The people who call this district home should be able to have the peace of mind that their representative will fight for them and their interests–not those of corporate PACs and lobbyists. That is why my campaign is about prioritizing the issues important to the people I wish to serve. If elected, I will strive to rebuild the trust between the government and its people by being a champion for equal rights, fighting for increased transparency, restoring the integrity of our elections, ending gerrymandering, and protecting the right to vote for every eligible Pennsylvanian.
The greatest investment we can make as legislators is in our next generation of leaders. I strongly believe in every child’s right to obtain an equitable education that will provide them with the tools and opportunities to succeed later in life–no matter their zip code. That is why we must take steps to make education a priority in Pennsylvania like revamping the Fair Funding Formula to distribute funding in a more equitable manner, regulating charter schools to meet public school standards, funding universal pre-k and childcare, and expanding grant programs. And those who wish to pursue higher education should be able to do so without facing crippling student debt that will set them back after graduating. We must invest in innovative partnerships to create workforce development opportunities for students interested in entering the workforce or trade school after receiving their diploma.
As a longtime Central Pennsylvanian, I’ve seen first-hand the importance of investing in our infrastructure and people. Rebuilding and maintaining our roads and bridges will help to better ensure the safety of our residents and accessibility across the Commonwealth. However, investing in our infrastructure also means ensuring every home and business has high speed broadband access, increased funding for public education and workforce development, and investing in programs that help working families like universal preschool and childcare.
It is clear now more than ever, that climate change and its effects are destroying our planet. We must act now. Shifting to a renewable energy economy would begin to address the climate crisis, while at the same time, ensuring the job security of so many Pennsylvanians. This includes developing clean energy jobs that help build family-sustaining careers. We can do this through industry partnerships, workforce development, modernizing the grid, and creating new energy markets–all while preserving clean air and water.
Unions have been the backbone of working families for decades, and it is thanks to those who fought to unionize that we have a 40-hour work week, weekends, child labor laws, and so much more. And I know this personally – it was because of my father’s union-protected disability pension that my sister and I had a roof over our heads and food on the table as children. But there is still much that can be done. We must support union initiatives – Prevailing Wage, a living wage, paid time off and leave, safe and fair working conditions, job security free of discrimination – and must also support those who look to unionize. And as representatives, we need to stand firm against state Right-to-Work laws, and pass legislation protecting workers rights, like HB 106, the “Patient Safety Act.” Introduced by the SEIU Healthcare Nurses’ Alliance, this bill would enforce safe staffing practices in hospitals for nurses to have better working conditions, so that they can take better care of our loved ones who may be in their care.
With the unprecedented 6-3 Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, reproductive rights are under attack now more than ever. This ruling not only undermines an individual’s right to safe, accessible abortion, but also other critical health care services provided by organizations like Planned Parenthood. Let me be clear: reproductive rights are human rights. I strongly support the right of every woman to make her own healthcare decisions, without government interference or restriction. If elected to Harrisburg, I will vote to codify Roe v. Wade into Pennsylvania Law to protect the reproductive rights of everyone in the Commonwealth, as well as make our state a safe haven for those seeking care from other states. In addition, I would also introduce anti-discrimination legislation, including the right of everyone to control their own body, regardless of gender identification.
With the Supreme Court’s recent decision regarding Roe v Wade, it’s clear that legal precedent is being tossed aside, including federal protections for those in the LGBTQ+ community. That is why we must do more. Pennsylvania is still one of 29 states in which those who identify as LGBTQ+ lack full non-discrimination and civil rights protections. They can be denied housing, employment, public services, and medical care. They also face significant threats to their personal health and safety, and suffer disproportionately high rates of violence, bullying, and suicide. As your representative, I will be a fierce advocate for the PA Fairness Act (HB 300) and all legislation prohibiting discrimiantion against members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Our communities are only as healthy as the people living in them. However, inadequate healthcare resources have a profound effect on the lives and well-being of far too many Pennsylvanians, especially in rural and underserved communities. We must work to bridge those gaps and ensure equity, access, and affordability in healthcare across the Commonwealth. We can do that by protecting the expansion of Medicaid, Medicare, and CHIP, lowering the cost of prescription drugs and out-of-pocket expenses, and preventing insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions. We must also ensure access to comprehensive mental health, addiction, dental, and vision services, regardless of zip code. To do that, we need to invest in innovative programs such as telehealth, community-based healthcare solutions, and expanding grants and scholarships for students who commit to returning to work in their local communities as healthcare workers.
As the son and grandson of policemen, I learned from a young age how to respect the second amendment while maintaining responsibility with weapon use. In Central Pennsylvania, we have a long history of hunting and game shooting, and all the hunters that I’ve met are responsible, safe, and respectful gun users, who believe in universal background checks. I believe that with gun ownership comes responsibility, and this can best be addressed through common-sense approaches including closing the background check loophole, registering weapons sold in online and private sales, and restricting Permitless Carry and Reciprocation Laws. As a legislator, I will actively work to bring ERPO laws to the floor, which will both protect people from domestic abuse with a weapon and also decrease the rate of gun-inflicted deaths by suicide. I will also work with local gun shops, police departments, and community outreach groups to ensure that every gun owner has a gun lock for each weapon they possess. Specifically in homes with young children and adolescents, I will advocate for the safe storage of weapons and ammunition.
The current minimum wage in the Commonwealth of $7.25 an hour is simply not liveable. Not only will increasing the minimum wage to $15 better support working individuals and families, but help stimulate our local economies as well. We need to support a fair economy in Pennsylvania by holding corporations accountable for responsible practices, ending corporate handouts, and eliminating tax loopholes for billionaires and corporations. In addition we must take additional steps to support working families by ensuring paid sick time, paid family leave, and overtime pay for working extra hours. Lastly, we must make sure the wage adjusts over time to account for inflation, avoiding this problem in the future.
The opioid crisis has had a devastating impact on individuals, families, and communities across the Commonwealth. This crisis has resulted in untold human suffering and the loss of thousands of lives every year. It has also inflicted significant economic damage in the form of lost wages and productivity, increased healthcare costs, and the need for increased public support for those left behind. We must hold those responsible to account while ensuring that any damage awards -- such as the $1 billion settlement that PA received from the Johnson & Johnson settlement -- are invested in resources to combat this crisis. As your legislator, I will support strengthening prescription drug monitoring, as well as increased funding for educational programs and outreach efforts. In addition, treatment options should be expanded across the Commonwealth so those suffering can get the help they need in a timely and affordable manner. Finally, we must invest in life-saving training and equipment such as Narcan (naloxone) for first responders and other public safety personnel, community-based organizations, and private citizens.