November Election Brings Change, More of the Same
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Posted by: Gregg Robertson
HARRISBURG – The November 4th election produced more of the same in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, with Republicans increasing their majorities in both the state house and senate. Republicans now hold 119 of 203 majority in the House and a 30 of 50 majority in the Senate. Pennsylvania’s Congressional seats remained status quo at thirteen Republican and five Democratic.
Bucking national trends, where Republicans successfully defended all but two of twenty-two governorships in contention, Democrat Tom Wolf defeated incumbent Republican Governor Tom Corbett.
Corbett was the first Pennsylvania governor not able to defend his incumbency since the state constitution was changed to allow governor’s to succeed themselves for one term. Wolf led in polling from the outset of the campaign, finally posting an eight-point margin of victory on election day.
The Wolf Transition
Governor-elect Wolf has established a transition team to manage taking over the reins of state government. Many of those involved in the transition had been involved with the Rendell Administration and are known to PLNA.
Katie McGinty, appointed by Wolf as his chief of staff, had been the secretary of Environmental Protection under Rendell. PLNA did an interview with her for Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery magazine when she was DEP secretary.
PLNA will be working during the first few months of the new year to establish and re-establish relationships with Governor Wolf’s new cabinet and the many new faces that his administration brings to the Capitol.
More on the Wolf transition can be found at http://wolftransitionpa.com
Leadership Changes in the General Assembly
Although Republicans increased their majorities in the General Assembly, both houses have new leadership at the helm.
Turzai Replaces Smith
House Speaker Sam Smith (R- Jefferson) announced last winter that he would not be seeking re-election to the seat in Jefferson County he has held for twenty-six years. Succeeding him as Speaker when the General Assembly returns in January will be House Majority Leader, Mike Turzai (R- Allegheny).
Former PLNA government relations director Michele Corbin Rudloff worked in the Speaker’s office, so we always had an open door to share our legislative positions and concerns. Establishing relationships with Turzai’s office will be a key objective for PLNA in the 2015 General Assembly session.
Corman Unseats Pileggi
In the Senate, Appropriations Chairman Jake Corman (R-Centre) unseated reigning Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R- Delaware). The majority leader in the Senate is a powerful position and controls the movement of legislation in that chamber. PLNA had a good relationship with Pileggi, who had many PLNA members in his district. He was a key to moving the high tunnel tax exemption and UCC legislation through that chamber.
PLNA enjoys a growing relationship with Senator Corman. In his role as Appropriations Committee chairman, Corman was key to stopping the turf grass fertilizer legislation. After a meeting PLNA had with Corman in the spring of 2014, the legislation did not move from his committee and died at the end of the 2014 session.