Kim Ward, Pennsylvania’s ranking state senator, ascended to the job of state lieutenant governor on Tuesday after Democrat John Fetterman resigned minutes before he was sworn in to office as the state’s newest U.S. senator.
Ward, a Republican from Westmoreland County and the new president pro tempore of the state Senate, will hold the office under Pennsylvania’s constitution, but only for two weeks.
Lt. Gov.-elect Austin Davis, a Democrat who was elected Nov. 8, will be inaugurated on Jan. 17 with Gov.-elect Josh Shapiro.
Fetterman also was elected Nov. 8. His swearing-in marks the first time since the 1940s that Pennsylvania elected two Democrats to the U.S. Senate at the same time.
Under the constitution, the president pro tempore handles all the duties of the office of lieutenant governor, which include presiding over the state Senate sessions, chairing the state pardons board and chairing the state emergency management committee.
Ward was picked for the job of president pro tempore by her fellow Republicans, who hold a 28-22 majority in the state Senate. Ward is the first woman to serve in the post.
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