Pennsylvania state Rep. Mike Reese, 42, dies after apparent brain aneurysm

Pennsylvania state Rep. Mike Reese died Saturday afternoon following an apparent brain aneurysm, according to a statement from House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff.

Benninghoff said Reese, 42, was at Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, with his family at his side when he died.

“More than a friend to all of us, and one of our caucus leaders, Mike was a devoted husband and father. His wife, three young children and extended family are in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time,” the statement read.

Reese, a Republican, was elected for the 59th District in 2009, replacing retiring state Rep. Jess Stairs. His district included parts of Westmoreland and Somerset counties. In 2019 he won a fifth term in office.

Reese was the lead sponsor of a bill to allow school officials to determine whether to hold sports and extracurricular activities amid the coronavirus pandemic. Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed the measure.

“Applying a 250-person gathering limit to sports stadiums that have seating for a few thousand people simply does not make sense,” Reese said in September. “It is even harder to understand the 25-person limit for indoor gatherings being applied in gymnasiums that are larger than some big box retail stores.”

In August, Reese, along with state Rep. Ryan Warner, introduced a bill that would allow groups such as fire departments to hold online raffles to raise money during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reese is a Westmoreland County native Reese who lived in Mount Pleasant with his family. Prior to running for office, he served as the chief-of-staff for Westmoreland County Commissioners Terry Marolt and Phil Light. He also served as the assistant director of financial administration for Westmoreland County.

Some of Reese’s other legislative initiatives included reducing the size of the Legislature, privatizing the state’s liquor system and working to increase accountability and transparency in the charter and cyber-charter public school system.

In early December, Reese announced that he would be quarantining after testing positive for COVID-19.

“I am grateful to report my symptoms were mild and are subsiding. I’m feeling better as each day passes,” the statement read.

Reese lived in Mount Pleasant with his wife, Angela, and the couple’s three children.

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