Crawford County was represented at Tuesday’s inauguration of Gov. Josh Shapiro as we know of at least four county residents who traveled to Harrisburg to watch the proceedings and attend the inaugural ball.

Former Crawford County Democratic Chairwoman Valerie Kean Staab was joined by her daughter, Samantha; and Crawford County Auditor and state Democratic chairman Chris Seeley and Katie Wickert also attended. Several posted pictures and talked about what a great event it was.

Seeley, as you may recall, officially announced his candidacy last week for one of the two Democratic nominations for county commissioner.

His candidacy has been no secret as he has been making the rounds at events for the past six months. He was often accompanied by current commissioner Chris Soff and his wife, Lori.

Talking about Soff, he is not seeking re-election to a third term. Although some people had predicted Soff may run for a state office, he has told me in the past that is not an option for him.

Having served on Crawford Central School Board and then on Meadville City Council and as mayor, he said he is not interested in any other political office.

• • •

At the county level, I’m told all but a few incumbents will seek re-election to their respective seats.

Although only a few have made formal announcements, the only offices for which there will be no incumbent running are: two county commissioners (Eric Henry is an incumbent but he is running for a second term); county coroner (incumbent Scott Schell is seeking a Republican nomination for commissioner); and two of the three county auditors (Kathy Roae and Seeley are not seeking re-election to their slots. Roae is retiring and Seeley is going for county commissioner.) Although technically, Seeley could be on the ballot for both positions if he wants, but that’s not a popular choice to do.

At any rate, candidates have their choice of what office to seek.

So far, incumbent prothonotary Emmy Arnett, is the only incumbent so far with an opponent. Roan Hunter has announced he will seek the GOP nomination for prothonotary.

• • •

Shapiro nominated an Allegheny College graduate to succeed him as attorney general and fill out the remaining two years of his unexpired term. He is nominating his deputy attorney general when he was still AG, Michelle Henry.

She won’t be the first Allegheny graduate to serve in a statewide position. Mark Campbell served in the administration of Gov. Tom Ridge.

And, of course, the late Gov. Raymond P. Shafer also was an Allegheny College grad and later served as its president.

I’m sure there may be more, but these two are the most prominent to me.

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Four of the five living former governors were in attendance at the inauguration: Wolf, Ridge, Tom Corbett and Mark Schweiker. Former Gov. Ed Rendell was absent and according to reports it was because of a “mobility issue.”

Shapiro had invited the former governors to join him for breakfast before he took his oath of office. Some reportedly gave him some “advice.”

Also in attendance were U.S. Sens. Robert Casey Jr. and John Fetterman.

The pictures and reports of the event brought back memories of Ridge’s inauguration for me. I attended the inauguration as well as all the festivities which went with the event.

As I was preparing to leave the day after the inauguration, Ridge was holding his first press conference. I was quickly alerted to it and since I had press credentials, I was allowed to cover it.

I was pleased that Ridge recognized me for the first question after his announcement of his planned juvenile justice changes.

In my nearly 40 years of covering government officials, I can say every governor and U.S. senator I covered were nothing but respectful and available for questions.

The political world was a fun beat to cover.

• • •

As I watched Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Debra Todd give the oath to Shapiro, that too brought back memories of when Todd first ran for the statewide office. She too was very congenial and receptive to questions from the press.

It was nice to see her preside and prove that with a lot of work and dedication, one can achieve success and win statewide elections.

• • •

It may be just me, but I’m concerned about the apparent lack of control of “classified” documents.

It appears nobody knows what documents are missing or how many. My concern is what is contained in this “classified” information that it is so casually filed somewhere and/or anywhere.

What should happen if that information is needed quickly for whatever reason? Who would know where it is? I’m sure, however, there are probably copies of them where they could be easily accessed if needed.

But it just doesn’t make sense to me that the information is floating all over the place and nobody seems too awfully concerned.

Does anybody know what documents and how many are missing? Just wondering.

Jane Smith is a retired Meadville Tribune reporter who specialized in covering government and politics.

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