HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Republican state Sen. Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland) has been elected to serve as Pennsylvania’s interim Senate president pro tempore, the first female to hold the position in the commonwealth’s history.
Ward’s term will run from Dec. 1 through Jan. 2, 2023, until the Senate votes for a permanent president pro tempore to serve for the next two years.
“To all members of the Senate, Democrat and Republican, I look forward to working with you to chart a path forward that requires us to selflessly work together advocating for all Pennsylvanians and their families,” said Ward.
The election of Ward makes her the third-highest-ranking official in the Pennsylvania government. The Senate president pro tempore will also serve as lieutenant governor after John Fetterman is sworn in to the United States Senate and before Lt. Governor-elect Austin Davis is sworn in.
Also announced on Tuesday were the elections of Pennsylvania Republican leadership, including state Sen. Joe Pittman (R-Armstrong/Butler/Indiana/Westmoreland) as Senate majority leader.
“To serve as the majority leader of the Senate Republican Caucus in the upcoming session will be a great honor,” said Pittman. “I am flattered to have the support of my colleagues and am committed to advancing a positive, pro-growth agenda for the citizens.”
State Sen. Ryan Aument (R-Lancaster) was elected majority whip and state Sen. Scott Martin (R-Lancaster/Berks) will chair the Senate Appropriations Committee.
State Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York) will serve as majority caucus chair, which presides over Republican Caucus meetings to discuss bills and amendments as well as develop caucus strategy.
State Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-Beaver/Washington/Greene) was elected Senate majority caucus secretary to oversee all executive nominations submitted to the Senate for confirmation.
Senate Democrats re-elected state Sen. Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) as leader and state Sen. Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny) as chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus.
State Sen. Vincent Hughes was re-elected as Appropriations Chair and State Sen. Christine Tartaglione was elected Whip of the state Senate Democratic Caucus, making her the first female to serve as Democratic Whip in Pennsylvania Senate history.
“For nearly three decades, I have had the honor to serve the people of the 2nd district of Pennsylvania,” said Senator Tartaglione. “I have seen my fair share of bad bills pass and great bills squandered away into the abyss of parliamentary procedure. Being able to pull upon seven terms worth of experience and bi-partisan relationships will help our caucus move forward our progressive priorities.”
The state House is still unsure of which party will hold the majority with races in Bucks and Montgomery counties still undecided. A special election will also be held to replace the late state Rep. Tony DeLuca, who won re-election in 2022 a month after his passing.