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Rep. Mike Reese, state GOP caucus chairman-elect dies at 42

State GOP officials say he died with his family by his side Saturday afternoon at Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital in Greensburg.

Rep. Mike Reese (R-Westmoreland/Somerset), who served the Pennsylvania House Republican Caucus as caucus secretary in the 2019-20 session and was elected to serve as Republican caucus chairman in the 2020-21 session died Saturday afternoon, according to state GOP officials. 

He was 42.

State GOP officials say he died with his family by his side Saturday afternoon at Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital in Greensburg following an apparent brain aneurysm.

Reese was first elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 2008, taking office in the 2009-10 Legislative Session. 

Reese is survived by his wife Angela and three children.

On the passing of Reese, Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin) made the following statement:

“On behalf of the entire House Republican Caucus, I extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to the family of Rep. Mike Reese.

“More than a friend to all of us, and one of our caucus leaders, Mike was a devoted husband and father. His wife, three young children and extended family are in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

“I have known Mike since he took office in 2009 and have been proud to witness his many legislative accomplishments, especially his tireless work on behalf of Pennsylvania’s students and families. Mike was a model legislator who thoughtfully put his constituents first. His spirit, presence and counsel will be sorely missed.”

"We pray for God's comforting hand during this most difficult time for those who loved and knew him," said Eric Failing, the Executive Director of the PA Catholic Conference. "Mike had established a significant presence in the PA legislature in a very short time. He was elected to serve as Republican Caucus Chair for the upcoming session. But more importantly—most importantly--he was a husband and a father of three young children. This is heartbreaking on so many levels. " 

The following is a statement from Lenny McAllister, CEO of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools, on the passing of state Rep. Mike Reese.

"It is with utter sadness and disbelief that we express our condolences to the family of Representative Mike Reese. 

"Representative Reese was a public servant who relentlessly worked to make Pennsylvania a better place for students and families across the Commonwealth. He saw the potential within thousands of students, using his position and platform to create opportunities to fulfill that potential in each student, regardless of how they pursued success.

"It is heartbreaking that a man with so much potential to do more and give more has been lost to Pennsylvania and, more tragically, to his young family and young ones. May his memory always be a blessing, and may God walk with his family at this most painful and unimaginable moment."

Senate Interim President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R-25) and Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward (R-39) offered condolences and reflections on the life of state Rep. Mike Reese (R-59) who died Saturday.

Senator Corman

"Mike came to Harrisburg determined to be a strong voice for his community in the state's capital as he fought to empower local governments and schools to make decisions about what is best for them. It was obvious the decisions he made as part of government were guided by his desire to make the Commonwealth a better place for his family and others. 

"His devotion to serving the people of Westmoreland and Somerset counties was only eclipsed by his dedication as a husband and father. Our prayers are with his entire family during this difficult time."

Senator Ward

"Today, Westmoreland County lost a great champion and leader, and I lost a true friend. More importantly, the Reese family is grieving the loss of a devoted son, husband and father. Mike Reese wore many different hats during his too short life, but none were more important to him than his role as a father and husband. My prayers are with Mike's wife Angela and their three children, Addison, Claire and Michael Eric. 

"Mike was a part of the fabric of Westmoreland County politics over the last two decades. Since 2008 when he and I joined the state legislature, he has been a terrific partner in advocating for Westmoreland County and a staunch proponent of good government. He quickly became one of the most respected voices in Harrisburg on education issues and was a rising star in the House Republican leadership ranks. 

"Our community was robbed of one of the most honorable men I have ever had the privilege to serve with and our Commonwealth will be worse off because Mike's voice will not be a part of its future."

Statement from Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa, Jr. (D-Allegheny) on the passing of Representative Mike Reese.

"I am devastated to learn of the passing of our House colleague Mike Reese. On behalf of the Senate Democratic Caucus, I want to extend my deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues. My prayers are especially with his young family as they mourn this sudden loss. He was a leader in Western PA and gone far too soon.

While we didn't have the opportunity to work together often in our separate chambers, I fondly remember playing softball with him at our annual charity game in Harrisburg. He was a great player and teammate. I am stunned he is no longer with us."

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