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Gergely named labor committee minority chair in Pennsylvania House

| Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015, 5:01 a.m.
Rep. Marc Gergely
Submitted
Rep. Marc Gergely
Rep. Joseph Markosek
Rep. Joseph Markosek
Rep. Paul Costa
Submitted
Rep. Paul Costa

Three state House members from the Mon-Yough area hold committee chairs in the 2015-16 General Assembly session.

Rep. Marc J. Gergely, D-White Oak, is the newest committee leader as minority chairman of Labor & Industry.

“It's a tremendous honor to be chosen to help advance issues that will benefit Pennsylvania's economy and help our work force across the state,” Gergely said Wednesday. “I'm thankful to have been given this opportunity and I look forward to working toward bipartisan solutions to many of the issues currently facing our state.”

Gergely and most other committee chairpersons were named this week by House Speaker Mike Turzai, R-Marshall. The other two local chairmen are Reps. Paul Costa and Joseph Markosek.

“These men and women of both caucuses will lead the way in preparing legislation for the full House to consider,” Turzai said.

Gergely sat in as acting minority chairman of the former House Labor Relations Committee for hearings in 2010 for Rep. Robert E. Belfanti Jr., D-Northumberland County, who was recovering from pneumonia.

Belfanti retired from the Legislature at the end of that year. Rep. Bill Keller, D-Philadelphia, was minority Labor & Industry chairman in the last session of the Legislature, but will lead the Democratic caucus on the House Transportation Committee in 2015-16.

“Since I was first elected, I've stri-ved to bring economic development to the Mon Valley,” Gergely said. “We've seen some industry growth, but I look forward to advocating for policies that will create even more development and bring quality middle-class jobs back to our area.”

Gergely's majority counterpart is Rep. Mauree Gingrich, R-Lebanon County.

“As one who recognizes the need to attract businesses to the commonwealth that will bring family-sustaining jobs, I look forward with enthusiasm to the challenges ahead and the opportunity to make a positive difference in our state's economy and the lives of Pennsylvania citizens,” Gingrich said Wednesday.

Costa, D-Wilkins, continues as minority chairman of the House Liquor Control Committee.

Costa began his ninth term in Harrisburg this week in a revamped 34th District that includes Homestead, West Homestead and Pittsburgh's 31st Ward.

“I look forward to working with Gov.-elect Tom Wolf on the issues that matter most to everyone in Pennsylvania,” Costa said.

Costa's majority counterpart is Rep. Chris Ross, R-Chester County.

On Nov. 12 the Democratic and Republican caucuses named their leaders for the upcoming legislative session.

That included Turzai by the Republican caucus for speaker and Markosek, D-Monroeville, by his fellow Democrats for a third term as House Appropriations minority chairman.

“My top priorities will be to find responsible, long-term solutions to the structural budget deficit and begin restoring the damaging cuts to our public education system,” said Markosek, who started his 17th term as 25th District representative this week.

That tenure included previous service as majority chairman of the House Transportation Committee.

Markosek's majority counterpart is Rep. William F. Adolph Jr., R-Delaware County.

Two lawmakers who formerly represented Mon-Yough constituencies were named to lead their caucuses on House committees.

Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Carrick, former assemblyman for West Homestead and Pittsburgh's 31st Ward, again will be minority chairman of the Professional Licensure panel.

Rep. R. Ted Harhai, D-Monessen, whose district formerly included a North Huntingdon precinct, will be Democratic chairman of the Game and Fisheries Committee.

Senate committee assignments had not been released as of presstime. That may happen sometime this week, according to the office of Senate President Pro Tem Joseph Scarnati, R-Jefferson County.

In the 2013-14 session, Sen. Kim L. Ward, R-Hempfield, was majority chairman of the Community, Economic & Recreational Development Committee, while Sen. James R. Brewster, D-McKeesport, was minority chairman of the Urban Affairs & Housing Committee.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or pcloonan@tribweb.com.

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