If contempt truly arises from familiarity, there should be far less of it this year in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, particularly in the House.

Six new senators have been seated, 12% of the 50-member chamber. But change is even more pronounced in the House, which will have 49 new members, nearly 25% of the 203-member chamber.

And the freshman delegation is not only new, but newly diverse.

Largely because of the state’s first non-gerrymandered redistricting in modern times, many older lawmakers from previously “safe” districts retired, creating open seats in more competitive districts.

The House Black Caucus, which also includes Latino and Asian American members, has grown by seven to 38, even with the departure of two members for higher office — Austin Davis, who today will become the state’s first Black lieutenant governor; and Summer Lee, the state’s first Black woman to be elected to Congress.

And the 253-member General Assembly includes 80 women, the highest number ever.

The new class is more diverse in other ways. Rep. Bridget Kozierowski of Lackawanna County, for example, no longer is the House’s only nurse. She is joined by freshman Rep. Tarik Khan, a nurse practitioner from Philadelphia.

And Arvin Venkat, an Allegheny County Democrat, is the House’s first Indian American member and the first physician to serve there in six decades.

Ideally, the new faces will represent new perspectives on effective governance, rather than simply fill slots and maintain the divisiveness and scant progress that has marked the General Assembly over the past decade.

Wilkes-Barre Citizens’ Voice

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