About Senator Schwank

State Senator Judy Schwank recognizes the needs and concerns of residents of the 11th Senatorial District are not limited by its boundaries. Schwank’s achievements in government and the nonprofit sector reflect her interest in and advocacy for sustainable growth and prosperity, both locally and statewide. Schwank has dedicated most of her adult life to public service. A former Berks County Commissioner, Schwank has been committed to serving the people of Berks County. Her passion for promoting sustainable growth, prosperity, and preserving agricultural integrity has been exemplified through her many accomplishments in public service.

Following college, Schwank worked as a Berks County horticultural agent for Penn State Cooperative Extension and established the Master Gardener Program. She became director of the Berks County Cooperative Extension Program in 1991 and was elected as the first female Berks County Commissioner in 2000. Schwank’s interest in creating a sustainable Pennsylvania is what drew her to government and public service.

During her two terms as Berks County Commissioner, Schwank was instrumental in initiating the Berks Municipal Land Preservation program working with county and municipal leaders to save natural resources. She also played a leading role in securing major renovations at the Berks Heim nursing home, a needed resource for the county’s most vulnerable senior citizens. Schwank is also a recipient of the Pennsylvania League of Cities Outstanding Public Service Citation for her work in support of local government and communities throughout the commonwealth.

As President of 10,000 Friends, Schwank provided support to organizations and individuals committed to improving the quality of life for all Pennsylvania residents. Under her leadership, the non-profit agency developed policies and took action to revitalize and sustain Pennsylvania’s social and economic climate to encourage responsible land use, sustainable development, and promote Pennsylvania’s agricultural heritage. Most recently, Schwank served as the Dean of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at Delaware Valley College.

Schwank received her B.S. and M.Ed. in agricultural education from Penn State University and completed the Executive Leadership Program through the Institute for Conservation Leadership and the Institute for the Management of Life-Long Education at Harvard University. She attributes her success to her parents who taught her that public service, a strong work ethic and personal integrity were the keys to a rewarding life.

As a member of the Pennsylvania Senate, Schwank has been heavily involved with agriculture and issues that affect women and children. In 2016, Schwank spearheaded the effort to research and cultivate industrial hemp. Schwank also worked closely with the Wolf Administration and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to pass the Farm Bill in 2019, which made a $24 million comprehensive investment in the commonwealth agricultural industry.

Presently, Schwank serves as the Democratic chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee. In addition to her role as committee chair, in 2021, Schwank was named Administrator of the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic caucus and is serving on the following committees for the 2023-24 legislative session: Aging & Youth, Appropriations, Communications & Technology, Game & Fisheries and Health and Human Services.

In addition to her committee assignments, Schwank also serves on the board of governors on the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) and is a co-chair of the Pennsylvania Women’s Health Caucus.