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Longtime Pennsylvania lawmaker Peter Daley won't seek re-election

| Friday, Jan. 8, 2016, 12:25 a.m.
State Rep. Peter Daley
State Rep. Peter Daley

State Rep. Peter Daley, a 17-term Democratic lawmaker who represents parts of Fayette and Washington counties, said Thursday he will not seek re-election this fall.

Daley, 65, was elected to the state House in 1982, having served as mayor of California Borough for two terms. When he took office in 1983, he was 31.

Although 17 terms is an impressive run, Daley doesn't hold the record for longest tenure in the House, said Bill Patton, spokesman for House Democrats. Three other representatives are in their 17th term, one is in his 18th, another in his 20th, and one is in his 22nd.

“I loved my job. It's been very rewarding, very gratifying,” Daley said. “I'm a debater. I'm a leader. I'm a fighter.”

Daley said he plans to continue practicing law and, though he denied that he's running for another political office, he said he's open to helping the Wolf administration or taking “other political opportunities that may arise.”

Daley touted his work in establishing the PACE program, which helps senior citizens pay for medications, and his push for economic development measures, including those that brought millions of dollars to his district and the region.

During his more than 30 years in the House, he's worked on legislation ranging from agricultural issues to affordable housing.

Daley said he made the decision to retire about a year ago, and the state budget standoff, now more than six months long, cemented his decision.

“We have, honest to God, lost the sense of compromise. In a representative democracy, that is the crucial element to make this all click,” Daley said. “I have never seen so much hate. It's terrible on the floor.”

On a positive note, Daley said he's seen the General Assembly become far more professional during the past 30 years.

“We have very competent staff now that really do an excellent job. They're not the old ‘political hacks,' ” he said.

Daley graduated from California Area High School in 1968, then earned bachelor's and master's degrees from California University of Pennsylvania. He went on to earn another master's degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a law degree from Widener University School of Law.

He taught at his former high school for seven years and has been a longtime Cal U trustee.

Kari Andren is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-850-2856 or kandren@tribweb.com.

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