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House Speaker Biographies


Herbert P. Sorg

(Elected to replace Franklin H. Lichtenwalter following his resignation)

Born: December 19, 1911, St. Marys, Elk County, PA.  Died: March 11, 1979, Mt. Lebanon, Allegheny County, PA.  Member of the House: Elk County, 1941-1952.  Affiliation: Republican.

Herbert Peter Sorg, known to his friends as “Hub,” graduated in 1927 from St. Marys Parochial School, Central High Class.  He graduated with a Bachelor of Laws degree from Duquesne University School of Law in 1935.  Following his education, he worked in a private law practice from 1935-1955.  Before his election to the House of Representatives, he was the assistant to the president of Keystone Carbon Company.  Sorg married the former June Storer on January 1, 1940.  They had 4 daughters and one son: Suzanna, Karen, June, Vivian, and H. Peter Sorg, Jr.  In November of 1940, Sorg was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to serve Elk County.  He was re-elected to 5 more successive terms.

Sorg was the prime sponsor of 9 bills that were signed into law.  One of the bills provided for vocational rehabilitation for disabled individuals by the State Board of Vocational Education.  Act 345 of 1945 also put regulation in place to prevent the misuse of vocational rehabilitation records and lists.  In 1947 Sorg was the prime sponsor of legislation, which would become Act 54 of 1947, which would ratify the proposed amendment to the Constitution of the United States to require term limits for the President of the United States.  The amendment was ratified in 1951, to become the 22nd Amendment to the United States Constitution.

In leadership, Sorg was elected the Republican Whip from 1945-1946.  He was then elected as the Republican Leader in 1947.  On October 15, 1947, Franklin Lichtenwalter resigned as the Speaker of the Pennsylvania House, and Sorg became the Acting Speaker upon Lichtenwalter’s resignation, making him the 123rd Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.  He was elected Speaker for the following 2 sessions, from 1949-1952.

As Speaker, Sorg oversaw the passage of the Public School Code of 1949, or Act 14 of 1949.  This bill passed the House unanimously and made significant revisions to the rules for the public school system and to private and parochial schools.  In 1951 Sorg was the Speaker during the Landlord-Tenant Act, which became Act 20.  This legislation regulated the rights, obligations, and liabilities of landlords and tenants.

Sorg was nominated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on May 20, 1955, for the position of Judge of the United States District Court in the Western District of Pennsylvania.  He was confirmed by the Senate on July 29, 1955, and received commission on August 1, 1955.  Sorg served in this position from 1955-1976.  During the steel strike of 1959, Sorg issued an injunction for the Taft-Hartley Act to require steelworkers to go back to work.  The decision was appealed all the way to Supreme Court, in the case of Steelworkers v. United States.  From 1975-1976 he served as the chief judge.  As a judge, he assumed senior status on December 20, 1976. 

Herbert P. Sorg died on March 11, 1979 in Mount Lebanon, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.  He is interred at St. Mary’s Cemetery in St. Mary’s, Elk County, Pennsylvania.

Historical Member Biography

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