HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — A week ago today it seemed like the Pennsylvania House was bridging the partisan divide after it elected, in historic fashion, an Independent speaker of the house.
However, 7 days later, the experiment seemingly failed. The House is paralyzed and a lawmaker who nominated Mark Rozzi for speaker now says he should resign.
“It feels really bad. It hurts,” said Representative Jim Gregory (R-Blair).
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Republican Gregory nominated Democrat Mark Rozzi to be speaker of the house and spoke on the historic arraignment moments after voting.
“Mark is no longer a Democrat, as you heard in his speech, he is now an Independent,” Gregory said. “I trust him. I believe in him.”
Now, Gregory says that trust is broken.
“I said, ‘So, you’re going to go independent?’ And he said, ‘Yes,'” Gregory said.
Gregory says Rozzi told him point blank that he would become and Independent. But now, he is reluctant.
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“It’s not ok that you are not going to tell the truth just because it’s politics. That’s a lot of our problem in this country, that we accept and allow untruthfulness and lying because it’s politics and part of the game. No,” said Gregory.
Gregory is calling for Rozzi’s resignation.
“I don’t know how you go forward with either caucus because both caucuses have to look at him and wonder how can we work with him.”
Speaker of the House Rozzi is not speaking at the moment, and the caucus is not working.
“Well, we are just in a mess. We don’t have our rules,” said Rep. Tim Twardzik (R-Schuylkill).
Apparently, little progress has been made but there is lots of frustration.
“If we can’t get anything accomplished, if you’re not gonna make it work, then it’s time to find somebody who can get it done,” added Twardzik.
While there is always backbiting at the Capitol in Harrisburg, Gregory’s pain seems more personal than political.
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“I thought I knew who he was and now I don’t,” Gregory said.
And it’s not just Gregory. Republican Whip Tim O’Neal, who seconded Rozzi’s nomination for speaker of the house, reiterated that Rozzi said he would switch his party from Democrat to Independent.
If O’Neal did not believe Rozzi was going to switch his party, he would not have nominated him in the first place.