Did you know Spotlight PA is a nonprofit? Learn more about our nonpartisan journalism »
Skip to main content
Main content

Big gains and big hurdles for women in PA politics

Plus, hazardous train schedules? It's a secret. 

Support Spotlight PA's vital journalism and for a limited time, all gifts will be DOUBLED!BEFORE YOU DIVE IN...

There are just 72 hours left to support Spotlight PA's vital investigative journalism and get your gift DOUBLED by the Benter Foundation in Pittsburgh. Lock in your dollar-for-dollar match before it expires »

We're only $5K away from our goal!

Thank you so much,

—Colin D., Newsletter Editor

The logo of PA Post, a free daily newsletter delivering the top news from across Pennsylvania every day.

A daily newsletter by The logo of Spotlight PA, an independent, nonpartisan newsroom producing investigative journalism for Pennsylvania.

Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen
Thursday, March 23, 2023
Women in politics, unauthorized access, State speech, 'urgent threat,' double duty, hazard trains, and Philadelphia's rookie government. Welcome!

A record number of women are currently serving in the Pennsylvania legislature: 80 of the 253 lawmakers in the state House and Senate.

And for the first time, two women are in charge of the chambers: Republican President Pro Tempore Kim Ward in the state Senate, and Democratic Speaker Joanna McClinton in the state House.

But despite these gains, Pennsylvania still lags behind more than two dozen other states in terms of representation.

Read Spotlight PA's full report: Women have more power than ever in Pennsylvania’s legislature, but lawmakers say big hurdles remain.

THE CONTEXT: In their conversations with Spotlight PA, lawmakers and academics agreed that the number of women in Pennsylvania’s legislature has remained middling at least partly because the party apparatuses that identify and groom candidates for success still struggle to see women as viable candidates. 

Of the eight current and former lawmakers who spoke to Spotlight PA for this story, only three were endorsed by their party when they first ran for office.

One academic also said a lack of confidence may have historically played a role in keeping women from running for office. 

“Women felt like they had to be perfect to run for office,” said professor Kimberly Adams, who added that things seem to be changing: “I don’t see that anymore."


"Recent developments are likely to result in tighter credit conditions for households and businesses and to weigh on economic activity, hiring, and inflation. The extent of these effects is uncertain."

—The Federal Reserve in a Wednesday statement announcing a 0.25% interest rate hike, bringing the benchmark to its highest level since 2007
Support Spotlight PA's investigative journalism and for a limited time, all gifts will be DOUBLED.
We're down to the wire of one of our most important fundraising drives of the year. Our investigative journalism gets results, and you won't get it from anyone else. But we cannot keep it up without your support.

Thank you to the 332 people who have given so far during this campaign, including Carol D., who said, "Caliber of reporting is excellent!"

Join Carol & contribute now »

You can also give by PayPal here, or send a check to: Spotlight PA, 228 Walnut St., #11728, Harrisburg, PA 17108.
» UNEQUAL ELECTIONS: Join us and a panel of election experts on Thursday, March 30 from 6-7 p.m. on Zoom for a free discussion on unequal voting policies in the state, how they impact voters, and possible solutions. Register for the event here and submit questions to events@spotlightpa.org.
» A complete guide to the Pa. Supreme Court candidates

» Why independents can't vote in Pa. primaries (Spotlight PA archives)

» How unequal policies disenfranchised Pa. voters in 2022

» Register to vote in the May 16 primary here; deadline May 1

» Request your mail ballot for the May 16 primary; deadline May 9

Support Spotlight PA's public-service election and voting coverage now.
Owl and owlet in Lancaster County, via Elliott C. Send us your photos by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.
Owl and baby nestled in trunk of tree.
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.'IMPROPER RELEASE': Kevin Dellicker, who lost in the GOP primary race to challenge U.S. Rep. Susan Wild (D., Pa.) last year, is among the 2022 Republican congressional candidates identified as having had their U.S. Air Force records improperly released to a Democratic-aligned research firm, Politico reports. "This isn't going to go away quietly," U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R., Cali.) vowed.

Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.FAR-RIGHT RETURN: Spotlight PA's Wyatt Massey reports a conservative student group is looking to bring far-right personality Alex Stein back to Penn State University Park months after his appearance with Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes was canceled at the last minute due to clashes. Massey reports the group is eyeing the month of April and wants five officers for security.

Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.'SUPERBUG' FUNGUS: A drug-resistant fungal infection that can cause severe illness in people with weakened immune systems is spreading in health care facilities nationwide, and Pennsylvania reported 33 cases through the end of last year. Researchers say cases more than tripled in the pandemic as overburdened hospitals shifted their focus away from disinfecting some other kinds of germs, per the AP.

Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.FORCED TO RESIGN: A former state lawmaker has resigned her $69,360-a-year post on a commonwealth board after taking a job in the attorney general’s office earning $145,018 a year. PennLive (paywall) reports former GOP state Rep. Marguerite Quinn's resignation from the lower-paying unemployment compensation board seat was announced soon after the outlet inquired about the double duty.

Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.HAZARD TRAVEL: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security makes it next to impossible to learn the what, where, and when of hazardous rail shipments through states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania, especially post-9/11, the New Jersey Monitor reports. In related news: Two Pennsylvania state reps plan to pursue stricter rail safety rules amid questions about the state's ability to do so.

STILL CONFLICTED: Gary Heidnik was the last person put to death in Pennsylvania. His crimes inspired The Silence of the Lambs. The sister of one of his victims has mixed feelings about his execution 24 years later.

NEW EAGLE ERA: Shapira family leadership of the Pittsburgh-based grocery chain Giant Eagle has ended, with the board removing longtime CEO Laura Shapira Karet "pursuant to her contract," WESA reports.

40-YEAR LOW: Philly is set to get its least experienced city council since 1983 following a wave of high-profile departures. The Inquirer (paywall) says whether that's good or bad depends largely on who you ask. 

GOOD PHOOD: Eater Philly has a deep-dive on guava, peanuts, curry, and roti: "The flavors and techniques that bind together the city's most popular cuisines," from Puerto Rican to Malaysian cooking.

BUSY BEE: Once your March Madness jets have cooled, it's time to get ready for the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Kenzo Veron of Carlisle's Lamberton Middle School will rep central Pennsylvania in the May contest.

Unscramble and send your answer to scrambler@spotlightpa.org. We'll shout out winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA swag. Answers submitted by 6 p.m. on issue date will be counted.

Yesterday's answer: Vermillion

Congrats to our daily winners: Craig W., Susan D., Elaine C., Eric F., Becky C., John P., Vicki U., Adrien M., Starr B., Barbara F., Kim C., Diane B., Jenette W., Michael P., Theresa T., Don H., Marty M., Lynne E., Michelle T., Jon W., Mike B., Judith D., Suzanne S., Ada M., Al M., Sarah B., Bruce Bi., Dianne K., Jane R., Carol S., Susan N.-Z., Daniel M., Richard A., Bruce Ba., John A., Stanley J., James B., Marc W., Dennis M., Kimberly D., Nancy S., Carolyn R., Johnny C., Frederick H., David W., Bill S., Wendy A., WIlliam Z., Joel S., and Ronnee G.


Like PA Post? Share it with a friend.

Love PA Post? Support it with a tax-deductible gift.

Forwarded this newsletter? Subscribe here.
Support Spotlight PA's vital investigative journalism and for a limited time, your gift will be DOUBLED.
Spotlight PA is an independent, non-partisan newsroom powered by The Philadelphia Inquirer in partnership with PennLive/The Patriot-News, TribLIVE/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and WITF Public Media.

Copyright © Spotlight PA / The Philadelphia Inquirer, All rights reserved.

Spotlight PA
228 Walnut St., #11728
Harrisburg, PA 17108-1728


You're receiving this email because you subscribed to PA Post, a daily newsletter by Spotlight PA.

This email was sent to: <<Email Address>>

Receiving too many emails from Spotlight PA?

To change your newsletter subscriptions and frequency, you can update your preferences.

To stop receiving fundraising messages, you can update your preferences and select "Opt out of Fundraising."

To stop receiving ALL EMAILS from Spotlight PA, including all of our investigations and newsletters, you can completely unsubscribe here.