M.S. Ed. - Wilkes University
BA in Communications - University of Pittsburgh at Bradford
City Council Member
Experienced Public School Educator
Board of Directors
Access to the ballot box is one of the most important rights for a citizen. Although Pennsylvania recently modernized its election code, there are other reforms that would further modernize Pennsylvania’s elections. If elected, what reforms would you support to ensure that all citizens who want to vote are able to securely, privately, and independently cast a ballot?
Now, more than ever it is apparent that voters need options to vote from home. So many other legal transactions are permitted through online portals or postage that it is hard to argue that voting could not be accessible from home. With the event of the COVID-19 pandemic, I would further argue that our November election date could be jeopardized.
Pennsylvania should make a mail in ballot available to every voter in the Commonwealth. Nothing could be more enfranchising. Polling locations should still be available if possible, but they should be accessible in all areas equally. Same day voter registration should be permitted, as should the option to vote in person even after a mail in ballot has been requested.
While there have been some positive legislative actions recently, partisan gridlock in Harrisburg has taken its toll, and many people feel that Pennsylvania’s state government is dysfunctional. What types of reforms, if any, would you support to make the legislative process in Harrisburg more effective?
Unfortunately, the people find that their needs and interests often come second to that of corporations. I believe this to be the source of much of the gridlock. Pennsylvania would certainly benefit from reforms to legislators retirement compensation system. I propose that any legislator who goes to work for a lobbying firm after retirement forfeit the balance of their benefits. I would also cap the amount of donations legislators are able to receive per individual or PAC in PA. Currently, state legislators are not bound by the same limits given to congressional candidates. It appears that some legislators are beholden to large donors, and not the average constituent. If all really were serving the people of PA, there would be no gridlock.
Do you support a state constitutional amendment to form an independent commission to redraw Congressional and legislative districts? Why or why not?
Yes, I support a state constitutional amendment to form an independent commission to redraw Congressional and legislative districts. Fair Districts PA has shown the importance of the independent commission. We want a government that is representative of the people - all of the people, regardless of race, religion, or socioeconomic status and in every geographic region. When neighborhoods are divided to creatively carve out a section to give one candidate an advantage, the voters are disenfranchised. Redistricting can not be a partisan project. Our legislators need to concentrate on solving problems and serving constituents. If legislators are truly serving the needs of constituents, they will be re-elected regardless of district boundaries.
2020 marks the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. However, many barriers still exist for people with disabilities. What will you do as a state legislator to improve accessibility for people with disabilities across the Commonwealth?
Technology in many forms has improved accessibility for people with disabilities. More can be done to improve life for everyone in the Commonwealth with the use of fiber optic cable. Internet connectivity is more important now than ever. Telemedicine, education, collaboration and outreach for services are proven to be of great importance to many individuals with disabilities, but it is not available in many areas. Pennsylvania must have an initiative to bring high speed internet to all regions in much the same way access to electricity was provided to the masses. In terms of physical barriers, many privately owned businesses remain inaccessible. Providing grants to assist business owners in making modifications is an important incentive.