In the year ahead, a bold agenda to protect Pennsylvanians

As I make my oath of service to the residents of the Commonwealth, I do so with renewed commitment to the health and safety of all Pennsylvanians, but with my neighbors in the 23rd District at top of mind.

Our priorities as lawmakers are shaped by many factors, but can’t help but be informed by the challenges of our own communities. The recent tragic shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue – and the gun violence that senselessly ends residents’ lives all too often – show that, as an immediate priority, we need to empower city officials to pass commonsense gun reforms at the local level.

At the same time, a recent decision by a Texas federal court holding that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional could – if upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court – have a devastating impact by taking away emergency care, hospitalization, maternity care, substance abuse treatment and other essential health benefits on which residents rely. That’s why another priority of mine this session will be passing legislation that guarantees those benefits for all Pennsylvanians under state law.

I’ve spent the last 20 years fighting for civil rights for women and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities, and I promise to continue to do so in the face of new attacks. But I won’t back down from pushing a bold agenda that reflects my constituents’ belief in the right to feel safe at home, safe in their houses of worship, and safe in our streets.