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Pennsylvania Rep. Kotik of Robinson plans to retire

| Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016, 11:00 p.m.

Rep. Nick Kotik of Robinson told the Tribune-Review that he intends to announce his retirement Monday.

The McKees Rocks native, a 1972 graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, was elected to the House in 2002. He serves as ranking Democrat on the Gaming Oversight Committee.

Kotik said that after 14 years in the House and just turning 65, he decided he is ready to move on. “It's time to let someone else take over.”

“I think I was a voice of reason and moderation (in the House Democratic Caucus) during my tenure,” Kotik said. “I looked out for what was best for my constituents' concerns.”

Kotik made his mark as leader of the Blue Dog Democrats, an ad hoc caucus of conservative Democrats, mostly from Western Pennsylvania.

The Rendell tax increase proposal in 2009 led to the formation of the Blue Dog Democrats, he said. He was proud of that effort and frequently wore a Blue Dog lapel pin.

Last year, Kotik was one of the first Democrats to speak out against Gov. Tom Wolf's plan to increase income and sales taxes.

“There are about 15 of us out front ... very reluctant to support this,” Kotik said at the time. “I just think (Wolf) is taking on too much at one time. Given the makeup of the Legislature, I don't know how he gets the votes. It's going to be a long summer.”

That prediction came true. The budget impasse is in its seventh month.

The Blue Dogs played a role in blocking ex-Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell's last drive for an income tax boost in 2009 when the state struggled through a 101-day budget impasse. At one point, Kotik worked with then-House Speaker Sam Smith, a Republican, on a more moderate GOP-styled budget.

Kotik previously worked as an aide to the late Rep. Fred Trello, a Coraopolis Democrat. He had been township manager of Robinson. Kotik was a county payroller for two decades. He worked as an Allegheny County property assessor and payroll accountant. He is a former treasurer and ordinance manager in McKees Rocks Borough.

Brad Bumsted is the Tribune-Review's state Capitol writer.

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