Catherine Baker Knoll

Catherine Baker Knoll

name=Catherine Baker Knoll

caption= deletable image-caption
order= 30th
office=Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania
term_start= January 21 2003
governor= Ed Rendell
predecessor= Robert C. "Bob" Jubelirer
successor= Incumbent
birth_date= birth date and age |1930|09|03
birth_place= McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania
party= Democratic Party
profession= teacher, businesswoman, politician

Catherine Baker Knoll (born September 3 1930, McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania) is an American politician and member of the Democratic Party. She is the 30th and current Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania, serving under Governor Ed Rendell since 2003.


Catherine Baker was born in the Pittsburgh suburb of McKees Rocks, the daughter of Nick Baker (one of the Seven Baker Brothers), a successful man who later served as mayor of McKees Rocks and Teresa May (one of eleven children). She was one of nine children, one of five girls and four boys. While a graduate at Duquesne University in 1952, she met and married Charles A. Knoll, a restaurateur and hotel owner 17 years her senior, who became the Postmaster of the Stowe Kennedy, and McKees Rocks area. Charles Knoll and Catherine had three sons and one daughter. Their names are Charles A. Knoll Jr. Esquire, Mina Baker Knoll, Albert Baker Knoll Esquire, and Dr. Kim Eric Knoll.

Catherine began her political career as a campaign worker for local and statewide Democratic candidates, first for her father, Nick, and later for Governor Milton Shapp. When Shapp was elected governor in 1970, he awarded Knoll a job with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

tate Treasurer

In 1976 she ran for the Democratic nomination for State Treasurer but lost to Robert E. Casey (not the future Pennsylvania Governor). She ran again in 1984 but lost a close and controversial primary to Al Benedict. Charles/Postmaster of McKees Rocks, Stowe and Kennedy Townshipdeath and CBK are the parents of Charles Jr., Mina B. Knoll, Albert B. Knoll, and Dr. Kim E. Knoll. After Her Husbands Death, CBK decided to run a third time. In 1988, she was elected State Treasurer of Pennsylvania.

Knoll's tenure as treasurer was successful but controversial.Fact|date=October 2007 She streamlined and modernized the Treasurers office during her eight year tenure and started the Pennsylvania TAP program (Tuition Account Program), built the PA. Treasury Investment Center (enabled competitive bidding for all PA. Investments), and started a partnership with PA. Home Builders, PA. Community Banks, to build PA. Fact|date=October 2007 Affordable Housing in 67 counties of Pennsylvania) according to the population of each county. Fact|date=October 2007 In 1994, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission launched an investigation into Knoll and her staff after 4 states consultants’ reaped improper fees from a prison bond issue. Fact|date=October 2007 Knoll claimed that the official paperwork had been altered after she signed off on the plan. Fact|date=October 2007 Knoll was never charged with a crime but the well-publicized inquiry hurt her politically however, the 4 state consultants were found guilty and served time. Fact|date=October 2007 CBK endorsed her daughter Mina Baker Knoll as her successor in 1996 but questions arose concerning her dual residency status (MBK owned homes in PA. and NY., voted in Pennsylvania worked in N.Y. city ) and she lost the election to Republican Barbara Hafer. Fact|date=October 2007 The bitter political feud that erupted between the Knolls and Hafer turned personal and would worsen over the next several years. Fact|date=October 2007 In 2000, Catherine tried to unseat Hafer as State Treasurer but lost the election by a narrow margin. Fact|date=October 2007 By then the personal animosity between Knoll and Hafer had become nearly legendary in Pennsylvania politics.Fact|date=October 2007

Lt. Governor

In 2002, she sought the Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania. She won the nomination over endorsed candidate State Senator Jack Wagner. Catherine Baker Knoll was sworn in as Lt. Governor on January 21, 2003. She is the first woman to hold that position.

Lt. Governor Knoll has been criticized by many in the Pennsylvania political community for her controversial remarks and behavior that some critics have labeled "bizarre". Fact|date=October 2007 Examples of this include numerous gaffes during public events (such as referring to Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell as Edward G. Robinson(The speech writer admitted he printed in CBK’s speech her introducing The Governor as Edward G. Robinson), her alleged difficulties in presiding over the Pennsylvania State Senate during late night sessions, and a well publicized incident in which Lt. Governor Knoll took flak for showing up invited to the funeral of a Pennsylvania U.S. Marine Corps Marine who died in the Iraq War. Fact|date=October 2007 The controversy surrounding Knoll's comments at the funeral, and her passing her business cards to relatives received nationwide attention and she was later forced to make a public apology for the incident. Fact|date=October 2007 Governor Rendell also issued a public apology for Knoll's actions.

These incidents led many to speculate that Governor Rendell would attempt to drop Knoll from the Democratic ticket in the 2006 elections. However, Governor Rendell kept Knoll on the ticket. Fact|date=October 2007

In November 2005, Senator and former Lieutenant Governor Robert Jubelirer proposed legislation in which the Lt. Governor's primary election would be dropped in favor of the gubernatorial candidate selecting a "running mate" in the November general election, similar to a Presidential candidate selecting a running mate for the Presidential elections. Fact|date=October 2007

Indeed, despite her critics, Knoll maintains a key base of supporters. She is popular with voters in Pennsylvania's southwest, with many women, and with senior citizens. Because of this, trying to remove Knoll could have proven politically costly for Governor Rendell in terms of alienating those groups. Fact|date=October 2007 It could also have proven financially costly if Knoll were to attempt to run anyway, forcing Rendell to support his chosen alternative in the Democratic Primary for Lt. Governor. Fact|date=October 2007

Four candidates announced bids against Knoll in the 2006 Democratic Primary: former Congressman and US Senate candidate Joe Hoeffel, the current Recorder of Deeds of Allegheny County Valerie McDonald-Roberts, Robert Hall, III and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania political activist Gene Stilp. Fact|date=October 2007

Although Governor Rendell endorsed Knoll, some political analysts made note of the fact that, early in the race, Rendell also did not seem willing to intervene in the primary. This is unusual, because in the past, Rendell has shown a willingness to “twist arms” in Pennsylvania Democratic Primary contests to encourage opponents of his favored candidate to step out of the race. This happened in the U.S. Senate race in 2004, for example, when Rendell encouraged businessman Charlie Crystle to exit the Democratic Primary and allow Joe Hoeffel to win the nomination unchallenged. It happened again in the State Auditor General race that year, when Rendell encouraged State Representative Jennifer Mann to abandon her Democratic Primary bid against State Senator Jack Wagner. Fact|date=October 2007

To many, the fact that Rendell did not seem willing to encourage Hoeffel and McDonald-Roberts to abandon their bids against Knoll seemed to illustrate a hidden lack of enthusiasm for her candidacy. Indeed, when Congressman Hoeffel met with Rendell prior to deciding to run for Lt. Governor, neither Rendell nor his campaign manager raised objections. [] However, Rendell did, in fact, eventually involve himself in the race: Only a day after Hoeffel announced his bid, the Governor changed his mind and asked the former Congressman to withdrawal. Hoeffel would later state that Rendell came to the conclusion that he needed the geographic balance that Knoll provided for the Democratic ticket. Hoeffel's appointment to the $104,431-a-year job as deputy secretary for international business in the Department of Community and Economic Development was denounced by people who saw it as payback for his withdrawing from the primary against Knoll.Fact|date=October 2007

On May 16, 2006, Knoll won the Democratic nomination by a large margin. On November 7, 2006, she and Governor Rendell defeated Republican challengers Lynn Swann and Jim Matthews.


External links

* [ Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor Catherine Baker Knoll] official state site
* [ Catherine Baker Knoll for Lieutenant Governor] official campaign site

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