Shortly before 1:45 p.m. Monday, state Sen. Joe Pittman, R-Indiana, was sworn in along with fellow new state Sen. Douglas Mastriano, R-Franklin County, to serve interim terms in the state Senate.
With members of their respective families at their side, Pittman and Mastriano received the oath of office from Commonwealth Court Judge P. Kevin Brobson.
Before that, amid a swath of other business items overseen by Lt. Gov. John Fetterman in his role as president of the Senate, Acting Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar announced the certification of results of special May 21 elections in Pittman’s 41st District and Mastriano’s 33rd District. As read by the clerk of the Senate, Pittman defeated Democrat Susan Boser 25,017 votes to 13,219, while Mastriano defeated Democrat Sarah Hammond 20,595 to 9,490.
Also amid the business conducted by Fetterman was an invocation prayed by Greensburg’s Roman Catholic Bishop Edward C. Malesic, whose diocese includes most of the 41st Senatorial District. Pittman is a member of St. Thomas More University Parish in Indiana.
“Make us to be good stewards of your many gifts,” Malesic asked God in his prayer. “We are grateful for the work you give us. May we all be blessed with the gifts of wisdom.”
Malesic also urged the senators to be respectful in criticisms and corrections of their colleagues, and briefly eulogized Brian Swatt, an Indiana University of Pennsylvania student and aide to Pittman who was killed in a car crash Friday in Armstrong County.
Both Pittman and Mastriano will serve out terms through the end of 2020.
Pittman succeeds his former boss, Sen. Don White, R-Indiana, in the 41st District, while Mastriano is succeeding Sen. Rich Alloway, R-Franklin County, in the 33rd District.
White resigned for health reasons. Alloway told the Harrisburg Patriot-News he retired because of a combination of burnout and a realization that there was no clear path for advancement in the Senate Republican caucus.
On the Senate floor Monday, Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Centre County, noted that White was on hand “with his much, much better half Anne.”
Corman said others also were in attendance, including current state Reps. Cris Dush, R-Brookville, and Jim Struzzi, R-Indiana, who represent parts of Indiana County, and former House Speaker Samuel H. Smith, R-Jefferson County, who is chairman of Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Council of Trustees.
Pittman’s district includes all of Indiana and Armstrong counties and parts of Westmoreland and Butler counties.