Today, the Pennsylvania Senate elected their leaders for the 2017-18 session. Here is more information about each of them:
Senate Republican Leadership (11/16):
President Pro Tempore-designee: Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson)
Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati is currently serving his 4th term in the Pennsylvania Senate. As President Pro Tempore of the Senate, he holds the third-highest constitutional office in the State. He was born and raised in Brockway, Pennsylvania and represents the 25th Senatorial District, which includes Cameron, Clinton, Elk, Jefferson, McKean, Potter and Tioga Counties and portions of Clearfield County.
Joe grew up understanding that business and industry are vital to our state’s economy and its future. After graduating from Penn State University at DuBois, Joe became a third-generation business owner in the Brockway area. He has carried on the lifelong tradition of working to better his community through involvement and civic leadership, serving on both the Brockway Borough Council and the Jefferson County Development Council. He is also a member of the St. Tobias Roman Catholic Church in Brockway.
Leader: Jake Corman (R-Centre)
Jacob Doyle “Jake” Corman III, of Centre County, was elected to the Senate of Pennsylvania in 1998. Senator Corman represents the 34th Senatorial District, which includes all of Centre, Mifflin, and Juniata Counties and part of Huntingdon County.
Senator Corman was elected by his colleagues to serve as Majority Leader of the Senate for the 2015-16 legislative session, the second highest ranking position in Senate Leadership. He previously served as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and is currently an ex-officio member. He also serves as chair of the Rules and Executive Nominations Committee.
Senator Corman obtained an Associate Degree in Communications from the Pennsylvania College of Technology and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the Pennsylvania State University.
Appropriations Chairman: Patrick Browne (R-Lehigh)
Senator Pat Browne was elected by his colleagues in the Senate Republican Caucus to serve as Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman for the 2015-16 Legislative Session. The committee, one of the most powerful of the Senate’s standing committees, reviews all legislation for its fiscal impact and plays a crucial role in developing the state budget.
Before being elected Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman, Senator Browne served as Senate Majority Whip for the 2011-12 and 2013-14 Legislative Session. Besides serving as Appropriations Committee Chairman, Senator Browne is also a member of three Senate Committees: Education; Finance; and Transportation. He is also a member of the Senate Majority Policy Committee.
Senator Browne received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Notre Dame and a law degree from Temple University. Prior to his legislative service, he was employed with the accounting firms of Coopers & Lybrand and Price Waterhouse as a tax manager and senior tax associate, respectively. In addition to being a CPA, he is also a member of the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Born and raised in Allentown, Senator Browne attended Allentown Central Catholic High School. He resides in Allentown with his wife, Heather, and son, Alex.
Whip: John Gordner (R-Columbia)
Senator John R. Gordner was first elected to the state Senate in a special election in November 2003. He was re-elected in 2004, 2008 and 2012 to represent the 27th Senatorial District, which includes all of Columbia, Northumberland, Montour and Snyder counties and parts of Luzerne County. Prior to his election to the Senate, Senator Gordner served for 11 years in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from the 109th Legislative District.
Senator Gordner is currently serving as a member of Senate leadership as Majority Whip. He also serves as Vice Chairman of the Rules and Executive Nominations Committee, and as a member of the Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee; the Judiciary Committee; and the Transportation Committee.
Senator Gordner earned his bachelor’s degree from Dickinson College in 1983, and he earned his law degree from the Dickinson School of Law in 1987.
He and his wife, Lori D. (Lindenmuth) Gordner, reside in Berwick. Their two children, Allison and Cole, are currently attending college.
Caucus Chair: Bob Mensch (R-Montgomery)
Pennsylvania State Senator Bob Mensch represents the constituents of the 24th District (including parts of Berks, Bucks and Montgomery counties) bringing to the state Senate more than 35 years of business and management experience, coupled with political leadership and public service.
Bob previously served as a Marlborough Township Supervisor, and during his time as Chairman led successful efforts to preserve over 100 acres within the township. He was Chairman of the Upper Perkiomen Regional Planning Commission, where he began an initiative that implemented multiregional cooperation. He served in various leadership positions within the Upper Perkiomen Ambulance Association and transformed it into a fiscally responsible enterprise. He served in the U.S. Army Engineers Reserve from 1966 to 1972.
As a husband, father, grandfather, executive and community leader, Bob understands the issues that are most important to the communities and families of the 24th District. A native of Pennsburg and resident of Marlborough Township since 1975, Bob is married to his wife of over four decades, JoAnn, who together have raised two children, and now enjoy being grandparents to grandson Zackary.
Caucus Secretary: Richard Alloway (R-Franklin)
Senator Richard Alloway II was elected to his first term in the Pennsylvania Senate in November 2008. After winning re-election in 2012, he is currently serving his second term representing the 33rd District, which includes all of Adams County and portions of Cumberland, Franklin and York Counties.
Prior to his election to the Senate, Senator Alloway served as a magisterial district judge for four years. Senator Alloway is a member of the National Rifle Association, Hamilton Township Ruritan, Franklin County Farm Bureau, Pleasant Hall Fire Company and Trinity Lutheran Church. He is a former member of the Franklin County Area Development Corporation and Downtown Chambersburg, Inc. He also served as President of the Greene Township and the Lurgan Township Lions Clubs.
A Franklin County native, Senator Alloway is a 1986 graduate of Chambersburg Area Senior High School. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government from Shippensburg University and graduated from Widener Law School in 2002. Senator Alloway and his wife Shannon are the proud owners of their three beloved dogs – Figgy, Sassy and Fritz.
Caucus Administrator: Chuck McIlhinney (R-Bucks)
Senator Chuck McIlhinney, Jr. is currently serving his third term representing Bucks County in the Pennsylvania State Senate. He was first elected to the Senate in November 2006 and was reelected in 2010 and 2014.
An active participant in the community, Senator McIlhinney has served as a Doylestown Borough Councilman and a member of the Doylestown Kiwanis, Ancient Order of Hibernians in America, Historic Fallsington, Bucks County Farm Bureau, REP America, Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve, Bucks County Audubon Society and the Heritage Conservancy. He gained valuable experience in promoting local economic development projects as a member of the Central Bucks County Chamber of Commerce, Lower Bucks Chamber of Commerce, Pennridge Chamber of Commerce and the Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce.
Senator McIlhinney earned a degree in Finance from Bryant University, and he received an honorary doctorate from Delaware Valley College for his efforts to help the school move toward university status. A life-long resident of Bucks County, he resides in Doylestown Township with his wife, Jennifer, and their two children, Charles McIlhinney, III and Gabriella Grace.
Policy Chair: David Argall (R-Schuylkill)
Senator David G. Argall represents the 29th District in northern and western Berks County and Schuylkill County, 1,178 square miles containing 94 municipalities from Spring Township to McAdoo. As Chairman of the Senate Majority Policy Committee, he is the first Senator from the 29th District to serve in a leadership post since 1861.
Senator Argall earned a bachelor’s degree from Lycoming College, where he earned the college’s highest student award. He earned a master’s degree and his Ph.D. in public administration from Penn State. His doctoral dissertation reviewed the benefits and drawbacks of Pennsylvania’s tax-free “Keystone Opportunity Zones” for economic development. As time permits, Dr. Argall serves as a part-time public policy instructor at Penn State and Lehigh Carbon Community College.
Senator Argall lives in Rush Township with his wife, Beth, and two very active terriers. Their children, AJ and Elise, are respectively pursuing a law degree and a new career in public service.
Senate Democratic Leadership (11/16):
Leader: Jay Costa (D-Allegheny)
State Senator Jay Costa was elected in a special election in April 1996. He is now serving his fifth full term representing the City of Pittsburgh, East Hills communities, areas of the Mon Valley and South Hills (43rd District).
As a lifelong resident of Allegheny County, Sen. Costa was born and raised in Pittsburgh and now lives with his wife Roxanne in Forest Hills. He has three children – two sons and one daughter. He is the son of the late Allegheny County Treasurer Jay Costa Sr. A graduate of Taylor Allderdice High School, Community College of Allegheny County (A.S. 1977), and Indiana University of Pennsylvania (B.A. 1979), he has a Juris Doctorate from Duquesne University (1989).
Before his election to the Senate, Sen. Costa was a deputy sheriff in Allegheny County and Allegheny County Register of Wills. He is currently a Principal in the downtown Pittsburgh law firm Dickie McCamey & Chilcote P.C.
Sen. Costa was elected Senate Democratic leader in 2010. Previously, he served as Democratic chair of the Senate Appropriations and Judiciary Committees and was Caucus chair. He co-chairs the General Assembly’s Arts and Culture Caucus and is Democratic chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee.
Appropriations Chairman: Vince Hughes (D-Philadelphia)
Senator Vincent J. Hughes is a leading progressive voice on local, state, and national issues. He was elected by his colleagues in 2010 to be the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. He has been a member of the Pennsylvania Senate for over 20 years, first elected to represent the 7th Senatorial District in 1994. Senator Hughes served as a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1987 to 1994. During that time, he was the chair of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus from 1991 to 1994.
In all of his work, which has taken him across the state and around the world, Senator Hughes is staunchly committed to the progress of his 7th Senatorial District, which encompasses portions of Philadelphia and Montgomery County. Senator Vincent Hughes is a member of the Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, and is supported by his loving wife, actress, entertainer and activist Sheryl Lee Ralph, and their blended family of four children.
Whip: Anthony Williams (D-Philadelphia)
Anthony Hardy Williams never dreamed he’d hold elective office growing up. After majoring in economics at Franklin & Marshall College, he planned to use his academic experience to take over the business world. Hone his skills at a Fortune 500 company, then, strike out on his own. He followed his plan, working as a corporate analyst, next as an executive for PepsiCo, and then launched his own vending company. Then his world exploded – literally. That’s when he watched part of his childhood neighborhood engulfed in flames during the 1985 MOVE standoff in Philadelphia. He saw hopelessness creeping into formerly vibrant communities. He watched companies closing and jobs leaving, not just in his corner of the world, but all across Pennsylvania. Fear rose. Opportunities waned. Something needed to be done. Someone had to address the issues hanging over kitchen tables and the boardroom tables alike. Someone had to have better ideas. At 31, he decided to try and tackle that challenge.
In joining the Pennsylvania Legislature – first as state representative for the 191st District in 1988, then as state senator of the 8th District in 1998 – he resolved to make the needs of his constituents known, and has, with solid results.
Caucus Chair: Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny)
A relentless fighter for working families and children, Wayne Fontana was first elected to the Pennsylvania Senate on May 17, 2005 in a special election. He was re-elected to represent the 42nd Senatorial District in 2006, 2010 and 2014.
By profession, Wayne is a real estate sales associate and broker. Prior to his election to the Senate, he worked for Howard Hanna Real Estate Services as a Sales Manager and Associate Broker. In 2004, he was the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award by the Realtors Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh (RAMP). Wayne holds an Associate’s Degree in Business from the Community College of Allegheny County and also participates in continuing education for real estate licensing and bi-yearly education requirements to retain his broker’s license.
Wayne was born and raised in the Beechview section of the City of Pittsburgh. He and his wife reside in the Brookline section of Pittsburgh. They have three children and five grandchildren.
Caucus Secretary: Larry Farnese (D-Philadelphia)
Senator Larry Farnese was elected to the Pennsylvania state Senate in 2008 and reelected in 2012 to represent the First Senatorial District. The District, which comprises some of Philadelphia’s most unique and vibrant neighborhoods, spans from Port Richmond on the Delaware River to Fairmount Park on the Schuylkill River and includes South Philadelphia, Center City, Fairmont, the Navy Yard, and Philadelphia’s International Airport and sports complexes.
Farnese earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Villanova University and graduated from Temple University’s Beasley School of Law in 1994. In 2013, Senator Farnese was chosen as the Italian Museum of Philadelphia’s Italian-American of the Year and has become widely recognized as a defender of neighborhood associations thanks to his legislation protecting them against frivolous lawsuits. The Senator currently lives in Center City Philadelphia.
Caucus Administrator: John Yudichak (D-Carbon)
State Sen. John T. Yudichak – who represents the people of the 14th Senatorial District in Carbon and Luzerne Counties – has been highly regarded as an effective and independent advocate for the people of Pennsylvania for more than a decade.
The senator is a graduate of Greater Nanticoke Area High School, Wyoming Seminary Preparatory School and Pennsylvania State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in American Studies. He resides in Plymouth Township with his wife, attorney Heather Yudichak, and their daughters, Sarah, Anna, Evelyn and Grace.
Policy Chair: Lisa Boscola (D-Lehigh)
State Senator Lisa M. Boscola has spent the majority of her professional career working to improve the lives of Lehigh Valley residents. Born in Bethlehem on April 6, 1962 to Richard and Anna Stofko – Senator Boscola has remained a proud steel worker’s daughter and life-long resident of the Lehigh Valley, a fact which has made her intimately familiar with the issues that face her district and the people she represents.
First elected to the Pennsylvania General Assembly in 1994, Senator Boscola served two terms in the state House and is serving her fifth term representing the 18th Senatorial District, consisting of Northampton and Lehigh Counties. Prior to her election to the General Assembly, Senator Boscola served as Deputy Court Administrator with the Northampton County Court. She received her Bachelors and Masters degrees from Villanova University cum laude.