Speaker Rozzi announces statewide listening tour to break partisan divide, deliver justice to survivors of childhood sex abuse

HARRISBURG, Jan. 20 – Speaker of the House Mark Rozzi issued the following statement announcing a statewide listening tour to meet with the public and good government groups to address partisan gridlock and deliver justice for survivors of childhood sexual abuse:

“As a rank-and-file member of the House for 10 years, I was never involved in the behind-the-scenes politics of the General Assembly. Now, having been thrust into it over the last two weeks, I can tell you one thing: Harrisburg is broken.

“During my short tenure as Speaker, I have experienced the highs of seeing former Governor Tom Wolf call the General Assembly into Special Session to pass a constitutional amendment that would provide relief to survivors of childhood sexual assault. I have also seen the lows of lawmakers using survivors of sexual assault as pawns to try to force the passage of another constitutional amendment that would make it harder for everyone to vote.

“I have seen the House of Representatives unable to agree on even the most basic question of its operating rules. I have been the subject of tasteless attacks, lies, and threats. At the same time, members from both sides of the political divide have encouraged me to use my Speakership to better the institution for all Pennsylvanians.

“I pledged to be an independent Speaker of the House and I will be an independent Speaker of the House. While some want to focus on my independence in terms of party politics, my commitment is to the people of Pennsylvania. To this end, I have formed the bipartisan Speaker’s Workgroup to move Pennsylvania Forward to advise on the next steps to ensure that our chamber operates appropriately and that our top priority – seeking justice for survivors of sexual assault – is addressed swiftly and not leveraged for other ideological or political ends.

“To help us break this gridlock, I have decided to seek the counsel of those most often neglected: the people of Pennsylvania. In the coming weeks I will be touring the commonwealth to hear directly from our citizenry on how they think the House can best move forward and heal the divides that exist due to the hyper-partisan politics of Harrisburg.

“I am inviting the Speaker’s Workgroup to Move Pennsylvania Forward to join me. It is my hope that at the conclusion of this tour we will have a clear idea on how best to heal the divides in Harrisburg, what a fair set of House rules should include, and a plan to finally get survivors of childhood sexual assault the justice and truth that they so desperately deserve.”

Details regarding the dates and locations of the listening tour will be announced soon.