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Pennsylvania’s Likely Next House Speaker Praises His Predecessor

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(Photos provided)

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) – Tuesday’s election results seem to spell the end of the political career of one of the most prominent Philadelphians to serve in Pennsylvania state government in recent years.

State rep. John Perzel (R-Phila.), defeated in Tuesday’s election (see related story), was speaker of the state House the last time that Republicans had a majority.

Rep. Sam Smith (R-Punxsutawney), the man in line to become speaker now that Republicans have regained control, was groomed for leadership by Perzel.

Smith says that during his political career, Perzel was a fighter.

“He loved to be engaged 100 percent. He’s one of the hardest working people I’ve ever been around.  And certainly there was a point in time -– pre ’94, let’s say -– that he was the driving force to bring us into the majority,” Smith said.

But Smith says he and Perzel and others like him are just “stewards” of authority, and that they can all be replaced.

Smith went on to say he was not referring to Perzel’s legal troubles. Perzel faces criminal charges that he misused public resources during his time in House leadership (see related story).

Reported by KYW Harrisburg Bureau Chief Tony Romeo.

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