Rob Teplitz may have been born in Miami, but he’s become a Pennsylvanian through-and-through. His family moved to the Commonwealth when he was still a toddler, and made the midstate their home. Today, Teplitz is following in his parents’ footsteps, working with his wife to raise their sons in what he feels is a great place to grow up.
Though politics wasn’t a mainstay of dinner conversation in his own household, he was still driven toward a career that would help him serve the public. Thus, he attended Franklin & Marshall College, earning his undergraduate degree, and went on to graduate from Cornell Law School. “It seemed that a law license would be an asset regardless of what I ultimately did,” he says.
His hunch proved correct. A few years after he started practicing, he landed a job working for Bob Casey, Jr. He advised Casey and his team for five years, and then went on to the position of chief counsel and policy director at the Pennsylvania Department of the Auditor General under Jack Wagner, for about a decade. At the end of Wagner’s second term, Teplitz was faced with the reality that although he had never considered running for an elected position, he was in an excellent position.
“It was 2010,” he recalls. “I realized I could be in the job where I could serve the community. It was the right time.”
With the support of his wife, also an attorney, albeit in a non-traditional law career, he threw his hat into a ring that he was familiar with, having been through half-a-dozen other statewide campaigns and local races. Still, having never served as the candidate before, he didn’t know what to expect from the eyes of the principle. “Exciting is one word,” he notes when talking about his run for Senate. “It’s exciting… but it’s also exhausting. Campaigns are very challenging. The dynamic is unique; some things you have control over, and some you don’t. The personal stakes are higher.”
In November 2012, he was rewarded for his perseverance and determination by being elected to the 15th District. It was the beginning of what he considers to be one of his greatest responsibilities. His geographic territory, like many other Senators’, is incredibly diverse despite spanning only two counties. “It’s been a great opportunity for me to see and do things, and meet people, I wouldn’t have met otherwise,” he explains. “It’s urban and suburban; there are rural farmers and people who live in the urban city. There are strong – and challenged – schools. It’s a microcosm of the state.”
To serve such a varied constituency, Teplitz utilizes his ability to listen and communicate. His main focal points are on schools, jobs, government reform and the Harrisburg financial crisis, and he’s been pleasantly surprised by the camaraderie he shares with elected officials on both sides of the aisle. “Most of my colleagues are cordial behind the scenes. I wasn’t privy to those kinds of interactions when I was a staff member. The casual discussions before and after meetings, or on the floor, are really friendly.”
Of course, when he requires some downtime from his busy schedule, he only has to throw on his running shoes and hit the roads in and around his neighborhood, as well as along the scenic Susquehanna River route. He can also be seen at one of his children’s activities, or indulging in a little TV after everyone else has called it a night.