State Rep. Pam Snyder announced late Wednesday that she will not run for reelection this year and plans to retire when her term expires at the end of November.
During a phone interview Thursday, Snyder said the deaths of several people close to her – including her cousin, Richard Trumka, who was president of the powerful AFL-CIO union until his death in August – prompted her to decide to step aside to enjoy more time with her family and friends.
“I lost some people who were very close to me. You just start to realize how short life is,” Snyder said. “I just felt the time was right and I don’t want to put my family through another campaign season.”
Snyder is the only current Democratic state representative or senator in Fayette, Greene and Washington counties in a region that has quickly moved toward Republican control. Various redistricting maps being floated in the state Legislature showed that she may have been competing against state Rep. Bud Cook, R-West Pike Run Township, to represent a consolidated redrawn district.
In her retirement announcement, Snyder touted her work to bring broadband internet to rural areas of her district, which included all of Greene County and portions of Fayette and Washington counties. She pointed to her work helping push through the creation of the Pennsylvania Broadband Deployment Authority in December that will help underserved communities across the state. She is currently on the authority’s board and said she’s excited to continue working until her term expires.
“I would hope people would recognize, whether they like me or not, that I’m honest and fair,” Snyder said. “I always listened to both sides and I believe in coming together and finding solutions and getting things done. I don’t sit back and wait for things to happen.”
Snyder won reelection in 2020 despite former president Donald Trump winning her district by more than 30 points. Many state and federal Democratic Party leaders posted messages on various social media platforms thanking Snyder for her service.
“Pam took me into communities that wanted nothing to do with a Democrat,” Congressman Conor Lamb posted Wednesday night on Twitter about Snyder’s work to help him campaign in Greene County for the 18th Congressional District’s special election in 2018. “But they knew her, so they opened the door.”
Snyder said the outpouring of support following her announcement was touching.
“(Wednesday) was a very emotional day for me,” Snyder said. “I’ve seen the messages and can’t help but cry. It really touches my heart.”
Snyder, 66, of Jefferson, was first elected to the 50th House District in 2012 after longtime representative Bill DeWeese resigned upon being convicted earlier that year of using his legislative staff and other state resources to assist in his election campaigns. She had previously served as a Greene County commissioner for nine years, all of which she was board chairwoman.
She listed her proudest achievements while county commissioner as working on a comprehensive plan for Greene County and blocking a 500-kilovolt electrical transmission power line from being built through the eastern part of the county in the late 2000s. Snyder also served as deputy district director for former congressman Frank Mascara, along with various other positions in county government.
In her goodbye announcement, she thanked her staff, former coworkers, legislative leaders and her constituents for their support over the years. But Snyder added that she won’t be disappearing from politics entirely after she leaves office.
“I don’t intend to leave the (political) arena completely. I’m one of those people where one door closes another one opens. I’ll make that decision when Nov. 30 gets here,” Snyder said. “I plan to stay involved in local politics.”
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