A true democracy requires the participation of its people. The voice of the voters must matter most — more than the will of any party or its leadership, and immensely more than the will of those who write the biggest checks to candidates. In our current system, this is not the case. Pennsylvanians feel ignored at best, and powerless at worst, and our citizens have lost faith in the integrity of our system because of the state’s blatantly partisan redistricting process. When redistricting is left to self-serving legislators with a clear political agenda, our democracy is compromised for ten years at a time. Legislators must be held accountable, and voters are entitled to have their voices heard. I will fight for the legitimacy of our democracy by working with other legislators to re-envision Pennsylvania’s redistricting process to make it as fair and impartial as possible, restoring power where it belongs: with you.
With a society so reliant on a strong energy grid to fuel our homes, schools, businesses, hospitals, cars, and an ever-increasing number of personal devices, we must be aware of the impact that our energy choices have on the economy and the global climate. We must live in the present while transitioning to and securing the future. While we are not yet able to rely exclusively on renewable energy, sustainability without pollution must be our goal, and we must begin taking serious actions to get there. Yes, I believe climate change is very real, very dangerous and we must come up with very real solutions. We must make Pennsylvania an appealing destination for businesses in the green energy sector. Those organizations will provide much needed jobs and revenue as we begin building an infrastructure for 21st century energy needs, and boost our economy while aiding our environment. This is a win-win.
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 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 can’t ignore how the energy industry has made significant financial investments 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 while bringing in much needed revenue to address serious challenges facing the Commonwealth. As State Representative, I will fight for investments in clean energy like solar and wind, while also acknowledging that coal and natural gas still play vital roles in the Pennsylvania economy and must be a part of Pennsylvania’s energy mix, while doing everything possible to mitigate environmental risk and damage.
I founded No Crayon Left Behind based on the principle of “reuse and recycle.” I have spent years working on behalf of the environment and to reduce waste, and will not yield this central belief in Harrisburg. Every Pennsylvanian has a right to clean air and water. These are not aesthetic needs, but critical to health and quality of life. Ensuring we have them, now and in the future, requires a balance between economic growth and environmental protection. To sacrifice the quality of our environment now for financial gain is incredibly short-sighted, creating a debt we and our children will surely pay in the future with poor health. I will fight to protect our environment, and to grow our investments in industries that benefit our economy in environmentally safe ways.
As someone who grew up in a home with guns and is a gun owner herself, I understand and respect responsible gun ownership. I also understand how responsible gun ownership should be the cornerstone of the debate surrounding the high-stakes challenge of gun violence in the United States. I believe we must support common sense measures that would prevent individuals with criminal records, perpetrators of domestic violence, and those diagnosed with serious mental health issues from owning guns and endangering the community; I believe this in no way infringes on the legitimate rights of responsible gun owners. Closing sales loopholes and running background checks, as well as imposing more serious consequences for those who break the law, are simple ways to make sure guns don’t fall into the wrong hands and to protect the right for responsible owners to bear arms while maintaining the fundamental rights of our citizens to feel safe. In short, those who abuse their rights will lose those rights until such time as they have earned them back. I also believe we must restrict the use of certain high-capacity weapons to those who have a legitimate need, such as our military. To be as thorough and responsible in our approach requires extensive research into this issue, so I support research and education programs, including the proposed CDC study of gun violence, to ensure the wellbeing of our communities.
CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM
The control that money has over politics is unacceptable. Because of its influence, too many legislators almost exclusively serve the interests of high dollar donors at the expense of most constituents. Pennsylvanians are rightfully frustrated with a government that systemically ignores them at best, and damages them at worst. When money determines policy, the idea of a representative democracy is perverted. This is corruption. As a non-politician and as a constituent, I understand and share the desire — and fundamental right — to be heard, to know that our elected officials’ votes are not for sale. We must ensure that the power remains equally distributed among all the people, not just those with the deepest pockets. I believe the time is now to implement serious financial reforms that will remove the most corrupting aspect of our democratic process and thereby make much needed strides in restoring the public trust.