State lawmakers forge a new path for Pa. politics, form bipartisan caucus

Harrisburg

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Democrats and Republicans in Harrisburg continue to fight against the 2020 election, pandemic shutdowns, and even mask-wearing. But the icy relations may be warmed a bit by two rank-and-file members looking to forge a new path.

Partisan divide is deep at the Capitol, but peace on Earth goodwill to men may have a shot.

Representative Stephen Kinsey (D-Philadelphia) and Cumberland County Representative Greg Rothman have formed the bipartisan caucus.

“This is a product of the friendship that Greg and I have the personal relationship we’ve developed,” Rep. Kinsey said.

“It’s very difficult to spend any time at all with someone like Steve Kinsey and not like him and not respect him and therefore it makes it easier to listen to him,” Rothman said.

A Black democrat from the city, and a white republican from the country looking for common ground–it sounds like common sense, but is not common practice.

“There are times when somebody puts up a bill and an amendment and someone says ‘I can’t vote for this because it’s a democrats bill or democrats amendment,'” Rothman explains.

Just announced this week, a few dozen of their colleagues have already asked to join the bipartisan caucus. Numbers matter in Harrisburg, and it could help develop political muscle.

“Hopefully we can push up as opposed to legislation being pushed down on us[…] no, we’re gonna push up and push back,” Kinsey said.

Kinsey’s colleague across the aisle agrees, emphasizing that bipartisanship is only possible when legislatures are willing to work together.

“Democracy needs civility and it cannot survive in a toxic environment where people on different sides of the aisle aren’t’ talking,” Rothman said.

Cynics say if bipartisanship can form here, it must be a Christmas miracle.

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