"The people of the 175th District deserve to have a choice as to who represents us in Harrisburg. We need a leader who has the courage to push a bold, progressive policy agenda."
Jeff is a proud product of Pennsylvania’s public schools. He knows firsthand that we have to fully fund our education system and duly compensate teachers. Too often of those responsible for educating our children are forced to pay out of pocket for classroom needs.
Additionally, Harrisburg must ensure that charter and online schools do not erode public school funding.
Jeff believes our children and educators must be protected from toxic learning conditions such as asbestos and lead.
He will also fight for all Pennsylvania families to have access to Pre-K, and that they are not shortchanged by an evaluation system that exaggerates test scores at the expense of true academic growth.
The opioid crisis is a public health crisis, and everyone -- including government officials -- must do what we can to bring the number of deaths to zero. This means fully supporting safe consumption sites and clean needle exchanges. This also demands a stronger emphasis on alternatives that steer those struggling with addiction toward treatment rather than prison.
Jeff has always proudly supported the LGBTQ community. While working in the PA House he spearheaded legislation which would include the LGBTQ community in the Human Relations code thus recognizing them as a protected class. At CeaseFirePA he has designed ad campaigns that highlight the absurdity that the legislature would consider making gun owners a protected class while still allowing employers and landlords to discriminate against LGBTQ citizens
Pennsylvania is one of 30 states that has no law on the books prohibiting conversion therapy. Jeff believes conversion therapy is nothing short of child abuse and as State Representative he would proudly introduce legislation that makes it a criminal offense to operate a conversion camp. Additionally, his legislation would create avenues for civil remedies for children forced to undergo this barbaric trauma.
Our transgender siblings are under attack when elected Jeff will work to introduce legislation to end gay/trans panic legal defenses. It’s high time we do away with this shameful and cowardice tactic.
President Trump has unleashed a full-fledged assault on undocumented citizens. Sadly, ICE has become his personal strong arm and aims to separate children, tear apart families, and punish those whose only crime was trying to flee for safety. Jeff believes it is dangerous for the state to not do everything it can to defend undocumented citizens against ICE. He will call on Governor Wolf to close the Berks facility. Urge colleagues to join him in his call to abolish ICE and ensure that no state resource or database is used as a tool to further harass or detain undocumented citizens.
Increased Minimum Wage
Jeff believes everyone is entitled to a livable wage. This means instituting a $15 minimum wage for all workers, including those in the service industry who are currently earning just $2.83 an hour in PA. Pennsylvania’s minimum wage was last adjusted in 2009, and is woefully inadequate to meet people’s basic needs. Large numbers of full-time minimum wage earners fall below the federal poverty threshold. This is unacceptable, and we have the power to change it together. The impacts of a minimum wage increase go beyond people’s wallets. Increasing the purchasing power and financial stability of working people fundamentally shifts the balance of power from corrupt billionaires and greedy corporations to average citizens. Making more money means people can make their voices heard through things like funding grassroots campaigns, or taking a day off to attend a protest.
As residents of Philadelphia, we are well aware of the homelessness problem plaguing our nation, and our city. The Office of Homelessness Services estimates that 5,700 people in Philadelphia are currently homeless, and countless more are one missed paycheck or medical emergency away from not having a place to live. Being homeless makes it difficult to get or hold a job, feed children, or recover from drug addiction or mental illness. Jeff believes housing is a human right, and all individuals deserve a safe and secure place to live. He will propose new legislation aimed at ensuring that everyone has access to housing.
College Debt Forgiveness
With our current technological revolution, individuals need higher education to prepare them for the jobs of today, and tomorrow. Attaining a degree should not mean taking on massive amounts of student loan debt. By allowing students to be charged exorbitant prices for college education, and making them pay high interest rates on loans they take, we are stifling our economy. People forego opportunities for investment like buying a home or a car, because they need to repay student loans. Jeff believes that all student debt should be forgiven, and access to higher education should be free and provided by the government. This will ensure a generational change, allowing working class individuals to achieve their American Dream.
As the Program Director for CeaseFirePA Jeff knows about the devastating effect gun violence has on our communities and our families. Since his time out of public service in 2015, he's aimed to ensure the laws in PA prevent individuals who should not have guns from obtaining them...and to protect those being abused by intimate partners, or are suicidal. Since the devastating election of President Trump, he has begun working to empower citizens and organizations across the Commonwealth to become stronger advocates in the fight to keep our communities safe.
Jeff will make preventing senseless and devastating gun violence a priority. First, he will work with his colleagues to push forward existing gun violence prevention (GVP) proposals like ending PA’s Long Gun Loophole. He will also introduce legislation creating an Extreme Risk Protection Order to equip loved ones and family members of those who are a danger to themselves. Finally, he will continue to work with organizations like the PA Coalition Against Domestic Violence to help victims of crimes committed by intimate partners by ensuring they are not in further danger because of laissez-faire gun laws.
All issues are women’s issues. Pennsylvania needs to start by correcting the pay gap between men and women. We need to level the playing field for everyone. Additionally, charges of sexual harassment and assault have to be taken seriously and result in action. PA should be the next state to adopt statewide paid family and medical leave.
While working in the Gun Violence Prevention Movement, Jeff had the opportunity to build coalitions with police officers, chiefs, sheriffs, sergeants and commissioners across the Commonwealth. He respects their sacrifices and is aware of the many challenges they face. Nevertheless, law enforcement must be held accountable and they cannot allow adherence to the blue line to continue to erode public trust and reinforce institutionalized racism. Jeff supports legislation that works to rebuild transparency and trust between those who work to protect and serve and their constituency. He will denounce bills that aim to make officer-involved shootings more opaque. Jeff will fight for legislation that utilizes special prosecutors and support bills requiring officers to disclose when they pull their service weapons to identify problematic behavior.
From the beginning of my candidacy, I have consistently called for a Pennsylvania Green New Deal (GND). The GND at its heart is a shift from tackling our climate crisis from a simple regulatory view to taking on humanity’s biggest threat through investment. I believe that our Commonwealth can ultimately become an energy exporter, and in the process support communities of color and expand organized labor. I view what New York has enacted to date as a suitable guide for achieving GND-related goals. But before we can get into policy specifics we must first create a coalition of environmental justice organizations, organized labor, environmental organizations, and social justice groups to help us iron out the best way to invest in impacted communities. This coalition can help draft legislation to take to the General Assembly. The legislation would have to include a significant reduction in greenhouse gasses, major investment into renewable resources, tax incentives for average citizens to play their part, an audit of recycling policies throughout PA, and a rebuilding of infrastructure in the Commonwealth. The scale will be crucial to the success of any GND.
Access to Abortion
As a state representative, Jeff will do everything in his power to protect an individual's right to choose. His first step would be to fight to remove all public money going to crisis pregnancy centers. There is no reason that one cent of taxpayer money should be going to these dangerous shams. Additionally, the US Supreme Court has ruled against laws requiring these facilities to be forced to disclose their non-medical status; to Jeff's knowledge they have not ruled against state governments doing so. Jeff would work to ensure the government does all it can to expose their centers for what they are.
The most important thing Jeff believes we can do in the legislature is work to repeal all “TRAP” laws that were put into place on or about 2011. These laws created erroneous restrictions that forced many providers in the state to close their doors. This has created large swaths within the Commonwealth that have no abortion providers and has placed tremendous strain on those that still can. Such an example is within the 175th. The Philadelphia Women’s Center is forced to see patients from some of Philadelphia’s surrounding counties.
Finally, anti-abortion extremists often stand outside providers and peddle “abortion reversal” pills. These pills, the hormone progesterone, do not reverse abortion and have serious side effects on individuals' health. I would criminalize the act of telling people about this dangerous course of drugs.