For a long time, our area has suffered from a struggling economy. Nearly a quarter of Meadville’s residents live below the poverty line, which is twice the state average. Fifteen percent of Erie County and thirteen percent of Crawford County residents live below the poverty line. Crawford County as a whole ranks 56th out of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties in per capita income. So many of our neighbors struggle to pay the bills, can’t afford good health coverage, worry about how they’ll ever retire.

It doesn’t have to be this way. I’m running because we can do better. We have to do better. Together, we can write a new story for Northwestern Pennsylvania that refuses to accept a rigged economy that sets us up to always fail and, instead, develop a humane, sustainable, thriving economy for ourselves and our children.

We have to recognize, however, that economic struggle is very much by design, because career politicians and party-line corporate sell-outs care a lot more about big money profits than our individual lives and well-being. Our representation in the Pennsylvania House has for decades done nothing to help improve these conditions.

Instead, we hear tired party-line “promises” that work directly against the best interests of our region, and an incumbent’s perennially lackluster platform. We deserve better than a rep whose track record seems built to demonstrate loyalty to party leaders in Harrisburg instead of commitment to us. Put it this way: our poverty rate has not improved in the last 14 years, and the status quo will do nothing to help turn the tide. Tireless support of corporate interests will only keep rural Pennsylvanians poor and struggling.

Let’s try this for a change, six commitments for the 6th District:

1) Let’s commit to a just economy that honors and rewards the hard work of all Pennsylvanians.

2) Let’s recognize that support of the common good — reflected in public investment in education, in healthcare, and in environmental conservation — is part of revitalizing our economy. Investment in green industry, for example, can be a boon to our manufacturing sector, even as it helps protect the waterways, farmland, and air quality of our home.

3) Let’s demand that we have a state representative who works hard for the region and the Commonwealth. It costs more than $300,000 a year to cover the $90k representative salary, the salary of office staff in NWPA and Harrisburg, the rent for offices, the expenses for travel, the strong state-sponsored health and retirement benefits. That adds up to more than $4 million over a 14-year incumbent’s career. We need to see work reflective of that investment. The term “fiscal responsibility” is a lie when it simply papers over disinterested representation and tremendous tax payer cost. We pay dearly for nothing in NWPA.

4) Let’s refuse to accept empty national political rhetoric that clouds the reality of our home turf, that tricks us into supporting a party just because, when the representatives of that party are doing nothing to help improve our local situation. Ugly politics may be part of the national story, but we can demand kindness, care, and intelligence as the hallmarks of our own representation.

5) Let’s call out empty campaign tropes — like no taxes ever! — for what they are: a lazy effort to convince us to accept a degraded public investment in Northwestern Pennsylvania. Other areas of the Commonwealth fare better because of public investment, yet we’re told that our difficulties will somehow magically disappear if we reduce or eliminate state support for our well-being. That’s just another way to keep us poor enough to begrudgingly accept the bad deals we’re offered.

6) Let’s rebuild our region side by side. Let’s invest in a sustainable economy, and foreground how one of the greatest strengths of our neck of the woods is that we look out for each other. Let’s work to offer that strength to everyone, to be neighbors who care, who know when anyone suffers, we all suffer.

Please accept my invitation to peruse the ideas and issues on this website. As your representative, I can’t promise you that I will agree with everyone all of the time. But I can promise you that I will think hard, communicate clearly, and make decisions based on evidence, always prioritizing the best interests of the people of Northwestern PA. You’ll find more detailed explanations of each of my platform priorities here on the site, plus an archive of my frequent in-depth writing about various issues that affect our region. If there’s something more you’d like to know, about me or my candidacy, shoot me an email.

Our health. Our education. Our environment. Our future. It’s time for a representative in District 6 who cares about making our home better. It’s time to write a new story for Northwestern Pennsylvania.

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