When a Speaker of the House resigns, no matter who wants them to or what the circumstances are, it is a major deal.
That is why it was a stunner to many when the Pennsylvania Speaker of the House, Republican Rep. Mike Turzai announced that he would not seek reelection.
It harkened back to when former Speaker of the House, Rep. Paul Ryan, made the same announcement before Democrats won back the House.
“I’ve been honored to serve, and it’s been an amazing journey, but it’s good to move on and let another generation of leaders develop,” he said to the Washington Examiner.
“It’s time. It’s time to pass the torch on to another generation of leaders. And I’m actually quite comfortable with that,” he said.
The Notre Dame graduate is 60 and he said that the decision was a tough one to make, but that his son, Stephen, a baseball player, hit the nail on the head.
“Dad, whenever my last game that I pitch on the mound comes, it is going to be really difficult. It’s going to be really hard for me. But, Dad, there is going to be a last day when I pitch on the mound,” his son said to him.
He said that he dopes not have any more plans in politics, including not being interested in campaigning for governor in 2022.
“I’m hoping that some opportunities might develop in the private sector,” the Speaker said. “I think that I can contribute in a very positive manner. I’ve worked with folks in the private sector and have always talked about how we are teammates in terms of making employers create an economic environment that employs folks with really great family-sustaining wages. It’s time to help be a part of that.”
He has been a fiscal conservative who has scored significant victories, including against the state’s Gov. Tom Wolf.
“I’ve held off a severance tax that Wolf campaigned not once, but twice on, amongst other taxes, by the way, but I saw the vision as to what it would do for communities, and communities even beyond Pittsburgh and Philadelphia,” the Speaker said.
His Democrat colleague, Philadelphia City Council leader Cherelle Parker, had praise for the Republican.
“During my tenure as chair of the Philadelphia delegation in Harrisburg [in the House of Representatives], Speaker Turzai and I may have agreed to disagree 99%. However, it was his willingness to work in a bipartisan manner that helped the City of Philadelphia enact much-needed legislation, including the cigarette tax, the tax fairness package, and an increase in the sales tax,” she said. “Such collaboration seems almost impossible in today’s hyperpartisan culture, but Speaker Turzai’s door was always open to me, and I will never forget it.”