PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – After being convicted of using her taxpayer funded staff for political work, State Sen. Jane Orie resigned her seat today.

She has served as an elected official from the North Hills since 1996, but now Orie is out of office.

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She decided Monday to step down before her June 4 sentencing on 14 counts of forgery, theft of services and conflict of interest.

The Pennsylvania Constitution prohibits convicted felons from holding public office.

In a statement posted on her website, the former senator issued a statement to her constituents:

“It is with utmost humility and regret that I must announce my resignation as Senator, representing the 40th Senatorial District, effective May 21, 2012. It has been my honor to have served the constituents of Northern Allegheny County and Southern Butler County for the past 11 years in the Senate of Pennsylvania. For those of you who have reached out to my office over the years, thank you for being involved in the legislative process and for voicing your opinion. Also, I am grateful for all the support I have received over the years and for the opportunity to represent the 40th Senatorial District and the wonderful people and communities that make it one of the best places to live.”

With the office now vacant, the President Pro Temp of the Senate is expected to call a special election for mid-summer and already, a number of people are considering a run.

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The list of possible GOP candidates includes:

  • Christopher Abernathy (Shaler attorney)
  • Scott Cunningham (Former North Allegheny School Director}
  • Matt Drozd (Allegheny Co. Councilman)
  • Melissa Hart (Former Congresswoman)
  • Bill Kirk (McCandless Republican Party Chairman)
  • Jeff Meyers (North Hills School Director)
  • Robin Redding (Butler Co. Republican Vice Chair)
  • Karen Shaheen (Allegheny Co. Republican Party Treasurer)

On the Democratic side, Dan DeMarco, who lost to Orie two years ago is expected to run again.

Republicans are expected to pick their nominee during the first week of June, and Democrats won’t be far behind.

As for Orie, she has some post-conviction legal motions before Judge Manning, including one to stay out of jail pending appeal. Those motions will be considered — and her sentence will be announced — two weeks from today.

Her sister, State Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin, was also accused of similar campaign-related charges last week.


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