House GOP retirements continue, as State Government Committee chair announces exit

    Rep. Garth Everett, R-Lycoming, announced he is retiring at the end of his current term. (Capital-Star photo by Stephen Caruso)

    Add another tally to the retirement tracker.

    Rep. Garth Everett, R-Lycoming, told the Williamsport Sun-Gazette on Tuesday that he plans to retire at the end of his seventh term this year.

    Everett gave no reason for stepping down. He is the ninth House lawmaker to announce retirement plans for 2020, and the seventh Republican.

     

    Everett was first elected to the 84th House District in 2006. This session, he was named chair of the House State Government Committee, a powerful panel that controls redistricting, electoral reforms, state ethics rules and regulations among other matters.

    In his first and only term as chair, Everett has been at the center of some of the House’s biggest policy debates. He advanced a bipartisan election deal to establish a broad, mail-in ballot program in Pennsylvania.

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    While controversial with progressives for eliminating straight-ticket voting, the package also floated $90 million in bonds to help fund county purchases of new voting machines. Gov. Tom Wolf signed the deal in October. Wolf vetoed an earlier version of the deal over the summer.

    The committee also pushed through a pension forfeiture bill that was the first piece of legislation signed this session.

    Some of his efforts are unfinished. Everett and the committee advanced a gift ban for legislators following strong activist pressure. But it hasn’t been brought to a vote in the House.

    Before his election to the House, Everett served in the Air Force for 20 years, retiring as a lieutenant colonel.

    The 84th District includes most of Lycoming County  — including Jersey Shore and Muncy, but not the city of Williamsport  and its surroundings — and parts of Union County in the northern Susquehanna Valley. 

    Everett won reelection in 2018 with 79 percent of the vote, while GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner took 70 percent of the vote even as he lost in a statewide landslide.

    At least one person has already announced their candidacy to replace Everett — Joe Hamm, a local township supervisor, chair of the Lycoming County Republican party, and Iraq War veteran.

    Everett will have one other lasting legacy — helping to name the Eastern Hellbender as the state’s amphibian.