The Lead

Republican special election winners sworn in to state Senate

By: - June 10, 2019 3:32 pm
Sens. Joe Pittman, R-18, and Doug Mastriano, R-33, swear the oath office to the Pennsylvania state Senate on June 10.

Sens. Joe Pittman, R-18, and Doug Mastriano, R-33, swear the oath office to the Pennsylvania state Senate on June 10.

Pennsylvania’s state Senate returned to full complement on Monday with the swearing-in of two new Republican senators.

Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Adams, and Sen. Joe Pittman, R-Indiana, took the oath of office on Monday, three weeks after soundly defeating Democratic challengers in special elections on May 21.

With Mastriano and Pittman now in office, Republicans hold 28 senate seats to Democrats’ 22.

Mastriano, an Army veteran and military historian, takes a seat formerly held by Sen. Rich Alloway.

Alloway left the Senate in February to return to his private law practice, saying he was “sick and tired” of state politics.

During his campaign, Mastriano pledged to defend heterosexual marriage, restrict abortion access, fight firearm regulation, and rein in government spending. He also garnered criticism from his Democratic opponent, Sarah Hammond, for Islamophobic memes and comments on his campaign Facebook page.

Mastriano’s 33rd District includes all of Adams County and parts of York, Cumberland, and Franklin counties.

Pittman will replace his former boss, Sen. Don White, in the state’s 18th Senate District. He served as White’s chief of staff for two decades, until the former senator left in February to start his retirement early.

The 18th District includes all of Indiana and Armstrong counties and parts of Butler and Westmoreland counties.

Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Cameron, announced Monday that Mastriano will chair the Senate’s Intergovernmental Operations Committee and serve as vice chair of the Agricultural & Rural Affairs Committee. He’ll also sit on the State Government, Transportation, Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness, and Game & Fisheries committees.

Pittman will serve as vice chair of the Senate’s Environmental Resources & Energy Committee and sit on the Appropriations, Banking & Insurance, Communications & Technology, Game & Fisheries, and Judiciary committees.

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Elizabeth Hardison
Elizabeth Hardison

Elizabeth Hardison covered education policy, election administration, criminal justice and legislative news for the Capital-Star from Jan. 2019-April 2021. You can find her on Twitter @ElizHardison.