Legislative Action – Pennsylvania

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Senator Arlen Specter (Republican) 

  • 5/23/02 – John Murtari call’s the office back, leaves a voice mail message for Jennifer asking if the Senator would call for Congressional Hearings into the need for reform.
  • 5/9/2002 – Two weeks earlier we had faxed the office  a letter asking for a meeting (see example notes here).  On that day we met with Jennifer Shevchek, a legislative aid.We arrived at the Senate office a bit late and had to wait in the reception area until the Legislative Correspondent, Jennifer Shevchek came out to greet us. While waiting, Senator Specter arrived and graciously proceeded around the reception area shaking everyone’s hand. Jennifer came and we were taken to a small conference room. Jennifer then asked us the purpose of the meeting.

    I (Mary Jo Marceau-Hawthorne) explained that we came seeking family court reform and the affirmation of our constitutional rights as parents to raise our children. I also added that Child Protective Services and Family Placement Services lacked accountability for their actions and are given too much power. Ms. Shevchek felt that this was a state issue and we should go back to our state and see local representatives. John (Murtari) explained that the family rights act that ‘A Kids Right ‘ has drafted, reaffirms a parents constitutional right to raise their child and a child’s right to be with their parent. Ms. Shevchek then explained that we would be more effective if we brought our issues to the Judiciary Committee staff of which the Senator is a member.

    John asked if the Senator could help by bringing these issues before the committee and recommend congressional hearings.  We told her about a Constitutional Lawyer (Mr. Chester Darling) who had argued and won cases before the US Supreme Court who also thought Civil Rights were being violated by the states — and would be happy to testify before Congress.  We asked that the Senator consider asking for hearings into reform.

    Ms. Shevchek then said she felt the Senator was just too busy at this time and felt that our best plan would be to submit these issues ourselves. She said she would leave the packet we gave her with another staff member and assured us that the Senator would be made aware of our information. We asked if we could follow up in a month and she agreed.