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.