Senator Steve Santarsiero Issues an Open Letter to the Pennsylvania State Senate in Response to Senator Doug Mastriano’s Attack on the Rainbow Room

BUCKS COUNTY – January 24, 2023 – State Senator Steve Santarsiero issued the following open letter to all members of the Pennsylvania State Senate in response to a recent memo by State Senator Doug Mastriano proposing legislation and in which he attacked Planned Parenthood’s Rainbow Room of Bucks County.   

“Dear Colleagues, 

In the 12 years that I have served in the General Assembly, I do not recall ever writing in response to a co-sponsorship memo, or any other member doing so for that matter.  But after receiving the gentleman from Franklin County’s memo late yesterday regarding “drag events”, I felt compelled to respond.  

While I disagree with the gentleman’s proposal as a matter of policy, I take particular exception to his distorted characterization of the Rainbow Room’s Queer Prom, a dance specifically arranged for LGBTQ+ youth in Bucks County.   

The Rainbow Room, which Planned Parenthood established over 20 years ago to be a safe place for LGBTQ+ youth to come together and build self-esteem, first held the prom in February 2020.  I was at that event, both as an elected official sponsoring it and as a parent (our younger son had come out as gay about 8 months before and was excited to attend the prom with his friends).  Due to the pandemic, the Rainbow Room had to cancel the prom in 2021, but was able to hold it again this past fall.  While family weekend at our younger son’s college prevented me from attending that prom, I once again agreed to sponsor the dance.  Its organizers sent me a video of it later.   

What I observed in person in 2020 – and again by watching the video of the 2022 prom – was a large group of teenagers having fun.  What struck me, in fact, was that they could have been kids – gay or straight – at any school in the country.  For the most part, they danced with the same awkwardness as any other teenager – I say that endearingly as someone who even in late middle-age is still awkward on the dance floor.  What was apparent was that each one of them was happy.  They were happy to be with their friends and happy to be in a loving environment where it was OK to be themselves.  

It is an important point.  Many of these students do not feel accepted by their peers – although it has been my experience both as a teacher and a parent that the younger generations are far more open to them than older ones – and at times by adults, which, sadly, can include family members.  Indeed, the Central Bucks School District, where many of these students attend school, is presently led by a board majority that has created an educational environment that is openly hostile to LBGTQ+ youth.  So, having an organization like the Rainbow Room and an event like the Queer Prom can very literally save the lives of kids who otherwise experience feelings of depression and isolation.  I can share from personal experience that Ronni and I are deeply indebted to the Rainbow Room for how it helped our son on the road to becoming the confident young man that he is. 

With this background, I hope you can appreciate why I was saddened and indeed angered when I read the gentleman’s co-sponsorship memo, which described the 2022 prom as “a sexually charged [sic] drag show”.  I can only assume that this distortion, written by someone who was not present, is based on the fact that one student and one recent alum of the Rainbow Room dressed in drag and danced at the request of the prom committee.  That can hardly be grounds for describing the hours-long prom as a “drag show”.  As for it being sexually charged, I will not attempt to get into the gentleman’s mind to decipher what exactly he meant by that phrase, although I note that it is one that is most often used by those, who, solely on their own authority, take on the mantel of arbiter of morality in ironic disregard of the biblical admonition against judging.  I would simply suggest that it might be a challenge to find a prom in America at which someone would not be offended by what they would consider inappropriate behavior or dress.  With that in mind, we should be careful not to hold LGBTQ+ youth to a different standard than that of straight young people. 

In any event, I am not aware of any parent of the students who attended the 2022 Queer Prom (and there were over 30 parents there as chaperones), who objected to any aspect of it, either beforehand or afterward.  That would include the much-decried swag bags, which included, among other things, condoms, “lube”, and, perhaps most scandalous for some, information about Planned Parenthood. 

As it happened, a couple hours before the gentleman circulated his co-sponsorship memo, someone at Fox Digital contacted my office and asked me to comment on the fact that I had sponsored what she described as a “drag queen event”.   Whether there was a connection between that inquiry and the issuance of the memo, I will not speculate in deference to our Senate Rules.  What I will relate, however, is that in the hours since then I have had a number of people (and, perhaps, bots as well), almost entirely from outside of Pennsylvania let alone my district, calling me a “groomer”, “deviant”, “pedophile” and other hateful epithets on social media.   

I chose to run for office and serve.  While no one likes ad hominem attacks, I have long ago learned that they are a sad part of public life in this era.  But no LGBTQ+ child in this country should have to live with the hate that has been unleashed here.  I only hope that as members of our State Senate, we can rise above ignorance and remember that we have a special obligation to stand up for the most vulnerable members of our society. 

Thank you. 

Steve Santarsiero 

PA Senate, 10th District”


Senator Santarsiero Secures Nearly $2 Million for Local Investments in Science & Technology

BUCKS COUNTY – April 22, 2022 – State Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) announced nearly $2 million in state funds he has secured from the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) for two investments in science and medical technology to improve lives and grow our regional economy.

The awards are as follows:

  • Thrombolex, Inc.: $1,200,000
  • Bucks County Biotechnology Center: $722,500

“I’d like to thank Governor Wolf for supporting my request to dedicate RACP funds for these key investments to improve science and health outcomes,” said Sen. Santarsiero.  “These projects will help our region continue to grow as a leader in biotechnology and scientific research.”

Thrombolex, Inc., located in New Britain Borough, will use the $1,200,000 state investment to build out a warehouse facility to expand the manufacturing capabilities of the company.  Founded in 2016, Thrombolex, Inc. is engaged in the design, development, manufacture, and distribution of endovascular catheters used in interventional procedures.

“When I talk time and again about the potential we have in Bucks County to create a biotechnology corridor, I am talking about companies like Thrombolex who are on the cutting edge of discovery and development with a medical device to help save the lives of individuals with blood clots,” said Sen. Santarsiero.  “This investment will help grow and expand Thrombolex’s capacity, while creating jobs right here in New Britain Borough.”

“Receiving this generous grant from the Commonwealth will enable Thrombolex to expand manufacturing so as to meet the anticipated demand for our medical device, the Bashir Endovascular Catheter,” said Marvin Woodall, Thrombolex CEO.  “This catheter platform creates a channel for immediate blood flow through a blood clot to allow for precise and targeted delivery of clot busting drugs (thrombolytics) directly to the clot. Pulmonary Embolism is the third leading cause of cardiac death.  With this funding, we can now proceed with plans to meet the demand for our life saving devices. We are most appreciative of Senator Santarsiero’s support.”

The Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center (PABC) is a life sciences incubator in Buckingham Township dedicated to advancing biotechnology in Bucks County and the region by maximizing synergies between nonprofit scientists and their commercial colleagues and launching new ideas and discoveries.  The $722,500 will be used to build multiuser labs and teaching facilities in a newly constructed building.

“The continued growth and development of the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center is attracting new and established companies to our region, putting people to work and helping build Bucks County as a biotech corridor,” Sen. Santarsiero said of the funds for the Biotech Center.

Timothy M. Block, president and founder of the PABC, said. “Sen. Santarsiero has been a great advocate for the Center and this further vote of confidence in us is very extremely encouraging. This support will allow the PABC to further expand our state-of-the-art research facilities for entrepreneurs from our area, to keep generating lifesaving innovations and, of course, to create new jobs. It also will help us continue to teach young people about science, research and entrepreneurship. The PABC is a world-class research center and this kind of support will allow us to maintain the momentum we’ve built in recent years.”

RACP is a Commonwealth grant program administered by the Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational, and historical improvement projects. RACP projects have a regional or multi-jurisdictional impact and generate substantial increases or maintain current levels of employment, tax revenues, or other measures of economic activity. RACP projects are state-funded projects that cannot obtain primary funding under other state programs. 

To learn more about RACP projects and grants, visit the Pennsylvania Office of the Budget website



Senator Santarsiero and Representative Warren Announce $271,520 for Traffic Improvement in Newtown Borough

BUCKS COUNTY— July 7, 2021 — Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) and Representative Perry Warren (D-31) announced today the award of $271,520 in state funds to Newtown Borough as part of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Green Light-Go grant program.

Newtown Borough will use the funds for a complete upgrade to the traffic signal at Lincoln and Washington Streets.  Along with the modernization of the traffic signal, the project will include new pedestrian accommodations.

“This upgrade will help relieve congestion and improve the flow of traffic in Newtown Borough, benefitting residents and visitors,” said Sen. Santarsiero.  “With so many shops and restaurants along State Street in the Borough, increasing accessibility both for cars and pedestrians will continue to boost our local economy while keeping our community safe. I was happy to work on getting the state to award this much-needed grant.”

“During my 7 years on Newtown Borough Council, traffic safety and traffic congestion were ongoing topics of conversation and concern,” said Rep. Warren.  “As state representative it was a pleasure working with Newtown Borough Council toward securing this Green Light Go grant.  This traffic signal upgrade will enhance safety and reduce congestion on two heavily trafficked thoroughfares through Newtown. Newtown Borough residents, Newtown Township residents, visitors, businesses and passers-through all will benefit from this traffic signal and safety project.”

Green Light-Go grants are provided as reimbursement to municipalities for updates to improve the efficiency and operation of existing traffic signals. Grant funding through the Green Light-Go program may be utilized for a range of operational improvements including, but not limited to light-emitting diode (LED) technology installation, traffic signal retiming, developing special event plans and monitoring traffic signals, as well as upgrading traffic signals to the latest technologies.  For more information visit the PennDOT website.


Senator Santarsiero, Representative Warren Announce $462,147 in State Multimodal Grants for Local Transportation Improvement

BUCKS COUNTY – April 16, 2021 – State Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) and state Representative Perry Warren (D-31) announced today the award of Multimodal Transportation Fund Grants to Yardley Borough and Morrisville Borough.  Yardley Borough will receive $312,147 and Morrisville Borough will receive $150,000 in funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

“We are fortunate here in Bucks County to have some of the most beautiful and vibrant boroughs in the state,” said Sen. Santarsiero.  “These multimodal grant funds will help make improvements to two of those boroughs, helping keep our main streets lively and thriving.”  

The Yardley Borough project will allow for the construction of approximately 1,200 linear feet of concrete sidewalk along the northern side of North Main Street.  The project will also include related stormwater and pedestrian facility improvements.

“Yardley Borough is a real gem and a very pedestrian friendly destination.  The construction along North Main Street will help provide access to the many restaurants and shops that attract both locals and visitors to our community,” said Sen. Santarsiero.

“This state grant toward the construction of sidewalks on North Main Street supports Yardley Borough Council’s commitment to pedestrian and traffic safety and the creation of a safe pedestrian passage to downtown Yardley, its stores, restaurants, offices and other businesses,” said Rep. Warren.

The Morrisville Borough project seeks to improve the pedestrian and traffic signals at the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and Trenton Avenue so that it is safer for the community.

“The intersection at Pennsylvania and Trenton Avenues is always busy, whether you are coming off the Calhoun Street Bridge or visiting the shopping center right there.  This project will make it safer for pedestrians and drivers alike, protecting our community while improving access to local businesses,” continued Sen. Santarsiero.

“The state funding of these pedestrian and traffic signals is another important step, as we work together with Morrisville Borough Council to improve pedestrian and traffic safety in Morrisville,” continued Rep. Warren.  “Together, these grants reflect our shared goals of boosting our downtown economies, enhancing our quality of life and ensuring pedestrian and traffic safety.”

Multimodal transportation fund grants encourage economic development and ensure that a safe and reliable system of transportation is available to the residents of the commonwealth. For more information about the Multimodal Transportation Fund Grants, visit the DCED website.



Senator Santarsiero, Representatives Ullman and Warren Announce State Funding for Criminal Justice Programs

HARRISBURG − June 14, 2019 − State Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10), and state Representatives Wendy Ullman (D-143) and Perry Warren (D-31), announced the award of over two million dollars in state grants from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) to various Bucks County-based organizations.  

“From providing technological upgrades for local police departments to expanding services to organizations protecting victims of domestic violence, these grants will go so far in better protecting the residents of Bucks County,” Sen. Santarsiero said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues in the State House, Representatives Ullman and Warren, in delivering more resources to the critically important criminal justice programs that serve our communities.”  

“I’m thrilled that these programs have received these grants because they serve some of the most vulnerable populations in our community,” Rep. Ullman said. “It’s critical that these programs have sufficient funds to perform the vital work they do. I will continue to look for more opportunities to support Bucks County.” 

“This grant will help Lower Makefield upgrade its record management system, reduce costs and improve efficiency,” Rep. Warren said. “I will continue to look for opportunities to support municipal services in our communities.” 

The following grants were awarded in the 10th senatorial district: 

Criminal Justice Advisory Committee (CJAC)-Byrne Justice Assistance Grant: $10,000 for the Central Bucks Regional Police Department for a technology upgrade. 

CJAC-2019 County Jail-Based Vivitrol Program: $500,000 to the Bucks County Commissioners for the Bucks County Jail-Based Recovery Programs. 

CJAC-Residential Substance Abuse & Treatment (RSAT) Funds: $125,000 to Bucks County Commissioners for the Bucks County Corrections HEART Program. 

Victims Services Advisory Committee (VSAC)-2019-2021 Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Funding (Competitive): $541,940 to A Woman’s Place to expand critical domestic violence services 

VSAC – 2019-2020 Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Funding – Noncompetitive Extension:  $510,506 to A Woman’s Place for the VOCA 19-20 Non-Competitive FA Extension. $850,846 was awarded to Network of Victim Assistance (NOVA) for the NOVA VOCA Project Extension. 

CJAC – Byrne Justice Assistance Grant: $48,719 to Lower Makefield Township Lower Makefield to upgrade its record management system.   

You can view all the grants awarded by the PCCD here.