WILLIAM DE WEESE
2008 – MERITORIOUS SERVICE
William DeWeese, State Representative
Waynesburg High School
Wake Forest University
Bill DeWeese is the only rural Democrat since World War II to serve as Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, the oldest elected body in America. He was the first non-lawyer to be chairman of the House Judiciary Committee in the modern era. As the House Minority Leader, Bill DeWeese helped to reshape the agenda in the General Assembly to reflect the needs of working families.
DeWeese was born April 18, 1950 in Pittsburgh and raised in rural Greene County by his parents, Vic and Dotty. After receiving a history degree from Wake Forest University, he joined the United States Marine Corps on graduation day. He attended Officer Candidate School and served as an active duty Marine officer from 1972 – 1975.
Upon returning to Greene County, DeWeese was elected to the State House in a special election in 1976 and has served the 50th district (all of Greene and parts of Fayette and Washington Counties) ever since. He is a life member of the NAACP, the NRA and a member of the board of the George C. Marshall Foundation.
Bill DeWeese’s ascent through the upper echelons of House Democratic leadership began when he was elected by his colleagues as Majority Whip in 1988. Upon the death of Speaker of the House, James J. Manderino, DeWeese was elected House Majority Leader in January 1990, serving in that position until his election to Speaker of the House for the 1993 – 1994 term. He became House Minority Leader in 1995 and is currently the most senior ranking military veteran and House Majority Leader.
Bill lettered 4 years in baseball at Waynesburg High School. As team captain, he led the 1968 team to the WPIAL playoffs and earned an athletic scholarship to Wake Forest.
Although Bill did not pursue a career in sports, he feels they played a vital role in developing his team and leadership skills.