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  Shafer, Raymond P.
NameRaymond P. Shafer
AddressSeminole Road
Meadville, Pennsylvania , United States
Born March 05, 1917
DiedDecember 12, 2006 (89 years)
ContributorThomas Walker
Last ModifedDavid
Mar 05, 2021 10:22pm
InfoRaymond Philip "Ray" Shafer

Raymond Philip Shafer (b. March 5, 1917 in New Castle, Pennsylvania - d. December 12, 2006 in Meadville, Pennsylvania) served as the 38th Governor of Pennsylvania from 1967 to 1971. He had previously served as Lieutenant Governor from 1963 to 1967. He was a national leader of the moderate wing of the Republican Party in the late 1960s.

Shafer was born in New Castle, the youngest of the five children of the Rev. David P. Shafer and his wife Mina. In 1933, Shafer’s father moved the family to Meadville, Pennsylvania to accept a position as pastor of the First Christian Church. Shafer became an Eagle Scout and as an adult was presented the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award by the Boy Scouts of America.

After finishing high school in Meadville, Shafer attended Allegheny College, where he was a member of Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity, and later Yale Law School. There, several classmates like William Scranton and Gerald Ford would help shape his future political career.

In 1942, Shafer entered the United States Navy as a Naval intelligence officer and later served on PT Boats. He would participate in over 80 combat missions during World War II on PT Boats as commanding officer of PT-359 and later as executive officer of Squadron 27. As Squadron XO, Shafer sailed aboard PT-375, one of the first PT Boats to penetrate the defenses of Manila Bay. Shafer earned the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart during his tour in the Pacific theater.

Shafer returned to Meadville after the war and entered private law practice. His political career began in 1948 when he was elected District Attorney of Crawford County. In 1958, he was elected to the State Senate.

In 1962, Republican gubernatorial candidate William Scranton tapped him as his running mate. Scranton had been Shafer’s classmate at Yale and both were considered moderate to liberal Republicans. The Scranton/Shafer ticket won the election over the Democratic ticket led by Philadelphia Mayor Richardson Dilworth and Shafer became the Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania.

Scranton was limited to one term under then-existing state law and Shafer was the obvious choice to succeed him as the Republican nominee. In the general election, he faced wealthy Philadelphia businessman Milton Shapp. The 1966 election was marked by tragedies. State Attorney General Walter Alessandroni, Shafer’s running mate, was killed in an aviation accident during the campaign and Raymond Broderick was named to replace him on the ticket. Former governor David L. Lawrence collapsed and fell into a coma during a campaign appearance for Shapp. On election day, Shafer came out victorious by a margin of nearly a quarter of a million votes.

As Governor, Shafer was best known for championing reforms to the state constitution. In 1963, then Lieutenant Governor Shafer had chaired a bipartisan committee to explore constitutional reforms. By the beginning of Shafer’s term as Governor, a constitutional convention was meeting to overhaul state government.

Shafer oversaw a massive expansion of Pennsylvania’s highway system and dedicated several portions of the Interstate Highway System in the state. He was also the first governor to reside in the modern Governor’s Mansion in Harrisburg. Large expenditures for these and other programs caused huge budget deficits. To balance the budget, Shafer sought Pennsylvania’s first state income tax, a move that made him unpopular with many voters.

Although the 1968 constitution allowed incumbent governors to run for reelection, Shafer was bound by the previous rules and was limited to one term. He campaigned for Raymond Broderick, his Lieutenant Governor, as his successor. Although Broderick publicly opposed a state income tax, he was unable to escape the shadow of Shafer, who had proposed it. The 1970 election saw a Democratic sweep with Milton Shapp elected Governor and Democrats gaining control of both houses of the General Assembly for the first time over 30 years.

After leaving the state government, he became a major player in national Republican politics as the unofficial leader of the third largest Republican state party in the country. He gave the nominating speech for New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller at the 1968 Republican National Convention, although the delegates instead chose former Vice President Richard Nixon as the party's Presidential candidate.

Many believe that Shafer's opposition to Nixon cost him the federal judgeship he was known to have desired. President Nixon appointed Shafer as chairman of the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse, also known as the Shafer Commission. He was criticized in this role by many conservatives after the panel recommended the decriminalization of marijuana use.

Later, he served a brief stint as CEO of financially troubled TelePrompter company. Following Watergate, he returned to public service after being named special counsel to new Vice-President Nelson Rockefeller a position he held from 1974 to 1977.

From 1977 to 1988 he was a partner with the accounting firm of Coopers & Lybrand. He also served briefly as president of his alma mater, Allegheny College, from 1985 to 1986. He has also served on the Council on Foreign Relations.

A section of Interstate 79 in Pennsylvania is named "The Raymond P. Shafer Highway" after him as are residence halls at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and Indiana University of Pennsylvania.




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Start Date End Date Type Title Contributor

Date Category Headline Article Contributor
Dec 14, 2012 07:00pm News Grave of former PA Governor Raymond Shafer desecrated  Article Chronicler 
Dec 13, 2006 10:00am Obituary Former Pa. Gov. Raymond Shafer dies  Article Thomas Walker 

Importance? 9.00000 Average


  06/11/1968 US President - D Primaries Lost 0.00% (-38.73%)
  06/11/1968 US President - R Primaries Lost 0.03% (-37.90%)
  11/08/1966 PA Governor Won 52.10% (+5.97%)
  05/17/1966 PA Governor- R Primary Won 78.02% (+61.95%)
  11/06/1962 PA Lt. Governor Won 51.81% (+3.98%)
  05/15/1962 PA Lt Governor - R Primary Won 100.00% (+100.00%)
  11/04/1958 PA State Senate 50 Won 54.11% (+8.23%)
  08/08/1968 US President - R Convention Lost 0.00% (-65.89%)
PA Governor - R Primary - May 16, 2006 R William W. "Bill" Scranton III
PA US President - R Primary - Apr 23, 1968 R Nelson A. Rockefeller
US President - R Primaries - Jun 11, 1968 R Nelson A. Rockefeller