Gov. Josh Shapiro visited employees at the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency Wednesday, telling them and a handful of reporters he was there to reaffirm his commitment to public safety and emergency preparedness as he settles into office.
PEMA was the first agency that Shapiro has visited since taking the oath of office on Tuesday – a decision he said was by design.
“I came here today for a few reasons. Number one, because I fundamentally believe that the most important thing a government can do is keep its citizens safe – to make sure that we protect each and every one of our communities and look out for the general welfare of the public,” Shapiro said.
Shapiro promised that he will be an ally to PEMA leaders and staff, and said his administration will make sure the agency is adequately funded and can find the workers it needs.
Shapiro was joined by Lt. Gov. Austin Davis, as well as his cabinet-level nominees for PEMA director, fire commissioner and Pennsylvania State Police commissioner.
PEMA employee Stacy Walter said she thinks the agency will thrive under Shapiro’s leadership. “I see good things,” she said.
Walter welcomed the return of Randy Padfield, who has served as director of the agency since 2019. Padfield said he was honored to be nominated again for the position and said he was grateful to continue working with the state’s emergency personnel.
And while Shapiro mostly used the visit as a photo op and to mingle with PEMA staff, he also had an ask of agency officials:
“I wanted to come here today to say thank you for your commitment to public service. I wanted to come here today and tell you how important I think you are. I wanted to come here today and ask you to pray that we never have a big snowstorm,” he quipped.