Professor Emeritus Thomas Baldino Releases Book on Pennsylvania Politics

by Kelly Clisham
photo of thomas baldino in front of bookcases in his office

Thomas Baldino, professor emeritus of political science, taught at Wilkes for 28 years. Though he retired from the classroom in 2019, he’s still sharing his expertise. Over the past few years, Baldino and co-author Paula Holoviak, professor of philosophy and government at Kutztown University, have been working on a book to help readers better understand politics in the Keystone State. In March, their book, Pennsylvania Government and Politics, was published by Penn State University Press.

Cover of Pennsylvania Government and Politics by Baldino and Holoviak

Covering a period of more than 300 years, the book surveys topics including Pennsylvania’s political history, culture and geography, interactions between groups such as office holders and the media, policy development and implementation, law creation and enforcement, hierarchy and interaction among government bodies and officials, tax collection and disbursement, and the political upheaval resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 presidential election. The book also features practical appendices and interviews with current and past office holders, bureaucrats, party leaders and political journalists.

“Interviewing the justices and judges and learning about the inner workings of the courts was fascinating,” says Baldino. “Also, listening to the journalists, lobbyists and party leaders regale us with their stories was lots of fun. They gave us some of the best quotes in the book.”

Baldino explains that he feels the book fills a gap in recent publications on Pennsylvania government. Baldino noted that, upon starting the project, the last comprehensive book written about Pennsylvania’s government was published in 1933.

“We believed that a book like ours was needed not only to educate students but also the public,” says Baldino.

While the primary audience of the book is university students, Baldino and Holoviak believe the book also serves as a helpful reference tool for high school students, professionals, journalists or anyone interested in learning about Pennsylvania politics.

Paula Holoviak

“Pennsylvania has a long and storied history in the development of democracy in the United States,” says Holoviak. “The Commonwealth continues to be a vital contributor to the U.S. economy and the ongoing dialogue on the future of American politics.”

Although Baldino long considered writing a book on Pennsylvania government, the plan was officially put into action after Holoviak asked Baldino to collaborate. The duo first met at a Pennsylvania Political Science Association meeting decades ago. After discovering they shared similar interests, Baldino and Holoviak decided to stay in touch.

Pennsylvania Government and Politics took nearly eight years to complete. With the book’s release, Baldino and Holoviak look forward to sharing their work and their hope for the Commonwealth.

“Despite some of the unsavory characters who appear in the book’s pages and the trauma that Pennsylvania’s political system experienced in 2020, we are optimistic for the state’s future,” said Baldino. “As one of America’s first colonies, Pennsylvania has survived many challenges and has always emerged stronger.”

You may also like