The process that led to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives voting for a Democrat Speaker of the House — despite Republicans holding the current 101–99 majority — was a shocking development. Many of the facts surrounding that day have been covered up leading to confusion throughout the state.
At a time when distrust in our government is at an all-time high, I believe it is imperative that I provide a true, honest, and transparent account of what took place to bring about this result.
On Jan. 3, the Republican Caucus met at 9:30 a.m. to select our party’s nominee for Speaker of the House. Out of four possible candidates, Representative Carl Metzgar of Somerset County was nominated as the Republican candidate for Speaker. There were no objections in caucus, and given Republicans had the majority, many assumed he would become the next Speaker of the House.
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Following the swearing-in ceremony that took place on the House floor, Democrats made a motion to adjourn so that the vote for Speaker would not take place. The motion failed and the House was “at ease” until further notice.
The House remained at ease for much of the day, finally reconvening at 4:30 p.m. What happened next was truly appalling.
A motion was made on the floor by Republican Representative Jim Gregory to nominate Democrat Mark Rozzi as Speaker, a motion that was seconded by Republican Whip Tim O’Neal. The rest of the Republicans scrambled to have our caucus-elected Republican Carl Metzgar nominated from the Floor, which we succeeded in doing.
[N]ow the future of our Commonwealth remains dangerously uncertain.
When all the dust had settled, Representative Metzgar lost as Representative Rozzi won with the support of sixteen Republicans, including the entire Republican leadership team — a total betrayal of the Republican caucus and the people who sent us to Harrisburg to represent their interests.
The House of Representatives since that time has remained in chaos as no rules have been passed, no committees have been established, and no legislation has been introduced. The House Chamber is literally locked to keep members off the floor, and at this time, there are no session days planned on the House calendar.
The Pennsylvania House Republican Leadership betrayed our party and our voters by conspiring to install a Democrat speaker and now the future of our Commonwealth remains dangerously uncertain.
David H. Zimmerman represents the 99th Legislative District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.