Rep. Steven C. Mentzer
State Rep. Steven C. Mentzer represents the 97th Legislative District, which includes Lititz Borough, Manheim and Warwick townships, a significant number of constituents who work in healthcare and more retirement communities than any other district in Pennsylvania.
We asked Rep. Mentzer about his medical mission trips, major legislative issues impacting the medical community and how physicians can get involved.
Tell us about your background.
I grew up in Manheim Township. My mom was a piano teacher, and my dad died when I was an infant. I graduated from Manheim Township High School and attended Elizabethtown College. I owned a landscaping company before working in the investment business for 25 years. My wife Sally works as LG Health’s Treasury Services Manager, and we have two grown children.
How did you get involved in medical mission trips?
While volunteering with the Lancaster County Council of Churches, I was asked to go on a medical mission trip to Honduras. I went with my son, who was in Spanish immersion class at the time. I later started the nonprofit Central American Relief Effort. Many LG Health physicians have gone on mission trips with us. Dr. Ray Peart is especially engaged.
How did you get into politics?
I first got involved because of my concerns over the size and scope of the Manheim Township High School project. I was elected as the township treasurer. Then, when Rep. John Bear decided not to seek another term in 2012, I was selected to fill the position. I was recently re-elected for a third term. Public service was not something I ever sought out, but people with private-sector experience bring an important perspective to state government.
How would you describe Lancaster County’s House delegation?
We have both career politicians and former members of the private sector. Several hold important positions in the Legislature, and there is tremendous unity among us. By working together, we’ve effectively advanced issues important to our area, including the medical professionals who live here.
What recent legislative issues might be of particular interest to the medical community?
I continue to advocate for the physician credentialing bill. Medical marijuana was important to a lot of constituents in my district. No medical professional I spoke with thought it was a good idea. On the other hand, there is no disagreement on the opioid crisis. We’ve already allocated funding for Centers of Excellence and created the prescription drug monitoring database.
What is your outlook for the next legislative session?
We will face great challenges, particularly around budgeting. We will need to work together to find areas of efficiency and new sources of revenue.
How can physicians get involved in legislative issues?
It’s extremely difficult for legislators to stay informed on all 5,000 pieces of legislation that are proposed every two years. Speaking with medical professionals can both educate and help us form positions on issues that pertain to the healthcare industry. Telemedicine is a good example of an area where we need education.
Physicians are busy people. However if you do not take the time to get involved, your voice will not be heard in Harrisburg. Contact LG Health Director of Government Affairs Jo Ann Lawer to find out how to get involved.