"I'm running for re-election in Pennsylvania’s 12th Senatorial District to continue my hard work on behalf of our community to keep this District a great place to live, work, and raise our families."
PROTECTING THE MIDDLE CLASS AND GROWING OUR ECONOMY
Fostering economic development and income security in our district has been a priority for me as we find ourselves struggling to overcome the hardships from the ongoing COVID pandemic. After two years of difficulty for our small businesses, front-line workers, students, parents and just about every last one of us, I am proud of the programs the Senate Democratic Caucus and the Governor worked hard to implement. Things like a $225 million grant program for main street small businesses to help them get back on their feet after having their doors closed to business for so long, mortgage and rental assistance to help those struggling to make ends meet breathe a little easier during these tough times, and the $632 million dollars to assist long term living programs as they balanced quality care and safety in and outside their doors. In addition to working hard to secure resources for our community members, I have worked hard to make sure our municipalities were not overlooked when it came to grant funding for improving our facilities, roadways, and recreational areas. While I continue to advocate for projects still in need of state support in our communities, here are just some of the many 12th District projects to receive funding in 2021 alone: • $2,000,000 to Gwynedd Mercy University to improve facilities • $83,550 to Hatboro Borough for traffic safety improvements • $2,745,202 for improvements to: o Upper Moreland Willow Grove Turnpike Interchange o Hatboro Borough York Road sidewalk o Hatfield Borough pedestrian crossing improvements o Hatfield Borough Welsh and Orvilla Roads intersection improvements o Lower Gwynedd Brookside Avenue Flood Study o Upper Gwynedd Haines Run Hydrologic and Hydraulic Study One of the most important ways to address income security is to ensure fair wages for all workers across our Commonwealth. Pennsylvania’s minimum wage has not changed in 13 years and falls below that of all our neighboring states. Experts agree - and we all know - that when workers earn more they spend more and our businesses and communities benefit. As your Senator, I will continue to keep pledges made in 2018 to continue the fight to increase our minimum wage, support labor, bolster our infrastructure, encourage business development and make Pennsylvania more attractive to new businesses (including green and renewable energy, new technology and modern manufacturing), stabilize and nurture distressed communities, provide our children with the tools to be successful in the ever-changing global economy, and provide struggling workers with continuing education efforts so that they can take better advantage of today’s economy and prepare themselves for inevitable changes to come. According to a report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Pennsylvania’s economy loses $3.47 billion annually because of childcare issues. That’s why I introduced legislation that would put $300 million into the childcare industry to support their recovery from COVID losses and closures. • $100 million would be for pandemic recovery grants to childcare facilities to help them recoup losses sustained during the COVID-related mitigation period; • $75 million would be available for childcare facilities to make necessary infrastructure upgrades relating to COVID-19; • $75 million would be for building the childcare workforce including recruitment, training, and professional development for workers at childcare facilities; and, • $50 million would be for increasing the capacity and quality of programming.
AFFORDABLE, QUALITY HEALTHCARE
I believe that healthcare is a human right. No family should have to choose between a meal and medical care. As a nurse, finding a way to make affordable, high-quality healthcare a reality for all Pennsylvanians is one of my top priorities. But we also need to ensure that we have the healthcare staff to meet the changing needs of our Commonwealth. Health care workers are leaving bedside care at alarming rates all over the country and one of the biggest reasons they cite is burnout. Overworked and underappreciated, nurses have been crying out for support from their legislators. That’s why I introduced SB240, the Patient Safety Act that will establish safe nurse to patient ratios in our hospitals to keep our nurses operating to the highest level of their skill and providing the highest quality of care to patients in hospitals across the Commonwealth. But that's just one way to keep our nursing workforce strong. I have heard from too many nurses that a sign in the yard isn’t quite the kind of show of support they’ve needed over the last two years while they’ve put themselves and their own families at risk to keep millions of Pennsyvlvanians safe during the covid pandemic. That’s why I worked hard with the Governor to create the Student Loan Relief for Nurses program and why I fought for $20 million in funding to award qualified nurses up to $7500 in student loan reimbursement. Reproductive Rights I am committed to protecting a woman’s right to control her own body and will continue to advocate for safe and legal reproductive healthcare in Pennsylvania, including abortion care. Pennsylvania Republicans will do everything in their power to strip women of their bodily autonomy despite the fact that a majority of Pennsylvaians support access to some form of abortion care. It has never been more important to make sure that the people we send to Harrisburg commit to protecting and expanding all forms of healthcare across our Commonwealth. That is why I co-sponsored a memo urging our legislature to take the necessary steps to codify access to safe and legal abortion into law. I can promise that it will never stop being a priority to me to fight for a woman’s reproductive freedoms in our Commonwealth.
FAIR ELECTIONS AND VOTING REFORMS
Voting is a right afforded to all Americans by the Constitution and here in Pennsylvania there should be no question that every registered voter must have fair and unfettered access to cast their vote and have the confidence that their vote is counted. Period. Unfortunately, throughout my first term as your State Senator I have witnessed tireless attempts by my Republican colleagues to undermine the processes they not only advocated for, but happily voted into law in 2019. Act 77 granted all Pennsylvania voters the ability to vote by mail, allowed our county governments to implement the use of drop boxes, and allowed voters to begin voting up to 50 days before election day so that they could cast their ballot at a time and in a location convenient to them. These reforms were approved almost unanimously by our legislature and signed into law by our Governor. Yet, just last year I stood on the floor of our Senate chamber and questioned Republican Seth Grove about the provisions of his election reform bill that would do away with many of these conveniences and even add a signature verification requirement that would leave signature matching to untested and unproven artificial intelligence technology, creating hurdles to getting votes cast and counted by Election Day. I voted against that bill and the Governor vetoed it yet that hasn’t stopped the assault on voting access that my colleagues in the Senate and House Democratic caucuses and I continue to fight every day. We must continue to work hard to implement measures -- such as automatic voter registration, same day voter registration, and protect Act 77’s mail-in voting and early voting -- that make it easier, not harder, for Pennsylvanians to vote.
COMMON-SENSE GUN SAFETY LEGISLATION
As a nurse and as your State Senator I recognize gun violence for the public health epidemic that it is. Pennsylvanians have every right to demand common sense gun safety regulation from their legislature including (1) closing loopholes to ensure background checks are required on all gun sales, (2) tightening lost or stolen gun reporting standards, (3) restricting access to firearms by criminals, including domestic abusers and stalkers, (4) investing in research into the effects of gun safety technology and gun violence prevention, and (5) allowing local governments to pass reasonable gun ordinances without fear of lawsuits from outside groups like the NRA. These reasonable measures are supported by the majority of Pennsylvanians and even by most law-abiding gun owners. It’s time our legislature listened to the people in our communities and enacted these policies.
INVESTING IN OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Now, more than ever, we must support our children and teachers by investing in them and our public schools. Pennsylvania currently ranks 44th of 50 in state contribution to education funding, which leaves local school districts and taxpayers funding the balance, and it continues to create performance gaps among districts. I will continue to fight for the Commonwealth to pay its fair share at the state level so that you and our children’s futures are supported equitably and so we can lessen our local districts' reliance on property taxes to make up the difference. I’ll continue to fight for investments in early childhood education and pre-K, making higher education more accessible and affordable, and reforming our charter school policies to hold them accountable to our communities both educationally and financially.
Public safety is a top concern for every member of our community. We want to know that when called upon, our community police, fire and EMS departments are ready and able to provide safe support - no matter the circumstances they encounter. As a state senator, I have worked hard to ensure that we properly fund our public safety personnel and help keep their facilities and equipment up to date. I helped bring one million dollars in grant funding to assist Warrington’s police department in their efforts to update and modernize their crowded and outdated police facility and have advocated for state funds for the purchase of new patrol cars to townships in the 12th District. I partnered with State Representative Liz Hanbidge to bring $1 million to the North Penn Fire Department to improve their facility and have successfully advocated for $572,634 to be allocated and distributed across Senate District 12 for much needed fire, EMS, and public safety supports and improvements. Additionally, as the mom of a school-aged son, I know just how critical school safety is to every parent in the 12th district. I am proud of the $99,727 Safe School Targeted Equipment Grant awarded by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to support our schools and the more than $1.3 million in grants for school safety and community violence prevention grants have come to our neighborhoods. I will continue to work to bring state support to our local school districts every day.
SAFE WATER AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Pennsylvanians have a constitutional right to "clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment." As your Senator, I have defended this right and will continue to serve as a trustee for our natural resources. When I first ran for this seat in 2018, I heard from you that one of the biggest concerns you had was cleaning up from the devastating impact the spread of PFAS, or “forever chemicals,” from firefighting foams used on local military bases in Warminster and Horsham has had on our soil and groundwater. That’s why I - before even being sworn in - introduced bills to help hold polluters accountable and help make our communities’ drinking and groundwater safe. SB 611 and SB 612 would set a maximum contaminant level (MCL) for the most common of these chemicals to require that water suppliers clean the drinking water to levels that will protect us from harm and would classify these chemical as hazardous substances to give our communities a greater opportunity to keep our drinking water safe without putting the financial burden to do so on the ratepayers in impacted communities. Additionally, through my advocacy with the administration, Senate leadership and Commonwealth agencies, I have helped to secure hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to enhance our community’s parks, trails, and green spaces. You can rest assured that with me as the Senator for Pennsylvania’s 12th District, there will always be someone leading the cause to continue enhancing our green spaces and protecting the ecology of them.
EQUITY AND JUSTICE
As your State Senator, I remain steadfastly committed to efforts at our state and local levels to root out and prohibit discrimination of any Pennsylvanian on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, or disability. That’s why I co-sponsored legislation to expand the Human Rights Act to cover all working people, whether independent contractors or paid staff, to be protected from sexual harassment and harassment of gender expression in work places and why I introduced SB 854 to prohibit the use of any LGBTQ+ panic defense. The unfortunate rise in anti-Asian racism that our community has seen is another example of why we need legislators who will stand up for the rights of every Pennsylvanian. And it’s why I stood with the AAPI community in District 12 who were justifiably concerned about the serious nature of these attacks and why I will continue to fight against hate crimes, to close criminal justice loopholes, and stand up for every member of our community. We reach common ground more often when we understand the perspectives of those who have different experiences than us. That's why I've introduced legislation to ensure that our education curriculum incorporates the history of the AAPI community in Pennsylvania and the United States, and I've voted against every legislative attack Republicans in Harrisburg have pushed to eliminate conversations and books about the LGBTQ+ community which they find uncomfortable. As State Senator for the 12th district, I have continued to vote for and support legislation which advances William Penn's vision of tolerance and understanding throughout the Commonwealth.