Letter to the Editor

Today’s headlines are a catalog of atrocities. Seven-year-old Kayden Mancuso is killed by her father in a murder-suicide. The Catholic Church in Pennsylvania used a “playbook” to keep child sexual abuse by priests secret.

When these things happen, people ask what can be done. I ask myself the same: what can I as a state representative do to stop these horrors from occurring?

There are many things we can do, but there’s one big thing standing in the way – Big Money in politics. Truly, Big Money has given us a wholly undemocratic system of government which has failed to protect the most vulnerable.

If not for big moneyed special interests, the legislature would have already, among other things: Replaced partisan judicial selections with a merit selection system for statewide appellate court judges; Urged the United States Attorney General to initiate a comprehensive, nationwide investigation into allegations of child sex abuse within the Catholic Church; Required domestic abusers to relinquish weapons within 48 hours, instead of the now 60 days, and turn their weapons over to proper law enforcement entities instead of to a family member; Specified when higher penalties for failure to report suspected child abuse apply; Clarified that non-disclosure agreements do not prevent victims of child sexual abuse from sharing the facts of their abuse with police or testifying about the abuse in court; and Removed time limits for victims of childhood sexual abuse, past and present, to get justice through lawsuits and criminal charges.

Big Money is undeniably the reason these commonsense measures haven’t passed the legislature. At this time when corruption is seemingly everywhere, I urge people to join me in the fight to get rid of Big Money in politics. Good places to start are campaign finance reform and overturning the Supreme Court ruling (Citizens United) that gave big corporations “people” status. Let’s fight together for a better Pennsylvania.

State Rep. Helen Tai (D-178)

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