Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Politics & Government

Wolf Names Katie McGinty Chief of Staff

Katie McGinty

Former state Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Katie McGinty failed to win the Democratic nomination for Governor this spring, but she has nabbed one of the top spots in Gov.-elect Tom Wolf’s administration. Wolf on Monday named McGinty his chief of staff.

McGinty said she’s anticipating a stark and sobering report from the Independent Fiscal Office on Thursday.

“Job number one is to get to the bottom of how deep and serious the … fiscal crisis is that the commonwealth faces, get those facts, begin to bring people to the table, and try to tackle that big challenge,” McGinty said.

She said the next priority is pumping more money into education: roughly a billion more dollars, if Wolf’s campaign promises are to be fulfilled.

“Every business knows you can’t grow unless you invest, and education has to be one of the drivers to move us forward,” McGinty said. “The Marcellus Shale severance tax (will) enable us to put money back in our schools, rehire the tens of thousands of people that have been fired, and start doing right by our kids again.”

She said she recognizes that working with a heavily Republican-controlled legislature might pose some challenges, but that she’s willing to work with anyone, regardless of ideology or political party, as long as they are focused on finding solutions to the commonwealth’s most pressing problems.

“My style is to embrace all of those inputs and different perspectives so that you get the very best ideas to move forward,” McGinty said.

Before heading up the Department of Environmental Protection under then Gov. Ed Rendell, McGinty held various White House posts, including chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality under President Bill Clinton. She’s also worked in private industry and in the non-profit world, focusing on technology and environmental issues.  

She said the challenges she faced in those positions have prepared her for this one.

“When you bring people together, those challenges can create terrific opportunities for creativity, for innovation, and for economic growth,” McGinty said. “That’s what I’m very much looking forward to in serving as Tom (Wolf’s) chief of staff.”

McGinty’s post is the first to be announced by Gov.-elect Wolf, and she’s also the first to sign the ethics pledge he said he’ll require of all staffers in his administration.

Staffers must pledge to disclose any past, present, or future conflicts of interest and promise not to use their office for personal gain. McGinty said she was proud to sign the pledge.

“We need to get the money and the gifts out of politics,” McGinty said. “We need to have people serving for the right reasons, which is for the people of Pennsylvania and not for their own financial interests.”