Pennsylvania

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Wolf picks former challenger, DEP secretary McGinty for chief of staff

Governor-elect Tom Wolf has picked former Secretary of the Pa. Department of Environmental Protection, Katie McGinty to be his chief of staff.

Kimberly Paynter/WHYY

Governor-elect Tom Wolf has picked former Secretary of the Pa. Department of Environmental Protection, Katie McGinty to be his chief of staff.

Pennsylvania’s Governor-elect Tom Wolf has tapped Katie McGinty, a former challenger and state environmental protection secretary, to be his chief of staff.

After finishing fourth in the June primary, McGinty led the Fresh Start political action committee that campaigned on behalf of Wolf and other democrats. She will help with the transition to the next administration before assuming her new role after the inauguration on January 20.

McGinty ran the state Department of Environmental Protection from 2003 to 2008 under Governor Ed Rendell and was the first woman to hold the position in Pennsylvania. She is also a former staffer under President Bill Clinton who named her chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

“In federal and state government, Katie worked with diverse interests to achieve meaningful change in difficult environments,” said Wolf in a statement. “Her experience will help me work with Republicans and Democrats to move Pennsylvania forward.”

One major item on Wolf’s agenda is passing a 5 percent severance tax on natural gas drilling, which may be a tough sell in the state’s Republican-controlled legislature.

During her primary campaign, McGinty called for a 4.5 percent severance tax and for increased state oversight of the oil and gas industry. She was the only primary candidate who expressed openness to eventual drilling in the Delaware River basin, provided the state could strengthen environmental regulations.

“We’re not meeting the test right now,” she told StateImpact Pennsylvania at the time.

Click here to watch a video and read a transcript of our primary interview with McGinty.

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