Republican state Sen. Bob Robbins, a Mercer County native who has served Crawford County and surrounding counties for more than three decades, announced on Monday that he will retire at the end of his current term.
Robbins, a Greenville High School graduate, has spent 32 years serving Crawford County, first as a member of the state House of Representatives for the 17th District from 1983 to 1990. The 17th District includes parts of Crawford, Mercer and Lawrence counties.
In 1990, Robbins was elected to the state senate, representing the 50th District, which includes all of Crawford and Mercer counties and parts of Butler and Lawrence counties.
“It has truly been an honor and pleasure to represent the great people of our area as a member of the House and Senate,” Robbins said in a statement. “While the decision to retire has been a difficult one, I now look forward to spending more time with my family and friends as I move into the next phase of my life.”
A graduate of West Point Military Academy, decorated combat veteran of two tours of duty in Vietnam and last combat veteran serving in the Senate, Robbins made veterans issues a priority during his legislative career. As chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs committee, he was instrumental in establishing the National Guard’s Educational Assistance Program and securing its dedicated funding. For his commitment to the National Guard, Robbins was honored as the first inductee of the Army National Guard Hall of Fame and subsequently received induction in the Air National Guard Hall of Fame. In 2001, he was nationally recognized as a recipient of the Charles Dick Medal of Merit, which is awarded to elected officials for exceptional contributions to the National Guard.
Other legislative achievements include the consolidation of the Department of Community Affairs and the Department of Commerce into the modern Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), a move which has streamlined its operations and saved the commonwealth millions of dollars. Robbins was instrumental in establishing the Governor’s Center for Local Government Services within DCED, which serves as a resource for thousands of local government officials throughout Pennsylvania. He later served as chairman of the Senate Local Government Committee and the Local Government Commission, a bicameral service agency dedicated to local government issues.
During his time in the Senate, the 50th District was the site of several firsts. The district saw the first location of Pennsylvania’s successful Land Recycling Program, which was known as “Brownfields Legislation,” and returned shuttered industrial sites to productive, job creating workplaces. The district was also the site of the first Charter School and the first Keystone Opportunity Zone, a local economic development incentive program.
Robbins’ work on behalf of sportsmen is well known with such accomplishments as the Mentored Youth Program and his strong advocacy of the individual’s right to bear arms.
Robbins held the Senate leadership positions of majority policy chairman from 1997 to 2000 and majority caucus secretary from 2001 to present.
Robbins, credits much of his success to the dedication of his staff, saying “I could not have accomplished what I have without their support and dedication. But most importantly, I have been blessed to have the unwavering support of my wife, Cindy. I’m forever grateful for the many friends I have made and for the opportunities I’ve been given to serve.”