Photo by Tom Chapin â€“ Inner Circle Vice-President Bill Deeley (far left) officially makes Gov. Tom Corbett (far right) an honoray member of the Groundhog Club Inner Circle while Vice President Mike Johnston (center) looks on Wednesday night at the annual Groundhog Banquet at PAHS.
PUNXSUTAWNEY â€” Despite being born in the Philadelphia area, Gov. Tom Corbett insists he is a western Pennsylvania man by heart who has observed Groundhog Day since he was a child.
"When I was young, we had only three TV stations, and one of them we couldn't get â€” not in North Hills," said Corbett, the second sitting Pennsylvania governor to attend Groundhog Day. "We always hope for more winter and snow so we could play outside."
He also had a message for Inner Circle President Bill Deeley, who receives Punxsutawney Phil's prognostication in "groundhogese" and translates it for the crowd: "Don't screw up winter. After flooding this past year, I like not having to salt the roads this year."
In introducing Corbett, state House Speaker Sam Smith, of Punxsutawney, described the Inner Circle as "a well-oiled machine, as long as that machine is oiled with beer," to which Corbett ordered to both Smith and state Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, "'A well-oiled machine. Get the beer."
"I'm not here to talk politics," Corbett said. "So relax."
Corbett and his wife, Susan, reside in the Governor's Mansion in Harrisburg, but maintain a home in Shaler Township.
Throughout his travels in the Keystone State, Corbett said he is always happy to return to western Pennsylvania, because "I know I'm back in Steelers Country."
He recalled moving into the Governor's Mansion after it was occupied by his predecessor, Gov. Ed. Rendell, who attended Groundhog Day in 2003 and was a "huge Eagles" fan.
Corbett described a breakfast event in the state dining room at the mansion, when he eyed two large candelabra from which he tried to sign a huge "You're in Steelers Country" banner given to him by his nephew. He also recalled the looks his wife and staff gave him as he tried it.
"Even though the governor resides in the mansion, it's her mansion, too," he said.
See full article by purchasing the Feb. 2 edition of The Kane Republican.