I know I'm young, but I don't think it was THAT long ago that our law makers could work together, even when they had disagreements. I get the feeling there isn't much of that happening in Harrisburg these days.
I firmly believe that the fastest way to NOT solve a problem is to do it by yourself or with people who think just the way you do. A big part of the reason we don't see compromise in Harrisburg anymore is that we are isolating ourselves.
WHY? Gerrymandering, for starters. I have been very impressed with the work of groups like Fair Districts PA who are drawing attention to our outdated, unfair map-drawing procedures. Our maps are no accident- they were drawn purposefully to pack as many like-minded people together as possible, giving a strong edge to one party even though there are more voters in other parties. In the most recent redistricting, it was Republicans who were using the system to their advantage to disenfranchise voters. But Democrats have done this in other states, and that is why I look forward to co-sponsoring legislation to implement a nonpartisan citizens commission for redistricting.
I think we can all agree that the tone in Washington is permeating our state legislature, as well. Where are the town halls? Why are bills being held in committee for months on end, especially when there is a large public consensus on the issue? Gerrymandering (creating safe seats) and large sums of untraceable money in our elections has pushed our government in the wrong direction. Our elected officials don't feel they need to listen to their constituents, because their seats are safe whether they hold town halls or not.
If I'm elected, I want to be held accountable to my constituents and the people of Pennsylvania. I want to have town halls. I want people to schedule meetings with me, especially if they are on the opposite side of an issue. We should not be afraid of discourse, we should embrace it. We need fair districts and we need campaign finance reform. I believe we can solve the major issues we are facing as a state without compromising our values.
He's counting on us to get things right.