Harrisburg, PA – Although the main focus yesterday was the swearing in of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States, other officials at the state level were also sworn into office earlier in the week, Jan. 19.
Harrisburg, PA – Stacy Garrity, sworn in as the 78th treasurer of Pennsylvania, said her job is “to be the steward of taxpayer money and to make certain that government is open,
honest, and accountable.”
Garrity pledged to work on behalf of all Pennsylvanians, building on her decades of service in the U.S. Army Reserve and her experience as a businesswoman at Global Tungsten & Powders
Corp., a global supplier of refractory powders based in Bradford County.
“We have just come through a year of unprecedented challenges, hard feelings, and some deep losses,” Garrity said. “There’s a saying that if you focus on the rearview mirror, you’ll miss where you’re headed. I say we look ahead toward a place of optimism and cooperation. Let’s start the journey.”
Garrity’s top priorities include eliminating waste and unnecessary fees, helping Pennsylvania families save for education and other needs, and increasing transparency for taxpayers.
“This job is about making sure that billions of dollars of unclaimed property is returned to its rightful owners,” Garrity said. “It’s about promoting college savings for working families and ABLE accounts to assist people with special needs. It’s about creating a system that will allow taxpayers to go online and examine every check written from the Treasury. It’s their money, and they deserve to know how every dollar is spent.”
Garrity’s inaugural ceremony included a presentation of Garrity’s military colors by the First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry. Garrity, a graduate of Bloomsburg University, was pleased to be joined by the Bloomsburg University Choir, which performed the national anthem and “God Bless America.”
Treasurer Garrity, just the fourth woman to be elected as Pennsylvania treasurer, was sworn in by Pennsylvania Superior Court Justice Megan McCarthy King.
Harrisburg, PA – Timothy L. DeFoor was sworn in as Pennsylvania’s 52nd Auditor General and, in so doing, becomes the first African American and person of color in Pennsylvania to be elected to a statewide row office. DeFoor promised taxpayers that he will hold state government accountable for how it spends its citizens’ tax dollars.
“Accountability, integrity and transparency are what Pennsylvania taxpayers expect and deserve from their government in Harrisburg, and that’s exactly what I’ll deliver,” DeFoor said. “I will work hard to ensure our citizens that their hard-earned tax dollars are being used and spent appropriately.”
DeFoor resigned from his previous position as Dauphin County Controller before being sworn in. Pennsylvania Superior Court Judge Carolyn H. Nichols administered the oath of office during a ceremony held at the King Mansion in Harrisburg.
DeFoor brings 30 years of experience auditing and investigating government fraud, waste, and abuse to the Department of the Auditor General. Before being elected as Dauphin County Controller in 2015, DeFoor served as a Special Investigator with the Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General and as a Special Agent with the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General.
“While you can’t run government like it’s a business, you can watch how government spends its money, like it’s a business,” DeFoor said. “I’ll aggressively go after waste, fraud and abuse to ensure that state government lives within its means and every taxpayer dollar is spent wisely.”
DeFoor is a resident of Susquehanna Township in Dauphin County. He is a graduate of Susquehanna Township High School and has an Associate of Arts degree in paralegal studies from Harrisburg Area Community College; a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Pittsburgh; and a Master of Science degree in project management from the Harrisburg University of Science and Technology.
The Pennsylvania Department of the Auditor General conducts audits to ensure that state tax dollars are spent legally and properly. The General Assembly created the position of Auditor General in 1809. The position was held by gubernatorial appointees until 1850, when it became an elected office with a maximum of two, four-year terms.
Learn more about Auditor General DeFoor’s priorities for Pennsylvania and visit the Department of the Auditor General online at www.paauditor.gov.
Harrisburg, PA – Attorney General Josh Shapiro was sworn in for his second term as the Attorney General of Pennsylvania.
“Four years ago, I was elected your Attorney General to fulfill the promise of this great agency, to work towards justice, and to take on the big fights, against the most powerful institutions, for every one of us. I went to every corner of Pennsylvania — all 67 counties — the very first year, to listen…The work goes on — it must — because as we have seen over the past year, there is a long way to go.”
His swearing-in speech reflected on the big fights fought and won since taking office in 2017, and the bigger fights to come in his second term. AG Shapiro also held a moment of silence to honor the 400,000 people who have lost their lives due to COVID-19.
On facing the COVID-19 pandemic:
“COVID laid bare the inequities in our Commonwealth. It ripped off the cover that let too many in power look past how fragile our society and economy were before the virus. Moms working an extra job—60, 80 hours a week—not to save up for a trip or help with tuition, but to barely get by. These disparities are blinding, for all who care to see them: Who are the ‘essential workers’ and who gets to work from home? Which Pennsylvanians are able to get tests and vaccines, get a loan to keep their family business open, or meet their mortgage or monthly rent? Who has lost work, lost hours and whose portfolios have skyrocketed? How have we cared for the elderly, those suffering mental illness, and our most vulnerable? We know the answers, they are unacceptable — and to pursue justice, we must help find new answers.”
On tackling racial inequity and political tensions in 2020:
“When bias and inequality limit people’s potential, it robs us of a safer, more just, and prosperous country. Justice requires us to have one rule of law — not different rules for different people. Not competing realities. We can’t allow fear of others to trump fact and reason and put your rights at risk. This is what is at stake – and why the work of this office is so important. It informs us how we will continue to seek justice: if we improve ourselves, if we tackle inequality across the Commonwealth, and most importantly, by showing you — all of you — that we will have your back when you are up against the most powerful and entrenched interests or the most well-connected in the world.”
On the big fights and beyond:
“We didn’t back down when the Catholic Church covered up decades of abuse. We didn’t back down when the two of the largest healthcare giants in Western Pennsylvania risked the coverage of 1.9 million people over a contract dispute. We didn’t back down when multinational pharmaceutical companies were trying to wash their hands of their role in manufacturing the opioid crisis. We didn’t back down from the attacks against your right to vote, and to have your vote secured and counted—whoever you voted for. You deserve that. No matter where you’re from, what you look like, who you love or who you pray to or choose not to pray to, you deserve a team who will run through a brick wall to protect you — and we have and will.”
On protecting all Pennsylvanians for the next four years:
“For too long the phrase “rule of law” has been used as a way to oppress others — who don’t understand that running hand in hand with rule of law is the pursuit of justice for all. That’s what my Office keeps seeking and that’s what I intend to uphold. The continued pursuit of justice for all relies on citizens joining in, new ideas, new building blocks, a renewed, earned trust in our institutions, but most of all — it requires trust in ourselves. Our belief in our experiment of self-government. Of free and fair elections. Of a common set of facts, and laws that apply equally. Of our commonwealth and prosperity.”