Majority climbs to 122 members for 2017-18 session
HARRISBURG – The state House will begin the 2017-18 session with the largest Republican majority since 1957-58 following Tuesday’s General Election returns.
House Republicans picked up a net three seats statewide, bringing their total to 122 seats, according to Speaker of the House Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny County) and Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana County).
Turzai, Reed and House Republican Campaign Committee Chairman Rep. Mark Mustio (R-Allegheny County) declared victory after determining the House Republican Caucus will grow to 122 members for the legislative session that begins Dec. 1.
With a 122-81 advantage over Democrats, Republicans will control of the House for a fourth consecutive session.
“Pennsylvanians spoke with their votes Tuesday, as they clearly approved of our holding in check Gov. Tom Wolf’s tax-and-spend agenda,” Turzai said.
“We have been fiscally responsible and focused on improving the climate for family-sustaining jobs in our Commonwealth. We were honored by the resounding support of Pennsylvania citizens and look forward to working with all legislators to move Pennsylvania forward.”
Important victories in the election included all but one Republican incumbent winning his re-election race and a pick-up of four seats, including two open seats and the defeat of two incumbent Democrat members. The pick-up seats and the districts are:
- Aaron Bernstine, 10th Legislative District, Beaver, Butler and Lawrence counties.
- Bud Cook, 49th Legislative District, Fayette and Washington counties.
- Matthew Dowling, 51st Legislative District, Fayette and Somerset counties.
- Justin Walsh, 58th Legislative District, Westmoreland County.
The House Republican leaders say the election results are a reflection of the Republican Caucus members’ work to control state spending, hold the line on the Personal Income Tax and refuse to increase the state sales tax.
“These elections were about trust, and a vision for the future of our state,” Reed said. “Clearly, the voters have rejected the tax-and-spend policies of the Wolf Administration and have more confidence in our ability to move our economy forward.”
House Republican leaders made it clear — voters in 122 legislative districts sent a distinct mandate for each member to keep state spending under control, while making Pennsylvania government accountable to its citizens.
“The governor’s policies really created an environment where excellent candidates came forward and ran issues-based campaigns,” Mustio said.
The House returns to session this Monday, Nov. 14. A caucus of the next session’s members will be held to elect the leadership team. Positions to be elected will be: majority leader, whip, Appropriations Committee chairman, caucus chairman, policy committee chairman, caucus administrator and caucus secretary.
The caucus will also elect its “speaker-designee.” The speaker of the House is elected by a majority vote of the full body, with the next session’s election of speaker to be held on swearing-in day, Jan. 3, 2017.