Rep. Robert Matzie's Biography
Rep. Robert F. "Rob" Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, is a lifelong resident of Ambridge and a graduate of Ambridge Area High School. He received an associate degree in high technology communications from the Community College of Beaver County and a bachelor's degree in journalism and communications from Point Park University.
As a teen and through college, Matzie worked as an on-air personality and program director at WMBA Radio in Ambridge. He continues to cover high school sports, when his schedule permits, as a play-by-play announcer.
Prior to his election to the House in 2008, Matzie worked as a state Senate staff member for 14 years, served as mayor of Ambridge and was elected to the Democratic State Committee to represent Beaver County.
In addition, Matzie was appointed as a member of the multi-municipal committee that developed a joint comprehensive plan known as SHALE, which includes the municipalities of South Heights, Harmony Township, Ambridge, Leetsdale and Economy. Matzie was also appointed as a member of the Beaver County Bridge Committee, which oversees the rehabilitation and continued maintenance of all county bridges, and he currently serves on the Penn State Beaver Advisory Board.
Shortly after Matzie was sworn in, his bill to make COBRA health insurance coverage available to Pennsylvania businesses with fewer than 20 employees was chosen by House leaders as one of the first key pieces of legislation pushed in the 194th session. The bill passed, and Act 2 was signed into law on June 3, 2009.
Another proposal by Matzie was included in Act 14 of 2010. The Health Insurance Coverage Parity and Non-Discrimination Act brought Pennsylvania's insurance law in line with new federal requirements and gave the Pennsylvania Insurance Department authority to enforce those laws in the state's insurance market.
Eleven months into his first term, Matzie was notified that the fate of Old Economy Village in Ambridge was in jeopardy. He quickly recognized that the funding cuts would lead to changing the way Old Economy and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission would operate. Matzie’s efforts, along with others, helped convince the Rendell Administration that the site should remain open and led PHMC and Friends of Old Economy to reach an agreement to operate the site.
In 2011, Matzie's commitment to the importance of our commonwealth's history and heritage led to his successful proposal to create the Subcommittee on Tourism Promotion, History and Heritage. In January 2011, Democratic Leader Frank Dermody appointed Matzie as one of two House members serving on the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, and Matzie continues to hold that appointment today.
Matzie was the Democratic champion of the successful effort to bring the Shell ethane cracker plant to Southwest Pennsylvania. The construction of the $6 billion plant, which is currently underway, is on schedule and is expected to be completed in 2021. At present, there are about 3,000 workers on site, and that number is expected to double to 6,000 by the end of 2019. Upon its completion, the plant will employ an estimated 600 employees and create thousands of ancillary jobs related to the industry. It has been widely referred to as the largest industrial project to come to Pennsylvania in more than a century.
While recognizing and encouraging the continued development of his region’s rich natural resources, Matzie remains a staunch advocate of environmental safeguards and water protection. As a result of his voting record, legislative initiatives and oft-repeated belief that "being pro-environment as well as being in favor of energy projects are not mutually exclusive," he was named a House Environmental Champion by the Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania, Clean Water Action, the Sierra Club's state chapter and PennEnvironment.
More recently, Matzie anticipated the U.S. Supreme Court’s positive ruling on the legality of sports wagering to be conducted by the states. His H.B. 519, which authorized sports wagering at Pennsylvania’s casinos, was enacted as part of Act 42. In a little over four months, with only a handful of facilities up and running, sports wagering has brought in more than $4 million in revenues to the state’s General Fund and over a quarter-million dollars to local municipalities.
In 2017, Matzie was appointed to the board of directors of VisitPITTSBURGH – the official tourism promotion agency for Allegheny County dedicated to generating convention, trade show and leisure travel business for the Pittsburgh region. In 2019, he was elected to serve a three-year term on the Board of Trustees of his alma mater, Point Park University.
During his tenure in the legislature, Matzie has served on House committees such as Commerce, Consumer Affairs, Gaming Oversight, Health, Local Government, Policy, Tourism and Recreational Development, Insurance, and Transportation. In January 2019, he was named the Democratic chairman of the powerful House Consumer Affairs Committee. The committee has legislative oversight over all utilities in the commonwealth, as well as large areas of energy production and transportation services.
Matzie, who was sworn in for his sixth term on January 1, 2019, said he will continue to work on many levels to make the 16th Legislative District and all of Western Pennsylvania a wonderful place to live, work and enjoy time with family and friends.
The 16th District consists of part of Beaver County including the city of Aliquippa, the townships of Harmony and Hopewell, and the boroughs of Ambridge, Baden, Conway, East Rochester, Economy, Freedom, Monaca, Rochester and South Heights; and part of Allegheny County, including Leet Township and the borough of Leetsdale.
Matzie and his wife, Patty, have a school-age daughter, Claire. Matzie is the son of Andrew (Jr.) and Catherine (Kay) Matzie of Ambridge and has two brothers: David, of Rochester and Michael, of Ambridge.