Senator John Blake’s aspiration for a seat in the Senate of Pennsylvania was motivated by his determination to help and serve others – in his hometown, his region and across the state – in achieving a better quality of life. Senator Blake works very hard every day reflecting the sensibilities, the wishes and the opinions of the people he represents. He is very deliberative and careful in rendering judgment on public policy issues affecting the people of Pennsylvania and the constituents of the 22nd District. Senator Blake’s education, experience and local roots inform and guide his beliefs about the value of public service and the significant, profound duties and responsibilities of holding public office.
In the Senate
State Senator John Blake has served the 255,000 residents of the 22nd Senatorial District in Lackawanna, Luzerne and Monroe Counties since 2011. Senator Blake currently serves as a member of the Senate Democratic leadership team as Caucus Administrator and as Democratic Chairman of both the Senate Finance and Local Government Committees. In the previous session, Senator Blake served as Democratic Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
In addition to his two committee chairmanships, Senator Blake also serves as a member of the Senate Appropriations; Agriculture & Rural Affairs; Community, Economic and Recreational Development; Urban Affairs & Housing; Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness; and Senate Democratic Policy Committees. Additionally, Senator Blake is a founding member of the recently formed Pennsylvania Military Community Enhancement Commission which is tasked with examining and advocating for Pennsylvania’s military installations and the important missions they have which support our state’s economy and our national security.
Since taking office in 2011, Senator Blake has spearheaded a number of vitally important initiatives and legislation to better the lives of Pennsylvania families and increase opportunities for our small businesses. Originally introduced by Senator Blake and later signed into law, Innovate in PA will provide $100 million in early-stage, venture capital investment that will create family-sustaining jobs and develop innovative technologies right here in Pennsylvania. Of regional importance, Senator Blake led the effort to enable Scranton’s first-responders to purchase military service time. He also introduced legislation that led to significant flood relief through real estate tax abatement for local families devastated by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in 2011.
State Senator John Blake has spent his entire life as a resident of Archbald Borough. His father, Jack was a WW2 Navy Vet who came home to work at the Tobyhanna Army Depot for more than 30 years. His mother, Theresa Maslar, was a hard-working mother of 5 and a talented seamstress. His parents stressed faith, family, hard work and education – inspiring the Senator’s call to public service.
Senator Blake has three sisters who he counts on for help and support — Pat Bianchi, Peggy Carrighan and Teresa Newberry — all who still reside in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Senator Blake lost his older brother Vince in 1977.
For more than 30 years, Senator Blake has been married to Louise Kubilis Blake. Louise is a graduate of Bishop O’Hara High School and graduated as a member of the first class of the Dental Hygiene Program at Luzerne County Community College. Louise has worked as a Dental Hygienist in Northeastern Pennsylvania for more than 30 years.
Senator Blake and Louise have two wonderful children, Vince and Katie. Vince graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology and currently resides in Cambridge, MA where he works for CoreTek Services, Inc. Katie graduated with a degree in Communications from Pace University in New York City and is currently employed at TMG Health. Katie is a very talented vocalist and pianist and performs locally with her band “Light Weight.”
Senator Blake is a graduate of Valley View High School where he obtained his first elected office – Senior Class President. At Valley View, Senator Blake played linebacker for legendary football coach Frank Pazzaglia. More important to his parents, he worked hard at being a good student.
Senator Blake was fortunate to continue his academic career at Villanova University where he earned an undergraduate degree in 1983. Senator Blake also continued his athletic career as a member of the Villanova Wildcats Division I football team, playing defensive end for 2 years.
After Villanova, Senator Blake continued in school and earned a Masters Degree in Social Work from Marywood University and an MBA in Finance from the University of Scranton’s Kania School of Management. He also completed Executive Education in Public Management at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
At the age of 27, Senator Blake was appointed Executive Director of the Lackawanna County Redevelopment Authority. Over the next 10 years he secured and leveraged over $50 million in federal, state and private investment for housing, public works and infrastructure improvement projects to support regional business and job growth.
In 1998, Senator Blake was selected from among 9,000 applicants nationwide for a two year Community Builders Fellowship with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
His experience in community and economic development then led Senator Blake into the private sector. As vice-president and senior development advisor for PNC Bank’s community development division he managed and grew a $35 million portfolio of community development loans and investments and stewarded the bank’s community reinvestment activities. He also worked with the PNC Foundation and its charitable giving in Northeast Pennsylvania.
Senator Blake left PNC for a position as Director for the Northeast Pennsylvania Office of the Governor. In that position he served as a Rendell Administration liaison to local government officials; to the academic and business community of the region; and to community and economic development professionals in 15 counties.
In 2007 he was appointed Executive Deputy Secretary for the PA Department of Community and Economic Development, serving as the department’s Chief Operating Officer. He later served as Acting Secretary for the Department where he managed the state’s community and economic development mission through one of the worst recessions ever visited upon the Commonwealth.
While at DCED, Senator Blake worked with the PA Base Development Commission to sustain and protect defense industry jobs and our state’s military installations including Tobyhanna Army Depot.
Senator Blake also served as a member of the Adjunct Faculty for the Economics and Finance Department of the University of Scranton’s Kania School of Management where he taught introductory economics classes to undergraduate students for five years.