Pittsburgh Mayor Peduto, Allegheny Executive Fitzgerald schmooze officials
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto spent most of Tuesday's daylight hours in a minivan.
He rode to Harrisburg and back with Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald to hear Gov. Tom Corbett deliver his proposal for next year's state budget and jointly lobby legislators and the governor on behalf of the roughly 1.2 million people Fitzgerald and Peduto represent.
It was Peduto's second road trip to the Capitol since his inauguration last month, and he was there in part on advice from Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.
“It's not just coming to Harrisburg to ask,” Peduto said. “He said, ‘Be present. Be seen. Don't just show up when you need something.'”
Peduto, a first-term Democrat from Point Breeze with about 20 years of experience in city government, campaigned on a promise to lobby for Pittsburgh. His wish list is short but weighty: Peduto hopes to keep the city under Act 47 state financial oversight, push for municipal pension reform with other Democratic mayors and obtain more funding for Pittsburgh Public Schools.
Pittsburgh has Harrisburg's ear, but Peduto brings a new voice: Both leaders in the House hail from Allegheny County, as does Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, D-Forest Hills, who said Peduto has the appropriate approach to partner with the state.
“For the last six or seven years, there was really no relationship with Harrisburg and the mayor's office,” said Costa, whose brother, Guy, was the city's public works director for a decade until clashing with Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and resigning in 2009.
Ravenstahl couldn't be reached for comment. He said last week he will use connections he made during seven years as mayor to start a business consulting firm.
Sen. Matt Smith, D-Mt. Lebanon, said Peduto's approach is a “clean break” from the past and provides input to help guide lawmakers on what's good for their cities.
House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, R-Marshall, described Peduto as a “reformer.”
“I'm open to hearing anything the mayor brings, and he is welcome to meet with members of our caucus,” Turzai said. “It's an open-door policy.”
Peduto plans to use that door, saying he hopes to visit Harrisburg several times a month and Washington every 60 days or so.
“You have to have somebody who is the visible, physical presence in order to make that pitch, and that's the job of the mayor,” he said.
So on Tuesday, Peduto and Fitzgerald left Pittsburgh about 6:30 a.m. They drove with some of Fitzgerald's staff about 200 miles east on the Pennsylvania Turnpike to the Capitol, then headed to the third floor near the governor's offices by 11 a.m.
Local and state officials gathered at the Governor's Reception Room, an area reserved for guests and occasional news conferences, before the speech began. Peduto talked with Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, a longtime political ally. He shook hands and chatted with state Treasurer Rob McCord, one of the Democrats lining up to run against Corbett in November.
About 15 minutes before the speech, guests headed to the House chamber. Peduto took in its grandeur, with its gold trim, marble walls and painted ceilings. Then he took a photo of the chamber's elaborate chandeliers and gilded ceiling on his iPhone, which he tweeted. He shook hands and chatted with lawmakers from across the state, including Rep. Erin Molchany, D-Mt. Washington, and Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Squirrel Hill.
After the speech, Peduto and Fitzgerald met with Corbett, which Fitzgerald described as a “very productive” discussion. Fitzgerald has attended the budget address multiple times and pushed for transportation infrastructure funding.
“You've got to have good credibility and good relationships with the House, the Senate and the governor's office,” Fitzgerald said. He noted some “good government” measures are bipartisan issues, such as pension changes Allegheny County recently enacted that required the state Legislature's approval.
So far, it appears Peduto's plan to be seen is working. During the early part of his speech, Corbett, a Shaler Republican, paused and went off script. He welcomed Peduto and Harrisburg's newly elected Mayor Eric Papenfuse.
He said: “Gentlemen, good luck.”
Melissa Daniels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-8511 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- With Pittsburgh charges, feds target Uganda-based counterfeiting ring
- Pittsburgh Public Schools adopts no-tax-increase budget for 2015
- PennDOT to begin changing Glenbury Street Friday, part of Route 51/ 88 intersection rehab
- Inspections will force Liberty Bridge lane closures on Friday
- Pittsburgh student jailed after striking school police officer
- Portion of Baum Boulevard closed after bricks fall from building
- Larimer neighborhood turning corner toward renewal with development
- Pittsburgh Holocaust Center finally finds permanent home
- Humane Society draws attention to longest-tenured critters at sleepover
- Investors eager to trade cash for green cards in immigration program