State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Mary Wilson covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

Wagner, who bucked party bosses, sworn in as Senate GOP's latest member

Written by Mary Wilson, Capitol Bureau Chief | Apr 2, 2014 9:08 PM
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Photo by Mary Wilson / witf

Pennsylvania's newest state senator, whose campaign put him at odds with the Senate Republican majority, says he's ready to begin a "crash course" in legislating.

Scott Wagner became state Senator Scott Wagner of York County Wednesday morning, and the minute he finished the oath, his new Republican colleagues moved in swiftly to shake his hand. Legislative decorum or heartfelt enthusiasm, the GOP majority is going to have to absorb Wagner, who has been critical of the culture of Harrisburg.

Wagner ran in a special election against the party's chosen candidate last month, and his campaign said some fence mending was needed after the party aired harsh ads against him. Walking through the Capitol halls this week, Wagner said he's moved on.

"Bottom line is we beat 'em," said Wagner, speaking of the Senate Republican Campaign Committee and Rep. Ron Miller, who ran with the party's blessing. "Once you stab your opponent in the neck and they bleed to death, you know -- you don't keep stabbing them."

Wagner, who owns a trash hauling business, said his priorities are union-related bills and curbing school property taxes - he's just not sure how soon he can start pushing them.

"You have to come in diplomatically. I'm not coming into the Capitol with grenades strapped all over my vest," he said. "My staff is going to spend a lot of time briefing me on the lay of the land up here."

Wagner was elected as a write-in candidate to fill the seat after Senator Mike Waugh resigned in January to take a job heading up the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg.

Published in State House Sound Bites

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