Candidate for PA House District 64 Wants End To Per Diem Pay
Michael Bagdes-Canning is the Green Party candidate for PA House District 64, and he is a man of the people. “For too long the politicians who govern us have promised us the world, only to sell it to the highest corporate bidder,” said Michael. “The corruption of our two major parties has been the millstone around the neck of our once thriving working-class community. How many good, high paying jobs must move away before we stand up and say we won't take it anymore? The jobs we have lost are gone, and we cannot bring them back. We can create a new generation of high-quality jobs by investing in a Green New Deal that restores the damage done by industry and prepares our home for the future. I believe our district can be a place where every person can live a dignified life: where every person who is able to work can work, where every person can comfortably afford the basic provisions they need to survive, and where we exist harmoniously with the land we live and rely on.”
On October 8, Bagdes-Canning, with members of Oil Region DSA and students from Cranberry High School, paid a visit to Representative R. Lee James’ office with a “silver platter special” -- three platters of anti-corruption legislation that are overwhelmingly supported by PA voters: a gift ban, an end to the per diem, and an end to partisan gerrymandering. Several days before that, Michael went to Jame’s office in Harrisburg to make similar demands. Michael said, “Our PA legislators are handsomely paid (around $87,000 per year, at minimum), but on top of their pay they can get an additional $179 per day while they are in Harrisburg or doing official business.”
“Our legislators can be gifted almost anything, and they are: sports tickets, wining and dining, luxury vacations,” said Bagdes-Canning. “Lobbyists gift our legislators routinely, but they don’t have to report the gifts unless they cross a certain threshold.”
End the Per Diem
“They are incentivized to accept wining and dining because they also get a per diem of $179,” said Michael. “They do not have to submit receipts. The money is tax-free. $179 works out to about $22.38 per hour if they work an 8 hour day. The average pay for workers in Venango County is $19.20 per hour. The per diem can add a significant amount. In one calendar year, from November of 2015 to December of 2016, James collected $15,752. That placed him near the top of all legislators. He chose not to submit receipts, to merely collect the per diem. At the very least, this smacks of arrogance. At its worst, it smacks of corruption.”
Stop Partisan Gerrymandering
Michael is for ending partisan gerrymandering. “Too many legislators run for re-election because they have designed their districts to be insulated from any challengers,” he said. “But this should be a democracy. The people should pick their representatives, not the other way around.”
Michael Bagdes-Canning said, “R. Lee James has been in Harrisburg since 2013, he has had the opportunity to sponsor this legislation, and he has not. If I am elected, I will immediately sign on to each of these pieces of legislation as a cosponsor. If elected, I will not collect a per diem.”
Michael Bagdes-Canning, Green Party candidate for PA House District 64, is pleased to have been endorsed by several groups and individuals. He has been endorsed by the following organizations:
PA Association of Staff Nurses & Allied Professionals (PASNAP);
Clean Water Action;
Our Revolution, Butler;
Indivisible We Rise, West Central PA;
Green Party of Pennsylvania, and
Oil Region Democratic Socialists of America.
Michael Bagdes-Canning has also been endorsed by a number of individuals of note:
John Kluck, Chair of Venango County Democrats and former candidate for this seat,
Bhaskar Sunkara (D), Activist and Journalist;
Dr. Jill Stein (G), Green Party 2016 Presidential Candidate;
Howie Hawkins (G), Green Party 2020 Presidential Candidate;
Peter Buck (D), Candidate for PA State Representative, District 171;
Ellen Gerhart (D), Camp White Pine | PSEA Member;
Ed Grystar (G), Western PA Coalition for Single-Payer Healthcare, Chair | PASNAP, Organizer;
Maggie Henry (D), The Farmer’s Wife | Organic farmer | Beyond Extreme Energy;
Ron Lockwood (R), Mayor, Cherry Valley, PA;
Mel Packer (G), Former US Senate Candidate | Social Justice Advocate; and
Leslie Stauffer (D), Marcellus Outreach Butler, Planning Group Member | Labor For Standing Rock, Member.
You can follow Michael on Instagram, https://www.instagram.com/mike4pa64/; Twitter, https://mobile.twitter.com/bagdescanning; Facebook, https://m.facebook.com/mikebagdescanning; and his website, https://www.mikeforpa64.com/.
More information about 2020 GPPA candidates can be found at https://www.greenslate2020.org/. The Green Party of Pennsylvania (GPPA) is an independent political party that stands in opposition to the two corporate parties. GPPA candidates promote public policy based on the Green Party’s Four Pillars: grassroots democracy, nonviolence, ecological wisdom, and social justice/equal opportunity. For further information about GPPA, please visit www.gpofpa.org. Please follow GPPA on social media: Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/gpofpa/, and Twitter, https://twitter.com/GreenPartyofPA.