Rep. Christina Sappey
March 19, 2019
Recently, the PA House of Representatives passed a bill aimed at supporting first time homebuyers. While I appreciate the positive intention of this legislation, I cast a no vote for a number of reasons which I hope to clarify here.
I believe we should be helping young families that lack the additional resources to purchase their first home, not those that have family or others that can gift or loan large amounts toward a down payment. Secondly, there are large issues at hand for first time home buyers that the legislature continues to ignore. There has been no movement on property tax reform, or the growing student loan crisis that impacts these same young families heavily.
Our own Dept. of Revenue opposed this bill because they lack the resources to administrate such a law.
While running for office I promised that I would not abide business as usual in Harrisburg. I take the responsibility of voting in the interest of my constituents very seriously, which means even if I am the only person voting against something, it will likely be because we lack the financial or human resources to effectively implement a measure, or because my constituents will be negatively impacted. So, I again applaud the attempt to help first time home buyers, but I regret what will likely be more burdensome bureaucracy for those we attempted to aid.
March 12, 2019
Chesco, Delco lawmakers urge Wolf to halt Mariner pipeline operations
WEST CHESTER — Pennsylvania lawmakers representing 11 House and three Senatorial districts across Chester and Delaware counties have signed a letter to Gov. Tom Wolf asking him to impose a moratorium on the transmission of natural gas liquids products through the Mariner East pipeline system until the mandated protocols are in place for local responders to properly manage a pipeline emergency.
Chester County Emergency Services and local school districts along the pipeline, including Downingtown Area School District, Rose Tree Media School District and West Chester Area School District have requested Energy Transfer Partners’ subsidiary SPLP to provide its Emergency Response Plan for the Mariner East project, which the responders and school districts need to complete their comprehensive All Hazards Emergency Response Plans and fulfill their statutory requirements under Title 35 of state law.
The letter urges Wolf to preserve the health, welfare and safety of constituents who live, work and raise their families in the high-consequence areas of Chester and Delaware counties within the impact radius of Mariner East. The pipeline also runs through Berks County.
“We have pipelines currently transporting highly volatile products through our communities, and our local first responders are not able to adequately plan their emergency response or mitigate our risk because the operator has failed to cooperate with repeated requests for their Emergency Response Plan,” said state Rep. Danielle Friel Otten, D-Chester County. “Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco are risking a catastrophe, which is a criminal offense.
“I am grateful to my colleagues for their collaboration on this request. The bipartisan support for this moratorium underscores how important it is to take every possible step to ensure the safety of our communities and our first responders.”
The letter was signed by the following state representatives Rep. Steve Barrar, R-60 of Concord; Rep. Carolyn Comitta, D-156 of West Chester; Friel Otten, D-155 of West Whiteland; Rep. Kristine Howard, D-167; Rep. Tim Hennessey, R-26; Rep. John Lawrence, R-13; Rep. Chris Quinn, R-168 of Middletown; Christina Sappey, D-158; Rep. Melissa Shusterman, D-157; Rep. Dan Williams, D-74; and Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D-161, as well as state Sens. Andy Dinniman, D-19; Katie Muth, D-44; and Tim Kearney, D-26 of Swarthmore.
Mariner East spokesmen did not return a call for comment as yet.
The company is building and operating the controversial Mariner East project, transporting volatile liquid gases across the full width of Pennsylvania, from the Marcellus Shale region to a facility in Marcus Hook.
Residents have opposed the project for years, saying the pipeline never should have been routed through densely populated neighborhoods, in close proximity to schools and senior centers.
Mariner East 1, which is a decades old smaller pipe that has been retrofitted to carry the new materials, has been shut down for weeks since a sinkhole formed in a Chester County neighborhood for the second time.
Mariner East 2 came online the last week of December, albeit not in the form Energy Transfer originally proposed. Mariner East 2 was proposed as a 20-inch pipe, but because of constant delays and other problems, Energy Transfer plugged in a hybrid version of several smaller pipes to fill in the gaps. Completion of the full Mariner East 2 pipeline now likely will not take place until 2020.
Mariner East 2x remains under construction.
In February the state Department of Environmental Protection halted all permits for the Mariner East 2 project, saying Energy Transfer had failed to take proper actions after an accident that caused an explosion in western Pennsylvania.
Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan last month announced he was launching a criminal investigation into the construction of Mariner East 2, noting his belief that state officials had not adequately protected citizens rights and safety. He now is impaneling an investigative grand jury to hear testimony from witnesses and review documents.
February 14, 2019
Sappey appointed to Local Government Commission
KENNETT SQUARE, Feb. 14 – State Rep. Christina Sappey today announced she was appointed to the General Assembly’s Local Government Commission.
The commission, created in 1935, is a bicameral, bipartisan legislative service agency that provides the General Assembly with research and analysis on matters affecting local governments.
“I’m honored to receive this appointment. I am ready to join my colleagues on the commission and eager to learn from them,” said Sappey, D-Chester. “Local governments play a huge role in our everyday lives, and I look forward to tackling some of our larger, more complex local government issues in a way that best serves local governments and the taxpayers.”
Sappey’s record of working with residents, local governments and state agencies to address traffic concerns, protect natural resources and preserve open space will allow her to contribute to the commission’s vision of bridging gaps between constituents and local governments throughout the commonwealth.
Sappey was recommended for the commission by House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody and appointed by House Speaker Mike Turzai. The commission is made up of five House members and five Senate members.
Sappey also was appointed to the House Local Government Committee, as well as the Agriculture and Rural Affairs, and Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness committees.
February 8, 2019
Legislators respond to DEP decision to suspend review of Energy Transfer permits
HARRISBURG, Feb. 8 – State Reps. Carolyn Comitta, Danielle Friel Otten, Kristine Howard, Leanne Krueger, Christina Sappey and Melissa Shusterman met with Gov. Tom Wolf and his staff last week to address the growing problems with Energy Transfer’s Mariner East project.
Today, those representatives have issued the following statement regarding news that the Department of Environmental Protection has suspended review of permit applications and other pending approvals for Energy Transfer due to noncompliance:
“We applaud the unwavering efforts of community members who continue to make their voices heard and draw attention to serious hazards and areas of oversight that need improvement.
“The action taken by the Department of Environmental Protection today is a step in the right direction.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to have a seat at the table for our communities and we look forward to continued collaboration with our state agencies and the governor’s staff to put the interests of the people of Pennsylvania first and foremost. There is still a lot of work to be done and we will use every tool available to us to make our community’s voice heard.”
The same six representatives sent a letter to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission earlier this week, urging action related to a recent sinkhole along the Mariner East 1 pipeline. The letter can be found here. Source
January 29, 2019
Rep. Christina Sappey
I have family in Sandy Hook, CT, and gun safety is a major issue I’m fighting for in Harrisburg. I’m tired of waiting. It’s time to act now, it’s time to save lives.
January 28, 2019
Sappey named to House Agriculture, Local Government and Veterans committees
HARRISBURG, Jan. 28 – State Rep. Christina Sappey today announced she was appointed to the Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Local Government and Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness committees.
“These committees handle matters that are of great importance to members of our community,” said Sappey, D-Chester. “I’m looking forward to serving on these committees and ensuring that residents of Chester County are well-represented on issues that would affect them.”
The Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee reviews bills affecting the state’s agriculture industry, with oversight of the Department of Agriculture, the Farm Show Bureau and more.
The Local Government Committee reviews legislation that would affect counties, cities, boroughs, and townships, and includes issues such as statewide zoning regulations and municipal pensions.
The Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee reviews bills related to veterans and the military as well as disaster preparedness and emergency response. The committee has oversight of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. Source
January 18, 2019
Sappey to host public forums on bridging political division
HARRISBURG, Jan. 18 – Rep. Christina Sappey announced that she will hold two public forums this month for discussion on bridging political division.
The forums, titled “Let’s Talk: Working to Bridge Division,” will focus on finding compromise, communicating and working together during a time of political divide. Dr. Kirby Wycoff, associate professor and co-director of the School Psychology Program at Eastern University, will offer a presentation.
“These events are a great chance to bring together the diverse voices in our community and learn how we can best work together, and I look forward to a great discussion,” said Sappey, D-Chester.
The forums will be held as follows.
Southern District Event
6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24
New Garden Township Building
299 Starr Road
Landenberg, PA 19350
Northern District Event
6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31
East Bradford Township Building
666 Copeland School Road
West Chester, PA 19380
In the event of inclement weather, event updates will be posted on Sappey’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/repsappey, and sent out by email. Those interested can sign up for her email updates on her website, www.pahouse.com/sappey.
Anyone with questions should call Sappey’s office at 717-772-9973 or email RepSappey@pahouse.net. Source
January 5-12, 2019 PA Farm Show
Rep. Sappey visits PA Farm Show
Annnnd finally… mushrooms! Our neck of the woods is the mushroom capital of the world
Woodmobile! PA is the largest producer of hardwood in the US. And we plant twice the number of trees we harvest.
Wonderful conversation with our amazing friends at PennVet.
This draft horse gets cleaned up for his performance tomorrow.
Sappey makes history; says she will ‘hit ground running’
State Rep. Christina Sappey of West Bradford is sworn in to represent Pennsylvania’s 158th Legislative District during a Capitol ceremony. SUBMITTED PHOTO
HARRISBURG—State Rep. Christina Sappey of West Bradford was sworn in to represent Pennsylvania’s 158th Legislative District during a Capitol ceremony last week. She defeated Republican incumbent Eric Roe in the recent general election.
Sappey is the first woman and first Democrat to represent the 158th District. The 158th District covers East Bradford, Avondale, East Marlborough, London Britain, New Garden, Newlin, West Bradford, West Marlborough and sections of West Goshen.
“I know who to go to get something done and hit the ground running,” Sappey said.
Sappey said she will work hard to make positive changes for her constituents.
“I hope to help accelerate Pennsylvania’s move to renewable energy, encourage a growth economy that creates family-sustaining jobs, properly fund the Department of Environmental Protection so that it can do its job, end the growing inequity in education funding, promote gun violence prevention measures and foster accountability and transparency in state government,” said Sappey, D-Chester.
“I’m proud to be a part of this new class of legislators. We are committed to changing business as usual. We are a diverse group and are more representative of the people.”
Carolyn Comitta, a Democrat representing the 156th Legislative District, said she hopes to sit next to Sappey on the house floor at the state Capitol.
“Chris has been involved with the state Legislature for over 12 years in both the House and Senate,” Comitta said. “She knows more than most people know about how to get things done in the Legislature. She knows all of the various local and Harrisburg stakeholders and she’s worked with them every day, day-in and day-out. She is completely prepared to serve as an excellent representative of the people.”
Sappey wants to boost public education.
“We need to close the equality gap statewide and we need to properly fund basic education,” Sappey said. “Under Gov. Wolf we have restored many of the major cuts made by Gov. Corbett, but we need to do more to prepare our kids to work in the 21st Century.”
Sappey is a proponent of affordable and accessible health care.
“Right now it’s too expense,” Sappey said about health care. “We need to make sure everyone is in the risk pool in order to keep costs down.
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives swearing-in ceremony corresponds with the first Tuesday in January every two years. This year marks Pennsylvania’s 203rd legislative session.
October 30, 2018
Roe, Sappey debate in West Bradford
WEST BRADFORD—State Rep. Eric Roe, a Republican, and challenger Christina Sappey, a Democrat, addressed more than two dozen issues at Monday night’s League of Women Voter’s 158th Legislative District candidate debate at the township building.
Almost 200 voters packed the room and heard both candidates discuss diverse subjects including, the minimum wage, legalization of marijuana and gun control, during the 100-minute debate. Barbara Lathroum moderated.
Roe and Sappey discussed health care.
Roe said the health system in England where he went to school and met his wife is not always equal.
He supports tort reforms in a bid to limit malpractice suits.
Sappey said that health care is too expensive for both employers and employees.
She said we should examine the costs.
“We need to have everyone in the risk pool,” Sappey said.
And what would happen if the Affordable Care Act was abolished?
“Throwing people out of the system is not going to make it cheaper,” Sappey said. “If we have no system in place, we’re all in trouble.”
Roe said he supports work requirements for those receiving government health insurance and he wants to “be responsible to the taxpayers.”
The candidates were asked about discrimination against the LGBT community.
“I support equal rights,” said Roe. He also said that some matters are not the government’s business.
Said Sappey: They are discriminated in the workplace and everywhere they go, we need to include them in certain equal rights measures.”
The candidates were asked about education.
“We don’t to have enough teachers in Pennsylvania right now,” Sappey said. “We need to do everything we can to ensure our Pennsylvania mandate for public education.”
Roe said he is a product of Chester County public schools.
He favors vouchers to support private schools.
“I believe in school choice,” he said. “Parents know best.”
The candidates both agreed that they would tax oil and gas companies.
“You only get one environment,” Roe said. “You don’t get a second chance.”
Sappey said that we need to have “robust protections” in place.
Would Sappey and Roe “reach across the aisle?”
“You have to make sure your party membership understands you are not a blank check,” Sappey said.
Roe said that compromise is a “good” word and not a “bad” word.
Roe and Sappey disagreed on abortion. Roe said he is pro-life and Sappey said we cannot understand unless we’re “standing in someone else’s shoes.
“It’s a private situation, the government should have no role,” Sappey said.
Sappey and Roe favor legalization of medical marijuana.
“I do not want to become California,” Roe said about legalizing recreational weed. “The last thing I want is for the culture of our community to change.”
Sappey and Roe also disagreed on a fair minimum wage. Roe said that a true minimum wage is zero.
“I want people to not just be focused on a minimum wage but good-paying jobs,” Roe said.
Sappey favors a $15 minimum wage.
“People deserve a living wage,” Sappey said. “We can’t expect people to work four jobs to pay the rent, feed themselves, educate themselves and raise the kids.”
Both candidates believe gun laws should be tightened up.
Sappey favors background checks, waiting periods, banning bump stocks, automatic weapons and large magazines.
Roe wants to close loopholes on background checks, limit the size of magazines, favors waiting periods and dealing with mental health and drug issues. Source
Oct 5, 2018
Retired State Rep Chris Ross introduces candidate Christina Sappey at reception for her.
PPA hosted a Diversity 🌈 and Choice reception to elect Christina Sappey to the PA House. The candidate (front row, center) spoke about her strong support of equality, diversity, LGBTQ rights and choice. Among the almost 40 guests were 4.5 married gay couples (-1 husband), Planned Parenthood PAC members, former PP Board members and the previous District Representative, Chris Ross, who introduced the candidate.
John Lilley, long-time Marshalton resident and legendary Hooters guitarist, introduced Rep. Ross with an eloquent, personal and impassioned discourse on inclusion and LGBTQ rights.
It was a perfect fall evening, held in the Marshalton Inn, a continuously operating 225 year old National Landmark. When elected, Christina will be the first woman ever to represent the PA 158th. Source – Facebook page
Chester County Fraternal Order of Police Endorses Christina Sappey PA 158
CHRISTINA SAPPEY FOR STATE REPRESENTATIVE PA 158TH·
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2018
West Chester, PA–
The Chester County Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) is pleased to announce their endorsement of Christina Sappey for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives’ 158th legislative district.
“The Chester County Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police believes that our members and the citizens of Chester County will be well served by Ms. Sappey and we are therefore proud to endorse her for election.”
Chester County FOP has represented the interests of law enforcement officers across the 158th. The organization is crucial in meeting the needs of law enforcement members, including assisting injured, disabled, or sick members; supporting families of those killed in the line of duty; creating a countywide memorial service; and providing assistance to elderly or retired members. Furthermore, they advocate for the resources that officers need in order to protect communities across the state.
Christina is honored to receive an endorsement from an organization that is so instrumental in keeping Chester County residents safe. Additionally, she understands how important the needs of law enforcement officials are, from education, to resources, to representation.
October 10, 2018
Democratic candidates discuss issues at public forum
WEST GOSHEN — Christina Sappey, a candidate running for state representative for the 158th Legislative District, waited until the very end of the program to emphatically state what all five candidates at a forum had voiced earlier, to a lesser degree.
“Vote, vote, vote, vote, vote,” Sappey, a Democrat running against incumbent Republican Rep. Eric Roe, implored an audience of 150, at St. Paul’s Baptist Church, Monday night.
The forum was organized and run by the Chester County League of Women Voters and the West Chester Chapter of the NAACP.
During the 2½-hour forum, five Democratic candidates, all of whom are women, answered questions posed by the audience and event organizers about topics including, health care, water quality, literacy, business taxes and incarceration.
All the candidates in the county were invited. There will be a similar forum with different speakers at St. Paul’s, on Monday, Oct. 15, at 6:30 p.m.
Democratic state Rep. Carolyn Comitta is running against Republican Nick Deminski in the 156th District, and told the attentive audience to vote for people who share their values.
“Your state representative is your last stop from protecting all the people,” Comitta said. “Elect someone who gets it.
“Your vote is your voice.”
Kristine Howard is a Democrat running in the 167th District against incumbent Republican Rep. Duane Milne.
“We need to elect the right legislators,” she said, “We need to take back our power from some extremists.
“This is a really important election.”
Democrat Danielle Friel Otten is facing off against Republican Rep. Becky Corbin in the 155th District.
“Educate yourself about who is on the ballot, vote, and talk to your neighbors,” Friel Otten said.
Sappey said that it all depends on who the public votes for.
“It’s time for us to start electing people who are going to work together,” Sappey said.
Democrat Chrissy Houlahan is facing off against Republican Greg McCauley to fill the seat vacated by Republican U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello in what she said is the “new and improved” 6th Congressional District, referencing a state Supreme Court decision to draw new congressional districts after finding the state’s previous congressional map violated the state constitution due to partisan gerrymandering that favored Republicans over Democrats.
The business owner, MIT graduate, former teacher and veteran, listed health care, decent jobs, a great education and a safe planet as her priorities.
The candidates were asked about “reaching across the aisle.”
Friel Otten suggested that more women should be elected and that politics is not just a Democratic or Republican issue.
“We have the opportunity to look each other in the eye,” she said.
Said Comitta: “It’s all your perspective. It’s about being in this role for the right reason.”
Sappey was a stay-at-home mom and said becoming a state rep is not her dream job.
“You have to enter every conversation knowing that you have to give something up,” she said.
The candidates were asked about incarceration. Howard talked about “super long” prison sentences.
“We had more juvenile lifers than any other state,” Howard said. “We have a very, very harsh justice system in this state and prosecutors hold all the cards.”
The group of candidates talked about supporting small businesses.
Friel Otten said that when manufacturing goes overseas, people on “Main Street” can no longer exist.
“The burden of taxes is on the small business owner,” Friel Otten said. “Close the loopholes (for big businesses) and take the pressure off of small businesses.”
Sappey is a proponent of businesses.
“We need to make it more attractive for businesses to come to Pennsylvania,” Sappey said.
Comitta said that when you buy local, you make an investment in the community.
“For every dollar you spend in a local business, 68 cents goes back into the community,” Comitta said.
Education was also discussed.
“Our municipal government is in a position to choose between the youngest and oldest residents and that is a crime,” Friel Otten said.
Howard favors fair funding for schools.
“We know this is the right thing to do, we have the wrong people,” Howard said.
When asked about the natural gas boom and enacting an extraction tax, Comitta said Pennsylvania is “sitting on a gold mine.
“I’m not against people making a lot of money, but it needs to be done safely and cleanly and (any proposed tax) should be used for kids in schools.”
While Howard said the liquid gases need to be taxed, Friel Otten said that several alternatives should be addressed, such as, creation of siting agencies, oversight of out-of-state companies, and taking any new tax revenue to build renewable energy alternatives.
Sappey reiterated the need to vote for reps supporting the Affordable Care Act.
“Make sure we vote for people who understand how important this issue is — the costs are through the roof,” Sappey said.
St. Paul’s Pastor Wayne E. Croft Sr. welcomed the guests and said he was pleased that the NAACP and League of Women Voters had crafted a platform enabling voters to make informed decisions.
Cassandra Jones, NAACP chair for political action committee, said that the audience was pleased to ask questions, face-to-face.
Pamela Gray, president of the Chester County League of Women Voters appreciated the “very engaged candidates” and the turnout of prospective voters. Source
Oct 2, 2018
Chester County Press
Sappey Campaigning To End Harrisburg Gridlock
On a campaign that is focused on growth economy, responsible budgets, public education funding, environmental protection, women’s rights, healthcare and gun legislation, Democrat Christina Sappey is challenging Republican incumbent Eric Roe to become the next State Representative for the 158th District, which will be determined in an election on Nov. 6.
A 25-year resident of Chester County and the mother of three children who attended the Downingtown School District, Sappey is campaigning on the promise to bring an end to what she refers to on her website as political “gridlock, ineffectiveness and polarization” in Harrisburg. Defining herself as a “compassionate moderate,” Sappey is not new to state politics. She has served as Chief of Staff to former State Rep. Barbara McIlvaine Smith (D156), as Director of Legislative Initiatives to State Sen. Andy Dinniman (D19), and most recently, as Chief of Staff to State Rep. Carolyn Comitta (D156).
As stated on her website, Sappey believes that a budget is representative of an elected official’s priorities, and she will work to ensure that education and environmental protection are properly funded and implemented.
Here is a brief summary of where Sappey stands on key issues:
Sappey is running to stop irresponsible government budget cycles and spending.
Believing that a strong, reliable economy helps create jobs, Sappey said she will work to ensure that Pennsylvania is an attractive place to grow businesses that create self-sustaining jobs. With focus on the millennial generation – who she wrote will comprise 75 percent of the workforce in less than ten years – Sappey wants to supplement job growth with training and retention of talent.
In addition, Sappey wants to leverage robotic process automation (RPA) and machine learning to streamline government processes, and bring innovation, tech, and green businesses to Chester County, while preserving and supporting the agricultural industry.
Endorsed by the Pennsylvania State Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, Sappey supports the partnership of schools and local businesses to create job-ready vocational training programs for students at secondary and higher-educational levels.
Sappey wants to uphold the environmental protections mandated in the Pennsylvania State Constitution, to ensure that future generations will inherit a safe, healthy environment. She supports a science-based environmental policy, and stands for funding the Department of Environmental Protection, which she said has been critically underfunded for decades.
Sappey wants to enact a gas severance tax, champion renewable energy support policies that champion and incentivize renewable energy production, distribution, and research throughout Pennsylvania; curb plastic pollution by limiting plastic bags and single-use plastics; and promote open space preservation.
An advocate of public transportation, Sappey believes that funding the maintenance and infrastructure for public transportation and multi-modal transportation throughout Pennsylvania is critical in decreasing fossil fuels.
Endorsed by End Citizens United, Sappey supports fair-districting legislation at the state and national level, and also wants to stop irresponsible government budget cycles and spending. If the legislature does not pass a budget on time, Sappey believes that legislators should not be paid, and if elected, she has pledged to forego perks such as per diems, gifts, and a state car. She will also work towards campaign finance reform.
Gun Violence Prevention
While believing that the Second Amendment should be protected, Sappey said that “we must work together to re-interpret the intent of the founding fathers by balancing it with the reality of technology in the 21st Century.”
A Moms Demand Action Gun Sense candidate, Sappey supports common sense gun violence prevention legislation; implementing and enforcing stronger background checks; ensuring that domestic abusers and stalkers cannot get access to guns; closing the gun show loophole; creating mandatory waiting periods for gun purchases; raising the gun purchasing age; and banning assault-style weapons for civilians, bump stocks and high-capacity magazines.
Believing that healthcare is a universal human right, Sappey believes that pre-existing conditions should not exclude someone from receiving healthcare coverage. If elected, she will work to lower costs for small and mid-sized businesses, so that pre-existing conditions and mental healthcare support are affordable coverage options for businesses to offer.
Sappey also wants to enact a proactive, holistic, and compassionate approach that incorporates mental health conversations earlier in life, and to ensure that families and healthcare providers have the tools to do this.
Believing that the Trump Administration’s immigration policies are adversely affecting immigrant families in the 158th District, Sappey supports the idea that individuals, children, and families, if detained, should be treated humanely and given due process.
Sappey believes that government should not interfere or be involved in women’s personal healthcare decisions. In a July editorial in the Daily Local, Sappey wrote, “Until we end domestic violence, rape and sexual assault, incest, life-threatening genetic disorders, improper sex education, and high-poverty rates among women and families, women will be forced to confront pregnancies not of their own choosing. If we want to end abortion, we have to address and solve the above injustices that women face. Making abortion illegal will not stop it from happening.
“It is also critical to understand that if we ban legal abortion and offer no financial, health, family, emotional, and educational assistance to those forced to carry an unintended pregnancy, we put lives at significant risk. Without a commitment to holistically support the child, mother, and family after birth, it is imperative that government stay out of these extremely personal decisions.” Source
September 6, 2018
Chester County Leadership – Christina Sappey
As she battles one-term State Representative Eric Roe for the right to represent the 158th District in Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives, Christina Sappey spoke with VISTA Today about growing outside New York City, following a boyfriend to Pine Manor College outside of Boston, and transferring to Penn State before her junior year where she majored in Foreign Service.
Following graduation, Sappey entered Lord & Taylor’s executive training program where she learned to “work quickly, be decisive, and consider the big picture,” before returning to Pennsylvania and Chester County, where she served as Chief of Staff for Barb McIlvaine Smith and State Representative Carolyn Comitta.
Christina concludes the conversation by sharing the issues she would like to work on in Harrisburg, including the environment, public education funding, the state’s broken budgeting process, and gun violence prevention.
Where were you born and where did you grow up?
I was born the oldest of two children in Princeton, New Jersey and raised in Pocantico Hills, New York, right outside of New York City. It was an area very similar to Chester County. My mother was a school teacher, and my father worked for RCA as an international patent-license negotiator.
What memories do you have a growing up in Pocantico Hills?
Christina at 5 years old.
I was very fortunate to have two parents who loved each other. My brother and I never doubted how much they loved us. My maternal grandmother lived with us and we had a very strong relationship with her also. There was always music and laughter in our house.
We spent a lot of time outdoors when I was growing up. In the spring, I was outside picking lily of the valley and in the summers, I was picking raspberries, making mud pies and going to swim practice. My brother and I were always playing and building forts in the woods. In the winters, we skated on frozen ponds and went sledding. I had an ideal childhood.
What was your first job?
I had a few different jobs. I babysat from the time I was eleven years old through college. I also did some house cleaning and yard work. In the summers, I was a camp counselor at a nearby day camp. I commuted to Wall Street one summer to work in a corporate shareholder records department, so I had several different work experiences.
What lessons did you take from those jobs that stay with you today?
Between babysitting and being a camp counselor, I learned the power of people placing trust in you. People were entrusting their children to me. I understood how serious that was.
Did you ever not deliver on that trust?
I remember a time I was babysitting two kids and their dog got out of the house, and the kids ran out of the house after the dog. I was told not to let the dog out because there was a pond that the dog loved to swim in and he was a fluffy little white thing. Well, we ran out after the dog and got locked out of the house.
Luckily, my parents lived up the hill, so we were able to trek up to their house with the dirty dog, and my dad was able to get us back in the house.
That was a real lesson for me. The parents had entrusted their children and fluffy white dog to me, and it didn’t go that well!
What kind of music were you listening to in college?
Everything! My parents loved to dance so I would steal their swing albums. I also sang in choruses in middle school, high school and at church, so I enjoyed classical music and jazz. And in college, I loved Crosby Stills Nash and Young, James Taylor, Springsteen, The Police and anything classic rock at that time.
Did you play any sports in high school?
Christina horseback riding in high school
From a very young age, I was a competitive swimmer, played tennis and rode horses at a nearby show barn. Later in high school I was on the tennis team, played intramural soccer and field hockey and was on the cheerleading squad.
At one point, I had to make a choice between riding and swimming and I ended up choosing swimming. I was a better swimmer than rider! In swimming, I received numerous “most improved” or “best in age group” awards throughout the years. I swam to stay fit in college but did not compete.
Where did you go to College?
I went to Pine Manor College, a small women’s college in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts and then ended up transferring to Penn State.
Why Pine Manor?
I wanted to be in Boston because I was following a boyfriend who was in school there, something I would advise any young person now not to do! Pine Manor is a beautiful school, and because it is so small, I knew I’d grow as a student and a person during my time there. I went to a very small, competitive public high school and thrived in that small environment. I also still believe that women’s colleges provide tremendous value.
Why did you transfer to Penn State?
Originally, Pine Manor was a junior college, so a lot of people just left after two years even after it became a four-year college. I was very interested in international relations at the time. Pine Manor did not have international relations program, but there was a foreign service program I was very interested in at Penn State. Because my parents went to Penn State, I always had an affinity for the school.
What did you do when you graduated?
I went back to New York and worked in the fashion industry. I was recruited into the executive training program with Lord and Taylor. It was extremely challenging – fast paced, with a tremendous amount of time and financial pressure. I learned how to work quickly, be decisive, and consider the big picture. I also learned not to let negative input or circumstances affect me.
Who helped you get to where you are today?
Without a doubt, my parents. My father always impressed upon us the importance of listening, consensus building, and collaboration.
My mother always emphasized love, tolerance and inclusion. She was one of the first people to illustrate what it meant to accept everybody regardless of race, gender, religion, ethnicity or social standing. To this day, she is an extraordinarily loving and accepting person. It’s a big break to have parents that type of foundation.
I’ve also had the good fortune to work for and learn from successful, inspiring people. Ann Freedberg and Nancy Leary at Lord & Taylor were just brilliant people to work for. They were very tough. I think setting the bar high is one of the best things a boss can do for you.
Later on, Rep. Barb McIllvaine-Smith, Senator Andy Dinniman, and Rep. Carolyn Comitta – all set the bar very high and I knew I had to strive to deliver on their expectations and more importantly, the public’s.
Before you decided to run for State Rep, what did you do?
Christina with Representative Carolyn Committa.
I was Chief of Staff for Barb McIlvaine Smith during her time in office as State Representative. After that, I was Director of Legislative Initiatives for State Senator Andy Dinniman. Most recently, I served as Chief of Staff to State Representative Carolyn Comitta after she was elected.
What made you decide to run for State Rep?
I decided to run because I have been watching what’s going on in our state government for the last 12 years and it’s very discouraging. Year after year, I’ve seen our government become more polarized and dysfunctional.
Under the guise of fiscal responsibility, I’ve watched the legislature actually become irresponsible with our budget, and I just honestly felt like new people were needed to bring order back to our state government. I could see and hear the dissatisfaction of our citizens every day.
I believe at this point, with my comprehensive background in business, my non-profit and community experience, my ability to navigate and collaborate, my roles as a mother, wife and daughter to aging parents that I’m uniquely qualified for this job.
What Issues will you focus on if you win?
I’m going to focus on our two constitutional mandates – protecting the environment and providing thorough and efficient public education. We have a constitutional responsibility to deliver these things and I believe we could be doing much more in both areas.
I also believe that our budget process and our economic strategies are failing us. We need some government reforms, such as no budget, no pay. There’s a lot we could do to grow the economy here in Pennsylvania too. I have a lot of ideas about how we could do that statewide.
To alleviate the property tax burden our senior citizens face every day, we need to grow the economy and bring that revenue in statewide. By attracting new industries that would create family sustaining jobs, we would generate new revenue that would allow us to uphold our constitutional mandate for clean air, clean water, clean soil, and the best public education we can offer our students.
What are your ideas for growing Pennsylvania’s economy?
I believe it’s very important to support our mid-sized and small businesses, as well as our larger corporations. We need to make it easier to start and grow a small business here and with our aging population we have a great opportunity in the service sector as well.
I also believe that it’s time to encourage businesses that provide environmental services that will help us reach our carbon emissions goals. Finally, there are many ways that we can automate functions to reduce costs in government and I hope to fight for implementation of these statewide.
What are other important issues you would like to work on should you win?
I’ve spoken to a lot of folks in the 158th District, and throughout Chester County, who are tired of waiting for gun violence prevention. Our legislature has been very slow to move on this. I believe the legislation removing guns from domestic abusers should have been brought up in the House last year, but the Speaker didn’t want to run the bill. Lives have undoubtedly been lost as a result of this delay.
The other issues that are very important to people in the 158th District are a woman’s right to choose and access to affordable health care. These beliefs in the 158th are not currently being represented.
Finally, Christina, what is the best piece of advice you ever received?
My dad always told me to, “work hard and be good.” He always ended everything with “be good.” He died two years ago.
Representative Carolyn Comitta said something to me this past winter that is still written on my kitchen chalkboard. She said, “Fear and regret are the thieves of tomorrow.” She may have been quoting someone else, but I quote her with that one.
Carolyn’s quote had a large part to do with what I’m doing now – you can overcome your fear, but you’ll always carry regret. I didn’t want to regret this moment. I have an opportunity to represent the people of the 158th accurately and with integrity, and I want to do that.
Jan 31, 2018
Gun Sense Chester County gets lowdown on state legislative process
WESTTOWN >> About 40 members of grassroots organization Gun Sense Chester County heard state Rep. Carolyn Comitta’s, D-156, Chief of Staff Christina Sappey describe how legislation is drafted and passed at the state level, Monday, at the Church of the Loving Shepherd.
Prior to Sappey’s presentation, Ann Colby-Cummings, Gun Sense chairperson, said that the organization is “all volunteer, non-partisan and not for profit, working to reduce the tragic toll that guns are taking.”
The group welcomes both gun owners and non-gun owners. Members listened intently to Sappey. The organization regularly engages with legislators and their staff.
“What can we do that takes a number of positions into account?” Colby-Cummings said.
During her presentation, long term political aide Sappey jokingly referred to the creation of legislation as “how sausage is made.”
Most legislation is drafted by the people in control, Sappey said. The House and Senate are now controlled by Republicans, while the governor and Comitta are Democrats.
“When you are in the majority, you drive the bus,” Sappey said.
A bill can take as long as five two-year terms for representatives, or even as much as 10 years, to become a law.
The process is very deliberate and issues are closely studied.
“It can take years and you can still have hiccups if you don’t take your time,” Sappey said.
While it usually takes hundreds of people to “put boots on the ground” anyone or any group, such as Gun Sense, can advocate for passage of a bill.
“It all starts with people like you,” Sappey told Gun Sense members. “It all starts at ground level.”
Partisan committees meet and tinker with the language, while the state constitution is closely examined, as well as other bills.
“We need to know what is already on the books,” Sappey said.
While a prime sponsor is the legislator who “puts their neck out there,” Sappey said. “Co-sponsors act behind the scenes to encourage their fellow legislators to gather support.”
Bills evolve and change over time.
“You have no idea what’s going to happen to the bill when you let it out of the box,” Sappey said.
Committee members can decide to fast track or table a discussion on a particular bill.
Appropriations Committee members will also examine how much a bill will cost and what numbers will be fed into the budget.
Caucus members discuss, learn and “go back and forth, getting pushback from other members,” Sappey said. “It’s challenging to work with legislation.
“It’s not always a smooth process, but there is a process.”
A bill needs to pass three times through both the House and Senate, and then the governor will either sign or veto it.
Sappey encouraged all Gun Sense members and the general public to call and write their legislators.
“We want to know what is in your head and heart,” she said. “We want to hear from you.”
At the tail end of the program, Gun Sense Legislative Lead Starr Cummin Bright discussed various bills now churning through the legislative process.
The organization is opposed to the federal bill concerning “mandatory concealed carry reciprocity,” which would allow expanded carry rights for gun owners when crossing state lines.
The group favors banning “bump stocks,” which allow for conversion of a semi-automatic to an automatic weapon like was used at the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas. Source
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