Mike Turzai

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Mike Turzai
Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives
from the 28th district
Assumed office
July 12, 2001[1][2]
Preceded by Jane Orie
140th Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Taking office
January 6, 2015
Succeeding Sam Smith
Republican Leader of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Assumed office
January 4, 2011
Preceded by Sam Smith
Republican Whip of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives
In office
January 6, 2009 – November 30, 2010
Preceded by Dave Argall
Succeeded by Stan Saylor
Personal details
Born (1959-08-02) August 2, 1959 (age 55)
Sewickley, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Lidia Turzai
Alma mater University of Notre Dame
Duke University

Michael Coyne Turzai (born August 2, 1959) is an American politician currently serving as a member and Speaker-elect of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Turzai has represented the 28th legislative district since 2001 and is a member of the Republican Party. He currently serves as the House Majority Leader, a position he has held since 2011. He was elected Speaker in November 2014 and is scheduled to assume office in January 2015.


Mike Turzai won a special election for a seat in the 28th District, representing communities in the North Hills of Allegheny County, in 2001.

Rep. Turzai has twice been elected by his peers to serve as majority leader for the House Republican Caucus. In that position, Turzai plans the House voting calendar and promotes the legislative agenda of his caucus. He leads discussion and debate on major issues and presents the caucus position on the House floor.

During the 2011-12 legislative session, he was instrumental in passing the Fair Share Act, a bill that abolishes joint and several liability. Turzai said, "The Fair Share Act is commonsense legislation aimed at saving jobs."[3]

During the same session, Turzai led efforts to modernize the state’s unemployment compensation system,[4] including an active job search requirement for recipients to continue to receive benefits.

In February 2013, the House passed Turzai's legislation to reform the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Project (RACP) program.[5] In June, the House passed, for the third straight year, an on-time, balanced and conservative state budget.[6]

Turzai has advocated privatizing the state-owned wine and spirit monopoly in Pennsylvania, and dismantling the wholesale and retail operations of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. His efforts led to the historic passage of House Bill 790 in the state House on March 21, 2013.[7] That process began four years prior when, as Minority Whip, Turzai began to build the case to break up the PLCB monopoly.[8] Pointing to an inherent conflict of interest (boosting sales while regulating and enforcing the laws) and to government’s total ineptitude to manage a business, Turzai built the case and presented evidence.[9] Virtually every newspaper endorsed his plan to privatize – something unprecedented in the state.[citation needed] Despite the efforts of long-entrenched interests, Turzai succeeded in gaining House to passage of HB 790, to privatize wine and spirits in Pennsylvania [10] – a first since Governor Pinchot enacted the state store system in 1934.[11] The bill awaits consideration by the full Senate.[7]

On June 23, 2012, Turzai stated at a meeting of the Republican State Committee that Pennsylvania's recent voter identification law would "allow Governor [Mitt] Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania"[12] in the 2012 U.S. Presidential election. This comment drew criticisms in the press[13][14] and from Pennsylvania Democrats, who took the comment as an admission that the true motives for passing Pennsylvania's voter ID law were partisan.[15] Commonwealth Court judge Robert Simpson, in an order denying the plaintiffs' request for an injunction blocking the voter ID law in the case Applewhite v. Commonwealth of Pennyslvania, described Turzai's remarks as "disturbing" and "tendentious".[16]:60 On August 16, 2012, Turzai said; "It is unfortunate, but there has been a history of voter fraud in Pennsylvania". However, during court proceedings state officials admitted that in-person election fraud was uncommon.[17] The state stipulated that it "will not offer any evidence [in Applewhite v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania] that in-person voter fraud has in fact occurred in Pennsylvania or elsewhere" and that it "will not offer any evidence or argument that in person voter fraud is likely to occur in November 2012 in the absence of the Photo ID law."[18] Turzai said that voter identification "is really just about presenting voter identification. Which you do when you're buying Sudafed at a drugstore, or going to a place to buy beer, or to a gym," during a Fox News debate with a state senator.[19]

Speaker of the Pennsylvania House[edit]

During Republican House leadership elections in November 2014, Turzai was elected Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, with Dave L. Reed elected to succeed him as majority leader.[20] He is to take office as Speaker, succeeding Sam Smith, in January 2015.[21]

Personal life[edit]

Turzai is a graduate of University of Notre Dame and the Duke University School of Law. He and his wife reside in Bradford Woods, Pennsylvania with their three sons.


  1. ^ Cox, Harold (November 3, 2004). "Pennsylvania House of Representatives - 2001-2002". Wilkes University Election Statistics Project. Wilkes University. 
  2. ^ "Representative Mike Turzai (PA)". Project Vote Smart. 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-12. 
  3. ^ http://legalnewsline.com/issues/tort-reform/233125-fair-share-act-passes-pa-house-ready-to-become-law
  4. ^ http://articles.mcall.com/2012-06-07/news/mc-pa-unemployment-debt-20120607_1_federal-unemployment-benefits-unemployment-debt-christopher-manlove
  5. ^ http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/house-racp-debate-focuses-on-jobs-1.1272274
  6. ^ http://paindependent.com/2013/06/pa-budget-live-blog-june-30-2013/
  7. ^ a b http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billinfo/bill_history.cfm?syear=2013&sind=0&body=H&type=B&bn=790
  8. ^ http://www.repturzai.com/NewsItem.aspx?NewsID=8783
  9. ^ http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/breaking-news/index.ssf/2011/07/pennsylvania_house_gop_leader.html
  10. ^ "House bill would shut Pa. liquor stores, open sales to groceries and pharmacies - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. March 6, 2013. 
  11. ^ http://lehighvalleyhistory.blogspot.com/2011/01/end-of-prohibition-beginning-of-pa.html
  12. ^ "Voter ID Law Comment". 
  13. ^ "Turzai's voter ID remark draws criticism". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. June 26, 2012. 
  14. ^ Bronner, Ethan (2012-07-20). "Legal Battles Erupt Over Tough Voter ID Laws". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 July 2012. 
  15. ^ "PA Democrats Unhappy With GOP Comments About New Voter ID Law". 
  16. ^ "Determination on Application for Preliminary Injunction". Applewhite v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Election Law @ Moritz. 2012-08-15. Retrieved 21 September 2013. 
  17. ^ Demby, Gene (August 16, 2012). "Mike Turzai Repeats Voter Fraud Lie". Huffington Post. 
  18. ^ "Stipulation". Applewhite v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Election Law @ Moritz. 2012-07-12. Retrieved 2 October 2012. 
  19. ^ "Leach v. Turzai on Voter ID". 
  20. ^ Field, Nick. "Turzai New Speaker; Reed to Become Majority Leader". PoliticsPA. Retrieved 13 November 2014. 
  21. ^ Daniels, Melissa. "Republicans oust Senate majority leader; Turzai wins election to become Speaker of the House". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved 13 November 2014. 

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