Wednesday, November 19, 2008

House Dem caucus takes mostly Eastern PA leaders

Of seven democratic leaders running the 104-member caucus through 2010, the only western Pennsylvanian is Mr. Bill DeWeese, of Waynesburg. His role as party whip is one step down from his previous role as majority leader, which he has led the Democratic caucus since the 1990s. This demotion was to avoid a rift in the caucus because of his associations with those indicted in the Bonusgate legislative corruption scandal.

Allegheny County has no one leading the caucus, although county legislators will still head important committees, including transportation, finance and consumer affairs. Power has shifted to Eastern Pennsylvania Democrats because of gains made on Election Day. Democrats won six House seats from Republicans, including five in the southeast and one in north-central Pennsylvania. Representative Paul Costa of Wilkins was surprised that someone from Allegheny County will not be represented as a leader in the caucus. He said they should be staying as far away from Bonusgate as possible, "but the majority of our colleagues didn't agree."

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