Archive

Senate Republicans will not oppose inauguration of Lindsey Williams | TribLIVE.com
Allegheny

Senate Republicans will not oppose inauguration of Lindsey Williams

Bob Bauder

State Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati on Friday said he would recommend that Senator-elect Lindsey Williams of Allegheny County be sworn in with other lawmakers at the Capitol on New Year’s Day.

The decision ends months of wrangling between senate Republicans and Democrats over whether Williams met a four-year residency requirement to hold office. Scarnati’s statement came several hours after Democrats rallied at the Allegheny Courthouse to demand that she be seated, but officials said they doubted it had an impact on the timing of Scarnati’s announcement.

“While these last few weeks have been stressful for me personally, the Republican caucus and its leadership has been extremely fair and thorough in their evaluation of the situation,” Williams said in a statement. “I appreciate their professionalism and efficiency in bringing this matter to a close as quickly as possible so that I can get to work doing the job I was elected to do for the people of District 38.”

The state Constitution requires senators to live in a district for at least four years prior to an election. Scarnati said he would recommend the swearing-in because the state Constitution contains no clear definition for residency.

Williams had submitted more than 100 pages of documents to Republican leadership to prove her eligibility and Scarnati said he presumed the documents were truthful. He left open the possibility that the GOP could revisit the issue if members find other documents that conflict with the ones Williams provided.

Sen. Jay Costs of Forest Hills, the Senate minority leader, said he considered the issue closed and is looking forward to celebrating Williams’ swearing in.

“It says that they will seat her and that’s that,” Costa said. “I’m pleased that senate Republican leadership reviewed the documentation and reached the conclusion that Lindsey should be seated.”

Williams, 35, of West View in November defeated Republican Jeremy Shaffer, a Ross commissioner, to replace outgoing state Sen. Randy Vulakovich. The 38th District includes a large portion of the Alle-Kiski Valley, a small section of Pittsburgh and suburban communities in Alle­gheny County’s North Hills.

Williams moved to western Pennsylvania from Maryland in 2014 to take a job as communications and political director for the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers. She said she stayed with friends in Shaler while hunting for an apartment.

Documents provided to the GOP included a sworn affidavit from her friends that she spent the night of Nov. 6, 2019 at their home. It became the key element in determining whether she was eligible to take office.

Since the election, Williams has opened Vulakovich’s former office at the Shaler municipal building and has been meeting with constituents.

About 50 residents, representatives of organized labor and Democratic officials gathered with Williams at the Allegheny County Courthouse at noon. The crowd included Costs of Forest Hills, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman of Braddock, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and other political leaders.

“I have maintained that my top priority is my constituents; former Senator Vulakovich and his staff have been incredibly generous in ensuring that no services have been missed during the transition,” Williams said.

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, [email protected] or via Twitter @bobbauder.


584001Williams
Democratic state Senator-elect Lindsey Williams (center) of West View mixes with supporters before a rally in the Allegheny County Courthouse.Democratic state Senator-elect Lindsey Williams (center) of West View mixes with supporters before a rally in the Allegheny County Courthouse on Dec. 28, 2018.
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.