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Pennsylvania is in its Taylor Swift era, her home state decides

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Pennsylvania is in its Taylor Swift era, her home state decides
December 13, 2023

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — She’s Time magazine's person of the year. She’s the most-played artist globally on Spotify. She’s helmed the first tour to gross more than $1 billion and then the highest-grossing concert film of all time. And now Taylor Swift can add one more accolade: A state House of Representatives resolution is recognizing 2023 as the Taylor Swift era in her home state of Pennsylvania.

Lawmakers approved the resolution on Swift's 34th birthday. The Associated Press has reached out to see if Swift was impressed with her birthday gift.

Pennsylvania (Taylor’s Version) has benefited from her Midas touch over the past year, sponsors say. The frenzy for tickets to her tour prompted legislative action in the state — and elsewhere, albeit slowly — to address Ticketmaster’s shortcomings. Swift buoyed the local economy on her tour stops in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and donated proceeds to hunger relief organizations as she blazed through.

Nationally, she’s encouraged thousands of people to register to vote, particularly young people.

The pure heft of the Pennsylvania native turned Miss Americana has displayed musically, culturally and economically over the past year prompted the resolution.

While the resolution had its naysayers, it passed 103-100. Speaker Rep. Joanna McClinton, a Democrat from Philadelphia County, jested, “Haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate" — echoing the lyrics of Swift's track “Shake It Off." Most Republicans voted against the measure, as did a few Democrats.

She has “transcended the role of pop star," the resolution said. The resolution recognizes her accomplishments throughout the past year, saying she “shines as a role model of courage, self acceptance and self-determination, persisting in the face of personal and professional obstacles and challenges.”

Swift grew up near West Reading, in Berks County, about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northwest of Philadelphia. Part of her childhood was spent growing up on a Christmas tree farm, “where every wish comes true,” she sings in “Christmas Tree Farm.”

Though she left Pennsylvania for Nashville to begin her music career as a teenager, she's had other nods to the Commonwealth in her songs ("gold rush," and “seven,” were surprise songs at her Pennsylvania stops on tour.) And her home state hasn't forgotten her. A mural commemorating the artist's youth was posted in her hometown this summer, claiming her as “Reading's own.”

Democratic Rep. Maureen Madden of Monroe County was an enthusiastic supporter of the measure and voiced appreciation for how Swift has pushed young people to become politically active.

“I turn 64 years old today, and I think about who’s going to carry on our legacy. She’s not popular because she writes break-up songs,” Madden said on the House floor. “She’s popular because the largest demographic of people eligible to vote, the 18- to 24-year-old demographic, listens to her and does what she says.”

Swift’s impact as a woman, and on young women specifically, can’t be understated, lawmakers said.

The resolution recognized her “singular economic and cultural influence” as demonstrating “the power of female agency, feminine ideas, feminine art and a distinctly feminine narrative."

It comes at a time where women have broken a number of glass ceilings in local politics, Democratic Rep. Jennifer O’Mara of Delaware County, said in a committee hearing for the resolution on Tuesday.

The first woman was elected to serve as mayor of the nation’s sixth largest city, Philadelphia, as voters across the state chose the first woman to be Allegheny’s county executive. Women, for the first time in the Legislature, are serving as president pro tempore in the Senate and as speaker of the House.

“2023 is the year for women in many ways,” O’Mara said. “And I urge you to help us make it Taylor Swift era here in Pennsylvania.”

“At first I was thinking, like, why?” Democratic Rep. Tarah Probst of Monroe County, said Tuesday. “But then you’re right — the year of women. As you know, women’s rights are being taken away left and right and by doing this, we’re empowering women in general.”


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