HARRISBURG – Senator Robert J. Mellow, the Pennsylvania State Senate’s longest-serving member and its highest-ranking Democrat, announced that he will not seek re-election. With a lengthy record of public service, Senator Mellow’s distinguished career includes two terms as Senate President Pro Tempore, the third-highest constitutional office in the Commonwealth.
“It has been my profound personal honor to serve the citizens of Pennsylvania. It has literally been my life’s work. I am deeply grateful for the trust that my friends and neighbors from northeastern Pennsylvania have shown me by electing and re-electing me to work for them. We have accomplished many great things together,” Mellow said.
“I have fought hard for the good people of Pennsylvania, and I have loved every minute of being in the arena. My constituents have shown me that if we stand together with honor and integrity, there is nothing that we cannot accomplish as citizens of this great state. I always knew there would come a time to make this difficult decision. I am confident I have accomplished all I set out to do for the people of Pennsylvania. I leave public life knowing that I have always strived to meet a high standard of excellence. I know in my heart that we have climbed that mountain. Now while at the top, it is time to move on to different priorities.”
“The long hours in Harrisburg over the years have cost me precious time with my daughters and now my grandchildren. My choice to put them first is the right thing to do and, as jarring as this decision has been to make, I am confident that now is the right time to do it. All of those days devoted to my constituents have resulted in many good things for the 22nd District – some I never imagined possible. With those successes in mind, I am shifting my focus. My daughters and grandchildren mean the world to me, and in this next chapter of my life, I need to devote more of my time and energy to them.”
Mellow has diligently worked to assure that the voice of northeastern Pennsylvania has been heard in decisions made across the state, from economic development, to tax reform, to health care, to education and to issues affecting women, children, seniors and veterans. Mellow is widely viewed as one of Pennsylvania’s most respected and accomplished legislators.
Among his most celebrated accomplishments are the passage of the landmark Children’s Health Insurance Bill (CHIP), now a model utilized throughout the United States; the historic workers’ compensation reform law; the well-known “Mellow Window” that helped to restore the state’s fiscal stability following the 1991-92 national recession; and the 2006 property tax relief act that uses gaming proceeds to slash local homeowner property taxes by about $1 billion annually.
Mellow spearheaded the efforts to establish the Commonwealth Medical College which accepted its first class of students in the fall of 2009. The regional medical school in Scranton is the first of its kind in the United States in over 50 years. He obtained $35 million in state grant funds to found the school.
Mellow successfully advocated for the state law that requires insurance companies to cover annual mammograms. The law makes it possible for the women of Pennsylvania to access quality preventive care.
Mellow was the driving force behind building the veterans’ home in Scranton and naming the building after Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient Gino Merli. The senator serves on the Advisory Board for the state-of-the-art facility.
Among his many honors and awards are the Distinguished Public Service Award by the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, the “Guardian of Small Business Award” from the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the “Adler Friend of Education Award” by the Pennsylvania State Education Association, “Man of the Year” by the Northeast Alliance of Pennsylvania Retirees, AFL-CIO, and the “Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers’ President’s Award.”
Mellow received the prestigious “Legion of Honor Bronze Medallion” from the Chapel of Four Chaplains, signifying his contributions toward national or international peace and interfaith and interethnic understanding.
He holds honorary doctoral degrees from The Commonwealth Medical College, Keystone College, Lackawanna College, the Widener University School of Law, the Pennsylvania College of Podiatric Medicine and Marywood University. Senator Mellow has been paid lasting tribute by many regional institutions that have named facilities in his honor. They include: Lackawanna College, Marywood University, Friendship House, Keystone College, the Boy Scouts of America and his birthplace of Peckville, PA named their community recreation facility, “Mellow Park.”
Mellow received the “Wings of Pegasus Award” for child advocacy and is the recipient of the Broadway Theatre League of NEPA’s “Sam and Jane Cali Star” award for distinguished service to the arts.
Mellow was a proud member of the Army National Guard. Senator Mellow has two daughters, Mrs. Tressa Mellow Bargella and Ms. Melissa Mellow and two grandchildren, Hali and Brody.
Press release provided by Lisa Cullin, PA Senate.com