Pippy turns his attention to future

Talks of new position after early resignation

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HARRISBURG -- John Pippy says he's waiting a week to announce what new job he is taking after he resigned this past weekend from the state Senate seat he has held for nine years.

Mr. Pippy, a Moon Republican who has represented the 37th District since 2003, resigned his seat Saturday night after voting on the state budget. He already had said he would not seek re-election.

Mr. Pippy said he will announce his new post on Monday. When told that the Pennsylvania Coal Association also has news it will reveal that day, Mr. Pippy remarked: "Wow, what a coincidence."

Coal association President George Ellis would not say if Mr. Pippy had been hired, but he promised to have "an announcement on the whole scenario" Monday, and possibly a news conference in Pittsburgh.

Mr. Pippy served in the House of Representatives before winning a special election for the Senate seat of U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy. Then an Army reservist -- he now is in the National Guard -- Mr. Pippy took his oath of office in March 2003 while on a one-day pass from Maryland, where he was preparing to deploy to Kuwait and Iraq. He returned home in January 2004 and began work in the Senate later that month.

Mr. Pippy announced in January he would not run for re-election, but word of his early departure came in a news release sent at midnight Saturday, while Gov. Tom Corbett spoke in the Capitol rotunda after signing the budget. Mr. Pippy said he waited to vote on the budget bills before submitting his letter of resignation.

Mr. Pippy said both Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson, and Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware, assured him they would help with issues in his district. Both Mr. Pippy's Moon and Harrisburg offices will remain open to assist constituents, he said.

The lieutenant governor is responsible for calling special elections to fill vacancies in the Senate, but Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley has not decided if he will call one, said spokesman Chad Saylor. An election cannot be held sooner than 60 days after the decision.

Mr. Pippy counts among his successes in the Senate efforts on economic development, conservation and reform of the gaming code. As chairman of the Senate Law and Justice Committee, he also worked closely with the state police.

"The safety of the commonwealth is a core function of government," he said. "Some people say our government is too big, and I agree with that. But one area where we need to make sure we have adequate resources is in the protection of citizens."

Rep. Mark Mustio, R-Moon, said he joined forces with the senator on economic development initiatives, particularly around the Pittsburgh airport.

"He's just been a strong advocate for education and a lot of other issues over the years, so he'll be missed," Mr. Mustio said.

electionspa - businessnews - neigh_west

Karen Langley: klangley@post-gazette.com or 717-787-2141. First Published July 3, 2012 12:00 AM


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