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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Type Lower House
Speaker of the House Keith McCall, (D)
since January 6, 2009
Majority Leader Todd A. Eachus, (D)
since November 18, 2008
Minority Leader Samuel H. Smith, (R)
since November 18, 2008
Members 203
Political groups Democratic Party
Republican Party
Last election November 4, 2008
Meeting place
Pennsylvania State Capitol House Chamber.jpg
House Chamber
Pennsylvania State Capitol, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, United States
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Edwin Austin Abbey. Apotheosis of Pennsylvania (detail)

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives is the lower house of the bicameral Pennsylvania General Assembly, the legislature of the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. There are 203 members, elected for two year terms from single member districts. Elections are held in November of even numbered years. [1]

Following the 2008 elections the house consists of 99 Republicans and 104 Democrats. Democrat Keith McCall was elected Speaker of the House on Tuesday, January 6, 2009. In 2002, a State Representative district had an average population of 60,498 residents.


Hall of the House

The Hall of the House contains important symbols to Pennsylvania history and the work of legislators.

  • Speaker's Chair: a throne-like chair of rank that sits directly behind the Speaker's rostrum. Architect Joseph Huston designed the chair in 1906, the year the Capitol was dedicated.
  • Mace: the House symbol of authority, peace, order and respect for law rests in a pedestal to the right of the Speaker. Its base is solid mahogany, intricately carved and capped by a brass globe engraved with the Pennsylvania coat of arms. An American Eagle perches on top. The tradition of the mace may date to the Roman Republic when attendants of Roman consuls carried bundles of sticks wrapped around an axe to enforce order. The tradition is common may also come directly from Pennsylvania's English heritage.
  • Murals: a colorful panorama of Pennsylvania history appear in murals by Edwin Austin Abbey. The most commanding of the series hangs behind the Speaker's rostrum and dominates the wall behind the Speaker. It is called The Apotheosis of Pennsylvania
  • Ceiling: a work of art in itself with its ornate geometry of gold leaf buttoned at the center by a charming painted illustration. In "The Hours," Abbey represents the passage of time in the form of 24 maidens revolving in an endless circle amidst the moon, the sun and the stars of the Milky Way. [1]

Speaker of the House

The speakership is the oldest elected state-wide office in the Commonwealth. Since its first session in 1682—presided over by William Penn—over 130 house members have been elevated to the speaker's chair. The house cannot hold an official session in the absence of the speaker or his designated speaker pro tempore. Speaker Irvis was the first African American elected speaker of any state legislature in the United States since Reconstruction. Speaker O'Brien is the only minority-party Speaker known in Pennsylvania and only the second known nation wide. Pennsylvania has never had a female speaker.


Results of the November 4, 2008 elections:

Affiliation Party
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
Democratic Republican Vacant
End of previous legislature 102 101 203 0
Begin 104 99 203 0
March 17, 2009[2] 98 202 1
May 20, 2009[3] 99 203 0
October 19, 2009[4] 98 202 1
Latest voting share 51.2% 48.8%

House of Representatives Leadership

As of November 18, 2008[5]

Speaker of the House of Representatives: Keith McCall (D)

Majority Party (D) Leadership Position Minority Party (R)
Todd A. Eachus Floor Leader Sam Smith
Frank Dermody Whip Mike Turzai
Mark Cohen Caucus Chairperson Sandra Major
Jennifer Mann Caucus Secretary Jerry Stern
Dwight Evans Appropriations Committee Chairman Mario Civera, Jr.
Ron Buxton Caucus Administrator Merle Phillips
Mike Sturla Policy Committee Chairman Stanley E. Saylor

Members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives

See also


  1. ^ "CONSTITUTION OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA: Article II - The Legislature". Pennsylvania Constitution Web Page of the Duquesne University School of Law. Duquesne University School of Law. 2010-02-11. Retrieved 2010-02-11. 
  2. ^ Republican Dave Argall was sworn in to the State Senate.
  3. ^ Republican Jerry Knowles elected to the seat previously held by Dave Argall.
  4. ^ Republican Bob Mensch was sworn in to the State Senate.
  5. ^ "The final votes are in for leadership positions in Harrisburg - and there are no hanging chads". Philadelphia Inquirer. 2008-11-18. Retrieved 2008-11-18. 

External links



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