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House Democrats choose 2011-12 leadership team

HARRISBURG, Nov. 16 – The 90 returning and incoming members of the House Democratic Caucus today met and chose leaders for the 2011-12 legislative session.
 
The leadership team includes:
 
Democratic Leader Frank Dermody, 33rd District, Allegheny County – A member of the House since 1991, Dermody held the leadership roles of majority whip in the 2009-10 session and majority secretary in the 2007-08 session. Dermody previously chaired the Allegheny County Democratic Delegation and is chairman of the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing.
 
Democratic Whip Mike Hanna, 76th District, Clinton and Centre counties – A member of the House since 1991, Hanna served as majority chairman of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee for the last two terms. He serves on the board of governors for the 14-school State System of Higher Education and is on the board of directors of the Center for Rural Pennsylvania.
Caucus Chairman Dan Frankel, 23rd District, Allegheny County – A member of the House since 1999, Frankel is now chairman of the Allegheny County Democratic Delegation. He also is secretary of the Pittsburgh Convention and Visitors Bureau and serves as a Commonwealth Trustee for the University of Pittsburgh.
 
Caucus Secretary Jennifer Mann, 132nd District, Lehigh County – A member of the House since 1999, Mann served as caucus secretary in the 2009-10 legislative session and previously served as vice-chairwoman of the House Finance Committee. Mann also serves as a member of the Democratic Leadership Council Leadership Team and the PA Stimulus Oversight Commission.
Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, 96th District, Lancaster County – A member of the House since 1991, Sturla served as Majority Policy Committee chairman in the 2009-10 session and previously served as chairman of the House Professional Licensure Committee.
 
Caucus Administrator Ron Buxton, 103rd District, Dauphin County – A member of the House since 1993, Buxton will return as the Democratic caucus administrator. He previously served as subcommittee chairman for the House Consumer Affairs and Tourism and Recreational Affairs committees, and on the board of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency.
 
Appropriations Committee Chairman Joe Markosek, 25th District, Allegheny and Westmoreland counties – A member of the House since 1983, Markosek served as majority chairman of the House Transportation Committee for the past two legislative sessions. He serves on the State Transportation Commission and was previously a member of the Allegheny County Port Authority Board of Directors.
 
“There are new faces in our leadership, but our priorities of protecting jobs, education and health care have not changed,” Dermody said. “We will begin work immediately on the large challenges this state faces, and we will call on every Democratic legislator to help with their good ideas and hard work.”
 
“Now is a critical time for the House Democratic caucus,” Hanna said. “We must unite behind a member-driven agenda, and as Democratic Whip I will work to ensure that the House is voting on an agenda developed and supported by the members.”
 
“Pennsylvania faces monumental financial challenges caused by the Great Recession of 2008, and as Appropriations chairman I will be at the forefront of those issues.” Markosek said. “I look forward to working with Republican Chairman William Adolph in a bipartisan manner. It will take strong leadership and creativity to revamp our economy while making sure programs that protect our most vulnerable citizens are not compromised.”
 
“Our goals and our agenda will always be the same – fighting for working families and small businesses and making sure every Pennsylvanian has a voice in Harrisburg,” Mann said. “We are ready to work with the incoming governor, but we are also ready to challenge him and stand up for what’s right.”
 
“We are going to have an aggressive policy agenda that will include input from all members as we fight to protect Pennsylvanians,” Sturla said.
 
“The next session will be a difficult one and balancing the budget will be challenging, primarily because the nationwide economic recovery is not as rapid as we all would hope,” Frankel said. “The people of Pennsylvania will need Democratic legislators to defend the social safety net and maintain state services, especially for our most vulnerable residents.”
 
Casting their first votes for leadership were eight newly elected Democratic members:  Reps.-elect Kevin Boyle, D-Phila.; Michelle Brownlee, D-Phila.; Margo Davidson, D-Delaware; Tina Davis, D-Bucks; Pamela DeLissio, D-Phila./Montgomery; Sid Michaels Kavulich, D- Lackawanna/Luzerne/Susquehanna/Wyoming; Gerald Mullery, D-Luzerne; and Brandon Neuman, D-Washington.
The 91st Democrat elected to office, Rep. Robert C. Donatucci, passed away last week. His seat will be filled in a 2011 special election.
 
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CONTACT: Bill Patton
Rep. Dermody’s Office
Phone: 717-787-3566 / 717-433-7604 (cell)
Email: bpatton@pahouse.net

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