Rozzi Steps Down from Speakership, Joanna McClinton Becomes First Black Female Speaker in PA History

Pennsylvania House Speaker Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, resigned his speakership last Tuesday, a week after the House passed in Special Session H.B. 1 and H.B. 2 – legislation that would open a two-year lawsuit window for victims of sexual abuse whose statute of limitations had expired. By resigning his speakership, he opened the door for fellow Democrat Joanna McClinton, D-Philadelphia, to take over as Speaker and she was immediately elected in a 102-99 vote.

In a speech, Rozzi threw his support behind McClinton, who made history as the first woman and second Black member to hold the Speaker’s gavel. “They [the people of Pennsylvania] elected a Democratic majority of the House, expecting that it would result in the first African American female speaker of the House,” Rozzi said. “I was not elected by the people for this office and I will not stand in the way of the woman who was.”

The Democrats now hold a 102-100 majority in the chamber, with former Republican Rep. Lynda Schlegel Culver resigning her position this week to become the new state Senator in the 29th Senatorial District. The Speaker of the House will schedule a new date for a special election to fill the 108th House District seat she vacated.

House Minority Leader Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster, wished Speaker McClinton the best in her new role while expressing that the chamber is in “dire need of a reset.” He did not mince words with his dissatisfaction with former Speaker Mark Rozzi’s actions, expressing his belief that he broke the House’s trust in his ability to move the chamber forward “essentially from the moment he was elected.”

With Speaker McClinton’s appointment, leadership in the House Democratic Caucus has changed, with Rep. Matt Bradford, D-Montgomery, selected as the new Majority Leader; Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Philadelphia, as Majority Appropriations Chairman; Rep. Dan Miller, D-Allegheny, as Majority Whip; Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, as Caucus Chairman; and Rep. Leanne Krueger, D-Delaware, as Caucus Administrator.


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