Friday, October 01, 2010

Quick Look at the Women Who Would be First Lady

The candidates for governor have started to show up a lot in the media: commercials, newspaper articles, and all those ghastly blog posts (!). So we are learning about them. But what about the prospective first ladies? Who are the women behind the men?

Let’s take a quick look.

Shelly Onorato, wife of Democratic candidate Dan Onorato, is from Mountaintop, Luzerne County. She has a graduate degree in the health field and works part time as a dental hygienist and health care consultant. Mrs. Onorato has concentrated her energies on raising the couple’s three children.

Susan M. Corbett has played a much more public role. She worked at the Carnegie Institute, then the Carnegie Library. In 1993 she shifted to the Pittsburgh Arts and Lecture Series and in 1999 became director of the program. (This series was sometimes called the Three Rivers Lecture Series and the Drue Heinz Lectures) In 2005 she was named one of the top 50 creative forces in Pittsburgh. After her husband Tom was elected Attorney General of Pennsylvania in 2004 she looked for a job closer to Harrisburg and in 2006 joined the Gettysburg Foundation and is now a vice president for programming, membership and development.. According to their website (, “The Gettysburg Foundation is a private, nonprofit educational organization working in partnership with the National Park Service to enhance the preservation and understanding of the heritage and lasting significance of Gettysburg.” Mrs. Corbett is also a trustee of the Carnegie Museum and was appointed by Gov. Rendell to the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. In 2008 2007 her Gettysburg Foundation salary was $81,054. [blogger’s note: According to public documents her salary in 2009 was $117,865.]. Update: apologies -- I used the date of the source article's publication (2008) not the year of the data (2007).

Mrs. Onorato could probably continue to work part-time as a dental hygienist but Mrs. Corbett might run into some problems working as a fundraiser while serving as the state’s first lady, although I will confess a great deal of ignorance on the rules surrounding this.



Infield, Tom, “Onorato reports his 2009 family income,” Philadelphia Inquirer April 9, 2010

McNulty, Timothy, “Chief executive candidate Onorato not known for backing off quietly little posing, lots of passion,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 10/19/2003.


Gettysburg Foundation (

Hoover, Bob, “Lecture series leader leaving,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette March 22, 2006.

James, Erin, “Following battlefield center’s cash,” Evening Sun, Sept. 17, 2008.

“The top 50 creative forces in Pittsburgh,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette June 5, 2005.

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