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Pennsylvania House of Representatives Archives

Oral History Project

Robert W. O'Donnell (D - 1974-1993), on Campaigning: Robert J. Butera (R - 1963-1977), on Leadership:
Picture of Robert W. O'Donnell -- Click here to link to the full size picture. "After I get elected the first time, I went back campaigning. I'm knocking door-to door - I'm remembering now that my mother had been the crossing guard in front of the school for generations - and I'm knocking on doors and I come to this one home and the woman opens the door and I said, "Hello," I'm about to introduce myself and she says, "I know who you are." And I think, "That's right, I'm the State Representative from around here" and she said, "You're Ruth's boy aren't you?" So, another valuable experience that one collects along the road that is helpful in public life is a measure of humility. You don't want too many of those, but it's nice every now and then to have that tempered by humility." Picture of Robert J. Butera -- Click here to link to the full size picture. "I became the senior Member of the largest Republican delegation in the state, and I was only thirty years old, and I didn't know anything. I was very green. I became the Whip at age thirty. Well, almost thirty-one. I was the youngest Whip ever, and it was strictly because of those circumstances over which I had no control. I had to perform; I'm not trying to be too self-deprecating, but circumstances play a huge role in one's political career. I became the Whip, and I was the Whip for six years, and then I became the Leader for five years, you know, so I had quite a nice career."

In November 2004, the House Archives began interviewing former Representatives of the Pennsylvania House. Many of the interviews contain a common thread of similarly shared experiences, such as budget battles, serving on committees, or the legislative process. The interviewees also share personal reflections, unique experiences, and considerations that went into prime sponsored legislation.

The interviews follow a biographical format, beginning with the subject's family background, education, and pre-House work experience. The interview also covers the topics of campaigns, inter-personal relationships, legislative career highlights, and insights to Representatives' post-House careers. Transcripts of the interviews are deposited in the House Archives. To participate, please contact the Oral History Coordinator at 717-783-3866.

Click one of the links below, or scroll down, to see a list of members who have participated in an interview.

A-D | E-L | M-R | S-Z | All

List of Oral History Project interviewees as of November, 2016:

Dante Santoni

(D), 1993-2012, 126th District, Berks County

Larry O. Sather  

(R), 1993-2006, 81st District, Blair, Huntingdon and Mifflin Counties

Jere Schuler

(R), 1983-2002, 43rd District, Lancaster County

J. Michael Schweder

(D), 1975-1980, 135th District, Northampton County

Tim Seip

(D), 2007-2010, 125th District, Berks and Schuylkill Counties

Kent Shelhamer

(D), 1965-1976, 109th District, Columbia County

Bruce Smith

(R), 1981-2006, 92nd District, Cumberland and York Counties

Ken Smith

(D), 2007-2012, 112th District, Lackawanna County

L. Eugene Smith

(R), 1963-1986, 66th District, Indiana and Jefferson Counties

David Steil

(R), 1993-2008, 31st District, Bucks County

Jerry Stern

(R), 1993-2014, 80th District, Bedford and Blair Counties

Richard Stevenson

(R), 2001-2014, 8th District, Armstrong, Butler and Mercer Counties

Thomas L. Stevenson  

(R), 1997-2006, 42nd District, Allegheny County

RoseMarie Swanger

(R), 2007-2014, 102nd District, Lebanon County

David Sweet

(D), 1977-1988, 48th District, Washington County

Elinor Zimmerman Taylor

(R), 1977-2006, 156th District, Chester County

Thomas Tigue

(D), 1981-2006, 118th District, Lackawanna, Luzerne and Monroe Counties

Guy A. Travaglio

(D), 1995-2004, 11th District, Butler County

Patricia H. Vance

(R), 1993-2004, 87th District, Cumberland County

Michael A. Vereb  

(R) 2007-2016, 150th District, Montgomery County

Bill Wachob

(D), 1979-1984, 75th District, Clearfield and Elk Counties

Donald R. Walko, Jr.

(D), 1995-2010, 20th District, Allegheny County

Peter C. Wambach, Jr.

(D), 1980-1992, 103rd District, Dauphin County

Constance H. Williams

(D), 1997-2001, 149th District, Montgomery County

Roy W. Wilt

(R), 1969-1981, 8th District, Mercer County

Robert C. Wise

(D), 1965-1974, 83rd District, Lycoming County

Edward Wojnaroski, Sr.

(D), 1997-2008, 71st District, Cambria County

Matthew Wright

(R), 1991-2006, 142nd District, Bucks County

Joseph R. Zeller  

(D), 1971-1980, 134th District, Lehigh County

Peter Zug

(R), 1993-2006, 102nd District, Dauphin and Lebanon Counties

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