First Read

First Read PA – Nov. 21, 2023

Lafayette College to host 2024 presidential debate … Pittsburgh could connect homeless encampments with services … Lawmakers get a raise … and more

WEATHER: Philadelphia: rain, high of 48; Harrisburg: rain and sleet, high of 46; Pittsburgh: rain, high of 47.


* Just over one year after Josh Shapiro ran away with the gubernatorial election, the first-term Democratic Gov. Shapiro spoke on his administration’s successes and offered a glimpse of his vision for the commonwealth during a press club speech yesterday.


* The commonwealth will have the third-highest-paid state legislature in the country when new pay raises kick in on Dec. 1, with base lawmaker salaries rising to $106,422, PennLive reports.

* The Commission on Presidential Debates announced yesterday that Lafayette College in Easton has been selected to host the 2024 vice presidential debate on Sept. 25, Politics PA reports.

* U.S. Sen. Bob Casey is acknowledging the strain caused by higher prices in two new “Greedflation” reports that seek to provide consumers with information about the economy and what is driving inflation, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

* Two members of Pittsburgh City Council are seeking to provide city homeless encampments with electricity, running water and trash removal under a new bill introduced this week, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.

* Democratic state Rep. John Galloway intends to resign his state House seat on Dec. 15 – an impending departure that will create another 101-101 deadlock in the state House, Politics PA reports.

* The state Department of Labor & Industry has experienced a “surge” in reported child labor violations this year, though some Philadelphia business owners say the reported violations stem more from issues with the state’s worker tracking system than for actual misconduct, Billy Penn reports.

* Lawmakers in the state House recently approved a bill that would lower the minimum fitness standard for a potential recruit to be admitted to a police academy, though the idea has received pushback, the Pennsylvania Capital-Star reports.

* U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker made an appearance at a fundraising brunch hosted by the nonprofit Blessings of Hope, where he discussed food insecurity and the role Blessings of Hope can play in connecting people to food, LNP reports.

* Michael Cherepko, the mayor of McKeesport, was charged with public drunkenness and criminal trespassing after reportedly causing a scene at a Nashville gastropub, the Tribune-Review reports.

* Madison Campbell, the recently-crowned Miss Pittsburgh who is also CEO of Leda Health, has launched a new political action committee to elect tough-on-crime candidates, Fox News reports.


* The Inquirer writes that Democratic wins in suburban school board races represent a “victory for students and teachers, as voters hope to end the divisive politics and make school board meetings boring again.”

* The Hill has an op-ed from U.S. Rep. Chris Deluzio, who writes that one of the biggest things we can do to help families across the country save money is also one of the most popular – stronger antitrust enforcement.


* Speaking at the White House’s annual turkey pardon ceremony yesterday, President Joe Biden said he believes a deal to free hostages in Gaza could be near, The Messenger reports.

* GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy has struggled to move up in the polls after receiving early attention in the race as his campaign prepares for the final stretch before the Iowa caucuses, The Associated Press reports.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: To former U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah … to state Sen. and Senate Education Committee Chair David Argall … to former Philadelphia City Councilmember Maria Quiñones-Sánchez … to Joanna Turner, vice president, global government relations, The Hershey Company … Want to wish someone a happy birthday in our newsletter? Email their name, job title and upcoming birthday to


10 a.m. – Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding tours MudPond Meats to announce grants boosting small business expansion, MudPond Farm, 830 Amasa Road, Dalton.

10 a.m. – The Philadelphia City Council Committee on Public Health and Human Services meets, remotely. Watch here.

1 p.m. – The Philadelphia City Council Committee on Commerce & Economic Development meets, remotely. Watch here.

4 p.m. – The Allegheny County Council Committee on Budget and Finance meets, Conference Room 1, Allegheny County Courthouse, 436 Grant St., Pittsburgh. Watch here.


“People are outside, and we’re coming up on cold weather … If we don’t have indoor sites we need them to be safe and clean and warm.” – Pittsburgh City Councilmember Deb Gross, via the Tribune-Review

NEXT STORY: First Read PA – Nov. 20, 2023