For years, Pennsylvania has faced continued budget battles that have as their origin, the structural deficit in the state’s budget. Constitutionally, Pennsylvania must have a balanced budget, a fact Republicans in the legislature have used to avoid making tough decisions and doing what is right for all of us.
Fiscal responsibility means addressing the budget deficit both now and in the future by making strategic investments in programs and policies to increase economic growth that provide for a brighter future.
Providing high-quality public education is one of the most important duties of our state and local government. When our state refuses to provide adequate funding for education everywhere, our communities feel the impact. Increased unemployment, crime, poverty, drug abuse, and other destructive, and expensive consequences can all be traced to a lack of high quality education.
I fully support continuing the progress made by the Wolf Administration to increase and further expedite our investment in repairing and upgrading Pennsylvania’s aging and crumbling infrastructure as a budgetary priority. These investments in our infrastructure now will save taxpayers money in the long-term, create jobs, support businesses big and small, and improve the safety and quality of life for all. Infrastructure investment is therefore foundational to building a strong economy for Pennsylvania in both the long and short term.
Regardless of age, gender, race, or political affiliation, we all depend on clean air, land and water. Protecting the environment is a priority we all share, and I will make sure it is a priority in Harrisburg.
I have spent the past 15 years of my life working diligently to ensure both people and nature thrive, in our communities, by developing The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County into a nationally accredited land conservancy, and working with The Nature Conservancy to achieve urban conservation, health and revitalization.
THE OPIOID CRISIS
Throughout Pennsylvania, the opioid crisis has hit families and communities hard, and our community is no exception. Although we have taken some steps to address this crisis, we must do way more.
Pennsylvania is in the middle of an unprecedented opioid abuse crisis. The latest comprehensive statistics from 2016 indicate a 37% increase in overdoses statewide over 2015 and the early numbers from 2017 show no sign of slowing down. This problem cuts across the Commonwealth, from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, to rural counties, and into suburban communities as well – some of the largest increases in opioid deaths have come in places like Chester County (54% increase) and Montgomery County (51% increase). This is a complex problem and the best plan involves multiple approaches.
FAIRNESS AND EQUALITY: JUSTICE FOR ALL
Protecting marginalized communities is not just an issue of justice, fairness, and equality; communities that suffer under marginalization, prejudice, and inequality are less likely to flourish both socially and economically. There are steps our State government can take that can decrease the burden of marginalization, provide equal justice for all, and ensure that every community in the Commonwealth has the opportunity to flourish to its full potential.
To that end, we must address employment discrimination, access to education, overzealous policing and prosecution, wage discrimination, inability to obtain medical care, hate crimes and systemic violence, and neglect of basic community services. I will work to eliminate the impact of injustice in marginalized communities.
COMMON SENSE GUN CONTROL
We are all concerned about the continued increase in gun violence in our nation. What many may not realize is that many gun regulations are determined in Harrisburg.
Gun violence is a complex issue and there is no one solution. However, I believe we must come together to pass common sense regulations in areas where there is clear agreement as to a sensible path forward.
Quite simply, voters need to be choosing their legislators; legislators should not be choosing their voters. Democracy demands no less. The Congressional Districts Pennsylvania Legislators created in 2011 have been an embarrassment to the state. Until the PA Supreme Court’s recent decision, many residents of the 160th district were in the 7th Congressional District, nicknamed “Goofy kicking Donald Duck.” The Washington Post called this district one of the most gerrymandered anywhere in the county. More importantly, districts like this disenfranchise voters, making it unlikely that their vote will help to sway an election. The good news is that–for now–the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has created fair congressional districts.