Oberlander completes leadership program

Donna Oberlander

Oberlander becomes first female GOP House whip

Position is third highest in the House Republican Caucus

HARRISBURG State Rep. Donna Oberlander (R-63) was chosen June 22 to become the first woman to serve as Republican Caucus whip during leadership elections held at the state Capitol in Harrisburg.

Oberlander succeeds Rep. Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin), who was selected as majority leader, and Majority Leader Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster), who became Speaker of the House.

"I'm honored and humbled that my colleagues have chosen me to serve as their majority whip," said Oberlander, who also becomes the first state representative from the 63rd District to ascend to the position, which is considered the third highest in the House Republican Caucus.

"I will continue to represent the members at the leadership table and ensure that their concerns from all over the Commonwealth are listened to," said Oberlander. "We have a unified leadership team, which is imperative during this critical time in our state, as we work toward a strong recovery from the COVID-19 crisis."

As majority whip, she will be responsible for tracking House votes and informing her other 109 Republican colleagues on upcoming issues and legislation.

This is Oberlander's third role in House Republican leadership. She was elected as caucus secretary in 2014 and majority policy committee chairman in 2018, a position she has most recently held.

"As I have done as majority policy committee chairman, the residents of 63rd District remain my top priority in the House, and this elevated leadership position allows me to ensure that their hometown values and principles are heard when major policy and budget decisions are made in the Pennsylvania General Assembly," Oberlander added.

The House leadership team consists of Speaker Bryan Cutler, Majority Leader Benninghoff, Appropriations Chairman Stan Saylor, Policy Chairman Marty Causer, Caucus Administrator Kurt Masser, Caucus Chairman Marcy Toepel and Caucus Secretary Mike Reese.

The new leadership team takes effect immediately and will serve until the end of the current legislative session on Nov. 30.

Oberlander is seeking re-election to the House in the fall election. She was unopposed in the primary election and no Democrat sought that party's nomination.

Oberlander currently serves on the PA Small Business Development Center's Advisory Board, and is a voting member on the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (Pennvest), which provides funding for water and sewer operations.

Oberlander is a graduate of Clarion University. She actively serves as a member of the university's Council of Trustees and was reappointed to the post in the fall of 2018.

In recognition of her strong leadership, Oberlander has earned consecutive "Guardian of Small Business" awards from the Pennsylvania chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business.

In 2019, she received the Pennsylvania Conservation Districts Legislator Leadership Award, Pennsylvania Defense Institute Robert Keaton Government Leader Award, andRural Health Legislator of the Year, as well as the Community Recovery Champion from theArmstrong, Indiana, and Clarion Drug and Alcohol Commission.

Last year, she additionally was selected by theCouncil of State Governments to participate in the prestigious Henry G. Toll Fellowship Program, which isone of the nation's premier leadership development programs for state government officials.

The 63rd District includes all of Clarion County, part of Forest County including the townships of Barnett and Jenks, and parts of Armstrong County, including the townships of Bradys Bend, Cowanshannock, Hovey, Madison, Mahoning, Perry, Pine, Plumcreek, Redbank, Sugarcreek, Washington and Wayne, and the boroughs of Atwood, Dayton, Elderton, Rural Valley and South Bethlehem, and the city of Parker.