Senator Bob Mensch to Retire

Today, PA State Senator Bob Mensch has announced his retirement after serving the greater community as an elected official for 18 years. Town and Country in Upper Perkiomen Valley, Montgomery County recently sat down with Senator Mensch. Enclosed is the article.  

After serving the public as an elected official for more than 18 years, State Senator Bob Mensch (R-24) will be retiring at the end of his current term in 2023.

The Senator stated that he’s “been in state government for 16 years, and now, at 76, I feel like I want to take a little time for myself, family and friends.  Serving constituents has been a fantastic experience, but the 80-hour workweeks take their toll, so it’s time to open the next chapter in my life.”

He added that his “announcement to retire is being made now to allow plenty of time for candidates to come forward to campaign and be vetted by voters.  I hope to see the best and the brightest and the properly motivated person win the candidacy to continue the service in the 24th.”

Mensch was first elected to the Pennsylvania Senate in a special election in 2009 after serving three years as the State Representative to the 147th Legislative District. 

He was a staunch supporter of permanent tax credits for volunteer emergency responders.   An advocate for first responders, he previously served in several board positions for the Upper Perkiomen Valley Ambulance Association.

Mensch first served as a supervisor in Marlborough Township from 2003 to 2005.  He served as chairman of the board in 2005.

When serving as a supervisor in Marlborough Township, Mensch felt that there was no greater issue than resolving the pending development issues around the Zeigler, Zeigler, and Fried property. 

On that, he commented, “The pending deal when I became Chairman left the township more than $1 million dollars short of being able to finalize the purchase of that property.  I, and the other two supervisors, negotiated in good faith with the Ziegler, Ziegler, and Fried principles, and after consulting with property use attorneys and investment advisors, the principles struck a deal whereby the township did not need the additional million dollars.” 

Without a satisfactory settlement on the purchase deal of the property the taxpayers of the township would have owed an additional $1 million dollars.
As a state representative, Mensch was selected and appointed by the Speaker of the House to the Children’s Trust Fund Board, the Speaker’s Task Force on Crime and Violence, the Commonwealth Debt Task Force, the Energy Task Force, and the Select Committee on Information Security.

As a member of the State House of Representatives, he considers his most significant achievement was saving the budget for Hazardous Sites Clean-Up (HSCA).  He said, “In the 147th district there were a number of HSCA sites, and the funding provides water filters on home wells, and sometimes a water delivery system such as pipes from existing municipal systems, such as in New Hanover and Gilberstville.  HSCA funds also are used to clean up hazardous spill sites such as a former metal plating company in Upper Hanover.  The need for HSCA funding is great and saving that line item impacted countless lives in my district.”

In the Senate Mensch was elected by his Republican colleagues to serve as Majority Caucus Chairman, a leadership position, for the 2020-2021 legislative session. As chairman he presides over Republican caucus meetings to discuss bills and amendments and to develop caucus strategy. He serves as Vice Chairman of the Health and Human Services Committee and sits on the influential Senate Appropriations Committee.

Also, Mensch serves on four additional committees: Communications and Technology; Community, Economic, and Recreational Development; Labor and Industry; and Legislative Budget and Finance. He co-chairs the bipartisan Senate Life Science Caucus, Economy, Business and Jobs Caucus, and the Community College Caucus.

While a member of the senate, Mensch led three efforts to improve insurance and mammography coverage in PA.  According to Mensch, “The first legislative effort provided a new screening and reporting system for patients determined to have dense breasts, which can disguise cancer and delay by months or years its detection.  My second breast cancer legislation expanded MRI coverage for patients who didn’t have it before.  Most recently I legislated a driver license check-off for breast cancer research funding.

“Throughout the last decade working on these bills, I was able to develop a strong working relationship with the PA Breast Cancer Coalition, a coalition of thousands of women across our state, and they have twice recognized me with their ‘Pink Ribbon’ award for my efforts.  I am the only two-time recipient – the coalition regards my efforts that highly, and it makes me very proud to know I’ve had a positive health impact on so many cancer patients in our state.”

In 2017 Mensch’s budget legislation designing Performance Based Budgeting, was signed into law.  Pennsylvania is the first state to fully implement Performance Based Budgeting (PBB), a budgeting method that takes a closer look at every line item and tax credit in each department.  There are 26 departments/agencies that fall within the requirement of PBB, as well as 28 tax credit programs they administer.

In 2021, the Senator was able to have dynamic modeling included in the budgeting process, which now allows the Commonwealth to do multi-year cash flow analyses to determine the effect of budget line item increases. 

Mensch said, “Incredibly, up till now, the modeling has been a static one-year analysis, but dynamic modeling will now look at multiple years and consider rate of return, rates of inflation, etc., to provide a much more realistic view of the effects of spending on our taxpayers.”

When asked what he enjoyed most about serving the people, Mensch replied, “Working with the people is the greatest thrill and the greatest reward for me as a legislator.  Visiting pre-schools to read them a book or two, attending a BSA Eagle award ceremony, interacting with high school juniors and seniors when we do our ‘Senator for a Day’ program, my annual veterans breakfast, visiting a resident on their 100th birthday; these are some of the activities we do routinely with our citizens, and, believe me, this is a real joy.”

Mensch admits that in retirement he will have to get accustomed to not working 12 to 16 hours a day.  But, he added, “I will truly miss the personal commitment I feel to the constituents of the 24th District, and by extension, all the citizens of Pennsylvania.  I will miss working with wonderful people; my staff, fellow Senators, House members, and very much the interaction with the constituents.  Of course we always get some complaints, but the joy is opening an email where a constituent is thanking someone for their efforts to help that constituent; it makes it all worthwhile.”

Mensch also hopes to get in some traveling.  He said he has “a bucket list full of places to go and things to see.”  He added, “Music has always been an important part of my life so I intend to continue to play with Red Hill Band, Swing Shift and the other groups I’m still involved with musically.”

This writer wishes him well in his retirement.

CONTACT: Lisa Walter  lwalter@pasen.gov  (215) 541-2388