I’m running for Congress to stick up for working people in our district. Corporate profits keep hitting record highs, but the workers who make those profits possible are getting less than they ever have. Tens of thousands of people in this district are trying to feed their families on minimum wage, but the real minimum wage has not gone up since the 1970s. So-called “right to work” laws are destroying workers’ right to organize and fight for better conditions on the job. Congress just voted to slash the tax rate for giant corporations, adding $1.5 trillion to the national debt, and they’re already trying to use the hole in the budget — that they just created! — as an excuse to cut vital programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
We need a vision for a better future for workers here in Pennsylvania. I will invest federal money in long-overdue infrastructure projects that create good-paying jobs here in Pennsylvania: clean energy like wind and solar power, roads and bridges, and my personal mission to bring fast, affordable broadband internet to every home and business in our district. I will get serious about antitrust laws, which have been bulldozed by a record-setting wave of mergers that have left consumers with little or no choice in everything from their cable company to their insurance company, and left small businesses struggling to compete with massive corporations. I will support unions and the fight for a $15 an hour minimum wage, not just because it will be great for the economy, but because it’s the right thing to do.
I believe that healthcare is a human right. In the wealthiest country in the history of the world, there is no reason why we should leave millions of people uninsured or struggling badly to afford their health insurance and their prescription drugs, or to pay for the care that their insurance doesn’t cover. That’s why I’m proud to support the fight for a single-payer, Medicare-for-all insurance program. All of us get sick at one point or another, and all of us get old. It’s time we had a simple, easy to understand national health insurance system in place so that we’re all covered. I will also fight to protect and expand Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Taking care of each other is a moral decision, and our federal budget needs to reflect our moral priorities.
We have a special need for fighting the opioid crisis in our district, where too many people are dying and too many families and communities are being ripped apart because of an addiction epidemic that Big Pharma created (with help from a bought-and-paid-for Congress.) Having spoken with dozens of doctors and social workers throughout this campaign, I also know that helping our district recover from this crisis won’t be easy, and we’re going to need to get everyone the resources they need — support for drug education programs for our school districts, NARCAN for our police and first responders, and more funding for treatment facilities, nurses, and doctors. We also need to improve the way we use information technology as a first line of defense against over-prescribing and pharmacy-hopping. Most of all, it’s going to take new leadership in Congress, because the opioid crisis is really a crisis of moral leadership. When the same pharmaceutical companies that pumped millions of pills into Pennsylvania are allowed to write the laws in exchange for campaign contributions, we owe it to each other to elect a representative to Congress who will put the public good ahead of personal profit. I’ve spent my career as a lawyer and a community organizer standing up against the kind of greed and corruption that destroys everyday people’s lives, and I’ll do the same for you in Washington.
As an educator, I know how vital education is to the future of our district and our country. Right now, our educational system is under attack. Decades of federal policy that takes from the middle class to give breaks to the rich has left communities struggling with poverty, and the K-12 schools have suffered as a result. With public schools struggling, privately-owned charter school companies are set to pounce on your tax dollars. These companies have bought their way into the Department of Education and the halls of Congress, with the goal of using your tax dollars to prop up their profit margins.
If you ask me, our kids’ education shouldn’t be for sale to a private company that gets to pick its students, control what they learn, and refuse to listen to parents and voters. As your Congressman, I will vote to expand federal funding for K-12 schools in our district, especially in the rural communities that need more resources and more teachers. The problem isn’t that we don’t have enough tests or enough standards — we demand more of our kids and their teachers than we ever have. The problem is poverty, and I want to take the fight against poverty to Congress.
Our district is also home to outstanding colleges and universities, including Penn State, Lock Haven, Penn Tech, and Bucknell. We need a member of Congress who will help the higher education system in our area grow, including community and vocational colleges. We need a member of Congress who will bring federal research money to our universities, encouraging the next generation of scientists and scholars to make breakthroughs in areas like energy, medicine, and technology.
I believe that clean air and water are a right for all human beings, and I accept the scientific consensus that climate change poses a threat to our future on this planet. Unfortunately for us, Tom Marino seems to disagree. In the last three years alone, Tom Marino has voted to eliminate common-sense rules that stop huge industrial companies from polluting the air we breathe and the water we drink. He voted to eliminate protections for wildlife refuges and public lands. He voted over and over again in favor of fossil fuel giants and against renewable energy initiatives.
As your representative in Congress, here’s what I’ll do instead. I will restore our pollution laws to protect our air, and crack down on fossil fuel companies that have injected dangerous chemicals into our rivers and streams through fracking. I will empower environmental and wildlife protection agencies to do their jobs. I will vote to protect our public lands, which will be the backbone of Pennsylvania’s tourism economy for years to come. The environmental challenges we face here in our district also present us with a great opportunity to join the next energy revolution. Pennsylvania is lagging behind the rest of the country on green jobs, and I will put people to work building up our renewable energy infrastructure in wind and solar. If we commit to a future focused on clean energy, we can hire the army of manufacturing professionals, construction workers, and equipment operators we’ll need to maintain it.
Rural Pennsylvania is rapidly falling behind the rest of the country in internet connectivity, in terms of access, affordability, and speed. There is no Internet connection in too many places in our district, and in many others, there is no competition among providers to keep costs down. This is a top priority issue for schools, farmers, and job creators, and with my background in Internet technology, I know how to get it done. Investing in our broadband Internet infrastructure will create good-paying jobs, help our kids stay ahead on their schoolwork, and keep families in touch across generations. With better leadership in Congress, I see a future for our district where every home and business is connected by high-speed fiber optic cable, installed and maintained by folks who grew up here and trained in our vo-tech system. Unlike our current leaders in Congress, I will also fight to overturn the FCC’s disastrous decision to eliminate net neutrality protections, so that we can always get access to the news and information we choose.
I began my career in political engagement defending the Affordable Care Act, which required that birth control be included in employer-based health plans at no extra cost and helped prevent insurance companies from charging higher premiums to women. Under the Medicare-for-All system that I support, every American — man, woman, or child — would be able to get the care that they need, including reproductive healthcare for women, with no cost to them at the point of service. As your representative in Congress, I will fight to protect programs like Medicaid and Title X that support women’s health. With respect to abortion, I support a woman’s right to choose. I believe that decision should be between a woman, her family, her doctor, and God.
I didn’t serve in the military, but I have nothing but the utmost respect for those who have. As your Congressman, I will demonstrate that respect by fighting to protect and expand the VA’s ability to provide our veterans with their hard-earned benefits.
Our government makes a solemn promise to deliver healthcare, disability compensation, and other benefits (like education assistance and home loans) to the men and women who serve in our armed forces. Although it’s not perfect, the VA is still one of the best healthcare systems in the country by any available measure. We need to invest in the VA so that our veterans can get the benefits they earned without long waits or bureaucratic headaches.
As I’ve traveled around this district, I’ve also heard from veterans who are having trouble using the benefits they’ve earned (for example, transferring GI Bill benefits to their children), because of bureaucratic holdup and unresponsive legislators. If our government officials can’t prioritize the services that the best and bravest among us earned, then they need to be replaced. As your representative in Congress, I will fight like hell to get our veterans the benefits they earned, without hassles or delays.
Our farmers, and particularly our dairy farmers, are the heart and soul of our rural communities in Pennsylvania’s 12th District. I’ve listened to their concerns as I’ve traveled throughout the district, and I know that many of our family farms are struggling against the headwinds of low prices, competition from out-of-state conglomerates and milk substitute products, and bad policies that keep milk products out of schools and hospitals. Our farmers need a champion in Congress who can push through common-sense policies that make our farms profitable and help our rural communities thrive again, and I will be that champion when I’m in Washington.
I believe that all people are created equal, and should be treated equally under the law. I oppose the proposed ban on transgender military service members, as well as all other attempts to deny legal recognition of marriage, healthcare benefits, or the ability to adopt to LGBTQ individuals. Our government should serve all of us equally, and I’m committed to upholding that principle as your representative in Congress.
As a lawyer with a deep appreciation for the Constitution, I respect the Second Amendment. I know that hunting and sport shooting are cherished family traditions in our district, and every individual has a right to self-defense. Because I value responsible gun ownership, I also support common-sense solutions to gun violence that are supported by the vast majority of Americans, including gun owners: fixing our broken background check system (including closing the “gun show” loophole), banning bump stocks, keeping firearms out of the hands of convicted domestic abusers and others who raise red flags, and investing in mental health treatment. I oppose arming teachers in schools, which is not a realistic or adequate solution to the problem of school shootings, and I will work with school districts and law enforcement to make sure that school security is a top government priority. Gun violence is often a divisive issue, but traveling around this district and speaking with gun owners, law enforcement officers, parents, and teachers, I know that there is a lot of common ground to build on. It just takes the courage to come to the table and get serious about solving the problem, and that’s something our current Congress has refused to do.