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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: March 20, 2017 03:10 PM
From: Representative Thomas R. Caltagirone
To: All House members
Subject: Designating the Keystone Building in the City of Harrisburg as the Speaker James J. Manderino Building Office Building
I will soon reintroduce HB 1471 from last session. This bill will designate the Keystone Building, a state office building located in the City of Harrisburg, as the Speaker James J. Manderino Building Office Building. In 1966, the people of the 58th Legislative District in Westmoreland County elected James J. Manderino as their Representative to the Pennsylvania General Assembly and thus began an unparalleled 23-year career in public service. Representative Manderino, known as the “Rock of Monessen” to his constituents, served as floor leader and whip from 1977 to 1988, and in 1989 he was elected the 133rd Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Speaker Manderino was the 3rd House Speaker to die in office.

One of six children of Italian immigrants, he was the embodiment of the American Dream having pulled himself out of poverty. Speaker Manderino paid his way through college with a job at the U.S. Steel Corp. rolling mill in Clairton and then earned a scholarship to the University of Michigan Law School, from which he graduated in 1956. He loved his community, the Commonwealth and his family. Speaker Manderino worked his way out of poverty and became a champion for the little people by helping them overcome the state bureaucracy. He once procured an artificial leg for a poor constituent and helped another family obtain public funding for nursing care for their brain-damaged son. He was a titan in the history of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives but he always remembered his job was to help people no matter where they lived in the Commonwealth. Those of us who served with Speaker Manderino knew him to be an extraordinary caucus builder and manager. He was a champion of many issues and a good budget negotiator. Representatives from both sides of the aisle acknowledged him as a legislative giant. His word was his bond. Speaker Manderino treated his colleagues with fairness and respect and brought intelligence, passion, and integrity to every issue. He devoted his life to solving problems and to making the future better for all Pennsylvanians.

A 1981 Philadelphia Inquirer profile of Manderino described him as “the toughest and ablest” of all Harrisburg legislators, even if he used an acid tongue to achieve his goals. “He may not hold the strongest cards,” the profile said, “'but he probably plays his hand better than anyone else.” As majority leader, a post he held longer than anyone else, he played a central role in shaping policy and hammering out political compromises as well as bringing home money for water lines, sewer lines and new roads in his district. A close friend once said he was happy Manderino was elected Speaker because he had the chance to show himself as a man of “wit, humor and gentleness” because he had spent so much time as a “warrior.”

Speaker Manderino first assumed leadership in the House at a time when the integrity of the legislature and its membership had suffered serious blows. His leadership and example helped to restore that integrity. As the legislature faces similar challenges today, we would all do well to remember and honor his example. That is why I ask you today to join me and sponsor my legislation to designate the Keystone Building as the Speaker James J. Manderino Office Building. This bill passed the House in 2007.

Introduced as HB1439