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

Government Transparency
State Government Committee
Voting and Elections

I believe that the public should be given a fair and equal opportunity to use their right to vote in elections and be actively involved in determining the districts of their representatives.  All branches and offices of government must be transparent and open to the public.

State Government Committee
Voting and Elections

I am opposed to requiring Pennsylvania residents to produce unexpired photo identification every time they vote.  It is an unnecessary burden, which will result in some Pennsylvania residents losing this most important right.  Voter participation is already dropping - there is a growing apathy and cynicism about government and elections. Government should not be putting up more barriers, it ought to be reducing them.

Civil Rights
Public Health

Working to make medically safe legal abortion an option for any woman or teen who requests one is among my most important priorities.    I believe in making abortion affordable and accessible and in reducing the need for abortion by improving access to birth control and teaching young people to make responsible sexual choices.

Civil Rights

I have an extensive record of supporting and advocating for LGBT rights.  As one of the original members of the Pride of Philadelphia Election Committee (POPEC) and Liberty City Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club, I am also the co-chair of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgendered Equality Caucus in the General Assembly whose mission is to promote equality regardless of sexual orientation.

Environment
Public Health

Good for Pennsylvania cities and Pennsylvania farmers

Over the years I have been an advocate for making fresh food more easily accessible to city residents.  I helped provide a grant to The Food Trust to bring a farmers’ market to Grays Ferry as well as community gardens at Broad and South and at 25th and Spruce Streets.   Because of my interest, I have served as a member of the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee. I am committed to creating sustainable food options for residents of Philadelphia and all urban areas across the entire state.

Environment

Marcellus Shale Development

HB 1950 FP on 11/17/11 (Natural Gas Impact Fee)

Education

One of my priorities is investing in public education.  Under the Rendell Administration, reading scores in every grade tested improved EVEN IN PHILADELPHIA, and we were the only state in the nation to have this achievement.  Educators from all over the country – and the world – flocked to our state to try to find out what we were doing right.  Part of that formula for success included an emphasis on early childhood development and education.  We went from zero state funding for early childhood education to becoming a national leader, providing more than $323 million in

Environment

The Republican legislation recently passed a woefully inadequate plan which they claimed will protect communities, their roads and infrastructure, our drinking water, and the air we breathe and from the contamination posed by drilling activities in the Marcellus shale.  The Republican bill was and is an insult to Pennsylvania’s working, middle-class families and seniors who are now paying higher property taxes and enduring painful budget cuts to public schools and critical health and safety programs, because Governor Corbett and numbers of Republicans General Assembly members signed Gr