WILKES-BARRE — Gov. Tom Wolf Thursday named Mary Isenhour as his new chief of staff, replacing Katie McGinty, who resigned and is expected to run for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate in 2016.
“Katie McGinty has been an invaluable adviser and friend, and her contributions to the commonwealth will be remembered,” Wolf said at a news conference Thursday in Harrisburg. “We worked together to expand Medicaid, eliminate the unfair and costly SNAP asset test, save the children’s health insurance program in Pennsylvania, and implement key government reforms like a gift ban.”
McGinty said she will announce her plans soon. She is expected to enter the contest for the Democratic nomination against former U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak, who ran against Sen. Pat Toomey in 2010 and lost by a narrow margin.
Wolf said Isenhour is one of his closest advisers, and she has served as a valuable part of his administration.
“Mary has earned respect from Republicans and Democrats, and she has vast and diverse experience in government that will help to guide my administration,” Wolf said. “I am eager to continue to work with Mary in her new role as my Chief of Staff.”
Jeff Sheridan, Wolf’s press secretary, said Thursday was a “day of transition” in Harrisburg.
“Mary, much like Katie, has played a major role in much of the success of the administration in the first six months,” Sheridan said. “We have achieved some major accomplishments and Mary will assure that the administration keeps moving forward.”
McGinty, who stood at Wolf’s side during the news conference, said it was an honor to serve in the new governor’s administration.
“I am proud to have helped to fight to expand Medicaid and eliminate unfair asset tests, while advocating for policies that will fund our schools and strengthen our middle class,” she said. “I will continue to fight for the principles and polices that we worked on in the Wolf Administration including fixing our schools, creating jobs, and advocating for a living wage for our workers.”
Isenhour said she looks forward to continuing to work with the governor and the administration to serve the people of Pennsylvania.
“Gov. Wolf has the right priorities for the Commonwealth: schools that teach, jobs that pay, and government that works, and I look forward to working with him to implement his vision,” Isenhour said.
Isenhour, 52, is a native of Kansas. She most recently served as Wolf’s secretary of legislative affairs. She began her career as a staffer in the Kansas House of Representatives.
From 1995 to 1999, Mary served as a national political director for the Washington, D.C. based Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, and from 1999 to 2003, Mary served as executive director of the Pennsylvania House Democratic Campaign Committee (HDCC).
Following her time at HDCC, Mary served as executive director of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party and as state director for Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Campaign.
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.