inside sources print logo
Get up to date Delaware Valley news in your inbox

Sen. Mensch on Fetterman: ‘Four Years, And He Still Doesn’t Know What He’s Doing’

Veteran Republican state Sen. Bob Mensch has spent the past four years watching Lt. Gov. John Fetterman preside over the legislature’s upper chamber, and he can summarize his take in one word.


During a recent DVJournal podcast, the Delaware Valley Republican, who is retiring from office, offered his take on the races for governor and U.S. Senate, as well as the contest to fill his District 24 seat. And he concedes the Trump brand of GOP politics espoused by fellow state Sen. Doug Mastriano isn’t a good fit for the region.

“Some of the policies that have been espoused by the [Mastriano] campaign don’t line up as well in the southeast as in the rest of the state,” Mensch said of the GOP nominee for governor.

Mensch said candidates for statewide office need Democrat and independent voters as well as Republicans to win. Former Gov. Ed Rendell “used to say this all the time, (to win the governorship) you need to win seven counties. And five of those counties are right here in the southeast.”

“To be successful. I think Doug has to do a lot more campaigning, and I think he’s got to adapt his style to what the voters expect. It’s not always just what the candidate expects. I think he’s got to improve on his fundraising.”

The latest financial statements show that the Franklin County senator is far behind his Democratic opponent, Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

“With that said, some polls have Mastriano and Shapiro relatively close. And some have them 10 points apart. Polling has become less of an exact science through the evolution of communications,” said Mensch.

Mensch, who has represented parts of Montgomery, Bucks, and Berks counties since 2009, said that while his constituents have mixed views of Mastriano,  “there is a large presence here in my district supporting Mastriano.”

“There is quite a heartbeat here for Doug, and I like a lot of what Doug is talking about. I really do,” Mensch said.

Unlike some other Pennsylvania Republicans, Mensch is not jumping ship to back Shapiro.

“I can’t be favorable toward Josh Shapiro, not only because of party affiliation, but I disagreed so much with the policy initiatives of Gov. Tom Wolf. I believe that Shapiro will just be an extension of those policies. And I think it’s really wrong for the freedoms of our people in this state.”

And while Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz may be trailing in the polls, Mensch still finds him impressive.

“He is a very smart man, a very accomplished doctor in his field. He has a great many significant achievements,” Mensch said.  “But he’s got to get out his political platform, his political message,” said Mensch. “He’s campaigning against a man who has one or two policy issues.”

Mensch is definitely not impressed with Fetterman

“All he wants to do is legalize marijuana,” said Mensch. “You would expect that someone who’s running to be my U.S. senator would have more than one initiative.”

And Mensch mocked Fetterman for campaigning on his performance as mayor of Braddock, Pa. “Drive through Braddock. No one sees any improvement,” Mensch said.

“One ad says he has changed the job of the lieutenant governor,” said Mensch. “If that means he doesn’t know what he’s doing after four years, and he’s still incompetent at being the president of the Senate, then yes, he’s changed the job. He just doesn’t know what he’s doing. I’m relatively unimpressed with (Fetterman).”

As for who he would like to see serve his constituents in the Senate after he retires, Mensch said that would be state Rep. Tracy Pennycuick (R-Harleysville).

“She’s an incredible person,” said Mensch. “She really is. She’s so talented, so smart.”

Pennycuick “will be an incredible representative for the people in the 24th District in the Pennsylvania Senate…I don’t see a reason why she can’t get elected, and the mood in the district, as well as the polling in the district, would suggest that she’s an odds-on favorite for the seat.”

Democrat Jill Dennin, a community volunteer from Gilbertsville, is also running in the 24th.

Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter@DVJournal or




DelVal Lawmakers Weigh In on 2022-23 State Budget

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf introduced his final state budget plan in February.

He proposed $45.7 billion to increase general fund spending by $4.5 billion—a nearly 11 percent hike. Wolf made the argument that the state should increase spending on education by $1.55 billion, especially in poorer school districts.

His plan includes increasing the minimum wage, workforce development, veterans’ services and suicide prevention, and funding for environmental programs.

Wolf, a Democrat, recently asked the legislature to give Pennsylvanians $2,000 per household.

“The cost of everything from gas to groceries is a little higher right now than it was just a few weeks ago and for Pennsylvanians living paycheck to paycheck even a small increase in expenses can mean painful decisions like paying for food or rent,” said Wolf. “I see that pain in communities across Pennsylvania and I want to talk about solutions. I want to put $2,000 checks into the hands of Pennsylvanians and families that need it.”

However, Independent Fiscal Office (IFO), the nonpartisan financial watchdog, warned Pennsylvania could face as much as a $1.8 billion deficit by June 2024.  And now the U.S. economy may be on the brink of a recession.

The deadline to adopt the budget is midnight June 30. But the issue of whether or how much of the $6 billion surplus and $1.7 billion pandemic relief funds to spend is a sticking point. Negotiations between Wolf and the Republican-led legislature are continuing.

“During the last three weeks of June we hope to finalize the 2022-2023 budget,” said Sen. Bob Mensch (R-Berks/Bucks/Montgomery). “While the governor seems intent to spend the state into debt, I and my Senate Republican caucus are determined to be fiscally responsible and we will fund our next budget without creating future debt, and thus avoid the future tax increases the governor’s proposal definitely create.

“In a time of hyperinflation and a pending recession, it would be irresponsible to create future economic chaos with a spendthrift budget.”

Rep. Chris Quinn (R-Media) agrees with the governor that more needs to be spent on public education.

“We must make another record-setting investment in public education, as we have in each of the last several years,” said Quinn. “There are learning deficits due to the COVID-related school closures that must be addressed if our kids are going to be prepared for success. With families challenged by runaway inflation, increased energy costs, and skyrocketing gas prices, we must craft a budget that does not further burden hardworking taxpayers.

“Finally, I’d like to see Growing Greener III be considered. Sponsored by Rep. Lynda Schlegel Culver (R-Northumberland/Snyder) and myself. The legislation would invest federal stimulus funds in projects to restore and protect our waterways, preserve open space, and upgrade drinking and wastewater facilities. That targeted investment promotes job growth and activity in tourism and agriculture, our top two industries which are vital to Pennsylvania’s economic well-being.”

Rep. Todd Stephens (R-Montgomeryville) said, “I’m focused on helping restore communities devastated by last year’s tornado, continuing our record-setting investments in our schools and protecting families from the long-term impact of the out-of-control price increases we’re experiencing every day.”

“As always, my top priorities for this budget season are families, education, and economic development,” Rep. Melissa Shusterman (D-Paoli). “Our state is currently sitting on an $8.5 billion dollar surplus. It’s time to start investing that money in hard-working Pennsylvanians, and Gov. Wolf has proposed a budget that will do just that. It includes a Child and Dependent Care tax credit, to reduce the financial burden of childcare on working families and would enable parents to rejoin the workforce without worrying about how to pay for expensive care.

“Additionally, the proposed budget includes increased investment in education, which will provide much-needed property tax relief for homeowners, as well as continuing to ensure our graduates are prepared for the jobs of tomorrow. Both priorities will holistically improve our state’s economic climate which will spur more business investment and create better-paying jobs,” said Shusterman.

But Rep. Tracy Pennycuick  (R-Gilbertsville) urges caution on spending and recommends adding to the state’s savings account. Pennycuick is running for the Senate to replace Mensch, who is retiring.

“For the 2022-23 state budget, I would like to see priorities placed on additional funding for education and school security. I think we also need to dedicate more dollars to address our mental health crisis. Given the economic climate, it is vitally important we continue to put additional dollars in the state’s Rainy Day Fund to help offset any future economic downturns, as well as support our business community to bring down the cost of doing business and address inflation,” said Pennycuick.

Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter@DVJournal or

GOP Rep. Tracy Pennycuick Runs for State Senate

State Rep. Tracy Pennycuick is running for the state Senate seat now held by Sen. Bob Mensch (R-Bucks/Berks/Montgomery), who is retiring.

Pennycuick (R-Harleysville) says she loves her current job serving her constituents, but since Mensch is retiring, she decided to run for the Senate “so there will be a continuity of services.”

Pennycuick wants to “maintain the integrity of the area, the values of our area. I really love the job.”

If she is elected to the Senate, Pennycuick says she would work to change Pennsylvania’s onerous tax laws that are causing senior citizens to lose their homes and driving businesses to other states.

Pennycuick grew up near Boston. An Army combat veteran, she initially enlisted as a medic. She earned a degree in business and a commission in the U.S. Army. She served as a Blackhawk pilot, including three combat tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Desert Storm where she was awarded the bronze star.

Pennycuick retired as a lieutenant colonel after 26 years of service. She was a platoon leader, operations officer, company commander, aviation group safety officer, brigade human resources officer, executive officer, Department of Defense efficiency expert, and foreign liaison to the UK Ministry of Defence.

Pennycuick and her husband, Rick, who also served in the armed forces, settled in Harleysville when he was in command of the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) Philadelphia. The couple has four grown children, three of whom are serving in the military, and two grandchildren.

“I’m excited by the opportunity to expand my service to our communities in the state Senate,” said Pennycuick. “As state representative, I’ve focused on providing our front-line heroes, families, seniors, workers, and small businesses with the support they need through the pandemic while also pushing forward important legislation that protects some of our most vulnerable populations and vital government reform.

“Additionally, we’ve made sure our schools have the resources they need to provide excellent education, so our students succeed despite the adversity presented by the pandemic.  The outpour of support thus far has been humbling, and I look forward to campaigning for every vote this year,” she said.

Mensch, meanwhile, has endorsed Pennycuick.

“I’ve worked with Tracy in Harrisburg and her district over the past couple years, and when I decided to retire, I could think of no one who would work harder for the residents of the 24th state Senate District.  Clearly, Tracy is a fighter. Her years of service in the U.S. Army and work in the private sector have prepared her for this job which is why she has been so successful in the state House. I’m happy to lend my support to her for state Senate,” stated Mensch.

If she is elected, Pennycuick says she wants to make Pennsylvania “more attractive for businesses to come and do business.”

“We have a declining population,” said Pennycuick, noting the state has lost congressional seats. By making the state more attractive for business and manufacturers, it will be more likely that “our kids stay in the area,” she said.

She would also like to “fix the school tax and real estate taxes,” so that senior citizens can afford to stay in their homes.

“That’s a big issue,” she said, and something homeowners always complain to her about.

As for reducing school taxes, Pennycuick would like to have smaller districts join larger districts so there is “an economy of scale” and districts would not be paying so many administrators. There are currently 500 school districts in Pennsylvania, she noted.

Cuts to real estate taxes could be paid for through increasing the sales tax and the personal income tax, she said. But she would like the money to stay local, rather than going to the state.

“We can do it better and have great schools,” she said. “We owe it to our seniors.”

“We’ve got to think outside of the box and be more fiscally responsive,” said Pennycuick, who favors educational choice. “We need to give our kids an opportunity to be successful. No parent ever wakes up and says, ‘I want my kid to go to a failing school.”

She would also like to see more transparency in state government as well.

Pennycuick, who said she prioritizes constituent services, was elected in the House in 2020. She has supported first responders, workers, and victims of violence. She helped pass a budget that “fully funded” schools and for reforms in state lobbying practices. She also practices bipartisanship and tries to have a Democrat as a co-sponsor of her bills, when possible.

“I’m a firm believer in fixing problems,” said Pennycuick. “We have to work together.”

After the military, Pennycuick started a small business in the aviation services industry and employed 17 people. She learned firsthand the difficulties businesses face dealing with government red-tape and regulations. That was why she has worked to support small businesses in the face of the pandemic as they fight to survive and continue to meet payroll each week.

Pennycuick served as the director of Veterans Affairs for Montgomery County for three years and continues to serve on several veteran non-profit boards.

When she is not working, Pennycuick enjoys traveling, snowshoeing, refurbishing old furniture, and rehabbing houses. Most recently, she went to Alaska, where one of her daughters is stationed and “petted a moose.”

Follow us on social media: Twitter: @DV_Journal or