| Bucks County Courier Times
As a 23-year member of my union and a former small business owner, I know what it means to work hard to support your family. As I see it, that’s exactly what people in Bensalem want to do — put in an honest day’s work and earn enough to support their loved ones.
The biggest issue facing Bensalem, and everyone in the nation, is the COVID pandemic. It’s disrupting everything from our jobs to our ability to see our family and friends. Beating COVID-19 is going to be tough, but I know the people of Bensalem are strong enough to do their part. Here at home, we need to take the advice of medical experts and public health professionals by maintaining social distance and wearing masks; in Harrisburg, the legislature needs to supply additional financial relief to workers and business owners who have been impacted by the pandemic. I’m running for State Representative to make sure Harrisburg does its part.
The Governor’s response to the pandemic has been widely criticized, and there are aspects of it that weren’t perfect — big box hardware stores were allowed open, for example, while mom-and-pop shops couldn’t qualify for a waiver. But on the whole, Governor Wolf did the best he could handling an unprecedented situation. His emergency powers should not be overturned, and the attempt by our state legislature to do so was a waste of time while working people desperately needed assistance.
The dispute over the Governor’s emergency declaration was emblematic of the deep partisan divide in our politics today. Too many elected officials vote with their party leadership 100% of the time instead of thinking for themselves and doing what is best for their constituents. I will always be willing to work across the aisle to get the job done. We must, however, acknowledge the facts that are presented to us. The pandemic is real, and the partisan fighting over a virus can’t continue. We must be guided by the unifying goal of serving our communities and keeping people safe.
The COVID pandemic exposes a deep flaw in our healthcare system. People are losing their jobs, which means they are also losing their healthcare at a time when they need it most. Many of the policy solutions must be passed in Washington, but as state representative I will be an advocate for transparency over treatment and drug costs. Several years ago, the state legislature expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. We can’t afford for that to be rolled back, especially during a public health crisis.
There are, of course, many issues aside from the COVID pandemic that must be addressed by Harrisburg. It’s time for Pennsylvania to have sensible gun safety laws by requiring a background check on all firearm sales. My uncle was a police officer killed in the line of duty, and I saw firsthand what gun violence can do to a family. The next generation needs more affordable access to higher education; I support programs like the Pennsylvania Promise, which would provide grant money to students whose families make less than $110,000 per year. We need fair funding for our public schools and transparency over charters. We need to decriminalize marijuana. We need to get serious about addressing racism, and recognize that we can support both law enforcement and the Black Lives Matter movement.
None of this will be easy, but I’m used to working hard. I’ve done it my whole life, and I promise to work just as hard in Harrisburg on behalf of everyone in the 18th district.