Our youth deserve a quality education that will position them for success in the 21st century. However, some of our schools do not have the funding they need to best support our teachers and educate our students. I believe that we can do better and that we must give our schools the resources they need to educate our youth including funding for out of school and afterschool educational opportunities, STEAM and STEM programming, and expanded Pre-K offerings. As State Representative, I will work to create an environment in our area that promotes education and puts our students first.
We have made national headlines for the economic development in our region. However, we have residents moved from their lifetime communities because they can’t afford to live in their homes anymore. I support responsible housing and development strategies that will improve our neighborhoods without pushing our community members out due to economic conditions. As State Representative, I will support anti-displacement strategies and policies that ensure residents are able to participate in the planning process where we’re able to build both the neighborhood and people at the same time.
Criminal Justice Reform
As State Representative, I will support policies and propose legislation that reforms our criminal justice system by reducing the number of non-violent, first time offenders in our jails. These individuals should be rehabilitated through job training and educational programs and given the opportunity to turn their lives around.
Raising State Minimum Wage
No one who works full time should earn poverty-wages. These individuals are not asking for any extra handouts or special treatment but rather a fair and just wage that will allow them to feed their families and stay in their homes. Women and minorities are disproportionately affected by the low minimum wage as they are the most likely to be employed in those positions. I believe that raising the state minimum wage will allow our neighbors and friends to position themselves to move beyond their current conditions. As State Representative, I would fight to raise the minimum wage while also investing in workforce training and career development programs so that individuals would be able to develop the skills they need to move into higher paying positions.
Mental Health Reform
Mental Health Services are oftentimes very underfunded and as a result, individuals who may benefit from those services are unable to receive the treatment they need. This can lead to poverty, incarceration, and death. As a community, we can not let this continue and that is why we must find ways to get help to those in need and support initiatives that strengthen the awareness and availability of mental health services. As State Representative, I would partner with our community organizations to identify the needs that they see exist in the district and then I would return to Harrisburg and fight for funding. Better understanding of the critical needs of the mental health service organization and implementing desired changes would reduce stigma and improve outcomes.
The freedom to vote is a major civil rights issue that is constantly under attack. Voters deserve a government that is not just focused on administering elections but encouraging voter participation. As State Representative, I will work to expand access to the ballot for all eligible PA voters. I will push for same day registration, automatic registration, pre-canvassing and other pro-voter policies. It is time we move this state into the 21st century and reform our voting laws to protect the safety and integrity of our democracy.
Violence in our communities not only affects the victims of such senseless crimes but also directly impacts the quality of life for our residents that live in those areas. In addition to strengthening gun laws to protect our citizens, I will support and put forward legislation to improve police and community relations, promote safe streets, and puts the power to protect citizens back in the hands of our local officials instead of being subject to overarching mandates crafted by lobbyists.
We live in a 24-7 world, yet we have an 8-4 government. This can not continue. Our residents deserve a government that listens and responds to the needs of constituents rather than expecting constituents to wait endlessly for results. As State Representative, I would promote and support innovation in the State Legislature that would save taxpayers money without cutting needed services like pushing for same day voter registration. I would also support open data policies that will help our small businesses grow and our service organizations better meet the needs of the community.
Accountability in Government
Pennsylvania has one of the largest and most expensive legislative bodies in the nation. Unfortunately, we don’t always have representatives that remember that they work for the residents of Pennsylvania. As State Representative, I will be there to make the important votes on decisions that matter to my constituents and I will also support any efforts that hold the legislative body accountable.