Speaker Samuel H. Smith is currently serving his 14th term in the Pennsylvania House as one of its most tenured members. He is currently serving his second term as Speaker. Prior to assuming his current position, he served as a member of House leadership for 10 years. In 2000 his colleagues elected him Majority Whip, and from 2003 to 2010, Sam served as the leader of the Republican Caucus.
In his capacity as Speaker, Sam 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.
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First elected in 1986, Sam has never lost sight of the issues important to rural citizens and he continues to be a strong advocate for this group of hard-working Pennsylvanians. He was born and raised in Punxsutawney and represents all of Jefferson County and portions of Indiana and Armstrong counties. Sam is the only House Speaker born and raised in Jefferson County. He graduated from Punxsutawney High School and later earned a bachelor’s degree in advertising from Penn State University. He succeeded his father, L. Eugene “Snuffy” Smith, who represented the 66th Legislative District from 1963 to 1985.
As a legislator, Sam has focused on advancing issues important to his constituents, including job creation and retention. He is active in several community improvement organizations, including the Jefferson County Development Council and Route 119 Improvement Committee. He has been a board member of the Jefferson & Clarion Counties Community Action, Inc. Agency since 1988. Sam’s been a friend and avid supporter of local fire companies and emergency service providers.
An advocate of quality education, Sam is the author of legislation creating Accountability Block Grants which have assisted school districts across the Commonwealth. With an eye toward providing quality educational opportunities for students in rural areas, he serves on the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Council of Trustees and the Punxsutawney College Trust. He recently received the “Elected Official of the Year Award” from the Pennsylvania Library Association for his consistent advocacy on behalf of millions of Pennsylvanians who rely on the books, computers, programs and the expertise available in our libraries.
Sam is also well known for his leadership on conservation issues. He played a key role in securing major funding to clean up streams, improve local water and sewer services, and reclaim abandoned mines through the “Growing Greener” initiative that he authored. He currently serves as a member of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and the Mining and Reclamation Advisory Board.
Sam is a lifelong member of the First United Methodist Church of Punxsutawney. He and his wife, Donna, have two children, Alexandra and Zach.
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