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State Sen. Matt Smith resigning to become Chamber president

| Wednesday, May 27, 2015, 5:34 p.m.
State Sen. Matt Smith will leave office next month to help lead the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, officials announced Wednesday, May 27, 2015.
Conor Ralph | Tribune-Review
State Sen. Matt Smith will leave office next month to help lead the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, officials announced Wednesday, May 27, 2015.

State Sen. Matt Smith will leave office next month to help lead the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, officials announced Wednesday.

Smith, D-Mt. Lebanon, will become the president at the Chamber, which is the advocacy arm of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, according to announcements from the Chamber and State Sen. Jay Costa, the minority leader.

“I would like to thank my constituents for entrusting me to be their advocate in the district and at the state level, and want them to know that even as I leave public office, I will continue to work to make our region stronger and prepare our workforce to compete in the 21st century economy,” Smith said in a statement.

He will replace Dewitt Peart, who left the Chamber this year for the Downtown Austin Alliance.

Smith's salary as a legislator would be $85,338.65. His resignation from the Senate will take effect by the end of June. No decision has been made on plans to fill his seat, though Costa said it should be possible to arrange a special election on the November ballot to fill the remainder of Smith's term, which runs through 2016.

As president, he'll lead the Chamber's efforts to lobby Harrisburg on issues of importance to the Pittsburgh region, as the Chamber lobbied last year for increased transportation funding, Catherine DeLoughry, senior vice president for public affairs, said.

“He'll be out and about, and will probably have the opportunity to see his colleagues in Harrisburg in a new capacity,” she said. She declined to release Smith's Chamber salary.

Staff from Smith's Harrisburg and district offices will remain to serve residents of the 37th Senate District, Costa said.

“I'm very high on Matt Smith and his abilities. He'll do a fine job for the Chamber,” Costa, D-Forest Hills, said. “He's been a strong, intelligent voice in our caucus.”

Smith served as the Democratic chair of the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee, and served as a member of the Aging and Youth, Appropriations, Judiciary and Transportation committees.

He was first elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 2006 from the 42nd District, representing Mt. Lebanon, Green Tree, Rosslyn Farms, Thornburg and parts of Bethel Park and Scott. In 2012, he sought and won former state Sen. John Pippy's seat from the 37th District, which covers southern and western portions of Allegheny County, along with Peters in Washington County.

Smith has been a member of the Allegheny County Airport Authority Board since 2010. Before he was elected to office, he worked at the Downtown law firm of Babst Calland, practicing employment and labor law.

Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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