MUHLENBERG TWP., Pa. - A freshman member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives may soon be setting his sights on Congress.
Pa. Rep. Mark Rozzi, a Democrat who represents the state's 126th District in Berks County, announced Tuesday that he has formed a committee to explore a potential campaign for Pennsylvania's 6th Congressional District, which is being vacated by U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach.
"Congressman Gerlach's retirement will leave a huge void in Washington," Rozzi said. "I want to continue my work serving the residents of Berks County and improve the lives of all the residents of the 6th District as their representative on Capitol Hill."
The formation of the exploratory committee, Rozzi said, will allow him to begin raising money and laying the groundwork for a possible run for his party's nomination.
Rozzi was elected to the state House in 2012, filling the seat vacated by the retirement of longtime Pa. Rep. Dante Santoni.
During his first year in Harrisburg, Rozzi said he voted to strengthen child abuse protection laws, grant adult adoptees access to birth certificates, reduce the size of the Pennsylvania Legislature and abolish school property taxes statewide.
"Mark Rozzi has been a strong voice for working families in Berks County, and we are confident he will continue to do so as a United States congressman," said Melvin Fishburn, president, IBEW Local 743, and president, Building and Construction Trades Council of Reading and Vicinity, in a release issued by Rozzi's media representative. "We need somebody in Congress who is going to fight to save the middle class, and Mark is that person."
Rozzi lives in Muhlenberg Township with his wife and daughter.
Pennsylvania's 6th Congressional District consists of portions of Berks, Chester, Lebanon and Montgomery counties.
At least one other Democrat is interested in the seat. Mike Parrish, a businessman from Malvern, Chester Co., formally announced Tuesday his plans to seek the party's nomination.
No Republicans have entered the race, although local party officials have said they know of some potential candidates.
Gerlach, a Chester County Republican, announced last week that he would not seek a seventh term.