Behind the Scenes - Senator John Kane

Last Updated: May 5, 2022

Earlier this year, PAMED sat down with Senator John Kane (D – Chester, Delaware) to learn more about his background as a Master Plumber, why he decided to run for office, and his first-hand experience with prior authorizations. This sit-down interview was conducted as a part of PAMED’s Legislative Profile Series.



Senator John Kane was elected to serve as State Senator for the 9th Senate District in the 2020 election. Prior to this, Senator Kane spent a majority of his life as a plumber, joining Plumbers Local 690 as a young man and eventually rising to become the union’s business manager. Senator Kane considers that position to be his first foray into politics, as he was tasked with leading his members through the Great Recession.


“We went from having 1500 of my members fully-employed to having 450 members out of work in three to four months,” Kane said. “Many of those members remained out of work for a period of about two and a half years.”


During this period of unemployment and economic uncertainty, many of his fellow union members ran out of money and healthcare coverage. Tragically, nearly a dozen of his members lost their lives to suicide. Several other members were lost to the opioid epidemic. This issue hit close to home for Senator Kane, who himself has been in recovery for 38 years.


“I’ve been in recovery since the age of 22, and I had conversations with many of the ones who ended up overdosing and dying,” Kane said. “I felt as though our elected officials needed to hear more stories like this. That is why I got involved.”


Currently, Senator Kane serves as the Minority Chair of the Communications & Technology Committee. He is also a member of the Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure Committee, the Labor & Industry Committee, the Transportation Committee, and the Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee.


With his background in construction, Kane is no stranger to certain aspects of licensing. He earned the title Master Plumber, which required several different levels of training and certification.


“First of all, I get to brag about the fact that I’m a Master Plumber,” Kane joked. “I also believe in licensing. I’ve been dealing with licensing across the state of Pennsylvania for some time now, and I want to help with getting people licensed.”


Healthcare is an issue that Senator Kane feels strongly about, particularly when it comes to prior authorization reform. He experienced some of these frustrations first-hand after being diagnosed with stage three cancer in 2015.


“I drove all the way down to the University of Pennsylvania just to find out that I had been denied an MRI, Kane said. “I can recall being in the office, and the doctor was on the phone fighting for me to get another MRI. I had experienced weight loss, hearing loss, and other things that were concerning to him.”


Thankfully, Senator Kane has been cancer-free for over 5 years now. As a newly elected official, he recognizes the importance of healthcare issues and how it impacts patients. He hopes to promote common sense prior authorization reforms, telemedicine, and more health care improvements.


“If it wasn’t for the doctor that saved my life down at the University of Pennsylvania, I don’t know where I’d be today,” Kane said.


As a plumber by trade, Kane learned early on to seek out the experts in the field when dealing with an issue. This practice has served him well as a freshman Senator trying to learn how to effectively serve his constituents.


“I have no problem saying that I don’t know something. When I have questions about issues regarding the Pennsylvania Medical Society, I go to the professionals.”


In his free time, Senator Kane enjoys spending time playing softball, golf, and bowling. He also enjoys spending time down at the shore with family and taking his dog for long walks.



To learn more about Senator John Kane, visit his website


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