“As a legislator, I had always been out there as a reformer and a promoter of more transparency,” says Eugene DePasquale, a 2002 Harrisburg campus graduate who was recently elected Pennsylvania’s Auditor General. “I decided that Pennsylvania would need someone who would be a tough watch dog,” says DePasquale of his decision to run for Auditor General.
The first Pennsylvania legislator to post his expenses online, DePasquale has developed a reputation as reformer, and was named "A Pioneer for Public Accountability" by the York Daily Record. He hopes to pursue similar accountability initiatives in his new role as the state’s Auditor General, including looking at whether Marcellus Shale drilling is having a negative impact on Pennsylvania’s water, searching for any wasteful state spending, and “Redirecting money to environmental protection and education programs that have been cut due to the tough economic times.”
A graduate of the College of Wooster, Eugene earned an M.P.A. from the University of Pittsburgh. He felt that pursuing a legal education would be a great boon to his professional career, and he had always had an interest in the law. He was working in the Harrisburg-area at the time that he was applying to law school, and because he had a family and a job, he needed a program that would fit into his life. The 4-year program
at Widener Law’s Harrisburg campus offered Eugene the chance to earn a quality law degree while continuing his work and without uprooting his family.
“It was really the one school that fit all my needs without having to relocate somewhere,” he says.
While Eugene pursued his law degree, he continued to serve as the Director of Economic Development for York City during the day. After completing his legal education, Eugene joined the Department of Environmental Protection, where he assisted in leading the charge for renewable energy in Pennsylvania by helping to recruit wind company Gamesa to make its headquarters in Pennsylvania. In 2006, Pennsylvania’s 95th legislative seat opened up, and Eugene ran for office and was elected to the position. He was reelected in 2008 and again in 2010, when he ran unopposed.
He credits his legal education for giving him a solid grasp of the laws, regulations, and policies that are central to his work, and says, “The analytical thinking from law school and the practice of law and how you go about approaching problems” have been most helpful to him throughout his career.
“If you can balance family, law school, and a job and maintain your sanity, there’s probably not a lot else that you can’t accomplish,” says Eugene. “If you’re committed to going to law school, you have to go in to it not just to add something to your resume, but because you want to be a lawyer.”