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Politics & Government

Barbara Daly Danko’s Campaign Chair Assumes Her Seat On County Council

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Liz Reid
/
90.5 WESA

The chair of late Allegheny County Councilwoman Barbara Daly Danko’s re-election committee took over her seat in Council on Tuesday.

Terri Klein is active in local politics and currently serves as vice chair of the 14th Ward Democratic Committee. The Squirrel Hill resident works as a physical therapist and sits on the board of American Civil Liberties Union’s Pittsburgh chapter.

“It’s very bittersweet for me,” Klein said. “Obviously I feel that they are very big shoes to fill, and I hope to do it to the best of my ability.”

Klein will serve until a special election is held in November, in which someone will be chosen to serve out the remaining seven weeks of Danko’s term.

Klein said she is committed to honoring the voters’ wishes by carrying on Danko’s legacy, though she has no plans no to run for the seat on a permanent basis.

The interim councilwoman said she called Danko’s husband Monday night to tell him the news.

“What he told me was, yes he understands I’m going to be walking her walk and he was appreciative that I would try to live up to Barbara’s reputation, but he said I had to follow my own conscience and vote my conscience, because that’s what Barbara would want,” Klein said.

Councilwoman Sue Means congratulated Klein on the appointment, but said she missed Danko every time she walked past her office. She went on to not only extoll the late councilwoman’s virtues, but also call out members of County Council for their sometimes tense and stormy interactions on the dais.

“The thing I loved about Barbara so much is that she respected everyone, and she could agree to disagree. She never made it personal, she never was disrespectful,” Means said. “I’m hoping there will be a new era in Barbara’s memory of respect among the County Council members for each other.”

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said in a statement that he looks forward to working with Klein in her new role as interim county councilwoman.

“She is a tireless advocate on issues of social justice, and I have no doubt that she will show that same passion for the residents of District 11,” Fitzgerald said.

Editor's note: This post has been updated to clarify that Klein will serve until a special election is held in November, when someone will be chosen to serve out the remaining seven weeks of Danko’s term.