Notes from the Campaign Trail (7) What if this were the Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965?

As Heather and I were walking in the March for our Lives rally yesterday in Philly, we passed two police officers on horseback and then a line of about 20 officers on foot marking the barricade to stop traffic on Market Street. The thought occurred to me, what if this were the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma in 1965 and these police were not there to protect us, but to stop us from protesting? Would we still have had the courage to march? We certainly would not have had our children with us! To proceed knowingly and peacefully into the hostile hands, feet and billy clubs of the Alabama State Police, as John Lewis and his Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) did on March 7, 1965, was an act of absolute courage and self-sacrifice that I do not think many of yesterday would have dared attempt. Our civil liberties are precious to us. To some, they were worth sacrificing life and limb. To us yesterday, hopefully taking a short walk with 10,000 of our neighbors, protected by the police, sent a strong enough message to our leaders. Thank you John Lewis and SNCC that we did not have to do the incomprehensible as you did 53 short years ago.

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Clean Water Act Programs

Clean Water Act programs are responsible for 45 years of progress in cleaning up and protecting our nation’s vital water resources. I will oppose Administration actions, legislation or spending bill amendments (riders) that will roll back important progress like the 2015 Clean Water Rule that protects nearly 10,000 stream miles in Pennsylvania which serve as sources of drinking water and recreation as well as support many diverse job sectors, like small local breweries. It is a shame that Congress never made the Clean Water Rule law and it had to be implemented courageously and responsibly by executive order under President Obama. If elected, I will fight to reinstate these critical protections of our water quality, waterways, streams and wetlands into permanent legislation that cannot be overturned by executive order.


The scientific consensus is that the climate is changing and that human activity is a significant cause. Action on climate would spur a transition to a clean energy economy and create millions of jobs. I will co-sponsor and support legislation that drives momentum away from fossil fuel extraction and burning. We must lead on climate change, not deny science. We must implement a 30-year plan to eliminate fossil fuel driven energy and transportation. We must ban drilling on federal land and in the oceans, especially off our East Coast Shores which always have been protected until this President came along.


Climate Change

As the world’s second largest polluter, action by the United States to reduce global warming pollution and to reap the benefits of a transition to a clean energy economy are essential to achieving the reductions that scientists tell us are needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. The Paris Climate Accord was an agreement among 195 nations intended to bind the world community into battling rising temperatures. Under it, the United States had pledged to cut its greenhouse gas emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 and commit up to $3 billion in aid for poorer countries by 2020. Earlier this year President Trump announced that the United States would withdrawal from the accord.

I oppose this decision!

We must lead on climate change, not deny science. It was a terrible decision to withdrawal from this treaty. The pledges under the treaty are actually not bold enough. We must implement a plan to convert to a 100% renewables economy within 30 years. $3 billion to help other nations do the same is too small an investment. We can do much better!


In the 115th Congress, an unprecedented number of anti-environmental bills have been introduced, ranging from legislation to block agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from developing and enforcing regulations, to bills that would chip away at bedrock laws including the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Antiquities Act, and Endangered Species Act. I will oppose bills that would roll back public health and environmental protections!


Olney Charter Teachers Vote to Unionize

I am so proud of my colleagues who persevered through the 3-year process to unionize Olney Charter. I was with them year one and paid a price for my commitment to the union movement. I am the only union member in the race for the 5th Congressional District and the only one who has participated in a unionization process and protested school closings and charterizations of schools throughout my career. Others were afraid to speak out. I have never backed down. Neither did my colleagues. Way to go guys!