The 2018 General Election has come and gone … as have the tsunami of campaign commercials. Now, with politicking finished, the focus shifts to policy.
In nearly every chamber where decisions will be made, the landscape has changed dramatically, and that’s especially true in Pennsylvania.
Some things stay the same: incumbent Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf won re-election to a second term. But he brings with him a new lieutenant governor. John Fetterman is the mayor of Braddock, Pa., in southwestern Pennsylvania. He’s also a former U.S. Senate candidate and a voice of the state’s progressive movement.
In his second term, Wolf is staring down the same challenge he faced during his first four years: a General Assembly controlled by Republicans. But the makeup is much different.
Republicans were defending majorities of 121-82 in the House and 34-16 in the Senate. While the GOP kept their majorities in both chambers, Democrats cut into those margins, picking up 11 seats in the House and five seats in the Senate.
The Senate lost its super-majority, meaning they can’t overturn a gubernatorial veto along a party-line vote anymore.
Democrats’ pickups came mostly in suburban Philadelphia, which was home to many moderate Republicans. Because it was moderate Republicans who lost, the smaller GOP majorities will become much more conservative.
In other words, while the margins are much closer numerically, Democrats and Republicans are actually much farther apart ideologically.
Here’s the latest breakdown:
• House: 110 Republicans, 93 Democrats • Senate: 29 Republicans, 21 Democrats
What does all of this mean for the issues that matter to us, like funding for the State Food Purchase Program (SFPP), the Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System (PASS) and other anti-hunger initiatives? It’s too early to tell.
On these issues and so many more, the Democratic governor and Republican General Assembly could try to find compromises to advance policies that benefit Pennsylvania --- a goal we all share. Or, the two ideologically opposed sides could dig in their heels. It’s still anyone’s guess.
All we really know for sure right now is that when voters engage --- more than 4.9 million Pennsylvanians voted Nov. 6 --- real change happens.