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Pennsylvania

John Fetterman wants to give public access to Lt. Gov.'s residence

| Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, 4:00 p.m.
In this Sept. 21, 2018 photo Braddock, Pa., Mayor John Fetterman speaks at a campaign rally for Pennsylvania candidates in Philadelphia. Fetterman, Pennsylvania's newly elected lieutenant governor, says he does not plan to move into the lavish state-owned official residence and hopes to make it available for some type of public use. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
In this Sept. 21, 2018 photo Braddock, Pa., Mayor John Fetterman speaks at a campaign rally for Pennsylvania candidates in Philadelphia. Fetterman, Pennsylvania's newly elected lieutenant governor, says he does not plan to move into the lavish state-owned official residence and hopes to make it available for some type of public use. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania’s newly elected lieutenant governor said Wednesday he does not plan to move into the lavish state-owned official residence and hopes to make it available for some type of public use.

Democrat John Fetterman said he may rent a place in Harrisburg, but he’s definitely not moving his family to Harrisburg or to the residence at Fort Indiantown Gap.

“We’re not going to reside in the mansion,” Fetterman said during a postelection visit to the Capitol newsroom. “My wife and I envision, and the governor supports, some kind of public usage of it. Particularly swimming for children.”

He said his family will remain in Braddock, a western Pennsylvania steel town where he is mayor.

“Not that Harrisburg’s not a wonderful town,” Fetterman said, noting he grew up outside York, about 25 miles from the capital. But he added his family has “a real strong allegiance both practically but also symbolically to the community that I’ve been lucky enough to lead for the past four terms.”

Fetterman beat incumbent Lt. Gov. Mike Stack, a former state senator, and three others in the Democratic primary this year to become Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s running mate.

Wolf and Stack were never particularly close, but that was exacerbated last year when the governor stripped Stack of Pennsylvania State Police protection and limited cleaning, grounds keeping and maintenance at the State House, as it is called, after an investigation that wasn’t made public into how state employees were treated there and the use of the state police troopers.

Stack’s office later disclosed his wife had entered treatment for an undisclosed mental health issue.

Stack spokesman J.P. Kurish said the residence’s location may present a problem for plans to convert it to a more public purpose.

“It would be difficult, because it sits on a military base,” Kurish said. “So it’s really not public land.”

The property includes a couple houses and a pool that was closed this past season because it requires extensive renovation.

“There is apparently a plan to reduce the size of it and put maybe a fiberglass filter” in it, Kurish said.

He said the staff had once included a cook, a full-time cleaning person, a maintenance worker and a manager. But since Wolf imposed changes, it has consisted of a full-time maintenance worker. The three-story, stone exterior State House, as it’s called, comprises about 2,400 square feet.

He said Stack’s future plans remain unclear.

“As far as I know, he’s still entertaining offers and hasn’t made a decision on that,” Kurish said.

As lieutenant governor, Fetterman will preside over sessions of the state Senate.

Lieutenant governors chair the state Board of Pardons, sit on the emergency management council and typically take a leading role in working with the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.

Wolf has not moved into the governor’s residence along the Susquehanna River in Harrisburg, instead commuting 20 miles to the Capitol from his home in Mount Wolf, a York County borough named for an ancestor.

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