HARRISBURG — Rep. Sam Smith (R-Jefferson/Indiana/Armstrong) was elected Tuesday to his second term as Speaker of the House of Representatives.
The unanimous vote was taken during the official convening of the 197th Session of the House, where 201 duly elected legislators took the oath of office.
During his address to the members and guests assembled on the House floor,
Smith talked about the meaning of liberty and freedom.
He stressed that the words have different meanings to different people and that, ultimately, a legislator’s success will not be measured by the names on the bills or the number of laws enacted.
“Our success will be measured by the quality and meaning of our words,” Smith said. “And when words like ‘liberty’ and ‘freedom’ have such subtle and yet different meanings, our real challenge is understanding the words we use and what they mean.”
Former House member Craig Dally, currently a judge on Northampton County’s Court of Common Pleas, administered the oath of office to Smith and swore in the House members.
According to the State Constitution, the General Assembly must convene at noon on the first Tuesday of January each year.
The last time the House convened and swore in members on January 1 was 1991. Tuesday, 29 freshmen members took the oath of office for the first time.
Smith is currently serving his 14th term in the Pennsylvania House. He was elected as the 137th speaker in January 2011.
Prior to his current position, he served as a member of House leadership for 10 years.
In his capacity as speaker, Smith presides over House sessions, maintains order on the House floor and protects the parliamentary rights of members during voting sessions.
In addition, the speaker appoints committee chairmen, assigns bills to committees and signs all passed bills and joint resolutions.
“It’s a tremendous honor to continue to serve in a position once held by Benjamin Franklin,” Smith said. “I am humbled that my House colleagues have once again put their faith and trust in me to preside over the floor. My hope is that our members can work together in the session ahead and strive to build a better Pennsylvania.”