Transition leaders for Democrats Shapiro-Davis a diverse group, includes Republicans

Nov. 24—HARRISBURG — The initial transition leadership teams announced by Josh Shapiro align with the governor-elect's pledge to assemble an administration that "looks like" Pennsylvania.

Members of the Leadership Board and Personnel Committee for Shapiro and Lieutenant Governor-elect Austin Davis are a diverse collective with varied demographics and professional backgrounds.

There are leaders in organized labor and business, higher education and health care, government and law. Four worked under Ed Rendell either when he was governor or Philadelphia's mayor. At least two others are Republicans who backed Shapiro, a Democrat, over his GOP opponent, Doug Mastriano.

One of those is the Leadership Board chair, William Sasso, chairman emeritus of the Philadelphia-based Stradley Ronon law firm who's oft-recognized for his legal and business prowess and political might. Sasso was an advisor for the political action committee, Republicans for Shapiro, which opposed Mastriano's far-right politics.

Sasso served on the transition team for former Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, accepted appointments by both Corbett and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, and also was on the transition team for Shapiro when he was elected in 2016 as attorney general.

James D. Schultz, a partner at the multinational Holland & Knight law firm, is on the personnel committee. He had been general counsel to Corbett and was an associate White House counsel under former President Donald Trump.

When Shapiro and Davis met in the State Capitol last week alongside Wolf, the governor-elect stressed the importance of having a diverse team in order to govern the entirety of Pennsylvania rather than only his political base.

"Anyone willing to take off the red jersey, the blue jersey and just wear a Pennsylvania jersey, we want you to know that you're welcome to be part of our team," Shapiro said when pitching people to submit resumes to join the transition or administration at

The Leadership Board consists of 11 members. The Personnel Committee, chaired by Davis, has 22 members. Three additional appointees will serve as legal counsel and two others as senior advisors.

Union representatives include Ryan Boyer, business manager of the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council, Angela Ferritto, president of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, and J. David Henderson, executive director of AFSCME Council 13.

Charisse Lillie, CEO of CRL Consulting, has a spot on the Leadership Board. She's a one-time assistant U.S. attorney in eastern Pennsylvania and had once been city solicitor for Philadelphia.

Thomas B. Hagen, named by Forbes as one of the 400 richest people in the U.S., will aid the transition. He is chairman of the Erie Indemnity Company board and had served under former Republican Gov. Tom Ridge as Pennsylvania's secretary of commerce and secretary of community and economic development.

Gregory E. Deavens, president and CEO of Independence Health Group, parent company of Independence Blue Cross, Farnam Jahanian, president of Carnegie Mellon University, and Madeline Bell, president and CEO of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, all accepted roles in the Shapiro-Davis transition.