Help Me Drain Stan Saylor Out of the Swamp

This article was originally posted in the York Daily Record, 2018.

Within the past two years, there have been plenty of calls to “drain the swamp” in Washington.  But is there a swamp in Harrisburg too?  If that means the stranglehold that broken systems, big money, and insiders use to control Pennsylvania politics, the answer is a resounding “yes”!

When it comes to good, open government, our state ranks near the bottom when compared to others.  Why would we rank so low, you might ask?   There are many yardsticks that we could use to measure this, but I believe that one of the best is the way we enable politicians to make a lifetime career from their position despite their ability – or willingness – to actually make a contribution.  This is why I support term limits.

When there is no limitation on the length of service, the desire to be re-elected continuously often becomes more important than addressing the challenges faced by our state.   It also means that corporate dollars flow to incumbents because those private interests see it as making an investment in that elected official. That, in turn, gives incumbents a significant advantage over challengers.

My campaign, for example, has raised far less than my opponent Stan Saylor but every cent that it has raised has come from individuals.   By contrast, over the years Saylor has received over $90,000 from the electric utilities, over $80,000 from gaming and casinos, and over $70,000 from lawyers and lobbyists.  Might his tepid opposition to the power line project in southeastern part of the county be related to those contributions?  Or his support for expanding gambling and casinos?

A friend of mine has direct and intimate knowledge of the reforms adopted in the state of Maine.  They have adopted measures to limit money in political races.  They have a “people’s referendum” method which permits voters to get important issues onto the ballot. She believes that instituting term limits was the key to moving such reform measures into law.

My campaign manager was born, graduated college, got married and bought a house all during 13-term Stan’s years in Harrisburg.  When is enough enough?

Why can’t we eliminate gerrymandering in Pennsylvania?  Why can’t we reduce the size of the General Assembly (we have the largest full-time legislature of all 50 states).  Why can’t we eliminate so-called “gifts” by lobbyists to our representatives?   I believe it all stems from career politicians’ self-interest.

I’m not looking for a career.  I’ve had one.   I’m looking to make a difference by being an independent voice for our citizens who know that we can do better than what we see in Harrisburg now.   Join me and we can actually drain that swamp.

Steve Snell of Windsor Township is a Democratic candidate for Pa. House of Representatives, 94th District.