HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Representative Mark Rozzi (D-Berks County) was elected as Pennsylvania’s speaker of the house on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023.

The speaker of the house seat has been highly contested heading into the new year, and Republicans were unable to utilize their two-seat majority to control the chamber.

Get traffic alerts from the abc27 mobile app for the latest local delays and road closures

Rozzi, who was elected as a state representative for the 126th legislative district of Pennsylvania in November 2012, promised to act as an independent speaker of the house.

Rozzi graduated from Muhlenberg High School and went on to study political science at Kutztown University.

Rozzi’s inspiration to get involved in politics came after one of his childhood friends committed suicide in 2009. Rozzi and his friend were both sexually abused by the same catholic priest in 1984 and 1985 at Holy Guardian Angels.

After running for office in 2012, Rozzi gained support from Democrats, Independents, and Republicans for his battle against the sexual abuse of children.

Get severe weather alerts with newsletters and push alerts from the abc27 Weather Team!

Rozzi had legislation signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf in 2019 that removed the criminal statute of limitations on sex crimes against children and increased the civil statute of limitations from age 30 to age 55.

The bill also extended the statutes of limitations for college-aged (18-24) children who were abused. Criminally the statute was extended until age 30; The civil statute was extended to 20 years from the date of the abuse.