A Capitol Journey

A Capitol Journey : Reflections on the Press, Politics, and the Making of Public Policy in Pennsylvania

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The last half of the twentieth century was a time of great social and economic change for Pennsylvanians. It was also a tumultuous time in state politics. Vincent Carocci lived through these years, spending the last four decades of the century as a journalist and political insider, rising to the post of press secretary to Governor Robert P. Casey in 1989. In A Capitol Journey, this veteran journalist and political insider offers a colorful and honest look at the ups and downs of state politics, Pennsylvania style.

Carocci's story is the story of a professional lifetime in and around Pennsylvania state government. He was part of the State Capitol press corps during an era that is now long gone, and never likely to return. He describes the characters who covered the news in the State Capitol, their work habits, their character, their strengths, and their foibles. Carocci's story is also the story of the legislative process and those who gave it life and breath. He describes an unpredictable, sometimes unsightly process of politics, personal machinations, and legislative reorganizations. Of particular note, Carocci recounts his appearance before a federal grand jury and testimony at a federal corruption trial. He also describes how an innocent Christmas lunch between an unpredictable Senate Majority Leader and three of his staff set off a chain of events that ultimately cost the Democrats political control of the Senate, a blow from which they still have not recovered.

Finally, Carocci's story is the story of Pennsylvania governors, six in all, who assumed the pinnacle of political power in the state-their successes, their shortcomings, and, above all, their legacies. Having worked most closely with Robert Casey, Carocci recounts the many trials and tribulations of his two terms in office, including the 1992 Democratic convention when Casey's steadfast opposition to abortion made him a virtual outcast within his own party, and the recurring medical problems that challenged him throughout his tenure.

All of this and more Carocci measures up from a very personal vantage point, making A Capitol Journey a lively and a satisfying introduction to the political culture of the Keystone state.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 312 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 22mm | 476g
  • University Park, United States
  • English
  • 6 Halftones, black and white
  • 0271058579
  • 9780271058573

Table of contents



Introduction: Early Years

Part 1: The Press

1. The Legislative Correspondents

2. Frank and Lindy: One Memorable Ride, One Memorable Coal Mine

3. The Divvy and a Pulitzer Prize

4. Reader Beware: Editorial Comment to Follow

5. Forks in the Road

Part 2: The Pennsylvania Senate

6. The Pennsylvania Senate, 1970s Style

7. The Senators

8. Legislative Reorganizations and Strange Bedfellows

9. Transgressions

10. The Vince

Part 3: The Governors

11. Chief Executive Officer

12. David L. Lawrence (1959-1963)

13. William Warren Scranton II (1963-1967)

14. Raymond Phillip Shafer (1967-1971)

15. Milton J. Shapp (1971-1979)

16. Richard L. Thornburgh (1979-1987)

Part 4: The Casey Years

17. The Casey Pursuit

18. Reforming the Liquor Control System

19. Bouncing Around the Governor's Office on the Way to a Dream

20. The Budget from Hell

21. The Longest Week

22. Health: The Issue That Just Wouldn't Go Away

23. Reflections, Recovery, Reentry

24. The Final Year

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Review quote

"Carocci is an excellent storyteller and has some insights into Pennsylvania politics and government not available at the moment anywhere else. Anyone searching for a classic insider account, complete with anecdotes and analysis, will find the book profitable to read."-G. Terry Madonna, Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography "This is a book worth reading by anyone trying to understand the operation of Pennsylvania's state government in the latter part of the 20th century."-Harold Cox, Commonwealth "Vince's book is a fine introduction to the political culture of our state."-Al Holliday, Pennsylvania Magazine "Whether you are happy about-or horrified by-the hardball politics played in Harrisburg, you will learn much from A Capitol Journey about the 'stories behind the stories' of Pennsylvania government over the past four decades. As an outsider looking in, and as an insider looking out, Vince Carocci is the perfect guy to write this book."-Russell E. Eshleman Jr., former Harrisburg bureau chief, The Philadelphia Inquirer
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About Vincent P. Carocci

Vincent P. Carocci covered state politics in Harrisburg during the 1960s for UPI and AP and then again in the early 1970s for The Philadelphia Inquirer. He then served on the Senate staff of the Democratic Party for thirteen years. From 1987 to 1995 he was a senior staffer for Governor Robert P. Casey during his two terms in office. From 1995 to 2003 he was Director of Government Affairs for Capital BlueCross. Now retired, he lives near Harrisburg.
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