Harris names deputy whips for 2021-22 legislative session

HARRISBURG, Jan. 26 – The PA House Democratic whip, state Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., today announced that state Reps. Jessica Benham, D-Allegheny; Donna Bullock, D-Phila.; Danilo Burgos, D-Phila.; Morgan Cephas, D-Phila.; Patty Kim, D-Dauphin; Kyle Mullins, D-Lackawanna; Peter Schweyer, D-Lehigh; Melissa Shusterman, D-Chester/Montgomery; Pam Snyder, D-Greene/Fayette/Washington; and Jared Solomon, D-Phila., will serve as deputy whips for the 2021-22 legislative session.

“As we continue to grapple with a worldwide pandemic and the fallout it has brought to Pennsylvania, we will need a strong group of deputy whips to ensure our caucus continues to operate at peak capacity,” Harris said. “This group represents a diverse set of leaders from across the state and I’m looking forward to working together to move Pennsylvania forward and help our constituents’ voices be heard.”

The whip is considered the second-in-command in the caucus and is responsible for making sure Democratic members attend session in-person or virtually and generally understand the specifics of legislation and procedural votes in the House. The deputy whips assist the whip on the House floor in ensuring members are present for votes and in tallying support prior to a vote.

Solomon is beginning his third term representing parts of Philadelphia and his second term as a deputy whip. He will serve as the chief deputy whip.

“I look forward to working with our team and continuing the strides already made in advancing the vision, member development, and forward-looking approach to all the caucus does,” Solomon said.

Bullock is beginning her fourth term representing parts of Philadelphia and her second term as a deputy whip. She will serve as assistant deputy whip.

“I look forward to continuing my work as assistant whip to our Democratic Whip Jordan Harris, particularly in this time of exceptionally important legislation on all matters of safe and fair voting, racial inequity and the COVID crisis,” Bullock said. "The Whip's Office can build consensus around these issues and collective support for legislation that can improve the lives of all Pennsylvanians. As both assistant whip and chair of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, I hope to also elevate the voices of Black and brown legislators in the Democratic Caucus."

Burgos is beginning his second term representing parts of Philadelphia.

“As we gear up for this new legislation session, I am happy to be a part of our leadership team as a new deputy whip, a position which uniquely places me to help defend our democratic values and advance a common agenda,” Burgos said. “Thank you, Whip Harris, and I look forward to serving alongside my dedicated colleagues and staff.”

Shusterman is beginning her second term representing parts of Chester and Montgomery counties and her second term as a deputy whip.

“As a deputy whip, I am humbled to have the opportunity to bring the issues most important to my constituents to the forefront of the caucus,” Shusterman said. “I’m excited to once again work with this dedicated group of lawmakers for my second term and lead the way on restoring Pennsylvania's public health, economy and education system.” 

Cephas is beginning her third term representing parts of Philadelphia.

"I am extremely honored to have been selected to serve as a deputy whip in our caucus," Cephas said. "Since taking office, Whip Jordan Harris has worked tirelessly to put hardworking Pennsylvanians first. I look forward to building on his efforts by using my role to stand up for our most vulnerable and fight to create a more equitable society."

Snyder is beginning her fifth term representing parts of Greene, Fayette and Washington counties and her second term as a deputy whip.

“I am pleased and so honored for the opportunity again to work with Whip Harris and lead the charge on guiding and setting the House Democratic Caucus’s agenda and priorities, which includes providing vital assistance to individuals and small businesses who have been severely impacted by the current COVID-19 pandemic,” Snyder said. “While we have a great deal of work ahead of us, I am looking ahead and forward to advancing our agenda to benefit all Pennsylvanians, regardless of where they reside.”

Kim is beginning her fifth term representing part of Dauphin County and her second term as a deputy whip.

“The House Democratic Caucus has a plan to improve the everyday lives of families,” Kim said. “Representative Harris is bringing new ideas and a different strategy, which will help move our priorities forward, and I’m ready and excited to serve in this important role.”

Schweyer is beginning his fourth term representing part of Lehigh County.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to help represent our caucus as we look to move Pennsylvania forward into recovery,” Schweyer said. “I’m thankful for the opportunity and I’m confident our team can meet the challenges head-on.”

Mullins is beginning his second term representing part of Lackawanna County.

“The extent of the challenges we face as Pennsylvanians matches the enormous opportunities at our fingertips -- but it will require real leadership among our elected leaders to protect our citizens, put people back to work and rescue our small business economy,” Mullins said. “I’m grateful for this new leadership role that will only further enhance my ability to influence policy for the benefit of the hardworking women and men in my district and across the state.” 

Benham is beginning her first term representing part of Allegheny County.

“I’m honored to have this opportunity to continue to fight for the Democratic priorities I hold dear,” Benham said. “Whip Harris understands and highlights the ways in which the diversity of our caucus allows us to better fight for everyday Pennsylvanians, and as a disabled, bisexual woman, I’m grateful for the intentionality with which he has created a team that reflects our state.”