January 16, 2007
La Salle Alum Elected Pennsylvania Speaker of House
Dennis O'Brien, a 1983 graduate of La Salle University, is the new Speaker of the House for the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives.
O'Brien, who earned a BA in Labor Relations, became involved in politics while still a student.
He delayed his education to run the campaign of a candidate for a seat in the State legislature. After that, he ran as a candidate himself. After losing that race, he returned to La Salle to obtain his degree. Later, he ran again for a seat in the State Legislature and won.
Rep. Dennis O'Brien, flanked by Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham and La Salle Director of Security and Safety
O'Brien's most recent visit to campus was in November to participate in a panel on The Jessica Lundford Act, which also included Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham and La Salle's Director of Security and Safety Art Grover, who is a retired captain of the Philadelphia Police Department. The act is named for a nine-year old girl who was killed by a man with prior convictions for sex crimes.
Before his election as Speaker, O'Brien was a member of the legislature's judiciary committee, where he advocated many bills dealing with crime-fighting, support for families with autistic children and victim's rights.
A lifetime citizen of Philadelphia and Republican, O'Brien has represented the city's 169th Legislative District (in the Northeast section) for more than 25 years.