Having served in the state Senate for seven years, I believe the voters are owed something more about my positions and priorities than the standard responses of more jobs, better schools, cleaner environment, and safer communities. Those goals are laudable, but the question is always how they can be accomplished.
Here are specific steps I support:
- I support an amendment to the state Constitution reducing the number of Senators and Representatives. That will save money and potentially increase efficiency.
- We can realize substantial economic and environmental improvements by replenishing funding for the H2O program, which provided grants to help with critically-needed water, sewer, and stormwater projects.
- I believe the state Senate should have an up-or-down vote on a property tax elimination plan.
- The open records reform I supported several years ago was the best reform approved in a generation. There have since been administrative rulings, court decisions, and situations such as the Sandusky scandal that warrant changes to ensure we continue to have a strong public interest law.
- The charter school law must be rewritten to put stronger ethical and accountability standards in place and to prevent local school districts from being saddled with excessive costs.
- Pennsylvania needs a comprehensive law to ensure pipeline safety. I have introduced and am advocating a bill to accomplish that.
- A new special education funding formula should be crafted consistent with the recommendations issued by a state task force.
- I support measures to increase voter participation, such as online registration.
- When natural disasters such as flooding hit, smaller communities experience difficulty in qualifying for existing assistance and recovery programs. I am pushing for a small community disaster relief program.
- Because of the growing problem with the debt load many college graduates are carrying, I am trying to find a way to provide state income tax forgiveness for lower-income college students.