Republicans announced Tuesday that Kim Ward, the GOP’s majority leader in Pennsylvania’s State Senate will be the first woman to become the chamber’s highest ranking member.
Ward was elected by Republicans to be the interim president protempore during December’s lapse in Senate session. Ward is expected to be elected president pro tempore by the members of the chamber when the next two year legislative session begins in January.
Ward, 66, from Westmoreland County was elected the first female majority leader of the chamber. She also underwent breast cancer surgery while leading the caucus. Ward was elected as a Westmoreland County Commissioner in 2008. She is currently serving her fourth term.
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Republicans will be back in January with a 28-22 vote majority in the chamber. Democrats won one seat during the midterm elections. Six new members will be added to the 50-member chamber to replace those who have been defeated or decided not to run again.
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She will succeed Senator Jake Corman (R-Centre), who is ending a 24-year tenure in the Senate, after a failed bid for governor.
Freshman Sen. Freshman Sen. Joe Pittman, R.Indiana was elected by the caucus as Ward’s successor on the GOP’s major floor leader. Pittman, 45 was a long-serving Senate aide, before he ran for the presidency in 2019, to succeed his retiring boss, Senator Don White.
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Democrats elected Jay Costa, D.Allegheny, minority floor leader, again. Costa, 64, was elected to the Senate for the first time in 1996. He became minority leader in 2011.