we saw the Steel City make history – and last month – a school board president went down in shame. Autumn may be the time to give thanks, but we’re not sure everyone on this list is thankful for their fall. Below, City & State highlights those who had a good month in the commonwealth and those whose careers went the way of the Dodo.
EDITORIAL email@example.com Editor-in-Chief Jenny DeHuff firstname.lastname@example.org Senior Reporter Justin Sweitzer email@example.com Staff Reporter Harrison Cann firstname.lastname@example.org NY Editor-in-Chief Ralph Ortega
SALUTES The 2021 Forty Under 40 honorees, including our own Mitch Vidovich Independence Blue Cross is proud to support City & State PA’s Forty Under 40 awards and recognizes the honorees for making a difference in the community. Now more than ever, Independence remains steadfast in its support of individuals and community organizations dedicated to improving the lives and health of the people in our region. We’re all in this together.