PENNSYLVANIA AND THE 64TH DISTRICT NEED SOMEONE WHO WILL FIGHT FOR…
PENNSYLVANIA AND THE 64TH DISTRICT NEED SOMEONE WHO WILL FIGHT FOR…
FAMILY SUSTAINING JOBS
Pennsylvania’s rate of job creation has been about half of the rest of the nation for decades. This is due to small businesses being created at half the national average, despite the fact that small businesses create 70 percent of all jobs. The cost of regulation for small businesses is 40 percent higher than for big businesses, and these burdensome regulations must be reduced. Tax credits and greater access to startup capital need to be created to incentivize investment in small businesses. We must also invest and create jobs in the green energy sector to replace the once-high-paying jobs in the coal, oil and gas industries. With the massive slowdown in the once-thriving coal and shale drilling industry, we must find ways to retain and grow jobs. This issue is quite important for the families that are being impacted by these layoffs. We need to help these families that are struggling to maintain their daily living. We must also prepare a way for the revitalization of Pennsylvania’s manufacturing sector in order to provide even more good-paying jobs for working families.
Studies show that jobs will not be lost if the minimum wage is increased to a living wage of $10.10 per hour. The Keystone Research Center states that 530,000 Pennsylvania children have parents who will receive a wage increase when the minimum wage is increased. I propose that we should make this move to a more livable wage. However, we should also include a raise in the tipped workers minimum wage. The tipped worker starting wage of $2.83 per hour is out of touch with today’s living standard and needs to be increased. Nearly 70% of tipped restaurant workers are women, 40% of whom are mothers. A wage that is more in line with a living wage could change the dependence on public assistance and for this reason, I would support a wage of $7.15 per hour for tipped workers. I believe that these changes in wages can make a positive impact for the citizens of our district.
Right to Work
The term “Right to Work” is a misnomer. This type of legislation is not about your worker rights but an attempt to exclude union membership within certain work settings. These types of laws typically contain regulations stating that no one can be compelled as a condition of employment to join a labor union, or even to pay dues. While backers claim that these laws attract business and create jobs, their opponents believe that these laws are directly aimed at weakening unions.
Right-to-Work states tend to offer lower wages than states without these laws -- about 3% lower on average. The difference is not nearly enough to prevent employers from locating in states without regulations. These lower living wages and standards also mean that there is less disposable income to support the local business owners. I believe we are always stronger united, and that Right-to-Work legislation is wrong for working families. We need to value their daily sacrifices with a living wage and safe working environment.
If Pennsylvania legislators actually believe that education will lead to a brighter future for our children, then they need to be willing to demonstrate this by showing support, both financially and legislatively. Early childhood education should be a component in starting young children toward a brighter future. We need to truly listen to the teachers of our school districts and university professors in order to create great educational programs capable of inspiring our youth. Education is not a place for partisanship; everyone must play a part in the creation of the solution to all existing problems and find ways to make our educational system the very best. We all win when our children and grandchildren gain the talent and knowledge to be successful. I believe that now is the time for a bipartisan effort to invest in our future and support education.
Pennsylvania State Legislators have a responsibility to the taxpayers of their districts to handle their hard-earned money both efficiently and effectively. Holding the Pennsylvania Fiscal Budget hostage in order to play politics is not in our best interest. These hostage-style negotiations have resulted in FIVE consecutive credit downgrades, costing taxpayers millions in higher interest rates. These legislative actions have shown us the level of fiscal irresponsibility in Harrisburg.
REDUCING OPIOID USE
Opioid painkiller addiction and accidental overdoses have become far too common across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Many people will suggest it's actually a national epidemic. More people now are experiencing fatal overdoses related to opioid use than compared to heroin and cocaine combined, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Gov. Tom Wolf's administration said heroin and opioid overdoses are now Pennsylvania's leading cause of accidental deaths. It counted nearly 2,500 overdose deaths in Pennsylvania in 2014 and estimated that the 2015 total will surpass that. Pennsylvania must take a more active role in curbing this sweeping issue. I will sponsor and defend legislation to adequately fund social service agencies to provide necessary support to curtail this crisis.
CUTTING LEGISLATIVE EXPENSES
Pennsylvania is one of the largest and most expensive legislative bodies in the nation. Unfortunately, many of our elected representatives have forgotten that they work for the residents of Pennsylvania. I will also support and legislate for efforts that will hold the entire representative body (including myself) accountable to you. I also support term limits for all lawmakers to ensure that no one uses the political system for personal gain but instead run for office because they truly want to make a difference and effect change in our government.
KEEPING POLITICIANS HONEST
As State Representative, I will be there to help make the important decisions and vote on matters that reflect my constituents’ interests, not the interests of Harrisburg, political parties, or special interest groups. The citizens of Venango and Butler Counties are of first and foremost importance when voting and making legislative decisions.
WORKING TO LEAVE THE 64TH DISTRICT BETTER OFF FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS
Every decision I make as a legislator will be dependent on the people of Venango County – not just now but in the future. Too often budgets are balanced and legislation is passed that provides for short term solutions to problems. When such votes occur, they can have political and financial ramifications on our children and grandchildren. Thomas Jefferson said, “It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes.” Smoke and mirror budgets that rely on one-time and short term funding do not guarantee that future generations will be left in a favorable position. I will work vigorously to ensure that Pennsylvania and especially the 64th District will be a better place today and in the future.