November 16, 2020
State House and Senate lawmakers met in Harrisburg last week to hold caucus leadership elections in preparation for the 2021-22 legislative session that will begin in January.
Historic moves were made in both chambers of the General Assembly. House Democrats had a big position to fill after the defeat of long-time Democratic Leader Rep. Frank Dermody, D-Allegheny, who lost his race to his GOP challenger, Oakmont Councilwoman Carrie DelRosso. The caucus elected Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Philadelphia, to fill the role – making her the first woman and the first woman of color to serve as a House leader. In the Senate, the Republican Caucus elected Sen. Kim Ward, R-Westmoreland, as its majority leader, making her the first female Senate leader in Pennsylvania history.
The Senate will also have a new President Pro Tempore following the retirement of Sen. Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson. Current Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Centre, was elected by his peers as the new President Pro Tempore, responsible for appointing committee chairpersons and members and presiding over the Senate. The rest of Senate GOP leadership team includes:
The House Democratic leadership team also includes:
House Republicans are entering the new session with largely the same slate of leaders in place: Speaker of the House Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster; Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre; Majority Whip Donna Oberlander, R-Clarion; Appropriations Chairman Stan Saylor, R-York; Republican Policy Committee Chairman Martin Causer, R-McKean; and Republican Caucus Administrator Kurt Masser, R-Northumberland. Two members appointed to new positions include: Rep. Mike Reese, R-Westmoreland, who was elected House Majority Caucus Chair, replacing retiring Rep. Marcy Toepel, R-Montgomery; and Rep. Martina White, R-Philadelphia, who took over Reese’s former leadership role of Majority Caucus Secretary.
The Senate Democratic Caucus has yet to appoint its membership team for the coming session, pending the outcome of the election in the 45th Senatorial District, in which incumbent Sen. Jim Brewster had regained the lead and is a mere 30 votes ahead of his Republican opponent, Nicole Ziccarelli.
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