article photo 4

Senator Stewart Greenleaf, Friend of Whitewater, Prepares to Retire

Posted: 01/23/2018
By: Charlie Walbridge

Senator Stewart Greenleaf, a Pennsylvania State legislator known for his practical, problem solving approach to solving the State’s problems, has announced that he will not seek re-election in 2018. Mr. Greenleaf, 78, was first elected to the Pennsylvania House in 1976 and has served in the Senate since 1978. He is a long time member of the Philadelphia Canoe Club and his work was directly responsible for fall and spring white water releases on Tohickon Creek (1977) and summer releases on the Lehigh River (1999). While his main focus as a former District Attorney has been on law and justice issues, he's been a practical legislator who has authored more successful legislation than any of his colleagues. And there are a few stories that are worth telling!

In 1976 Charlie Walbridge inherited the Philadelphia Canoe Club's file on Tohickon Creek. He tried to obtain whitewater releases on Class III+ Tohickon Creek and was stonewalled by the Pennsylvania Bureau of State Parks. He was bemoaning this at club meeting when someone said, "Why don't you talk to Stu Greenleaf; he's just been elected to the legislature."

"Send me a proposal - one page." Stu said. I did, and then answered a few of his questions. Three weeks later Stu called me to say that the releases were a done deal. "How did you do it?" I asked. "I met with the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee and we put a hold on the State Park Budget." This is a tactic used by frustrated legislators to get the attention of unresponsive bureaucrats! Not bad for a freshman legislator. The releases started in 1977 and continue to this day.

Years later the summer whitewater releases on the popular Class III Lehigh River became less and less frequent. Stuart did some research and identified The Problem: a road ran that ran low across the upstream face of the dam. When they backed up water, the road was blocked and local people were upset. Working with the local US congressmen and Pennsylvania regulators, Stu got the funding to put the road on the top of the dam, where it belongs. Then he pursuaded the Philadelphia Office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to create a predictable summer release schedule. This was a boon to Mid-States paddlers and revitalized the local rafting industry, which puts 3,000 guests on three sections of this river on a busy weekend!

Stu is married, and has three sons who are expert kayakers. One of them, Stewart Greenleaf, Jr., is being quietly positioned as his successor.

For more on Senator Greenleaf's outstanding career:


State Senator Stewart Greenleaf Announces He Will Not Seek Re-election

Posted on Jan 22, 2018

“Serving the people of Pennsylvania has been my greatest honor.” 

HUNTINGDON VALLEY, PA—State Senator Stewart Greenleaf (R-12) today announced that he will not run for reelection in 2018. Greenleaf, who was recently called “a giant of the legislature” by The Caucus, has served with distinction in the state legislature since 1977, starting his career in the House of Representatives and moving to the Senate in 1979.

Greenleaf is known as one of Harrisburg’s most capable and independent-minded legislators, someone willing and able to work with all sides when it comes to addressing important public policy issues.  It is in this spirit that he became the prime sponsor of more bills that became law than any other member of the State Legislature. (As the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Greenleaf is well-known for his efforts to protect the people of Pennsylvania.  He is the author of several constitutional amendments; one, implemented in 1996 after overwhelming voter approval, allows child witnesses to testify via closed-circuit television.  Greenleaf also sponsored “Megan’s Law” here in Pennsylvania to help protect children from sexual predators. 

Greenleaf is also the architect of Pennsylvania’s “Puppy Lemon Law” as well as the state’s smoking ban in restaurants and numerous other public spaces.  He has also been the driving force behind criminal justice reforms as well as criminal rehabilitation efforts aimed at reducing recidivism and helping returning defendants to be productive citizens.

“Serving the people of Pennsylvania—especially the citizens of Montgomery and Bucks Counties—has been my greatest honor,” Greenleaf said.  “While I will miss the privilege of being a strong voice for justice for all people as a legislator, it does not mean I cannot continue to help others in our community in a different way.”

Greenleaf, who holds a black belt in taekwondo and played basketball at the University of Pennsylvania, said that he is looking forward to spending more time with his wife, children and grandchildren in the coming years. 

“May family has been a source of constant support during my time in the legislature, and I look forward to spending more time with them and supporting them in all their life’s endeavors,” Greenleaf stated. 

Greenleaf is also well-known for spending time throughout the communities he represents—meeting with civic organizations and constituents, and even simply attending local youth sporting events to talk to residents and hear their concerns.  Throughout his tenure, Greenleaf has also maintained a door-knocking schedule that has seen him visit local homes more than 100,000 times.

“My mantra has always been that there is no Republican or Democrat idea, that ideas shouldn’t be pigeon holed as liberal or conservative.  Ideas that are good for our community deserve to be supported,” Greenleaf explained.  “Listening to residents who don’t live in the legislative echo chamber is a good way to find out what those ideas are, and has helped me immensely over my career.” 

“I’m not ready to close the book on my life just yet,” Greenleaf concluded.  “Not running for re-election is simply the closing of one chapter of my life, but it begins another that I hope to be just as exciting and fulfilling.”



Join AW and support river stewardship nationwide!