Legislative Vacancies to Note (and Appreciate)
HARRISBURG – The election created a number of legislative vacancies in key agricultural posts. Among these is Fayette County’s Rep. Deberah Kula who did not prevail in her drive to succeed retired Senator Richard Kasunic (D-Fayette). Kula served on both the House Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee and House Appropriations Committee and championed funding for agricultural research and restoration of the state premium subsidy program for Crop Insurance.
Also not returning is agriculture stalwart Senator Mike Brubaker (R-Lancaster), former chair of the Senate Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee who did not seek re-election. Add Senator Bob Robbins, member of the Ag Committee as one who served but is retiring. On the Democratic side, Senate Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee member Tim Solobay (D-Washington) was defeated.
Vacancies on the House Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee include Republican (running as a Democrat after losing his primary) Mike Fleck (Huntingdon), Gordon Denlinger (R-Lancaster) who lost in a primary contest to succeed Senator Brubaker, Kula, mentioned above, and Michelle Brooks (R-Mercer) who won the open seat being vacated by retiring Senator Bob Robbins.
When the new session begins, there will be considerable committee shuffling on the House side because of the number of House committee chairs that are open due to retirements: Transportation, Environmental Resources & Energy, Education, Labor & Industry, and Tourism & Recreational Development.
Movement from House to Senate
Several representatives will take office as newly elected Senators. As mentioned above, Michelle Brooks (R-Mercer) fills Bob Robbins’ seat in northwest PA. Rep. Mario Scavello (R-Monroe) assumes office in Monroe County’s new Senate district. Rep. Ryan Aument (R-Lancaster) fills the vacancy created with Senator Brubaker’s decision to retire.