State Representative Steve Santarsiero of Bucks County announced his candidacy yesterday for the Congressional seat occupied by retiring legislator Mike Fitzpatrick. The Eight Congressional District comprises most of Bucks and includes a large chunk of Northeast Philadelphia. Prior to Fitzpatrick it was held by Patrick Murphy. Kevin Strauss ran unsuccessfully last year.
Santarsiero is a proven, solid progressive with good liberal values. He is strongly pro-choice and supports Planned Parenthood. He ran for Bucks County Commissioner prior to becoming a State Representative and has distinguished himself as a progressive voice in Harrisburg.
From his campaign:
PA State Representative, Steve Santarsiero (D-31), filed his statement of candidacy this week in preparation for a run for Congress in 2016 in the 8thCongressional district seat being vacated by Congressman Mike Fitpzatrick. Santarsiero is a dedicated public servant committed to the community who has demonstrated his ability to win seats previously held by Republicans. A more formal announcement will come later in the year.
After watching the Twin Towers collapse in 2001 from his office window, Santarsiero left his job at a prominent law firm to become a high school teacher in the Bensalem Township School District. He inspired his students to get involved in their community and led by example through organizing residents to stop the Matrix development, a proposed big-box shopping center in his home town of Lower Makefield. That experience led him to run for Township Supervisor in 2003. He won with 55% of the vote, beating a long-time incumbent and becoming the first Democrat to serve on the Lower Makefield Board in 18 years and only the second in recent memory. He later helped secure the first ever Democratic majority on the Board and became its chairman.
In 2008, Steve Santarsiero won an open seat in the Pennsylvania state house that had been held by a Republican since it was created in 1992. As a state legislator, Steve earned a reputation as a reformer when he repeatedly turned down legislative perks, including per diems, state cars and free health care; pushed for campaign finance reform; wrote what became the House’s new ethics rules on political activity; and became a leader on a variety of critical issues from gun safety to protecting our water and the environment to giving PA residents priority for state contracts.
“I’m excited to start preparing a campaign to represent the people of Bucks and Montgomery Counties in Congress,” Santarsiero said. “It’s time we make Washington accountable to our citizens. I will make it a priority to focus on keeping the middle class families of the 8th District secure while helping to grow our economy, create jobs and bring real reform to Washington.”
State Representative Santarsiero and his wife, Ronni, have lived in Bucks County for 19 years. They have three children, Nancy (17), Billy (15), and Johnny (11).
Former Congresswoman, Allyson Schwartz, who like Santarsiero served in the state legislature before running for Congress said, “Steve Santarsiero’s entry into the race is great news for the 8th District and for our Democratic Party. His broad support among Republicans, Democrats, and independent voters will make him a formidable candidate.”
John Cordisco, Chairman of the Bucks County Democratic Committee, and another former state legislator, echoed Rep. Schwartz’s optimism.
“Steve can win this seat. He just won re-election to the state house by a landslide in a swing district in what turned out to be a very bad year for Democrats,” Cordisco explained. “He has a clear track record of winning in a tough district, and that’s what we will need to prevail in the 2016 congressional race.”