Steve Santarsiero turned in 1,200 signatures last week to announce his intention to run for his own seat representing District 10 in the Pennsylvania State Senate. He first won election to that seat in 2018, defeating Marguerite Quinn with 52.5 percent of the votes.
Before that, in 2016, Santarsiero, a Democrat, ran for Congress for the 8th District, where, despite an endorsement by Bararck Obama, he was soundly defeated by Brian Fitzpatrick.
Santarsiero, a former teacher in the Bensalem school district, has been an effective senator, serving on the environment, consumer, intergovernmental operations and appropriations committees and well as being minority chair of the judiciary committee. He strongly backed Gov. Wolf on vaccinations and mask mandates in the schools, when that was an unpopular position in Bucks County.
He is most proud of two things: the work he did, along with Rep. John Galloway, to bring redevelopment to the1,800-acre former U.S. Steel site in Falls Township. The first stage, the building of three warehouses, is nearly complete, with two of the giant warehouses constructed. The third building is underway. The developer, Missouri-based Northpoint Development, last month received approval from Falls Township for the second phase: the building of three more warehouses.
The entire project is expected to bring more than 10,000 permanent jobs when completed. Now that Bristol Township and Bristol Borough have been added to District 10, Santarsiero hopes to help develop business opportunities there as well. He also helped bring a biotechnology center to Buckingham Township, using his combined seats on appropriations, environment and the intergovenmental committees.
But, he considers his most important achievement something he did through his work on the judiciary committee, along with its chair, Republican Senator Lisa Baker: the passage of Kayden’s Law, otherwise known Senate Bill 78. This was in response to the murder of Kayden Mancuso of Lower Makefield by her father while on an unsupervised visit after a year-long, contentious custody battle.
Although there had been many credible charges of the father’s violent behavior against others, and recorded mental health issues, a judge ruled that he could have his daughter stay with him every other weekend. Bucks County Democratic Reps. Perry Warren and Tina Davis helped steer the bill through the House. All that waits now is a signature by Governor Wolf.
Kayden’s law would allow for more legal protection for minors “by adding to the evidence judges must consider in making custody and visitation decisions, establishing an evidentiary hearing to thoroughly vet allegations of abuse, and urging the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts to implement an ongoing, evidence-based training program for judges and other relevant court personnel regarding child abuse and domestic violence.”
There were naysayers on the Facebook page Kayden’s Law, saying that the law would make it easier for mothers to deny men the right to see their children.
Senator Santarsiero said, “Parental rights should not outweigh the safety of the children involved, especially in cases where evidence of abuse or unstable behavior are so prevalent.”