Mike Folmer may be best known for the 87-year-old, landmark produce store that bore his family name in Lebanon, Pennsylvania.
But it’s from a lifetime of living and working in the Lebanon community that he’s maintained a solid reputation as a civic leader and businessman.
Much of Mike’s early life was spent defying the odds. With the help of a next door neighbor, a gifted reading and speech teacher, Mike overcame a significant speech impediment – a defining victory in his young life.
As a college student at Grace College in Winona Lake, Indiana, Mike paid tuition by selling produce door-to-door in a converted pick-up truck from his father’s business. It was the first of many successes as an entrepreneur. Mike received a degree in History from Grace College in 1978.
For more than 30 years, Mike’s passion for people has earned him the trust and loyalty of his customers, clients, and constituents. As a financial consultant, sales manager, and public servant, honesty and professionalism have defined his life’s work.
Mike is a founding member of the Constitutional Organization of Liberty, a community-wide educational project designed to promote awareness of America’s founding principles.
In 1986, Mike pulled an upset victory to Lebanon City Council, campaigning as a conservative Democrat (he would later follow Ronald Reagan’s example by re-registering as a Republican). As the Council’s Director of Public Safety, Mike fought local labor unions on excessive contract demands and introduced a plan to trim hundreds of thousands of dollars from the cash-strapped community’s annual budget. Mike honored a term-limits pledge, retiring after just one term in office.
Two decades later, running on a “Promise to Pennsylvania,” a pledge to advance government and political reforms, tax and spending reforms, and legal and labor law reforms, Mike pulled another upset victory to win a seat in the Pennsylvania State Senate. He was re-elected to his current term in 2014.
To date Senator Folmer has had more than a dozen bills signed into law, including Act 76 of 2007, which establishes rights for foster children and foster parents; Act 127 of 2008, which strengthens the child custody rights for military personnel deployed overseas; Act 89 of 2010, which clarifies powers and duties of police at state military installations; Act 38 of 2012, which exempts Pennsylvania from compliance with the Federal REAL ID Act; Act 121 of 2012, which promotes the electronic sharing of health records and other patient information; Act 22 of 2013, which eliminates annual reports filed with the Pennsylvania Insurance Department; Act 10 of 2014, which simplifies certification requirements for teaching JROTC; Act 67 of 2014 which simplifies the process for a “college” to become a “university”; and Act 119 of 2014, which eliminates the requirement of a Senator’s signature on notary applications.
Along with Senator Daylin Leach, Folmer is sponsor of Senate Bill 3, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act, which would allow Pennsylvania physicians to prescribe medicinal cannabis. He has led a bipartisan effort to give patients access to medical cannabis, which has been proven effective across the nation in treating many disorders but is not legal in Pennsylvania.
He currently serves as Chairman of the Senate State Government Committee and Vice Chairman of the Education Committee. Other committee assignments include Intergovernmental Operations; Labor and Industry; Communications and Technology and Rules and Executive Nominations.
Mike and his wife, Shelia, reside in Lebanon City and have two grown children and seven grandchildren.