PA General Assembly Elects 2021-22 Caucus Leadership Teams
Most of the caucuses met in Harrisburg and virtually last week to reorganize for the new legislative session in January.
The Republican Senate will see the most change, although not necessarily new faces, at the top. Sen. Jake Corman (R-Centre) was elected interim president pro tempore through the end of the 2020 session, which includes finalizing the delayed state budget process. Corman replaces retiring Sen. Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson), who served as president pro tempore for 13 years. Corman is expected to be nominated and elected to continue in the position for the new legislative session beginning January 5, 2021.
Senate Republicans also made history electing Sen. Kim Ward as Floor Leader. She will be the first woman to serve in this high-profile leadership position. Returning to their caucus leadership posts for another two-year term are Sen. Pat Browne of Lehigh County as Appropriations Committee chairman; Sen. John Gordner of Columbia County as Whip; Sen. Bob Mensch of Montgomery County as Caucus Chairman; and Sen. Ryan Aument of Lancaster County as Caucus Secretary.
The Senate’s Democratic Caucus may hold leadership elections sometime this week. They are waiting on the results of Sen. Jim Brewster’s race in Allegheny and Westmoreland Counties. Votes are still being counted and the vote difference between the incumbent and Republican challenger Nicole Ziccarelli is reported to be as little as 30 votes as of this writing.
In the House, things will largely look the same for Republicans. Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) remains Speaker of the House and Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre) retains his position as Majority Leader. Others in leadership posts include:
· Rep. Donna Oberlander (Clarion) –Majority Whip;
· Rep. Stan Saylor (York) –Majority Appropriations Chair;
· Rep. Kurt Masser (Northumberland) –Majority Caucus Administrator;
· Rep. Mike Reese (Westmoreland) –Majority Caucus Chair;
· Rep. Martina White (Philadelphia) –Majority Caucus Secretary; and
· Rep. Martin Causer (McKean) –Majority Policy Committee Chair.
House Democrats made history by electing Rep. Joanna McClinton (Philadelphia) to lead their caucus for the 2021-22 legislative session. McClinton is completing her third term in the House and is the first woman elected to serve as minority leader in the state House or Senate, replacing long-time Democratic Leader Frank Dermody who lost his bid for re-election. Also elected to leadership posts for the House Democratic Caucus:
· Rep. Jordan Harris (Philadelphia) –Minority Whip;
· Rep. Matt Bradford (Montgomery) –Appropriations Chair;
· Rep. Dan Miller (Allegheny) –Caucus Chair
· Rep. Mike Schlossberg (Lehigh) –Caucus Administrator
· Rep. Tina Davis (Bucks) –Caucus Secretary
· Rep. Ryan Bizzarro (Erie) –Policy Committee Chair.