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Don White, GOP state senator, leaving seat in middle of term

Patrick Varine
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Pennsylvania Sen. Don White, R-Indiana, right, talks with Rep. Sam Smith, R-Jefferson, before Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell delivers his executive budget address for the fiscal year 2010-2011 to a joint session of the Pennsylvania House and Senate in Harrisburg, Pa., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2010.

State Sen. Don White said that when he came to the Pennsylvania Legislature, he was 50 years old but felt like he was 30.

“I was full of energy, anxious to do a good job,” he said Tuesday in a video posted to his website.

These days?

“Now I’m 69 and I feel like I’m 89,” he said.

The five-term Republican state senator from Western Pennsylvania says he plans to leave his seat with two years left in his term.

White, an Indiana County resident, announced Tuesday that he’ll resign at the end of February. He’ll become the third Republican state senator to depart this year.

When he took office, White said, “I didn’t have many goals, I had no political experience, I didn’t know what to expect. I went down there with the idea of bringing attention to the 41st district, which in my opinion had become invisible over the last several decades.”

The 69-year-old White was first elected in 2000 and is the longtime chairman of the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee.

“I feel I’m probably the most unlikely senator to ever sit in this chamber,” White said. “My only qualifications: I was a voter, a strong voter; I was a veteran, a proud veteran; and I was a pretty damn good businessman.”

There’s an April 2 special election to fill an open seat in suburban Pittsburgh vacated by Congress-bound Guy Reschenthaler. Meanwhile, Sen. Rich Alloway of Franklin County announced he’s resigning at the end of February.

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman must set a special election to fill White’s term through 2020.

White’s district includes Armstrong and Indiana counties and parts of Butler and Westmoreland counties.

White described his 19 years in Harrisburg as “the most fascinating and worthwhile years of my life.”