Bear’s role as state representative to end Nov. 30

By on November 28, 2012

After serving as a Pennsylvania state representative for the past six years, Rep. John Bear (R-Lancaster) will no longer represent the residents of the 97th Legislative District come Dec. 1, as he will start his role as managing director of Stevens & Lee’s state and local government consulting practice.

"I want to thank my constituents for giving me the opportunity to serve and for putting their faith in me almost seven years ago," said Bear. "But most importantly, I thank them for giving me a chance to be their representative, because it has been a distinct honor and a privilege to represent them in Harrisburg. It has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and an experience I will never forget and one I will always look back upon with great fondness."

Stevens & Lee is a Mid-Atlantic professional services firm comprised of lawyers and consultants that partner with public and private companies and state and local governments to provide a full range of legal and consulting services and is among the 200 largest law firms in the nation.

Since taking office in 2006, Bear has held a variety of leadership positions, including being named to Gov. Tom Corbett’s transition team, serving as vice chairman of the House Labor and Industry Committee and as vice president of Pennsylvania’s State Public School Building and Higher Educational Facilities Authorities’ Board of Directors.

He’s also been recognized by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review as one of "10 to watch in 2011," identifying 10 of the most capable state lawmakers.

During his time in office, Bear was able to achieve many of his legislative objectives, such as making government more efficient, transparent and accountable to the taxpayers of this Commonwealth.

For instance, he is probably best known for his innovative cost-saving proposals to modernize state government operations and provide taxpayers with a better return on their hard-earned tax dollars, as well as his advocacy for reforming Pennsylvania’s antiquated labor laws and his willingness to take on tough issues. Working with Rep. Sheryl Delozier (R-Cumberland), Bear has saved taxpayers more than $587 million.

"Another one of my legislative objectives was to be a relentless advocate for the constituents of my district. In that regard, I hope you all know I gave it everything I had," said Bear. "Some might call it persistence, others might call it sheer grit or determination, but when I became focused or locked-in on an issue, I wouldn’t let up until the mission was accomplished."

Through this activism, Bear said he’s proud of the results he and his staff were able to deliver for residents of the 97th Legislative District, including reversing the ban on hand sanitizers in personal care homes, restoring funding for the Manheim Township Library and finding funds for the restoration of Speedwell Forge’s high hazard dam.

Other key issues that Bear addressed included making the first legislative update to the Steel Products Procurement Act since 1978 to meet the changing needs of constituents, contractors and the Pennsylvania steel industry itself in how it is administered, making sure veterans don’t lose access to their Veterans Affairs pharmaceutical benefits when entering skilled care, and lastly, the fact that the House was able to move a package of bills from the House Labor and Industry Committee that would update Pennsylvania’s prevailing wage laws.

Rep.-elect Steven Mentzer (R-Lancaster) will replace Bear. To watch the farewell speech that Bear delivered to his colleagues in the House, visit his website at RepBear.com.

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