HARRISBURG – Speaker of the House, Rep. Sam Smith (R-Armstrong, Indiana and Jefferson counties), has announced that he will not seek re-election in 2014. Accordingly, Smith issued the following statement:
“While friends and supporters have been overwhelming in encouraging me to continue to run, the truth is, my heart is not in it, and my effort would be sub-par, and that would not be fair or good for any of us. The job of state representative demands 100 percent attention to every constituent’s view or problem, while trying to present a voice of reason at the statewide level of government. Upon some deep reflection, I no longer feel I can give the residents of the 66th the 100 percent commitment the job requires.
“And to me, that is important. The reason I first ran for office was to make sure our rural voice was heard in Harrisburg. Rural Pennsylvania sometimes gets lost in the shuffle, especially on issues that cut along geographic lines versus traditional Republican or Democratic political lines.
“To enhance our voice in the House, I worked to get elected to Leadership. Running for House Leadership, and ultimately as Speaker of the House, proved to be the right thing to do for the people of the 66th District, as well as rural Pennsylvania in general. Being able to run for the position of Speaker was only an option as long as the citizens of this area gave me the honor of being their voice in the House.
“As Majority Leader, we fought the Rendell Administration’s near total focus on Philadelphia, and, even as Minority Leader, I was able to lead the House in efforts to protect our Second Amendment rights.
“It’s not a job that is ever finished, however. From fighting the negative impact of the building code (which I opposed), to changing laws to enhance mine remediation and cleaning up streams, protecting the unborn and stopping child abusers, fighting for our fair share of education funding while balancing state budgets, the demand for attention and action continues.
“I always remained focused on the local needs for economic growth and helped fund numerous water and sewer projects and industrial parks in all regions of the district, including:
• Improved airport access in Jefferson County;
• Rebirth of the Indiana University of Pennsylvania campus in Punxsutawney; and
• Expanded water and sewer lines in small towns like Rossiter, Plumville and Glen Campbell.
“I want to personally thank the citizens of the 66th District for entrusting me with the honor and responsibility of representing them in the oldest elected body in America, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. I am proud of my record of leadership and accomplishment on their behalf.”
Smith has represented Jefferson County and the entire 66th Legislative District in the state House for 27 years, first winning election in 1986 and taking office in 1987. Smith was elected Majority Whip in 2000, and elevated by his Republican Caucus peers to Majority Leader in 2003 upon the death of then-Speaker Matthew Ryan. He remained the Republican Leader until 2010. Smith was elected as the 137th Speaker in January of 2011. Prior to his current position, he served as a member of House Leadership for 10 years.
In his capacity as Speaker, Smith presides over House sessions, maintains order on the House floor and protects the parliamentary rights of members during voting sessions. In addition, the Speaker appoints committee chairmen, assigns bills to committees, and signs all passed bills and joint resolutions.