This press release has been updated since its original publication.
DUBOIS – Former Pennsylvania Governor Mark S. Schweiker has been announced as the keynote speaker for the DuBois Area Republican Committee’s fall banquet Thursday, Sept. 20 at the DuBois Country Club.
In 1994, Schweiker defeated his Republican primary opponent, Thomas Rippon, placing him on the November ballot with Tom Ridge. The Ridge-Schweiker ticket defeated Democratic Lt. Gov. Mark S. Singel and former state Secretary of Labor and Industry Tom Foley. Schweiker was sworn in as lieutenant governor Jan. 17, 1995.
In 1998, both Ridge and Schweiker were unopposed in the Republican primary election and were victorious in the November election. Ridge and Schweiker won reelection with 57 percent of the vote.
As lieutenant governor, Schweiker served as president of the state senate and chaired the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) and Board of Pardons. Ridge appointed Schweiker as a liaison and advocate for local governments and as his lead strategist for community-based crime prevention policy.
Schweiker also served as a leading spokesperson and advocate for the administration’s efforts to modernize and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of state government. He led the “Weed and Seed Program” to revitalize and improve safety in local neighborhoods and led an Interagency Task Force on Energy to promote conservation and influence federal policy on energy matters that affect Pennsylvania.
On Oct. 5, 2001, Schweiker became the Commonwealth’s 44th chief executive when Ridge was appointed director of the Office of Homeland Security by President George W. Bush.
Among Schweiker’s first priorities as governor was to ensure the security and safety of Pennsylvanians in the wake of terrorists attacks on the U.S. that had occurred on Sept. 11, 2001, including the crash of United Airlines Flight 93 on Pennsylvania soil in Somerset County.
He continued with his predecessor’s policies of increasing security at all state government facilities. Schweiker convened a Security Council and a Security Task Force to develop and implement state anti-terrorism measures and policies. He also directed the creation of the Commonwealth’s first Office of Homeland Security in early 2002. More than $200 million was committed by the Schweiker administration to domestic security.
Among other issues addressed by Schweiker were health care and education. To address these issues Schweiker signed Act 13 of 2002 that provided some health care provider protections, including a mandate that plaintiffs file lawsuits in the county where alleged medical malpractice occurred instead of in jurisdictions known for lucrative malpractice awards. The law also created a Patient Safety Authority, an independent state agency under Act 13, the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error (“Mcare”) Act and set up a trust fund to protect health care consumers.
Schweiker’s most famous contribution as governor came in July of 2002 during the Quecreek Mine disaster in Somerset County. Schweiker led one of the most successful mine rescues in national history when he personally oversaw the 77-hour operation that saved the lives of nine trapped coal miners from the flooded Quecreek mine. Excited observers remember Schweiker’s exclamation that “All nine are alive.” Following the rescue, Schweiker implemented a series of new safety procedures to provide better protection for Pennsylvania miners.
Just as he had tentatively decided not to do while lieutenant governor before the events of Sept. 11, 2001, he chose not to seek election as governor at the conclusion of his term in January 2003.
Schweiker next became president and chief executive officer of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. In 2009, with expertise in all core business areas, he left the chamber to become president of the Business Process Solutions division of PRWT Inc. with corporate headquarters in Philadelphia.
Currently based in southeastern Pennsylvania, Schweiker is Senior Vice President at Renmatix Inc., the leading producer of cellulosic sugars for the global renewable chemical, fuels and bio-product markets. Schweiker is also on the board of directors for the Network of Victim Assistance (NOVA) and BioAdvance and the board of visitors for Pennsylvania State University’s Smeal College of Business.
Schweiker is married to Katherine Reichert Schweiker and they are the parents of three children, Brett, Eric, and Kara.
Attendees will also have the opportunity to meet and greet with other elected officials and candidates at the fall banquet.
The social gathering will begin at 5:30 p.m. with dinner being served at 6 p.m. at the DuBois Country Club. Donations are $60 per person or $100 per couple. The public is welcome.
For more information, please contact Jackie or Mary at 371-6920.