More than ever, we need to ease the pain of rising costs at the gas pump and supermarket, bring quality jobs to our district, and ensure the protection of every person’s voting rights, human rights, and reproductive freedoms. We need to protect our environment, ensure every person has access to clean water, and safeguard equal rights for all.
My out-of-the-box approach is one that looks beyond party lines to reach across the aisle and get these things done. In talking with community members, I identified key issues below, which I will tackle the minute I take office.
ROE v. WADE
When the Supreme Court of the United States overturned Roe v. Wade, it eliminated the constitutional right to abortion after almost 50 years. It is now up to the states. Here in Pennsylvania, women could easily lose their right to bodily autonomy. Especially as a father of two daughters, I’m horrified that young girls and women may soon have their healthcare decisions controlled and regulated by our government.
As the pro-choice candidate, I stand firmly in support of women and will fight for their right to access the reproductive healthcare they need and deserve, including access to abortion. It’s crucial we trust women to do what’s best for their health and well-being and treat them with compassion instead of contempt. Beyond health ramifications, forced birth creates detrimental economic consequences to women, their families, and their communities, making it harder for all to thrive.
The election on November 8th will be instrumental to determine the future of reproductive freedom for Pennsylvanians, as well as other freedoms that fall under the 14th Amendment’s due process clause. In addition to abortion with Roe v. Wade, this includes birth control access, same-sex marriage, and interracial marriage. With the floodgates now wide open, the implications of this ruling are dangerously far-reaching.
It is our duty to protect our environment because everyone has a right to clean air and pure water. When we fail our environment, we fail ourselves. Evidence can be found all around us. Locally, in Warminster Township, residents lost access to their clean drinking water source due to PFOS/PFOA contamination. Unchecked development without storm water mitigation in years past left us with flooding issues. Even invasive species, such as the Spotted Lantern Fly, have brought millions of dollars of damage to our Bucks County farmers. I take these protections seriously as they directly impact us economically, as well as our overall health and well-being.
My time as a trained police officer showed me the importance of responsible gun ownership. The key word is responsible. I believe in our right to responsibly own guns, and support training courses on appropriate use, safe handling, and safe storage that will save lives from being lost. Mental health treatment should also be accessible to stop preventable gun deaths.
Accessibility & Affordability: During my 2019 campaign for Bucks County Clerk of Courts, I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system. Fortunately, I had access to quality healthcare and quality health insurance, which allowed me to receive chemotherapy treatment. Because of this, I was cured of the cancer. When I saw the bills, I knew that without insurance, I would be either dead or bankrupt. I believe no one should ever be forced to make such a devastating decision!
Reproductive Rights: As the father of two daughters, I believe strongly that women have the right to make their own reproductive choices. I also believe the government has no right to interfere in decisions which should be made between women and their doctor.
Opioid Epidemic: The opioid epidemic crushes every aspect of our district. I will work to improve treatment options and regulated recovery housing. I commend programs such as the Bucks County Drug Court and believe they should be expanded. We need to offer as many paths to recovery and out of addiction as possible.
Mental Health: Mental Healthcare is a Human Right. I understand that there is currently a mental health epidemic across the country. Care and treatment for these issues is often hard to find and/or above the budget of many people. People in need of psychiatric help should not have to make the choice between waiting months for a provider who accepts insurance or breaking their budget to see one who doesn’t. In the State House, I will advocate for more access to affordable mental healthcare for all Pennsylvanians.
I strongly support passing the Equality Act to provide protections against discrimination in employment, housing, credit, and jury service. Regardless of your sexual orientation, gender identity, sex, and/or race, all people should be treated equally under the law. I am a proud ally of the LGBTQ+ community and believe love is love. Everyone should be afforded the same opportunities to thrive and live out their full potential.
From my own experience, I understand how the cost of everything from bacon to gasoline is straining family budgets. As prices continue to increase, we need wages for working families to be fair and equitable to meet basic needs, which is why I support raising the minimum wage. It is crucial that families can afford groceries, pay bills, and still have money left over to be able to do things they enjoy.
Living Wage: Pennsylvania’s minimum wage has remained at $7.25/hour since 2009. Even as the cost of living continues to rise, and despite neighboring states increasing their minimum wages, Pennsylvania’s Republican legislature has refused to provide Pennsylvania residents a living wage, and has left Pennsylvania with the lowest minimum wage of all its neighbors. This needs to change. I fully support raising the minimum wage. I also support reforming the laws which govern how some service workers, like food servers, are paid so they are not so reliant on tips.
Job Creation: I believe there should be equal pay for equal work, regardless of race, sexuality, gender, or religion. I also believe businesses within the 144th district should be encouraged to remain within the district where they can provide jobs to the residents.
Green Jobs: Another way to attract quality jobs is to invest in our future with energy-efficient and alternative fuel sources. This will create clean energy innovation and cutting-edge job opportunities for our district. I will actively support the creation of Green Jobs within the district. Encouraging the creation of such jobs will lead to a more stable economy that is less reliant on gas prices. These jobs will also help protect our environment.
Small Businesses: Small businesses are a central part of our community and our economy. During the pandemic, small business owners and their workers suffered undue hardships that presented unique needs for emergency support. Investing in small businesses and supporting their specific everyday needs strengthens the middle class. It helps create jobs and provides the means for workers to earn a living wage. For far too long, the republican majority in Harrisburg has ignored the voices of small business owners, and COVID-19 left many in a perilous situation. I will do more than just give lip service to small business owners; I will meet with them and listen to their opinions before voting on issues affecting them.
Tax Policy: I believe that a natural gas extraction fee is long overdue and could significantly lower school taxes on our local homeowners. Pennsylvania is in the bottom 5 states in the nation when it comes to state funding of our schools. The burden of paying for schools falls on district residents through constant tax increases, a practice which disproportionately affects senior citizens on a fixed income who have spent years paying off their mortgages. Something as simple as a 7% extraction fee on the natural gas companies fracking in our commonwealth could result in nearly $1.7 billion over 5 years.
Our children are our future, and their education is a top priority. Higher education is one of the cornerstones of a healthy middle class in Pennsylvania and we must ensure that college education remains affordable. Vocational-technical schools deserve proper funding, especially since they maintain a healthy workforce by teaching trade skills that help meet the high demand in these fields.
Funding: There needs to be a major overhaul in how our schools are funded. In my home district of Centennial, local property taxes account for between 75-80% of funding. This is simply not sustainable. Firstly, we need to overhaul how our state funds and approves Charter Schools, especially Cyber Charters. There is no reason that a Cyber Charter should be the top recipient of COVID-19 funds specifically meant to help districts prepare their buildings for students in a pandemic.
Charter Schools: Our state ranks in the bottom five in the nation on how Charters are run, and there is no concrete way of stopping Charters from opening. One large problem is that politicians of both parties take significant donations from charter schools.
Student Debt: I believe that easy access to a college education and technical training schools is a conduit to a stronger economy. I know how college debt can set you back a decade before you enter the workforce. Because of that, I support exploring free Community College, and Student Loan Debt Relief.
Our nation was built on a foundation of immigration. Many of us, myself included, are descendants of immigrants who came to this country for the chance at a better life. As a police officer, I saw first-hand that when given the opportunity to fully participate in society, undocumented immigrants fully pay into our communities. I also saw the fear they face and devastating ways they are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. With a proper pathway to citizenship, they will not only live a richer life for themselves but also become full contributing members of the community who strengthen our economy, a win-win for everyone.