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Two PA reps make Top 12 lawmakers to watch list

What are the odds? Two members of Pennsylvania's General Assembly made Governing Magazine's top 12 legislators to watch in 2014.

What are the odds of two Pennsylvania lawmakers ending up on a list of the top state legislators to watch next year?

Pretty big actually.

Rep. Mike Fleck (R., Huntingdon) and Rep. Brendan Boyle (D., Phila.) both got the nod from Governing magazine, the premier periodical for local and state governments.

That's out of 7.383 state lawmakers across the country, according to a press release from Fleck.

Fleck made national headlines last year when he announced he was gay shortly after being reelected to his fourth the state House.

Governing contributor Louis Jacobson writes that he list "includes legislators who have shown a keen ability to strike alliances across party lines, or who have racked up significant accomplishments during their time in office so far."

Of Fleck, Governing wrote: "He's focused on agriculture and tourism, and has secured bipartisan support for efforts to prohibit privatizing health services at state correctional facilities. He has also been very active in seeking to increase oversight of publicly funded charter schools."

Fleck said he was "truly humbled," by the award.

"I don't ask if a constituent is a Republican or Democrat; if they need help, we help them," he said. "It's also irrelevant to me what side of the aisle a colleague sits on. If I have a good piece of legislation or vice versa, that's what should matter. It frustrates me that comprise is seen as a weakness; one only has to look at Congress to see the results of partisan politics."

Rep. Boyle, now serving his third term, has led efforts to encourage business and job growth in the region, while seeking to safeguard existing jobs. He also has spearheaded efforts to prevent the closing of major area businesses, such as the Kraft/Mondelez Plant in Northeast Philadelphia.

Governing Magazine noted that "In the state House, Boyle has styled himself a champion of labor unions. Last August, he gained attention for a bill that would give free tuition at state universities in exchange for a share of future earnings".

Rep. Boyle's priorities in Harrisburg have also included legislation requiring the teaching of the Holocaust, and other examples of genocide, to students in grades six through twelve.

Boyle is currently running for Congress in the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz.

Among the other names on this list is Georgia state Sen. Jason Carter, the grandson of former President Jimmy Carter, who is challenging Republican incumbent Gov. Nathan Deal in the 2014 race.

Asked if he had any intention of seeking higher office, Fleck said he was "happy where I am."

"I ran for office because I wanted to make a difference, and being included in this list validates that I'm doing just that," he said.

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