House Looks to Lancaster for New Leadership

Kristi Pronovost Merit Shop Spokesman Blog

By: Brent Sailhamer, Director of Government Affairs

The Keystone region could get a supercharged dose of leadership in the state House next year, if everything goes as planned. Late last year, current House Majority Leader Dave Reed announced that he would not be seeking another term at the state level, but would instead pursue the Republican nomination for the Congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Bill Shuster. Reed, who was first elected in 2002, has had a meteoric rise through leadership, chairing the Republican Policy Committee and steering the House Republican Campaign Committee (HRCC) before his election as Majority Leader in 2014. But when the state Supreme Court decimated the Congressional maps earlier this year, they redistricted Reed into a district pitting him against current Rep. Glenn Thompson. Rather than take on a sitting Republican, Reed decided to bow out of politics completely, leaving a void in the Majority Leader position for 2019.

In 2016, Reed was elected with other Republican leaders, including Rep. Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) as Speaker, Rep. Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) as whip, and Rep. Stan Saylor (R-York) as Appropriations chairman. While both Turzai and Saylor have indicated their interest in seeking another term in their current leadership positions, Cutler has quietly been making his interest known for the Majority Leader position. He’s spent years gaining respect from his colleagues as whip, guiding high-profile legislation through the mire of Republican factions, and has led the Lancaster delegation to become a cohesive voting block that can sway the opinions of other elected officials. Whether Cutler’s conservative leanings will get the sign-off from more moderate members in the southeast remains to be seen, but the Keystone region could be the center of power in next year’s state House.

May 3, 2018