Stephen Caruso of Spotlight PA, Kate Huangpu of Spotlight PA and Katie Meyer of Spotlight PA
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HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania House Democrats and a handful of Republicans joined together Tuesday to pick the chamber’s next speaker — but not the one anyone expected.
State Rep. Mark Rozzi of Berks County, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse who has pushed for the creation of a civil window to bring lawsuits against abusers, was named as the next presiding officer with 115 votes.
In remarks made after his selection, Rozzi announced he would no longer caucus with the Democrats and would become independent.
The position of speaker is a critically important one, with the power to moderate floor debate, call up bills for votes, and name the chamber’s committee chairs.
Until Tuesday, and for much of that day, Democrats had publicly maintained that Rep. Joanna McClinton (D., Philadelphia), who had served as caucus leader, was their only pick for the role. She would have been the first woman to hold the gavel.
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