Pennsylvania's newly elected and re-elected state lawmakers took the oath of office today at the Capitol in Harrisburg. There are 3 new members of the Republican-controlled State Senate....all Democrats.....replacing 3 other Democrats who retired at the end of November.
Tim Solobay of Canonsburg served 12 years in the Pennsylvania House of Representative. He replaces retired State Senator Barry Stout. In his oath of office message, Solobay said eliminating the budget deficit without hurting people is a top priority......
"There's always a concern when you have a deficit that there's going to be some tough decisions made, and those are going to have to be done. The ideal thing is to make sure that we can make those and still make state government to be effective and efficient and provide those services for those who need it most."
John Yudichak was sworn in as State Senator for the 14th District, replacing the retired Ray Musto. Yudichak had previously served as a State Representative since 1999. Senator Yudichak says his first priority is to create jobs and to encourage growing industries, such as those drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale formation and those in alternative energy such as wind and solar.
John Blake took the oath to succeed the retired Robert Mellow in Senatorial District 22 in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Senator Blake says the number one priority for his district is creating jobs. Having served as Acting Secretary of the Department of Community and Economic Development in the Rendell Administration, Blake says he wants to make sure small businesses in Northeast Pennsylvania take advantage of the opportunities the state offers to grow and expand their reach, even to overseas markets.
The Republicans hold a 30-19 seat edge in the Senate with one vacancy due to the death last month of Democrat Mike O'Pake of Berks County.