Kortz announces retirement, 13th House lawmaker leaving in 2020

    Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny (Courtesy of state House Facebook)

    Another Allegheny County Democrat announced their retirement Tuesday.

    Rep. Bill Kortz, who’s represented the 38th House District south of Pittsburgh since 2007, said in a statement that deciding against running for a seventh term “wasn’t easy,” but “it’s now time for me to take care of my health and step aside for future leaders of this great district.”

    News of Kortz’s retirement was first reported by WESA-FM in Pittsburgh, which also reported that Chris Kelly, the Democratic mayor of West Mifflin borough, was running to replace Kortz. 

    The district includes parts of Pittsburgh’s southern suburbs and the Mon Valley, including Baldwin, Whitehall, Dravosburg, West Mifflin and Glassport.

    “We have the same philosophy, which is pro-labor, pro-law-enforcement, and certainly pro-veterans and senior citizens,” Kelly told WESA-FM.

    The 14-year lawmaker was a vocal ally in the push to expand Sunday hunting this year. He also cited securing funding for the Mon-Fayette Expressway as a key accomplishment of his time in Harrisburg.

    Kortz is the fifth Democrat, and 13th lawmaker so far, that they will not seek re-election in 2020. Neighboring Democratic Rep. Harry Readshaw announced earlier this year he is retiring.

    The district backed President Donald Trump by a slim margin in 2016, who won 50.5 percent of the vote, according to Daily Kos, a progressive blog. In the same election, Kortz won another term, 66-34 percent.

    In 2018, both Gov. Tom Wolf and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey decisively won the district’s backing according to elections analyst Ben Forstate, taking 62 and 59 percent of the vote respectively.