House Committee Leadership a Mixed Bag for Southwestern PA

Jan 19, 2015

The Pennsylvania General Assembly will go back into session Jan. 20 with new leadership at the helm. But much of the committee leadership is from outside of the Pittsburgh area. Of the 23 House committees, only two Republicans from the southwestern corner of the state are committee chairs.

“Committee chairs are very important positions,” said House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny). “It is driven by seniority. The chairs in both parties are the most senior folks.”

And, Turzai pointed out, the southwestern region, which includes Pittsburgh, has not had a large number of Republican representatives.

“There are more and more Republicans from Western Pennsylvania, but that has been a more recent occurrence,” he said.

Though Republican committee chairs are from other parts of the state, Turzai said southwestern Pennsylvania is well-represented in House leadership.

“Dave Reed, the new majority leader, is a Republican from Indiana County, I myself from Allegheny County and the Speaker of House; Donna Oberlander is our new caucus secretary from Clarion County,” said Turzai.

Plus, 10 of the Democratic committee chairs are from southwester Pennsylvania.

“Frank Dermody is the Democratic leader from Allegheny County, Joe Markosek is the Democratic appropriations chair from Allegheny County and Dan Frankel is the Democratic caucus chair and he’s from Allegheny County,” said Turzai. “In the Democratic leadership team, not only are there three from out west, but three from Allegheny County.”

House committees study each bill and determine what legislation goes on to the full House.