ENERGY

OVERVIEW

There are no simple solutions to the energy issues facing the Country, the Commonwealth or the 28th District. We live in a society that relies heavily on a strong energy grid to fuel our homes, schools, businesses, hospitals, cars and the ever-increasing number of personal devices. At the same time we need to be aware of the impact that our energy choices have on the global climate.

We are not yet at the point where we can rely 100% on renewable energy, but make no mistake, that must be our goal, and we must begin taking serious actions to get there. In the interim, we are blessed with an abundant natural resource that represents a step in the right direction. Of critical importance is the forming of a mutually respectful partnership between government and the regulated energy industry to ensure that our oil and gas resources are developed in an environmentally responsible manner and on terms that are fair and transparent with landowners, citizens and the government.

We need an aggressive but rational environmental regulatory framework that allows reasonable shale development and provides certainty as to the rules and the consequences for non-compliance. For those members of the energy industry that demonstrate they can meet the Commonwealth’s environmental standards and employ best practices, they will benefit from regulatory certainty and a license to operate. For the segment of the energy industry that cannot or will not operate in compliance, the consequences should be clear and severe.

At the same time, we must begin to focus on our future as a society fueled by renewable energy. Pittsburgh has become a technological incubator through the myriad partnerships between our universities, private enterprise and local governmental leadership. The same effort should be applied to the renewable energy sector. It is incumbent upon our leadership to invest in our future and create the opportunities necessary for renewable energy development to thrive. A comprehensive renewable energy policy will take a holistic approach that includes restructuring how electricity is produced, purchased and distributed in the marketplace. Such progress will require the appropriate incentives to renewable energy producers and our public utilities.

SEVERANCE  (EXTRACTION) TAX

The severance tax should not be used as an ideological hammer to punish the perceived ills of oil and gas development or the energy industry community.   We should deal with those issues directly, transparently and rationally. We must acknowledge that the energy industry has made a significant financial investment in our communities, catalyzed the growth of numerous small businesses who support this resource, and fostered local job creation. A reasonable severance tax can be implemented without negatively impacting the continued growth of Pennsylvania’s energy industry.

A simpler, cleaner approach would be to combine the current impact fee and severance tax into a single levy on the unconventional extraction of oil and gas. This simplified tax structure is based on the following broad principles: 1) To ensure the continued payment of impact fees to municipalities; 2) Provide a reasonable and rational funding source to the Commonwealth in which this natural resource resides; 3) Calculate the tax based on commodity pricing and the fluctuations of the marketplace to acknowledge economic realities and ensure fairness to both our operators and the Commonwealth.

This is not a groundbreaking political agenda as severance taxes are implemented in almost all states with such abundant resources. Once we can get beyond the rhetoric, I believe that a reasonable and rational severance tax can be established in way that provides transparency to all parties and encourages investment and responsible development. This will benefit our citizens and provide certainty to our business partners in the energy industry.


THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC

This is a national crisis that impacts all of us.  Sweeping it under the rug for the sake of appearances, denying its severity, and telling ourselves that it only happens to “other people” is more than unacceptable — it is deadly.  We must recognize the difference between those selling the drugs and those who use them.  Our community and our leaders must work together to help rather than punish those already affected, and do all we can to raise awareness, increase understanding of this disease, and step-up preventative measures.  This is a complex problem that requires a complex and multi-faceted approach that demands the attention of our schools, our families, our law enforcement and medical personnel all working in conjunction with one another.

This section currently being edited.  More info to come. 


MENTAL HEALTH

This page is under construction. Please come back soon, as Emily strongly believes that improving the mental health of our citizens can only be done by moving this topic out of the closet and into the light.  Our country, especially our young people, is experiencing rates of anxiety and depression that are rising at alarming rates.  Removing the stigma associated with such conditions is the only way forward if we are to reverse this disturbing trend.


VETERANS

It is nothing short of our duty — an ethical and moral obligation — to see that our military personnel receive the best care possible in facing the numerous challenges that often meet them after their service ends.  There is no acceptable excuse for why our nation’s veterans have long faced difficulties in getting even the most basic needs addressed.

We must provide them with every resource possible to enable them and their families to live their lives to the fullest.  Areas that must be examined and addressed include expanding education and employment opportunities, providing access to financial and fiscal assistance and opportunities, as well as directing critical focus to combating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the myriad difficulties inherent in reintegrating into civilian society.

Please check back soon, as this page is still under construction.


EDUCATION

As someone who chose to raise her children in Pennsylvania’s 28th district because of its outstanding educational opportunities, Emily is committed to ensuring that we provide the absolute best public education possible.  But we need to do more than stay current; we need to be the gold-standard in laying the foundation all children need and deserve to achieve success in life.  Making this goal a reality will require approaching and supporting our educational system from many angles.  Of extreme importance is a commitment to making Early Childhood Education accessible and available to all students in our state.  To use an analogy, building the most well-constructed, perfectly engineered home on a faulty foundation — or no foundation at all — would be foolish and disastrous.  Similarly, studies have shown time and again that young children who don’t receive the same education as their peers from the very beginning will suffer a deficit that they never quite overcome.  A pledge to make Early Childhood Education available to all of our children is the most basic and essential way to fulfill the promise of our region’s future.

Similarly, we must provide our schools with the best resources available, including the most important resources of all: the staff and administration in whose care we entrust our children.  From attracting and keeping the most dedicated and talented teachers, to providing our students with cutting-edge tools and technologies, we cannot afford to short-change the institutions that are among the most valuable assets of our community — and which are not only funded by the property taxes of those who live here, but are largely responsible for attracting more quality businesses and new residents.  In short, good public education directly contributes to the economic growth, progress and prosperity of a region.  Unfortunately, the proposals by the current administration, some of which aim to weaken benefits for our educators, will also have the equally detrimental effect of weakening the quality of education given to our children.

Moreover, the term “school choice” is really a lesson in the ways in which our leaders use deceptive language to conceal the true nature of their policies.  Often the taxpayers do not realize that programs, such as the Education Improvement Tax Credit, which sound good on their face, fundamentally provide methods for funneling large sums of money into private institutions.  Emily believes that the distribution of monies derived from the taxpayers, as well as businesses operating in their localities, needs not merely to benefit our public institutions, but all information regarding this distribution must be easily accessible and clearly communicated.  The public has a right to know exactly where their money is — and is not — being spent in language that is easily understood.

Further, when corporations operating in our state are given tax credits for donating to an extremely broad range of educational organizations, rather than to the municipalities and state in which they operate, the public should know not only what these approved organizations are, but also who supports, has involvement with, or invests in them.  Otherwise, programs such as these are open to misuse by large businesses seeking favor with the often powerful executives, board directors or other similarly affiliated entities.

When it comes to education, transparency and clarity are essential to ensuring that our constituents are receiving the benefits that most times drew them to a locality in the first place.  We must ensure that the property taxes which we pay continue to be justified by providing top-notch public institutions.  If public funds can be diverted towards myriad private institutions, then the place of residence becomes less relevant. We must ensure that our schools are excellent, meeting the needs of the majority of our students to such a degree that there is less reason to seek an education elsewhere.  When possible, it is our duty to fix what is in need of repair, rather than take the easier route of creating an alternative “choice.”

If a community cannot provide excellence in its public education, then it is failing not only the children of that community, but the future of that community.  Emily is running this race to do all she can to work with the people of Pennsylvania to guarantee a brighter future for her children and to help make an already great region the best it can be for years to come.

 

 

 


HEALTH AND WELLNESS

Health is not just about physical well-being.  Being a truly healthy Pennsylvanian means your mental and emotional needs are being addressed, as well.

It’s time to ensure that residents of this state, especially those experiencing challenges to their mental and emotional health, are receiving adequate support.  Of particular concern is the alarming rise of depression and anxiety among our young people, especially teens.  Confronting this upsetting trend will involve an open dialogue that takes a serious look at the increasingly stressful culture of our district and our state.  We must learn what families and government can do to ensure that our kids are equipped to meet the needs of the 21st century in an empowering and healthful way, and that they receive assistance at those times when it is needed.

Additionally, we need to serve those who have served us — our veterans.  It is nothing short of our duty to see that our military receives the best care possible in facing the physical, mental and emotional challenges that often meet them after their service ends.  Providing them with the resources to combat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the myriad difficulties inherent in reintegrating into civilian society is an absolute must.

Similarly, our seniors should have the ability to enjoy the same quality of life in Pennsylvania in their later years as they did in their youth.  Our seniors are a tremendous resource, embodying the history of our region, and possessing the knowledge and experience that only age can bring. Living life to the fullest is a right that belongs to everyone, and our seniors deserve nothing less.

Working together, let’s create a district where the concept of being healthy takes the whole person into account.  Healthy residents make for a healthier, happier community.  And with a vast percentage of our population made up of females, the issue of women’s health is absolutely critical to Pennsylvanians.  We must ensure that all women, regardless of economics, have access to the best care we can provide.  From educating girls about their particular health concerns, to providing excellent preventive and wellness care, all the way to empowering them to feel comfortable about their reproductive rights and options, our district’s commitment to its girls and women must include giving them the resources to feel good about themselves in mind and body.

And finally, as regards the current healthcare situation across the country, Emily believes it would be criminally malicious and irresponsible to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without a truly viable replacement that leaves no American worse off.  The U.S. cannot bill itself as a first world country and a global leader if it cannot deliver on the promise of caring for all its citizens. One cannot have life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness when they do not have every means available to maintain health.  In a democracy such as ours, this is a right, not a luxury.  Our government will have failed its citizens on an epic scale if even a single person lacks the means to prevent or combat injury and illness.

 


ENVIRONOMICS

Environomics is more than just a clever way to condense two vitally important issues into one word.

We can all agree that the environment of our district is a source of pride.  The lush greenery and hills, just a few short minutes outside the vibrant metropolitan setting of downtown Pittsburgh, allows our residents to have the best of both worlds — access to the offerings of a world-class city, and the tranquility of nature and wildlife.  Having founded a non-profit that aims to protect the environment by keeping non-biodegradable items out of the landfills, instead giving them a second life by getting them into the hands of those who can reuse and re-purpose them, Emily has already spent years putting her passion and commitment to our environment into action.

But our district is growing and changing, and we need to ensure that all residents enjoy the benefits of this evolution.  Pittsburgh was built through hard work, and it will thrive by continuing to embrace and value that proud tradition.  This region’s growth should be the result of its own residents’ efforts when possible.  Local labor needs to be a part of all the opportunities that growth presents. Putting Pennsylvania’s residents to work is good for all of Pennsylvania for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which is fueling the economy.  Caring for our environment, making the most of this invaluable asset and resource, including our wealth of natural gas, should result in a wide array of jobs that go to our own before looking to bring in workers from other areas.

Married to an environmental attorney with a diverse background working for New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection, as well as for energy companies and in private practice, Emily has had a wealth of opportunities to see first-hand, and from all perspectives, the challenges we face in solving our country’s energy problems while doing all we can to safeguard our environment and combat climate change.  Given that it simply is not yet practical to abruptly and suddenly abandon fossil fuel resources, it makes sense to embrace the silver lining of the wealth of Marcellus Shale in our region.  Harnessing the power of the natural gas industry can provide huge economic benefits in the form of attracting new businesses, lower-cost energy and a wealth of jobs for local workers.  We must also confront any potential risks associated with these endeavors in honest and responsible ways that reassure the public that they and their communities are being protected, and are directly benefiting from any energy-related industry happening in their region.  Moreover, the residents of a community should have all the information available regarding the potential pros and cons, both economically and environmentally, of allowing fuel-related operations inside their borders.

This commitment  should be matched by an equal commitment to renewable energy resources, because it’s not enough to plan for today; we must plan for tomorrow.  This pledge should include our goal to become a cutting-edge leader in all forms of energy, including the creation of, and training for, the jobs that those endeavors require.  As Pittsburgh quickly evolves into a technological city of the future, our treatment of the world’s energy resources and needs must also be structured with an eye towards the next generation.

Committing to the development of alternative energy sources, while sensibly and responsibly phasing out our dependence on foreign and fossil fuels, will be one of the defining tests of our nation, and ultimately civilization, if we are to avoid the catastrophic results that climate-change deniers refuse to acknowledge.  We have the resources, the people and the passion to become the standard of excellence in a new era of energy revolution and evolution.

 


ACCESSIBILITY

What does this mean and why is it an issue?  Well, if you’ve tried reaching some of your representatives lately, you’ll know why it’s an issue and you’ll likely understand what it means to have a lack of accessibility.

Both as a candidate and as a representative, Emily will be focused on putting the public back at the forefront of public service.  Her goal is not to be a politician but to be a voice for, and one who can act on behalf of, her friends, her family, her neighbors, and all the others with whom she shares the district.

To be an effective representative, to truly REPRESENT, requires constant communication and engagement with the constituents whose trust an elected official must work each and every day to earn and maintain.

Emily believes that accessibility goes hand-in-hand with accountability and transparency.  She will work for you, and answer to you. And she will always listen to and hear you.

 


RIGHTS

Rights are just that — RIGHTS.

In no particular order: Workers, Ethnic & Religious Minorities, Veterans, LGBTQIA+, Women, Men, Immigrants, Children, Animals… In short, a society is judged by the way in which it respects the lives of all sentient beings who populate it.

To be cruel, or treat any others as lesser, to withhold equal considerations, respect and protections to any living creature cannot be tolerated in a society that values freedom, fairness and justice.  To disrespect the lives of all creatures within our district is to diminish ourselves and what we stand for.