|Rep. Donna Oberlander
Continuing to rely on her proven entrepreneurial and public sector experience to advance economic development opportunities and preserve traditional values to make Clarion and Armstrong counties an even better region to live, work and raise a family, Donna Oberlander was elected to serve her eighth term as state representative for the 63rd Legislative District in November 2022.
Donna currently serves at the Republican Chairman for the House Tourism and Economic and Recreational Development Committee. She previously served as Republican Whip (2020-2022); Policy Chairman (2018-2020); and, Caucus Secretary (2015-2018). She was the first Republican woman to serve as both Republican Whip and Policy Chairman and the first representative from the 63rd District to achieve this advanced leadership role.
She continues to serve as co-chairman of the House Diabetes Caucus and the House Manufacturing Caucus and is an active member of the House Pro Life Caucus, 2nd Amendment Caucus, Coal Caucus, State System of Higher Education Caucus, and the Oil and Gas Caucus. Her tenure in the House has also included membership on the following standing committees: Appropriations, Children and Youth, Environmental Resources and Energy, and Local Government, along with previously serving as a board member of the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PennVEST).
To date, seven of her bills have been signed into law, including Act 130 of 2022, which would permit for the driverless testing and deployment of autonomous cars and trucks on Pennsylvania roadways, leading to the creation of thousands of new jobs and billions of dollars in investment in the Commonwealth. Her other laws include: Act 25 of 2021, which exempts large data centers from the sales and use tax for the purchase of large-scale equipment; and Act 7 of 2020, which requires the Pennsylvania Department of Health to regulate milk banks, which are entities that gather, process and distribute mothers’ milk for medically fragile newborns.
Other laws she has authored include Act 45, which renamed a local bridge in memory of a local hero who died in action in Afghanistan, and Act 13, which allowed Pennsylvania to opt out of abortion coverage through federal health care exchanges as part of the Affordable Care Act. She also authored Act 171 of 2016, which requires the state Department of General Services to establish a process to formally recognize all Pennsylvania-based minority-, woman- and veteran-owned businesses – also known as “diverse/disadvantaged” businesses – to make it easier to do business. She began her legislative career in spearheading the repeal of a Uniform Construction Code mandate that required sprinkler systems to be installed in all newly constructed residential housing (Act 1 of 2011).
Supplementing her work with the small business community and job creators, Donna is a member of the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center’s (SBDC) Advisory Board and the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center’s Advisory Committee. She is able to use her experience as a certified finance professional from the National Development Council, a former business outreach manager with Clarion County Economic Development Corporation and a former small business owner to help other entrepreneurs and business owners.
In recognition of her strong support for pro-business legislation, Donna has earned consecutive “Guardian of Small Business” awards from the Pennsylvania chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). She was also named the Be Someone for Kids Award (PA Partnerships for Children); the 2021 Legislative Leadership Award (Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association); 2019 Henry G. Toll Fellowship Program participant (Council of State Governments); 2019 Legislator Leader (PA Association of Conservation Districts); 2018 Rural Health Legislator of the Year (PA Office of Rural Health) 2015 Rural Educator of the Year (PA Association of Rural and Small Schools); Robert C. Keaton Government Leader Award (PA Defense Institute); and a Recovery Champion (Armstrong-Indiana-Clarion Drug and Alcohol Commission).
Donna is an active member of Women in Government, which convenes state legislators and stakeholder experts with broad perspectives and experiences to amplify the work of female lawmakers. She serves on the Board of Directors and is one of two Eastern Regional Directors for the organization.
Before her time in the state House, Donna was elected to the Clarion County Board of Commissioners, where she aggressively worked to control local government spending and took an active role in strategic planning for economic development and growth. A proud graduate of Clarion University, Donna served on the Council of Trustees for 14 years. In 2022, California, Clarion and Edinboro Universities integrated to form Pennwest University of Pennsylvania, and she was appointed to the newly constituted Council of Trustees in 2022.
Donna and her husband, Derek, a United States Marine Corps veteran, have two children, Tori and Tanner.
The 63rd Legislative District includes all of Clarion County and the Armstrong County communities of Boggs, Bradys Bend, Cowanshannock, Hovey, Kittanning, Madison, Mahoning, Perry, Pine, Plumcreek, Rayburn, Redbank, Sugarcreek, Valley, Washington, Wayne and West Franklin townships; Atwood, Dayton, Elderton, Kittanning, Rural Valley, South Bethlehem and Worthington; and Parker City.