HARRISBURG, Pa. — Continuing a tradition started by Gov. Tom Wolf, Martin Luther King Jr. Day was a day of service for Gov.-elect Josh Shapiro and Lt.-Gov.-elect Austin Davis.
The two men joined hundreds of volunteers at the Alexander Grass Campus for Jewish Life for the Central Pennsylvania Day of Service. Projects included making no-sew fleece blankets for people experiencing homelessness and making literacy kits for kids in Harrisburg-area schools.
“We are leaning in on a sense of service and showing that will be what our administration is focused on, serving others,” Shapiro said at the event. “It’s what I’ll be talking about in my inaugural address, a sense of service to others, that each of us has a responsibility to do our part.”
Some volunteers were surprised to see the future officials in person.
“Making sure that they’re with the people rather than just saying that they are with the people and not being out here, it’s really good to see,” said Ruben Bourdeau, a volunteer from Wilkes-Barre.
The event came just one day before Shapiro and Davis are sworn into office.
Davis will be the first African American lieutenant governor in Pennsylvania’s history.
“To have our swearing-in day the day after Martin Luther King Day is really significant given my place in history and Pennsylvania’s history,” Davis said. “It’s a symbol that if you work hard in Pennsylvania, you can achieve anything.”
Shapiro comes into the governor’s office while the future of the state House is still up in the air. A near-tie between Democrats and Republicans is jeopardizing which party will be in the majority. Republicans walked back their support of Speaker of the House Mark Rozzi after the Democrat revealed he may not switch his party registration to independent.
While a stalemate in the House could curtail Shapiro’s legislative agenda, he said on Monday he wasn’t worried.
“They’ll sort it out there and obviously the special election is three weeks or so [away]. That will help sort it out,” he said.
Preparations are underway at the Capitol for the inauguration, which is scheduled to begin at noon on Tuesday.