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Pa. House Speaker Mike Turzai Officially Announces He Will Step Down

HARRISBURG, Pa. (KDKA/AP) -- Pennsylvania House Speaker Mike Turzai has officially announced he is stepping down from his position in the state House of Representatives and will leave his seat before the end of his term.

He made the announcement on the House floor on Wednesday afternoon.

His last day on the job will be Monday.

The Republican has represented the North Hills suburbs of Pittsburgh for nearly 20 years with the last five as Speaker of the House.

Now at age 60, Turzai is moving into the private sector.

Turzai spoke with KDKA political editor Jon Delano shortly after his announcement.

Delano: "Why are you resigning?"

Turzai: "It's threefold. In the first instance, there's a new generation that I have to pass the torch to."

Second, says Turzai, the legislature has dealt with the COVID issue.

"People are getting back to work. They're getting back to pursuing their dreams. We're getting a commitment from the secretary of education, at my insistence, that kids are going to be back in school in the fall."

And third, the Marshall Township resident just wants to get back into the private sector, but he won't say where yet.

"I made sure that I have not looked at any formal offers. I will be doing that here shortly," says Turzai.

In the House, the conservative Republican thanked just about everyone, including House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody of Oakmont.

Turzai reminded the House that he had played softball with Dermody when both worked for the Allegheny County District Attorney years ago.

Dermody recalled their drinking sessions after the game.

"We did not talk politics at the Park House. It turned out that was a very good thing, Mike," said Dermody.

"The Speaker did mention that there are very few policy issues that we agree on," noted Dermody. "Matter of fact, you ran through a whole list today in your speech, Mr. Speaker. I thought you were trying..."

"I was trying hard to get you with me," said Turzai, to lots of laughter.

Rob Mercuri, the Republican in line for the nomination to seek Turzai's seat, issued a statement shortly after the announcement.

It said, in part:

"My family and I would like to thank Speaker Mike Turzai for his long career of exemplary public service to the people of Pennsylvania and House District 28.

"Pennsylvania is going to miss this man. Mike's record of accomplishments, optimism and service should make us all proud. I know that representing the people of the 28th District is a tall order, and one I will strive to take up with vigor and humility. It is a profound honor to have Mike Turzai's endorsement. It is a privilege to have been one of his constituents."

U.S. Steel's Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning and Corporate Development Rich Fruehauf released this statement:

"On behalf of U.S. Steel, I would like to thank Speaker Turzai for his service to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Mike's leadership spans many areas, of which his support for industry, manufacturing and family-sustaining jobs for Pennsylvanians has been second to none. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors."

Turzai, 60, of Allegheny County, has served in the House since 2001 and became speaker in 2015 after four years as majority leader.

He says he hopes to work in the private sector but hasn't announced any specific plans.

In January, Turzai said he would not run for reelection.

(TM and © Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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