Marlene Sebastianelli is the only candidate for senate that has the real-life professional experience to know that there is room for much improvement when it comes to vaccinating our residents and staff in nursing homes.
Earlier in 2021, there was a great effort to host clinics in nursing homes to vaccinate all the staff and residents that wanted protection from the Covid-19 virus. These clinics were conducted largely by external pharmacies that brought staff and vaccines to the facilities to administer vaccinations. This was a great start toward protecting our most vulnerable and the staff that takes care of them, but it only represents a beginning of the process.
The one thing that nobody else is talking about yet is the fact that nursing homes do not have the onsite ability to vaccinate new staff and new residents that have been hired or admitted after the vaccination clinics that have already taken place. Most, if not all facilities, do not have vaccine on hand nor the ability to store it properly even if they did. This means many residents and staff are not protected, which will only lead to future outbreaks and deaths in places that were already the hardest hit throughout the pandemic.
This is a practical healthcare problem that can be addressed by directing relief funding toward a program that would ensure nursing homes have what they need to continue protecting their residents and staff. We need someone like Marlene Sebastianelli, someone with real-life professional experience to identify problems others do not see while offering practical solutions to fix them. This is just one example of what real leadership should look like in our next senator, but it is exactly what Pennsylvanians need to keep us on the path back to normal and out of the darkest days of the pandemic.
Marlene Sebastianelli supports the elimination of per diem payments to government officials. Per diems payments are allowances designed to cover daily expenses for government officials that require no proof of expenditure to receive. As a former Regional Vice President of Operations in a large healthcare network, Marlene has been responsible for overseeing expense reports for hundreds of employees, a process that required staff to submit receipts for legitimate expenses if they wanted to be reimbursed. Marlene believes that if working people can manage to hang onto receipts for their expenses, government officials should also be able to manage it.
The problem with per diems being allowed is that it has become a way for legislators to pad out their already generous salaries with no accountability. These payments can often be as much as thousands of dollars of taxpayer money being given to officials with no proof of incurring expenses.
Egregious use of per diems is, in fact, a present concern in the race for senate in the 22nd district. Marty Flynn, one of Marlene’s opponents, once campaigned on opposition to taking such payments; however, in June of this year, it was reported by the Scranton Times that Marty Flynn took $19,103 in the year that ended on June 30, 2019.
As someone who works closely with the elderly in our community, Marlene knows that $19,103 is a lot of money to taxpayers. In fact, that is more money than the average social security recipient receives in the district for an entire year, and that is an injustice that cannot be allowed to go on.
Marlene Sebastianelli believes that legislators should be reimbursed for expenses incurred while doing business, but she also believes that they should submit receipts and only be reimbursed for what they spend. As such, she vows to not only not take per diems, but also to work for their abolition.
Marlene Sebastianelli supports bi-partisan efforts that promote the Growing Greener III program. In March of this year, Republican Senator John R. Gordner and Bob Mensch circulated a co-sponsorship memo that Marlene would sign her name to if elected to be your next senator.
This proposed legislation would distribute $500 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan to protect “Pennsylvania’s water, land, forests, and other natural resources; stimulate economic growth in our communities and improve the quality of life for all Pennsylvanians.” This funding would be distributed to three departments—the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and the Department of Agriculture, and it will not only add much needed funding to protect our natural resources, but also create job and economic growth in agriculture and tourism.
While there is some question as to whether funds from the American Rescue Plan can be used for this effort, the aim and goal of the legislation is the kind of common-sense collaboration that Pennsylvania needs to protect it environment while also growing its economy.
Marlene Sebastianelli believes wholeheartedly in the need for term limits on elected officials. Being a public official should not be a career; it should be time spent serving the needs of the people. We have all seen what comes from limitless congressional terms for state officials—career politicians who serve the needs of their large donors and lobbyists rather than the needs of the public.
Marlene Sebastianelli is not looking for a career in politics. She has already developed a career for herself, both as a trusted expert in long-term healthcare and as a successful small business owner. Marlene is responding to a need for people-focused representation at a time when it is most needed. Because she is free from the obligations instituted by the polarizing party candidates she is running against, she is not bound by the types of strings pulling on those men behind the scenes. This will allow Marlene to serve residents and small business owners, who often get left behind by career politicians, who focus more on filing campaign war chests than the people they represent.
Typical politicians always talk about lowering your taxes when they ask for your vote. When you pay attention, though, you will notice they very rarely propose any actual ideas on how they will do that while maintaining or improving necessary government functions.
Both of my opponents have increased your tax burden after making campaign promises to the contrary.
I believe it is important as a candidate to not just tell you what you want to hear, but also tell you how I plan to do it.
To begin, one fact is inescapable—Pennsylvania provides tremendous natural resources and services to neighboring states and foreign countries. Carrying these burdens gives us the opportunity of new revenue sources that are not currently being taken advantage of here as they are in other states, even Republican ones.
Clearly, we have a responsibility to not only continue to fund our schools and our infrastructure at the level we are now, but to also improve these areas; however, the burden for this can no longer rest solely on you, the residential taxpayer.
Out-of-state tipping fees for imported garbage must be increased. We must initiate volume-based taxes on companies that export Pennsylvania’s natural gas out-of-state and out-of-country and implement impact fees for the energy Pennsylvania produces and transmits to other states. We also must follow the lead of our neighboring states to legalize and tax recreational marijuana.
We can no longer allow you, the taxpayers of Pennsylvania, to fund better schools and government services in other states and other countries while continuing to pay ever-increasing taxes.