Pa. Sen. Bob Mensch shares his thoughts on the polarization of parties and the media


Augustus Gerhart ’23 listens to Pa. Sen. Bob Mensch on Zoom. Photo by Joey Asterino ’23

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  • Rose Flaherty ’23 and Jesse Corser-James ’23 take note of what Pa. Sen. Bob Mensch said. Photo by Kade Davidheiser ’23

  • Peter Galindez ’23, Luke Rasmussen ’23 and Augie Gerhart ’23 listen to Sen. Mensch talk about his life’s work. Photo by Kade Davidheiser ’23

  • Jesse Corser-James ’23 talks with the state senator. Photo by Cole Bilotta ’23

  • The journalism class talks with a state senator. Photo by Cole Bilotta ’23

  • Peter Galindez ’23, Luke Rasmussen ’23 and Augie Gerhart ’23 engage in a Zoom press conference. Photo by Joey Asterino ’23

  • Student journalist photographers take photos of the conference. Photo by Katie Newkirk ’21

  • Students listen and take photos as Sen. Mensch talks in a journalism class conference. Photo by Katie Newkirk ’23

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Pa. Sen. Bob Mensch is in his 16th and final year as a state senator before his retirement. One major pressing issue he identified during his time in office has been the negative effect that the media plays in aspects of politics, such as elections.

“I think we need much more honesty and much more focus than we have today,” Pa. Sen. Bob Mensch said on how the media impacts politics. 

Another issue he identified during his Nov. 4 Zoom press conference with Hill journalists was how the polarization of the American party system has been ruining the government’s ability to make fair policies, thus making the country more divided.

He believes that polarization in politics is interfering with policy. People tend to vote for policies proposed by their supporting party. “In America, politics are trumping policy, and that’s wrong,” Sen. Mensch said.

The senator also addressed the country’s economy. He believes that the government should be putting less money into circulation. “It’s a free-market economy; you should be building something yourself,” he said. 

Straying away from the topic of the state’s economy, he discussed the role that online social media platforms have played in his past elections.  He thought that on social platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, “you don’t even know when someone is calling you dirty names until after the fact.” 

Sen. Mensch said, “It’s become a very nasty science. When I started 16 years ago, without social media, it was much more social.” He described how technology, specifically social media, has made people insincere compared to his early years as a politician. 

During his time in office, Sen. Mensch has been a big advocate for building and maintaining the energy industry of Pennsylvania. As the second-largest energy-producing state,  he wants to keep Pennsylvania’s prowess. He acknowledged the need to produce energy in a “cleaner and more effective way,” but he expressed concerns that this couldn’t be done until renewable ways could sufficiently meet our needs. 

The Pennsylvania senator also thought that energy is a huge part of the state’s economy, and he said he didn’t want to see this industry hurt or cut down. 

Sen. Mensch would go on to explain how the school boards in Pennsylvania often switch their political affiliation. “Here in Pennsylvania, we had so many school boards turned red, and turned blue again,” he said. “I think it’s primarily because of the focus on education, and parents are frustrated with being put outside the loop by that educational industry.”

Referring to the past presidential election, Sen. Mensch had a concrete view of the voters. “The public is very fickle. They voted out Trump for an alternative. And they don’t like the alternative either,” he said. He believes that there is still a long way to go for the country to reach unity.