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Pa. House Speaker Sam Smith Won’t Run For Reëlection; Cites Divisiveness

(Pa. House speaker Sam Smith.  Photo by Tony Romeo)

(Pa. House speaker Sam Smith. Photo by Tony Romeo)

(Capitol dome, Harrisburg, Pa.   File photo) Tony Romeo
  Tony Romeo is Harrisburg bureau chief for KYW Newsradio...
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By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — The speaker of the Pennsylvania House has announced that this year will be his last wielding the gavel.

Rep. Sam Smith, a Republican from Punxsutawney, says he won’t run for reëlection — meaning he will step down at the end of the current session, in November, after four years as speaker.

Smith says he no longer has what he calls the “fire” to devote full energy to the job.

Part of the reason for that, he admits, is the increasing divisions among House members.

“Some of these people that are out there that have this mindset that you either agree with me 100 percent or you’re no good. I just have a tough time dealing with that mindset, in that, at the end of the day, you still have to govern,” Smith tells KYW Newsradio.

Smith says, however, that he does believe the level of division in the state House — and the nation, for that matter — is not unprecedented.

He says he has no plans right now for he’ll do after retiring.  Smith says he would like to see lawmakers address pension reform -– and his proposal to reduce the size of the legislature -– before he leaves at year’s end.