Issues and Priorities

I have a long-standing reputation as a lawmaker dedicated to civil liberties, to improving health care for all, to fair taxes, environmental protection and to quality public education. I have encouraged arts and economic development that have benefited millions of Philadelphians and Pennsylvanians, and I believe strongly that a commitment to diversity and economic development are inextricably intertwined.

I invite you to explore this section of the site for more detailed information on my policy priorities and my positions on various issues. Just select from the links below.

Policy Priorities

Jobs and The Economy

The Prevailing Wage Act is intended to ensure a level playing field for contractors who bid on public works projects.  In addition, the act prevents unscrupulous contractors from underbidding honest contractors by depressing workers' wages in order to submit a lower bid.  It establishes a wage rate floor and takes workers’ wages out of competition.  As such, government agencies are assured that low bids will reflect managerial and worker efficiency and skill. 

Arts and Culture

Arts and culture not only make our lives worth living but also contribute importantly to economic development – business, job development, the downtown food scene, and the Arts are inextricably linked.  I am a strong advocate for more resources to arts and culture – I have brought thousands of dollars to the district for small and large arts, culture, performance, educational, and entertainment institutions and organizations throughout the district, and I will continue to do so.

Public Health

Thousands of Pennsylvania working families have fallen into poverty and been forced to access benefit programs because they can't afford health care. This has increased the burden on state and local governments, and on taxpayers.  In addition, in 2011 the Corbett Administration allowed adultBasic to run out of money.  That means that 42,000 working Pennsylvanians lost their health insurance, had to wait until they were really sick, and ended up in very expensive emergency room care.

State Government Committee

The House State Government Committee is charged with oversight over a whole host of issues that are wide-ranging in scope.

Government Transparency
Voting and Elections

Overhauling the state’s campaign finance laws is one of my top legislative priorities.  Pennsylvania is one of only five states that have no contribution limits; voting is at an all-time low, I believe in part, because many citizens believe their vote cannot compete with the enormous sums of money that candidates collect from deep pockets.  Restoring public confidence in government is a tall task, but I believe that passing meaningful campaign finance legislation is a step in the right direction.

Government Transparency

I believe that elected officials and public employees at all levels must be held to the highest legal, ethical and professional standards and all branches and offices of government must be transparent and open to the public.

Public Health

We need to do everything we can to educate women and their families about the importance of breastfeeding, and to make it easier for women to breastfeed their babies, even when they need to go to back to work.

Breastfeeding carries tremendous benefits for mother, baby and society as a whole.  There are many different ways communities can support mothers and babies to breastfeed, and everyone plays a role.

Criminal Justice

Between January and June 2011, there were 127 murders by gunshot and 674 gunshot victims in our City.  A sad epitaph, indeed!  It has been discovered that many of the firearms used in crimes were purchased legally by individuals who are permitted to carry a firearm; however, somehow, those same weapons unlawfully ended up in the hands of criminals. 

Transit / Transportation

Across Pennsylvania, bridges are buckling, roads are crumbling, and working people are burning more fuel to go fewer miles.  Delays in necessary repair and maintenance work, coupled with rising prices in materials and reduced revenues yielded the perfect storm we currently face. In 2011Governor Corbett’s Transportation Funding Advisory Commission developed a strategic proposal for addressing the transportation funding needs of Pennsylvania.

Transit / Transportation

As the only elected official in Harrisburg who does not drive a car, I am pleased that SEPTA is moving forward with updating our current payment technology to make riding the system easier and more efficient.  I have been working closely with SEPTA, DVARP, DVRPC, other transit related agencies and the unions across the city to gain a better understanding of how the new payment technology (NPT) system will work.