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Smartest Legislators

The folks at PoliticsPA.com took a look at our smartest legislators.  

We looked at sheer brainpower and intelligence...  and here's what we found.

Highest degree earned


Rep. William DeWeese

His command of the English language leaves most people fumbling for a dictionary, if they can even spell the word. The breath and depth of his knowledge of history also distinguishes this Democratic Floor Leader. Extremely well rounded and well read, DeWeese is capable of holding an intelligent conversation on just about any topic.


BA, Wake Forest University

Rep. Kate Harper

The policy wonk of policy wonks, Harper was described by one insider as "just plain really smart." This freshman lawmaker from Montgomery County is a tenacious reader who truly enjoys the policy-side of state government...and understands it.  In just one short year, Harper has distinguished herself as one of the smartest members of the House.


JD, Villanova University

Rep. Ed Krebs

A professor of economics, this Lebanon County Republican will make the House a little less bright as he departs at the end of this term. Krebs may not be the most articulate member of the General Assembly but he has a firm grasp of the issues, particularly those affecting education. His moderate, common sense approach to solving problems will be missed in the House.


Ph.D., Michigan State University

Rep. Chris Ross

The only graduate in the legislature of this prestigious Ivy league school, Ross not only has an intellectual understanding of complex issues but he also has an abundance of common sense. A quiet member of the House, this Chester County Republican learned quickly how to influence the process by working through the proper channels behind the scenes.


BA, Harvard University

Rep. Matt Ryan

The longest serving Republican Speaker of the House in the history of our Commonwealth didn't get there without knowing a thing or two. Always quick and sharp with his Irish wit from the Speaker's rostrum, Ryan has used his brains and immense experience to guide the House. A man of true wisdom, this Delaware County Republican has affectionately earned the title, "Father of the Legislature."


JD, Villanova University

Sen. Jane Orie

A new addition to the state Senate this year, Orie earned a reputation in the House as an extremely effective and hardworking legislator. This Republican from the North Hills of Allegheny County is very detail oriented and her demand for perfection can make life challenging for those who work for her. A former prosecutor, we wouldn't be surprised to see this Senator on the bench someday.  Until then, expect her to be a knowledgeable leader in the legislature on the issues she champions.


JD, Duquesne University 

Sen. Vince Fumo

Arguably the smartest legislator in Harrisburg. Very few leaders can tweak a state budget in the morning and make heads roll in the afternoon.  Fumo is one such leader. Described as simply "brilliant" by most, this South Philly Democrat is truly  in a league by himself. Despite serving in the minority for so many years, Fumo wields tremendous influence in state government through smarts...and toughness.


MBA, University of Pennsylvania  

JD, Temple University



Sen. Allen Kukovich

This Westmoreland County Democrat may well be the policy wonk of all legislators. His depth of understanding on numerous issues is truly remarkable. His elevation to the Senate allowed this liberal leaning lawmaker to have his issues more thoroughly discussed than during his tenure in the more conservative House. As a Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor, Kukovich clearly has a greater understanding of state government issues than any of the candidates running for governor.


JD, Duquesne University

Sen. Tim Murphy

Unquestionably one of the smartest legislators.  As the only person in the Senate with a health care background, Murphy is uniquely positioned on this and other issues.  The author of a recent book, The Angry Child : Regaining Control When Your Child Is Out of Control, demonstrates the scope of his expertise.  One of the GOP's rising leaders, this lawmaker from the South Hills of Pittsburgh might well be taking his brains to Washington in a run for the U.S. Congress.

Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh

Sen. Jeff Piccola

This Republican Senate Whip from Dauphin County has long had a reputation as one of the smartest legislators. Articulate and quick on his feet, Piccola can translate his knowledge into action. He is poised to make an excellent Senate majority leader. His firm grasp of the issues, and his ability to effectively communicate, has enhanced his name as a future candidate for governor.

JD, George Washington University

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