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Southwestern Pennsylvania Sends 6 Newcomers To State House Of Representatives In Harrisburg

HARRISBURG, Pa. (KDKA) -- Pennsylvania Rep. Frank Dermody of Oakmont, the Democratic leader in the state House of Representatives, has conceded the election to Republican Carrie Lewis DelRosso, an Oakmont councilwoman.

With almost all the votes counted, DelRosso defeated Dermody by about 900 votes. DelRosso joins a half dozen newcomers from this region going to Harrisburg.

"I'm feeling great. I know that it's over now, a week after the Election Day," DelRosso told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Wednesday.

DelRosso defeated a 30-year Democratic incumbent, marking a generational change.

"People who are involved in their communities and they see the need for change, and they throw their hat in, and I applaud them – whether they be a Democrat or a Republican," said DelRosso.

Six new House members from here are going to Harrisburg for the first time.

DelRosso joins fellow Republican newcomers Rob Mercuri, who succeeds retired House Speaker Mike Turzai, and Jason Silvis, who defeated long-time Pa. Rep. Joe Petrarca.

"It is still sinking in. Like many people in my district, I'm someone who doesn't always feel welcome in the halls of power," says Pa. Rep.-elect Jessica Benham of the South Side.

On the Democratic side, at age 29, Benham is the first autistic and LGBTQ woman elected to the state House.

"As a young woman who holds more progressive views, generally speaking, I do represent this new emerging future," says Benham.

Benham joins Democratic House newcomers Emily Kinkead, who defeated Pa. Rep. Adam Ravenstahl in the primary, and Nick Pisciottano of West Mifflin, who noted how young the Allegheny County delegation is becoming.

"If you look at the Monongahela Valley from downtown Pittsburgh all the way to Elizabeth, when it leaves Allegheny County, every legislator that touches that river, I believe, is 35 years or younger," says Pisciottano.

Of the 42 state representatives from southwestern Pennsylvania, half of them -- 21 -- have served two years or less in the legislature. This new crop of winners only accentuates that trend.

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