First Read

First Read PA – Nov. 9, 2023

Innamorato announces transition team … Another tie in the state House … Blair County judge loses retention election… and more

WEATHER: Philadelphia: partly sunny, with isolated showers after 3 p.m., high of 68; Harrisburg: partly sunny, high of 69; Pittsburgh: showers, mainly before 8 a.m., high of 63.


* According to unofficial returns, Democrats swept school board races in several areas across the state, from the high-profile Central Bucks School Board races in the Philadelphia suburbs to contests in central Pennsylvania. In other areas, however, it was Republicans who found victory in local board races.


* House chambers in Pennsylvania and Michigan will temporarily be split between Republicans and Democrats following Tuesday’s election, a development that underscores the ideological divide in the two swing states,  The Associated Press reports.

* Allegheny County executive-elect Sara Innamorato has announced the members of her transition team, which will be made up of “Talent” and “All in Allegheny” committees – and Lt. Gov. Austin Davis has been tapped to lead the transition effort, the Pittsburgh Union Progress reports.

* According to unofficial returns, Dauphin County residents appear to have elected a Democratic majority to lead the county board of commissioners for the first time since World War I, as Democrat Justin Douglas holds a small lead over Republican commissioner Chad Saylor, PennLive reports. 

* Members of the state’s Republican congressional delegation, including U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker, voted this week to censure Palestinian American U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib over her comments about Israel, LNP reports.

* As other cities struggled to attract residents and investment, DuBois – with the help of city manager Herm Suplizio – thrived, though a sweeping corruption case alleges that Suplizio stole hundreds of thousands of dollars in public and nonprofit money, Spotlight PA reports.

* Democrats were able to retain their majority on the Bucks County Board of Commissioners this week, keeping two of three seats on the three-member board, the Pennsylvania Capital-Star reports.

* Gov. Josh Shapiro visited Drexel University yesterday to announce new support and expanded benefits for Pennsylvanians with autism, 6 ABC reports.

* Blair County Court of Common Pleas President Judge Elizabeth Doyle lost a retention election that would have granted her a third term in office – and the loss will create an opening that must be filled by Shapiro, the Altoona Mirror reports.

* Democratic U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon is partnering with U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes of Maryland on legislation that would require limits and disclosures on contributions made to inaugural committees, The Hill reports.

* Voters in Allegheny County have chosen to change the way county council members are compensated, opting to switch from a per-meeting stipend to a salary format, WESA reports. 


* The Philadelphia Inquirer writes that election results from across the state marked a “victory for diversity, individual rights, and democracy.”

* The Delaware Valley Journal has an op-ed from House Republican Leader Bryan Cutler, who writes that the Commonwealth Court “got it right” with a recent ruling on the state’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.


* Last night’s Republican presidential debate featured discussions on foreign policy related to Israel and Ukraine, President Joe Biden’s record and contrasts over abortion – as well as some verbal sparring between candidates and fellow GOP contender Vivek Ramaswamy, who promised to be “unhinged,” Politico reports. 

* A successful effort by Democrats to protect abortion rights in Ohio via ballot initiative could inspire similar efforts in Arizona, Nevada and Florida, Axios reports.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: To former state Rep. Adam Ravenstahl … and to C. Frank Igwe, president at Moravia Health … on Friday, to Thomas Derr, director of communications and policy at the State Employees’ Retirement System … to Linda Bobrin, Bucks County Register of Wills … to Patricia Mackavage, executive director, Duane Morris Government Affairs … and to Brendan Baird, IT and media technician for the state Senate Democratic Caucus … on Saturday, to William Hunter, managing partner at Raju LLP … to Kimberly Sokoloski, government relations professional, One+ Strategies … and to Ricky Buttacavoli, chair of Ricky’s Pride PAC and commissioner on the Governor’s Advisory Commission on LGBTQ Affairs … on Sunday, to state Sen. John Kane … to Superior Court Judge Anne Lazarus … and to Steve Masters, president at Just Laws … and to state Rep. Jennifer O’MaraWant to wish someone a happy birthday in our newsletter? Email their name, job title and upcoming birthday to

MOVING ON: Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission Vice Chair Kimberly Barrow has been appointed to serve on the Joint Federal-State Task Force on Electric Transmission Have a career change or life event to announce? Email us:


10 a.m. – The Basic Education Funding Commission meets, Bedford High School Auditorium, 330 East John St., Bedford. Watch here. 10 a.m. – Pennie leadership press conference on open enrollment period for 2024 coverage, Maria de los Santos Health Center, 401 W Allegheny Ave., Philadelphia.

10 a.m. – Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney to join Mayor-Elect Cherelle Parker at a press conference to announce transition plans, Philadelphia City Hall, Second floor, Mayor’s Reception Room, Philadelphia.

11:30 a.m. – Kenney to sign a bill to allow for camera-based parking enforcement on SEPTA vehicles, SEPTA Headquarters (Media Center), 1234 Market St., Philadelphia.

2 p.m. – Rally to demand a ceasefire in Gaza, Front Capitol Steps, state Capitol, Harrisburg.


“That was quite striking to me when I realized what was happening yesterday.” – Former Dauphin County Commissioner Sally Klein on the potential for Democrats to flip control of the board, via PennLive

NEXT STORY: First Read PA – Nov. 8, 2023