Pennsylvania House Democratic Caucus Looks to the Future

PA CapitolImage via Pennsylvania House Democratic Caucus

HARRISBURG, PA — To kick off the new legislative session, Pennsylvania House Democratic Caucus Majority Leader Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, is welcoming the largest class of incoming legislators to the House Democratic Caucus in more than 15 years.

“In January, the House Democratic Caucus will proudly swear in the largest and most diverse class of freshmen legislators in over a decade,” said McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware. “These public servants are already on the ground in their communities, talking to neighbors, and prepared to be their voices in Harrisburg next month. Without a doubt, they will strengthen our legislature with their diverse experience and perspectives.”

House Democrats will welcome 26 new members from communities across the state; some from districts that have never before been represented by a Democrat. New members include:

Anthony Bellmon (D-Phila.): Bellmon served in Philadelphia Congressman Brendan F. Boyle’s office for eight years, solving housing, student loan and immigration issues. As senior adviser to the congressman, Anthony worked on Capitol Hill advancing policy issues to better the lives of children and working families.

Lisa A. Borowski (D-Delaware): Borowski formerly served as vice president of the Radnor Township School District’s school board, leading the way on crafting one of the area’s first full-day kindergarten programs. She later ran for township commissioner and was elected president of the board of commissioners

Tim Brennan (D-Bucks): Once becoming a certified Bar member in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Brennan fought for fairness on behalf of working Pennsylvanians and within the state Capitol. His work experience includes working with the Governor’s Office of General Counsel.

Johanny Cepeda-Freytiz (D-Bucks): Cepeda-Freytiz has served on the Reading City Council since January 2020. That same year, she received the COVID-19 Hero Award from United Community Services and in 2021, she was awarded Purple Ribbon Business Partner of the Year by the Domestic Shelters Organization.

Melissa Cerrato (D-Montgomery): Cerrato served on the staff of state Rep. Liz Hanbidge, D-Montgomery. Her position in Hanbidge’s office gave her the ability to help those in the community who were facing the same struggles she had. Her areas of focus include reproductive justice, affordable child care and a living wage.

Kyle Donahue (D-Lackawanna): Donahue was president of Scranton City Council. During his time on city council, Donahue helped Scranton shed its 30-year-long financially distressed status.  He also served as director of the Scranton School Board, board member of the Scranton-Lackawanna Human Development Agency and board member of Scranton Tomorrow.

Justin Fleming (D-Dauphin): Fleming has spent nearly 18 years in and around state government as a public servant and as an advocate to expand mental health care and provide more resources for children in Pennsylvania. Fleming also served as the Susquehanna Township commissioner for the 8th Ward.

Paul Friel (D-Chester): Friel has spent his career innovating and leading in the manufacturing, retail and environmental sectors. He has served on the executive boards of nonprofits such as Camp Rainbow and the Philadelphia Boys’ Choir and as president of the Owen J. Roberts School Board.

Pat Gallagher (D-Phila.): Gallagher served as chief of staff for former state Rep. Mike Driscoll, D-Phila., and is focused on securing higher wages and safe working conditions for Pennsylvania’s workers, along with affordable and accessible health care.

Jose Giral (D-Phila.): Giral has served as Democratic committeeman for the 33rd Ward for the past eight years and served as a commissioner on Gov. Tom Wolf’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs. During this period, he also worked closely with former state Rep. Angel Cruz.

G. Roni Green (D-Phila.): Green previously represented the 190th Legislative District, from February 2020 through Nov. 30, 2020. She has served as a community and labor organizer for more than 30 years. She also serves as a Democratic committeewoman.

Jim Haddock (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne): Haddock served as clerk of courts and prothonotary manager in Luzerne County for 10 years. He also served as mayor of Avoca for eight years. Prior to that, he served as a member of the Pittston Area Board of Education and is also the owner of Haddock Rentals.

Carol Kazeem (D-Delaware): Kazeem is a trauma outreach specialist and has extensive experience working on homelessness reduction, mental and behavioral health services, gun violence prevention, youth mentorship and raising awareness on the effects of poverty – both in the 159th Legislative District and globally.

Tarik Khan (D-Phila.): Khan has been a registered nurse for nearly two decades and has been a nurse practitioner since 2011. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he co-created a vaccine program for people with disabilities that he presented at a White House/CDC forum.

David Madsen (D-Dauphin): Madsen served on Harrisburg City Council from 2017-22 and was the chair of its public works committee. He also worked as the community services and education director for the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO. Madsen plans to focus on funding for public education, workforce development, and improving infrastructure.

La’Tasha D. Mayes (D-Allegheny): Mayes is the first woman to represent the 24th Legislative District and the first out lesbian to ever serve in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. She served the Governor’s Advisory Commission on African American Affairs under Gov. Tom Wolf and was the inaugural vice chair of the Allegheny County Human Relations Commission.

Brian Munroe (D-Bucks): Munroe is Navy veteran and was awarded the Armed Forces Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and the National American Treaty Organization Medal, among others. Munroe was a police office in Radnor Township and served as clerk of courts for Bucks County.

Chris Pielli (D-Chester): Pielli served in the U.S. Army and received two Army Commendation medals. He also served as a part-time Chester County public defender for five years. Most recently, as Chester County Recorder of Deeds, Pielli managed and balanced multimillion-dollar government budgets.

Tarah Probst (D-Monroe/Pike): Probst was the first female mayor in Stroudsburg’s more than 200-year history. She was chosen as one of only 20 elected officials in the country for The Champions Institute/Smart Growth award for improving lives by improving communities. Most recently, Probst worked for a local addiction recovery center.

Greg Scott (D-Montgomery): In 2015, Scott was elected as a magisterial district judge. Upon his commission, he became the first Black district judge in Montgomery County history and the youngest sitting judge in Pennsylvania, where he became a leading voice for understanding trauma and its impact on people appearing in court rooms.

Josh Siegel (D-Lehigh): At 25, Siegel was elected to Allentown City Council, becoming the youngest ever council member and served as the only council member for his residential area of the East Side of Allentown. He chaired the Budget and Finance Committee for three years, acting as a financial watchdog.

Ismail Smith-Wade-El (D-Lancaster): Smith-Wade-El was president of Lancaster City Council, where he had served since 2017. During his four years on council, he helped to secure the largest investments in affordable housing and lead removal for the city of Lancaster in its history.

Mandy Steele (D-Allegheny): Steele has founded and operated two nonprofit organizations and in 2019 became the first woman and Democrat elected to the Fox Chapel Borough Council. Prior to being elected, Steele spent the last few years leading bipartisan actions focused on environmental and safety issues.

Paul Takac (D-Centre): Takac’s experience in local government includes serving as a member of the College Township Council and as chair of both the Spring Creek Watershed Commission and the Centre Region Council of Government’s Public Safety Committee. He brings more than 30 years of business experience to the legislature.

Arvind Venkat (Allegheny): Venkat is the first Indian American to be elected to the state House and the first physician to serve in the General Assembly in nearly 60 years. Venkat is a fighter for accessible and affordable health care, investing in our first responders, protecting reproductive rights, curbing gun violence, and expanding access to voting.

Ben Waxman (D-Phila.): Waxman has had a celebrated career as a journalist, communications director and business owner, having worked for state Sen. Vincent Hughes and the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office as director of communications. He is a 15-year resident of Center City and has supported local public schools and served on the board of the Center City Residents Association.

House Democrats picked up 12 additional districts in November’s General Election – for a total of 102 districts –and flipped the state House from Republican control to Democratic control for the first time in more than a decade.

Swearing-in Day is Jan. 3, 2023.

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