Robert C. Jubelirer (born February 9, 1937 in Altoona, Pennsylvania) is a Republican Pennsylvania political leader. He served as a member of the Pennsylvania State Senate from 1975 to 2006, and simultaneously served as the President pro tempore of the Pennsylvania State Senate and the 29th Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania between 2001 and 2003.

Jubelirer was defeated for re-election in the 2006 Republican party primary election and left office on November 30, 2006.

He is married to Commonwealth Court Judge Renee Cohn Jubelirer.

Early life

The son of a prominent county judge, Jubelirer attended Pennsylvania State University and the Dickinson School of Law. He also attended Pine Forest Camp. He was admitted to the bar in Blair County, Pennsylvania and practiced law for several years before entering politics.

He was elected to the Pennsylvania State Senate in 1974 to represent the Altoona area. He was elected Majority Leader in 1981. Jubelirer served as President Pro Tempore of the Senate from 1985 to 1992. After serving briefly as Minority Leader from 1992 to 1994, he again became President Pro Tempore.

In a 2002 PoliticsPA Feature story designating politicians with yearbook superlatives, he was named the "Hardest Working."[2]

Lieutenant governor

When Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge resigned on October 5, 2001 to become President Bush's Homeland Security Advisor, Lt. Governor Mark Schweiker became Pennsylvania's 44th Governor.

By provision of the Pennsylvania Constitution of 1968, Jubelirer as President Pro Tempore was automatically elevated to Lt. Governor and sworn in the same day.

Jubelirer's elevation to the office was not without controversy. Jubelirer retained his position in the Pennsylvania State Senate. Critics and political foes argued that this violated the separation of powers principle and threatened the checks and balances guaranteed in the state constitution. A lawsuit was filed by State Rep. John Lawless, Joseph Wiedemer and Leechburg Area School Board member Charles A. Pascal, Jr. to block Jubelirer's simultaneous service in the Senate and the executive branch, but the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court rejected the argument and issued a per curiam decision [3] allowing Jubelirer to hold both offices simultaneously. Jubelirer continued in both offices until January 21, 2003 when Schweiker's term expired. He declined to accept the Lt. Governor's salary during his term.

As Lt. Governor, Jubelirer served as President of the Senate, Chairman of the Board of Pardons, and Chairman of the Emergency Management Agency. In addition, he served as acting governor when Schweiker left the state.

After his term as Lt. Governor expired, Jubelirer cosponsored a bipartisan bill in the state senate that would amend the state constitution and allow the Governor to choose a candidate to fill a mid-term vacancy in the Lt. Governor's office upon approval of the senate. The bill was not passed.

2006 primary election defeat

In May 2006, Jubelirer was defeated in the Republican primary by Blair County Commissioner John Eichelberger. He, along with Chip Brightbill, the Senate majority leader, were the first top-ranking Pennsylvania legislative leaders to lose a primary election since 1964.[4] The defeat was attributed primarily to his role in drafting a legislative pay raise bill in July 2005.[5]

Initially, Jubelirer defended the raise. However, after internal polling showed his support falling, he opened discussion of a repeal of the unvouchered expense provision. However, newspapers reported that he [3] tried to block efforts to repeal the entire raise.

In the wake of the controversy, the Senator issued a statement in which he called the pay raise a "mistake". "I apologized for it in my district. I now think it was the wrong thing to do. Hindsight is 20-20. I'm not shifting the blame to anybody. I accept the responsibility." He also pledged to return the money he had received from the unvouchered expense account.[6]

During the campaign, Jubelirer's more conservative challengers attacked him on abortion. Despite statements during the 2006 campaign that he was pro-life, Jubelirer's opposition to the Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act and [7] a "pro-choice" rating by both the National Abortion Rights Action League and Planned Parenthood were used by opponents to counter his arguments. Jubelirer himself told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that he was "a pro-choice Republican" and that he did not support the Republican platform on abortion.[8] Jubelirer will receive an annual pension of $90,934.[9]

Pennsylvania Senate, District 30: May 2006 Primary Election[10]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican John Eichelberger 15,445 43.9
Republican Robert Jubelirer 12,662 36.0
Republican Arnold McClure 7,097 20.2

2013 Pennsylvania State University Board of Trustees election

Jubelirer attempted a comeback of sorts, seeking a seat on the Pennsylvania State University Board of Trustees. Despite an endorsement from former Gov. Tom Ridge, Jubelirer finished a distant sixth place, failing to earn one of the three seats.[11][12]

Jubelirer was elected to The Pennsylvania State University Board of Trustees in 2014.[13]

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Mark Schweiker
Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania
2001–2003
Succeeded by
Catherine Baker Knoll
Preceded by
Henry Hager
President pro tempore of the Pennsylvania Senate
1985–1992
Succeeded by
Bob Mellow
Preceded by
Bob Mellow
President pro tempore of the Pennsylvania Senate
1994–2006
Succeeded by
Joe Scarnati
Party political offices
Preceded by
Henry Hager
Republican Leader of the Pennsylvania Senate
1981–1984
Succeeded by
John Stauffer
Preceded by
Joseph Loeper
Republican Leader of the Pennsylvania Senate
1992–1994
Succeeded by
Joseph Loeper
Pennsylvania State Senate
Preceded by
Stanley Stroup
Member of the Pennsylvania Senate for the 30th District
1975–2006
Succeeded by
John Eichelberger