Times 2022 election questionnaire: Christina Sappey, 158th District

Christina Sappey

It is time again — for the fourth straight election cycle — for The Times election questionnaire for legislative candidates — your chance to get an unfiltered look at candidates’ views on various issues. The questions were sent out in September to both major parties in the county, asking them to be distributed to the individual campaigns. As always, the answers are not edited and run as submitted. They will be run in the order they are submitted and all that are sent in will be run in a timely fashion.

  1. Was there widespread election fraud in Pennsylvania in 2020? Did Joe Biden fairly win the commonwealth? If you think there was fraud, explain in detail, specifically where there was fraud in your opinion. Also, should counties, such as Chester, be allowed to pre-canvass and do early counts on mail-in ballots? Explain why or why not.

There was not widespread election fraud in Pennsylvania in 2020, and Joe Biden fairly won the Commonwealth. I agree with the County Commissioners Association of PA (CCAP), which represents all PA counties, that increasing time to prepare mail-in ballots for scanning would help expedite results. Without this additional time, we will continue to see long waits for results after elections. It’s important to note that Chester County Voter Services has the resources to ensure a safe and secure election, but many PA counties struggle to hire and fund election operations. In order to implement secure and efficient election operations, I believe the state should fund county voter services equally. 

  1. In light of the Dobbs ruling this year by the U.S. Supreme Court, abortion rights are now left to the individual states. Do you support adding restrictions to the current Pennsylvania law?

Politicians should not have a say in personal health decisions, and we should protect, not restrict reproductive freedoms.

  1. Gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano has proposed slashing funding to public schools by as much as 50%. Do you support this concept and if so, how would local school districts pay to educate kids? If you don’t support this, do you feel public schools are underfunded, and if so, where would you find revenue to boost state contributions?

This year, I worked with legislators to pass the bipartisan state budget which increased education funding by $1.8 billion across the commonwealth and $12 million in the 158th district. When the state adequately funds education we can have strong schools without increasing local property taxes.

  1. Once again, a House bill would propose ending gifts and perks for legislators. Where do you stand on this bill? Is it appropriate for legislators to take gifts— trips and so on — from those lobbying them on various issues?

 I fully support gift ban legislation and have co-sponsored it.

  1. Bringing back a questions from 2020 (as the situation is largely unchanged) Pennsylvania is still 47th by some measures in funding higher education — many other state schools charge less for out of state students than Pa. schools charge for in state students. Is the state underfunding our higher education institutions?

 In PA, we have a state system of higher education (PASSHE) and a state-related system (Pitt, Penn State, Temple, and Lincoln Universities). We are not adequately funding either, making higher education in PA more costly to attend for both in and out of state students. If having a system of higher education is a priority for PA, we need to fund it.

  1. Tom Wolf and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (who is currently the Democratic U.S. Senate nominee) have come out strongly for legalization of marijuana for adults (and expunging records for those with possession convictions). Where do you stand on this issue?

There is a lot of regulatory work to be done at the federal and state level before we would be able to safely legalize recreational marijuana for adults. I don’t believe we’re ready.

  1. We’ve seen claims by some candidates that police are underfunded, resulting in rising crime. Should local municipalities be expected to pay more of the costs of State Police if they do not have local police? Additionally, does the state need to find a new funding mechanism for law enforcement funding, either locally or statewide?

Law enforcement needs to vary tremendously across the state. My opinion is that we need to break ourselves of the “Rob Peter to pay Paul” way we appropriate funding at the state level. I think this is why we see the inadequacies that exist.

  1. With the growth of gun violence in the commonwealth in recent years, do you support changes to gun safety laws in Pennsylvania?

I support passing common sense gun violence prevention legislation and have introduced legislation to provide gun safety training for first time purchasers. I am a Moms Demand Action Gun Sense candidate and will continue my work to prevent gun violence.

  1. Fracking and the Mariner East II pipeline are increasingly becoming controversial in Chester County, especially after a number of events — including discharge into Marsh Creek State Park. Has the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) properly supervised the pipeline construction? Also, where do you stand on fracking? Should it be halted in the state?

After the discharge into Marsh Creek State Park, I joined colleagues calling for permits to be pulled and a halt to construction. The Department of Environmental Protection has been unable to properly supervise this project in large part because they are so severely understaffed and have been for many years.

  1. Are Pennsylvania’s protections for the LGBTQ community adequate? Do you support existing gay marriage rights?

I strongly support adding the LGBTQ+ community to our state human rights protection act.  Currently, there are no comprehensive statewide nondiscrimination laws for LGBTQ+ people in Pennsylvania. LGBTQ+ people should not be subject to housing or employment discrimination as they are now in parts of Pennsylvania. I also strongly support gay marriage rights.

  1. Is there an issue in Pennsylvania you feel does not get enough attention that you plan to highlight if elected?

Over the last several years, I have heard from an increasing number of families dealing with mental health issues affecting their school aged children. These issues were exacerbated during the pandemic. I am working with a team of stakeholders and will continue to fight for the solutions our families and schools so desperately need. 

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