Fighting For You-Not Corporations:
The discovery of huge untapped depositories of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale region was heralded as a financial boon to Pennsylvania. However, Republican legislators under the leadership of Gov. Tom Corbett took this economic opportunity and turned it into a huge giveaway to the gas drillers, once again leaving all of us holding the bag.
Pennsylvania is the only state that has not enacted a meaningful severance tax on the extraction of natural gas from the newly accessible shale formations. Every other state involved in this industry charges gas drillers a fair, but meaningful tax that advances the priorities of the residents of their state, and I believe it is time for Pennsylvania to do the same.
Beyond increasing funding for primary and secondary public education, we need to invest in educational alternatives after high school. College costs are out of control. The student debt crisis is out of control. And this leads to student loan debt becoming increasingly burdensome to young adults who are trying to make it on their own. It is also often taxing on their parents who co-sign these loans. Our children should not have to borrow the cost of a first home to pay for a college education, and there should be more options available to future generations than a traditional college degree.
I will work to create greater educational opportunities for young people looking to enter the workforce, and for adults looking to find re-enter the workforce and find their next career. Vocational programs, Apprenticeship programs and enhanced funding and programming for our community colleges are all avenues that we must explore in order to maximize the educational and career opportunities available to all Pennsylvanians.
Strengthening Our Roads and Bridges:
If education is the foundation for a strong economy, infrastructure is its backbone. As a builder, I know that upgrading and repairing our crumbling infrastructure is literally building our future and I will fight to make sure we invest in a 21st Century infrastructure so we can create a 21st Century economy.
Years of neglect from Harrisburg have left our roads, bridges and other public infrastructure crumbling before our eyes. This hurts us economically and compromises our safety. The longer we go without addressing these problems, the more expensive they become to fix, once again leaving, us, the taxpayers, on the hook for Harrisburg’s failure to act. Taking action now doesn’t just save us money, it stimulates the economy, creates jobs, attracts businesses and is the first step in building and growing Pennsylvania’s struggling economy.
In its most recent Infrastructure Report Card, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave Pennsylvania’s infrastructure a grade of C-. In its report, the ASCE noted that Pa. has the highest percentage of structurally deficient bridges in the country. Of the Commonwealth’s more than 22,000 bridges, nearly one in four are considered structurally deficient.
Restoring commuter train service to Phoenixville, Royersford and Pottstown would provide real benefits to our area. It would make it easier and less stressful to travel to Phila. (especially for college students and their parents). It would bring business and help the economy of Pottstown. By removing cars from the road it would help ease congestion on the highways and be better for the environment. Even if you never used the train, if it removed 10 or 20% of the cars from Rt. 422 it would make our lives better. Anyone who has tossed away a couple hours of their busy day sitting in 422 rush hour traffic knows this. I will fight to bring this train back.
Protecting the Environment We Share:
As we focus on growing our economy, we must be careful to protect our land, air and water at the same time. Economic growth cannot come at the expense of our health and safety. In Harrisburg, I will fight to make sure that we protect our environment for this generation and future generations with sensible regulations that are actually enforced by a well-funded DEP.
Environmental protections in Pennsylvania are lagging. Just as career politicians failed to enact a meaningful severance tax on the Marcellus Shale gas industry, they failed to put into place adequate safeguards to keep Pennsylvania families safe and healthy. As a working class Pennsylvanian, and a mother who raised my children right here in the 26th District, I will stand up for all of us and our families by making sure that we put in place common sense environmental regulations, and that we make sure those regulations are enforced.