In a divided Legislature, the Pa. House’s Bipartisan Caucus looks to meet in the middle

Produced By: - June 13, 2023 11:41 am

Members of the Pennsylvania House Bipartisan Caucus introduced “Meet Me in the Middle,” a new plan to bring Democrats and Republicans together to listen to people, organizations and businesses across the commonwealth in a non-partisan fashion.

Bipartisan Caucus co-chairs Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Philadelphia, Rep. Jill Cooper, R-Westmoreland, Rep. Patty Kim, D-Dauphin, and Rep. Jamie Flick, R-Lycoming, each spoke at the Capitol Media Center to roll out their agenda.

“We will listen to each other’s perspectives and ideas,” Cooper said. “We will respect our differences. We will be committed to civility and constructive dialogue even when we disagree by launching this bipartisan Meet Me in the Middle Caucus. We can make a difference and create a brighter future for all Pennsylvanians.”

Kinsey hopes the caucus will serve as a platform that allows Pennsylvanians to understand their elected officials are listening to what they have to say and showcase to them that work is getting done between both Democrats and Republicans in the House.

The lawmakers said they believe the caucus will provide a platform for businesses, groups and nonprofit organizations of Pennsylvania to approach the House and share their story, discuss issues and educate members on what they are experiencing.

“The Bipartisan Caucus provides a unique opportunity for [Pennsylvanians] to speak with more than one legislator from more than one party and say, ‘I have an issue and concern and can you help us?’ Our caucus will prioritize finding solutions.”

The Bipartisan Caucus was originally formed in 2021 by Kinsey and Sen. Greg Rothman, R-Cumberland, when he served as a House member. 

Currently, 27 Democrats and 50 Republicans have signed on to be part of the caucus. 

“My dad was a lifelong Republican and my mom was a lifelong Democrat,” Flick said. “They never ended up in marriage counseling and they got along just fine and were married for 63 years, so it does happen and we need it to happen here.”

Kim wrapped up the press conference by questioning those in attendance, asking them why Democrats go to one caucus and Republicans go to one on the other end. She also pointed to the parties being separated by three floors in the Capitol building and votes being displayed on large boards during House sessions as reasons why there is a rift between Democrats and Republicans.

“We have to be very intentional about meeting in the middle,” Kim said. “We literally have to cross an aisle to talk to our counterparts. How can we make a difference? I am so grateful for [Kinsey] because he is really good at that.”

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Samuel O'Neal
Samuel O'Neal

Samuel O'Neal is a summer intern for the Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents Association. He is a senior journalism major at Temple University.

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