Two Philadelphia Democrats land spots on a powerful House committee, a Luzerne County Republican will now chair the state Senate Judiciary Committee, and a Bucks County Republican will lead the Heroin Task Force in Congress. All of that and more in this week’s Ups and Downs.
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Philly Dems. The only Pennsylvania Democrats selected to serve on the House Ways and Means Committee also happen to be from Philly. Reps. Brendan Boyle and Dwight Evans were awarded spots on the 10 person panel that is the oldest committee in Congress. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported in November that both men were vying for position on the “chief tax-writing committee,” but it appeared unlikely at that time that both could land on the committee. The last Democrat from Philadelphia to serve on the committee was William J. Green III, who left Congress in 1976 the Inquirer reports. Green later served as Mayor of Philadelphia.
House Dem Leadership. The state House Democratic caucus released their committee chairs for the upcoming session, which drew some pushback. The reason why? No women were selected as chairs in their most recent announcement. In November, Reps. Joanna McClinton (D-Philadelphia) and Rosita Youngblood (D-Philadelphia) were awarded spots on the Democratic House leadership. McClinton was selected as House Minority Caucus Chair and Youngblood was re-elected Caucus Secretary. Bill Patton, spokesman for the House Democratic Caucus, addressed the concerns via Twitter stating that it is a House rule based on seniority for the “lack of women committee chairs.”
Tom McGarrigle. Although the state Senator lost his re-election bid in the blue wave in the Philadelphia suburbs, he will continue to have influence over the GOP. McGarrigle was unanimously selected as the new Delaware County GOP chair according to Delco Daily Times.
MeToo In Harrisburg. State Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery) was once again appointed as the minority Judiciary committee chair for the upcoming session, but progressives took to social media criticizing the appointment due to allegations of sexual harassment, which Leach has denied.
Lisa Baker. The Luzerne County Republican will have a heightened role in the upcoming session in the state Senate with her appointment as the Judiciary Chair. According to PLS Reporter, she has pushed to “reform juveniles’ experience in the justice system” as well as reform Parole Board hearings.
Rich Fitzgerald. The Allegheny County Executive officially announced his intentions of seeking a third and final term in office, but he had the chance the flex his political muscles during this announcement. Fitzgerald was joined by a host of the most powerful Democrats in the state that included Gov. Tom Wolf, Sen. Bob Casey, Attorney General Josh Shapiro, Reps. Mike Doyle and Conor Lamb, House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, and various other elected officials. Must not be easy to want to primary a guy who has all of those in his corner, huh?
Darlene Harris. Three’s a crowd, which is great news for the three-term Pittsburgh City Councilwoman and vocal critic of Mayor Bill Peduto. Harris finished under 50% in both the 2015 and 2011 primaries – but multiple candidates split the opposition vote each time. She now officially has two Democratic primary opponents in her Northside district. According to the Tribune-Review the newest face in the race is Bobby Wilson, who also ran in 2015 and 2011. The previously announced challenger is Chris Rosselot, a former staffer to Sen. Bob Casey.
Brian Fitzpatrick. The Bucks County Republican protected his independent reputation this week by siding with Democrats to voting to reopen the government and signing on support federal redistricting reform, but he earns the up arrow for a committee he was selected to lead. According to The Intelligencer, Fitzpatrick is the new chair of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force.
Mary Gay Scanlon. The freshman Democrat Representative from Delaware County was chosen to serve on the House Rules committee for the upcoming session. Scanlon becomes the first woman from Pennsylvania to serve on this committee.
TWEET OF THE WEEK
It wouldn’t be right to not acknowledge the new nickname given to Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto this week.
Speaker addresses “Mayor Potatohead” and crowd chants, “we will not comply.”
— Colin Deppen (@colin_deppen) January 7, 2019