Rich Fitzgerald officially became the third Allegheny County Executive when he was sworn into office on Tuesday.
After taking the oath, Fitzgerald said that he realizes the region faces many challenges, including property reassessments and transit. He said that he would be discussing property reassessments soon, and added that improving the region's transit system will be key.
"A growing economy, a growing region cannot grow without proper transit. So we're going to have to work together with business, community groups, neighborhood groups, our elected leaders in Harrisburg, with our elected leaders in Washington to make this work," he said.
The new county executive had high praise for the region's technology sector and the education, health, and energy industries. He said that Marcellus Shale offers some great opportunities for the region, but, "there's a downside to that as well. There's environmental issues we have to deal with, and if there's one thing we've learned over the decades, it's that we cannot allow industry to not be regulated, because we've got to protect our environment."
Fitzgerald's eight children presented the certificate of election and his wife, Cathy Fitzgerald, participated in the administration of the oath of office which, was administered by Magisterial District Judge James J. Hanley, Jr. Fitzgerald said that he's excited to get to work.
"I'm so optimistic about our future. I'm so optimistic about the fact that we have turned a corner in this region, that the problems we experienced almost three decades ago have started to turn a corner," he said.