Philadelphia Delegation announces its legislative platform for 2019-20

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 16 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, chairman of the Philadelphia House Delegation, along with delegation members today announced their legislative agenda during a news conference at the state Capitol.

The delegation said its top priorities for working toward a better Philadelphia include investing in education and schools, criminal justice reform, health care for all, strengthening commercial corridors, and alternative energy methods.

"We are joining forces to work as one unit for the betterment of all Philadelphians, and that begins with fighting for what our constituents need the most,” Dawkins said. "We are also focused on making sure that everyone gets a fair shot and equal treatment."

“Last session we worked in bipartisan fashion to get clean slate legislation signed into law and bring real criminal justice reform to those who need it,” said Rep. Jordan Harris, the Democratic Whip. “Now, we must continue fighting for further reform to reduce recidivism and allow Pennsylvanians who have paid their debt to society to pursue a productive path to citizenry.” 

“For too long our criminal justice system has been an injustice system for the mentally ill, the poor, and people of color,” said Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta. “While we’ve made progress, our prisons remain overcrowded, inmates mistreated, and mental health problems ignored. I stand with my Philadelphia colleagues to address this mental health crisis by pushing for the proper medication instead of incarceration. We can and must bring fairness and compassion to incarcerated individuals, especially women of color. It is the moral and just thing to do.” 

“If we are to have any chance at significantly reducing poverty in Philadelphia, it is imperative that Philadelphia and Harrisburg row in the same direction,” Rep. Jared Solomon said. “For too long, we have been pulling in opposite directions. With this Philadelphia Platform, we chart a clear direction for us to move together – the state Capitol and the state’s biggest city, working hand-in-hand towards the same goal: reducing poverty.”

“Poverty remains persistent in Philadelphia, and this platform provides a multi-faceted approach to reduce and greatly diminish this deficiency, which keeps over 25 percent of our citizens from flourishing,” said state Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Philadelphia/Montgomery. “ Most neighborhoods have commercial corridors that can function as both job and wealth creators.  We need to ensure that resources for the corridor managers and individual businesses are sufficiently robust and accessible.”

“With this agenda, we want to grow our economy and create good jobs – in Philadelphia and across the state,” Rep. Kevin Boyle said. “Jobs that pay real wages and offer real benefits and a chance to retire – so everyone can have a brighter future. We also must provide opportunities for students starting in high school and all the way through career and higher education, so they can get the skills they need to succeed in our 21st century economy and help us build a well-educated and highly-skilled workforce.”

“Health-related issues impact Pennsylvania and Philadelphia in a variety of ways,” Rep. Morgan Cephas said. “Our goal is to increase the amount of people who are insured, and decrease the rising costs of health care. An estimated 11,700 Pennsylvanians were saved from catastrophic medical costs because of Medicaid expansion, and during the last three years, the Philadelphia region added approximately 20,000 jobs in healthcare and education. We need to continue these efforts to expand coverage, protect the Affordable Care Act and CHIP, while simultaneously working on providing a better future for women’s health and those affected by substance abuse disorder. We face many challenges, but patients deserve affordable, quality care.”

“I believe good public education and a strong economy are central to a strong society,” said Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler. “We need a comprehensive rebuilding program for Philadelphia’s public schools to address the deferred maintenance and safety needs and vital upgrades necessary to make our school buildings healthy places for our children to learn and our teachers, counselors and staff to work. Too many people in my district have two or three jobs just to get by and don’t even have time to spend with their family and community. The Port of Philadelphia, in my district, presents a huge opportunity: the investments we’re making will bring thousands of new family sustaining union jobs and, with electrified cranes and the job training center, Philadelphia’s port continues to grow as a source of strong, union jobs.”

“The people of Philadelphia and all Pennsylvanians need clean air, water and food. And when it comes to the environment, I am particularly concerned about the effects of climate change on citizens who live in urban communities such as Philadelphia, who are disproportionately at higher risk of suffering medical conditions,” Rep. Donna Bullock said. “We are at the tip of the spear, but we must enact policy and legislation that supports the growth of a robust and responsible energy industry, using clean efficient and affordable energy as a tool to have an impact on the local economy and the public health.”   

Dawkins said the Philadelphia House Delegation’s agenda mirrors the Plan 4 PA, the House Democratic proposal that puts people and families first, instead of corporations and special interests. The Philadelphia Delegation’s web page can be found at http://www.pahouse.com/PCD.