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Lack of affordable housing is a critical issue in our city. What are your positions on key issues such as a Homes Guarantee, rent control, and increasing the number of affordable housing options?

Currently, a million and a half Pennsylvanians pay more than 30 percent of their income on housing and the number of affordable units in the Commonwealth and Philadelphia is shrinking. Our remaining stock of public and subsidized housing is crumbling or has been demolished, as the population in need of these units is growing. We need a Homes Guarantee. A generational investment in housing and renters’ rights is necessary to not only reverse these trends, but to address unmet affordability needs. The magnitude and breadth of the current crisis requires a multi-dimensional approach.

I support the following measures to address the crisis:

  • Using the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP), LIHTC, New Markets Tax
  • Credits, and other funding streams to build model no-carbon, green social housing complexes with ground-floor retail, services, and community spaces managed by public housing authorities, limited equity co-operatives, or community land trusts. PHFA is already financing building small numbers of passive units, a program we should expand dramatically.
  • Giving municipalities and housing authorities the explicit authority and financial resources to acquire units and dispose them as rent-restricted or limited-equity properties to community land trusts, while helping finance green upgrades to eliminate fossil fuels and increase energy efficiency.
  • Preventing existing affordable housing from being demolished or converted to market rate and upgrading that housing to emit no carbon and save on energy costs.
  • Extending grants and zero-interest loans to landlords to make repairs and green retrofits that cut carbon pollution and increase home comfort and safety in exchange for agreeing to a deed-restricted affordability period.
  • Protecting renters through right to counsel and rent stabilization.
  • Ending exclusionary zoning. Increasing the density of housing near transit is an important mechanism for fostering low-carbon lifestyles where employment, goods, and services are all easily accessible without reliance on private automobiles. In the long run, new housing production can help to ensure that wealthier households do not out-bid lower-income residents for units within an overconstrained housing supply.

Do you believe PA’s current criminal justice system is equitable? Please explain your positions on ending cash bail, mandatory minimum sentencing, PA’s judge selection process, Marsy’s Law, and the death penalty.

I believe a democratic society cannot truly coexist with a system of incarceration, that deprives so many (no matter how many), of years of their lives, tears families and communities apart, and which is rooted in racial terror and white supremacy. We should begin to end the prison system by ending our system of mass incarceration. We can put a cap on sentencing for felonies and misdemeanors, and ending mandatory minimums in sentencing. We ought to eliminate any violations connected to fines and fees. I would seek a moratorium on all new state prison construction. I would eliminate the use of cash-bail, seek to abolish the death penalty, end life without parole, and revise legislation that allows juveniles to be tried as adults.

Gun violence is a major public health issue. What is your position on gun control and what would you do at the state level to combat our gun violence epidemic, including universal background checks and imposing liability for gun deaths upon manufacturers?

Our goals around firearm legislation should be paired with our goals around mass incarceration. We shouldn’t seek to reduce guns on the street through locking more people up. I support DA Larry Krasner’s efforts to use prosecutorial discretion to process more gun possession cases through diversionary cases. We must also invest in proven strategies to reduce gun violence that don’t rely on cruel punishments, like Cure Violence, a strategy that uses credible community members to identify and deescalate conflicts before they become lethal. Implementing Cure Violence in North Philadelphia led to a 30 percent reduction in shootings.

How do you plan to tackle the opioid crisis across the city and state? Do you support safe injection sites, such as the one proposed for Kensington?

I support safe consumption sites, which will reduce deaths and also encourage diversion and treatment, rather than policing and incarceration. I also believe that we should take a compassionate and evidence-based approach to the crises of addiction and reject stigma-based lawmaking. Across the state, we must end mandatory minimums, reduce sentences for drug charges, and offer diversion options to drug users and small time drug sellers. Mandatory minimums in Pennsylvania are systematically applied in ways that target communities of color and thus impact them disproportionately in comparison to white communities. We must take steps to heal the harm the racist war on drugs has wreaked on Black communities around the state — we must release those with drug convictions on their records from imprisonment, expunge their records and provide immediate assistance to assist those who are incarcerated to establish stable lives outside of prison. We must also recognize that the war on drugs has destroyed millions of lives, wasted billions of dollars, and is based primarily in fear and stigma, rather than proven evidence and research. It has disproportionately singled out communities of color and poor people, and caused irreparable damage to lives, incomes, neighborhoods, families, and futures. We should also require that all state prisons provide Naloxone and overdose reversal training to inmates upon release — and we should also provide these to residents across the state. We should also expand access to Buprenorphine which has been proven to be more effective in rehabilitating drug users than detox or other methods and decriminalize drugs and syringes.

Employment was a major issue for Pennsylvanians in 2016 and will be again in 2020. What are your stances on paid family leave, increasing unionization of workers, and reducing poverty in general? What do you see as the cause of Philadelphia’s high poverty rate and will you do at the state level to address this?

My organizing background is in the labor movement, and I am grateful to the members of UNITE HERE in particular for teaching me the power, dignity, and beauty of workers fighting for justice in the workplace, and how its effects go much farther and more deeply than the shop-floor.

Existing labor legislation is patriarchal and racist. Workers who are largely women, and largely women of color, are not protected by current legislation. I would propose legislation to allow reasonable accommodation for pregnant and breastfeeding workers on the job, allow home healthcare aides (what will soon be the largest sector of the workforce) to organize, and create a Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights, similar to the one passed in Philadelphia, for the state. My campaign is centered around a Universal Family Care proposal. The current federal legislation provides unpaid job protection for 12 weeks, but it lacks income protection, severely constraining the ability of many workers to adequately meet the care needs they have. The ability of workers to care for their loved ones improves the wellbeing of children, adults, and older adults, providing immediate benefits for those involved and long-term benefits for society at large (including companies). We have the collective responsibility to support caregiving.

The US is out-of-step with other countries in the sheer lack of job protections it guarantees for workers, and in the terror its workers suffer in the country’s workplaces. The lack of those protections also makes it more difficult for workers even to consider organizing; employers fire workers seeking to form a union and are slapped with labor violations that barely affect their business.

For those reasons, I would seek to end at-will employment in Pennsylvania and moving to a “just cause” standard for discipline and discharge. This would not only create stability in people’s employment lives, but make it easier to organize. We should also enact laws that deny state contracts to employers who violate state employment laws, increase the damages available to employees whose employers violate state employment law, increase the civil penalties the state can seek for violations of state employment laws, and increase the budget for enforcement. The Attorney General should also be prosecuting more employers; a Public Attorney General Act would encourage the AG to increase enforcement of state employment laws.

Worker misclassification is a problem across industries—from those who drive for Uber and Lyft to building trades workers on construction sites. It is a way for employers to deny workers benefits, overtime compensation, and job security. It also targets and disenfranchises undocumented workers, and helps to divide workers against each other. For this reason I would propose legislation that would guarantee direct employment status, similar to California’s Assembly Bill 5, to workers that are actually employees, and ensure that workers receive their fair share.

In addition to making the climate of organizing easier, I would want to make financing that can encourage solidarity. The use of RACP funding to development in particular should have stricter requirements on job creation and payment of prevailing wages; currently developers can receive RACP money by virtually making up numbers with regard to numbers of jobs, and there is zero accountability in the case of non-delivery. In addition, in the case of a firm going bankrupt, employees should be granted the right of first refusal to buy the company and run it as a co-operative. I would also support a public bank, to encourage the creation of worker-owned cooperative enterprises.

Finally, I would increase the minimum wage to a living wage ($15 an hour as a floor), increase overtime eligibility and threshold number of hours for more workers, and support Representative Elizabeth Fiedler’s statewide “Fair Workweek” law to enact fair scheduling.

There is a national push for states to adopt the gig-work law that was recently passed in CA as AB5, which allows employers to apply for exemptions to recognizing basic employee rights for gig workers. Do you support this law, and if so, how will you navigate the fallout for the many workers who need and want flexible careers and schedules (writers, musicians, photographers, etc.)?

AB-5 is brilliant legislation, and I support a push to enact a version of it here. Misclassification of workers is a fundamental problem that runs across industries—from ride-sharing to the construction industry. One of the important aspects of AB-5 was that it was backed by a coalition of groups, from the building trades to drivers for Uber and Lyft. My own union, the National Writers Union, backed the bill. As a freelance writer, I am conscious of the need for flexibility. AB-5 contains some exemptions for professional services, but a better version of the bill would negotiate these exemptions from the outset—in the process of creating the bill, they were added in late in the bill’s drafting process, making the language around exemption vague and subject to difficulties in implementation.

Our schools in Philadelphia are environmentally unsafe, with toxic levels of lead and asbestos. What is your plan to ensure that students have a safe place to learn? How will you ensure the Board of Education is held accountable in their spending on and effectiveness in addressing this issue?

The current method of funding education in Pennsylvania is unconstitutional and racist. We face at least a $3 billion dollar shortfall in funding, not remedied by the funding formula, which only channels new funding to our school districts. We need a retroactive funding formula that channels all funding, not just new funding, to our schools.

I have been calling since the day we launched this campaign for Redevelopment Assistance Capitalization Grants (RACP) to be given to our school infrastructure. The advocacy of state senators has influence over where this money goes, and in recent years that money has gone to subsidizing the Comcast Technology Center, the PES Oil refinery, and a luxury hotel on city owned land in order to remediate lead and asbestos. This is unconscionable when we are unable to keep our schools open. I support the Governor’s call to devote $1 billion in RACP funding to our schools, but $1 billion is only a start.

I believe we also need a Green New Deal for schools. The needs of our schools, as well as our libraries and recreation centers, are compounded by increasing extreme weather, especially increased extreme heat, even as many public schools do not even have basic air conditioning capability. Pennsylvania should create a specific green infrastructure fund for jointly undertake capital repairs and green upgrades at the same time. Through integrated project management, companies compete on bids to conduct waves of retrofit that address health needs while preparing public buildings for all-electric, modern green building systems, like air source heat pump HVAC systems that provide both heating and cooling. The technologies in question will be increasingly deployed in commercial and residential buildings throughout the Mid-Atlantic, North-East, and Midwest (regions with similar weather patterns), bringing down costs. The developments of workers’ and firms’ skills and capabilities will help catalyze a broader green buildings economy, making Pennsylvania into a regional leader with commensurate economic benefits.

We should end tax credits for private school education, and revise the school charter law, which currently makes it nearly impossible to close revenue-draining charters.

The PA Fair Funding Formula still does not address the vast inequities in funding and therefore quality of educational experience between districts. Once in Harrisburg, how would you create more equitable educational opportunities statewide, and how would you address this problem particularly for Philadelphia students? Include your position on charter school funding.

See my answer to #7.

Once in Harrisburg, what will you do to protect a woman’s right to choose and ensure that adequate reproductive healthcare remains accessible in PA?

I strongly support any and all efforts to ensure free, universal, access to abortion, and to ensure that those seeking to have abortions are free from harassment, intimidation, and harm. I would seek every available means to allow a single-payer system in Pennsylvania to pay for abortion access (unfortunately the federal Hyde amendment . We should also eliminate restrictions on access to abortion for those under 18 (so-called parental consent laws), and eliminate the 24-hour waiting period for those seeking an abortion.

As of today, Maryland is threatening to sue PA for its failure to address water quality concerns, infrastructure funding is limited, state legislatures across the Commonwealth are encouraging renegade municipalities to ignore state regulation on water pollution, and the EPA is allowing cities like Pittsburgh to roll back their clean water policies. How would you balance clean water goals and equity concerns? Would you be willing to support the position of the Republican MD governor on clean water in PA?

I support Governor Hogan’s position on clean water in PA. Pennsylvania is not in compliance regarding its water quality management. At current funding levels PA’s plan would achieve only 22.7 million pounds of nitrogen reduction each year by 2025, or about 67 percent of the multi-state Clean Water Blueprint’s goal. Farm runoff is currently harming water quality and aquatic ecosystems through nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations from manure and chemical fertilizers, as well as sediment entering streams because of tilling. At our current plan, full compliance wouldn’t come until about 2044. This is completely inadequate, and we need to devote far more state budgeting to clean water policy. We should adopt stricter standards on livestock operations, and industrial and municipal stormwater sources, and direct at least $250 million in state funding for Chesapeake-related projects. These can include encouraging farmers to plant forest buffers along streams, and creating filtration systems for municipal stormwater.

Many of the largest unions have opposed the Green New Deal. How would you tackle that issue between environmental and labor communities?

Pennsylvania’s fossil fuel industry has left a mass of human and environmental wreckage in its wake. We can see the cost of their industry’s unfettered reign in the recent Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) refinery fire where the workers at the refinery bravely averted catastrophe, but we can also find a quieter, more nefarious legacy of extracting, storing, and refining oil and natural gas in this state: the blanket of brownfields and other toxic sites littering the Philadelphia and Pennsylvania landscape. As we push the fossil fuel industry out of the energy sector, we must force them to pay for the damage they’ve inflicted on our city and state by through a jobs program that supports all workers, whether Black, brown or white.

The labor movement has a long memory. In the past, workers in sunset industries have been promised job retraining — this has rarely, if ever, happened. When labor unions here a “just transition” they bristle because of that history of betrayal. The livelihoods and safety of workers don’t have to be and shouldn’t be in conflict with the safety of our planet and society when it comes to climate change. We must take seriously the needs of the labor movement and workers and invest in job retraining and funds to provide security for workers as we transition off fossil fuels.

I’m proposing we clean up every single brownfield and toxic site in Philadelphia with union labor. As we stand up the clean energy sector in Philly, it’s vital that these jobs (all of which pay well and are shovel-ready) provide an off-ramp for oil and gas industry workers.

We should also base all tax incentives, subsidies, contracts, procurement, and loans on project labor standards. For example, a clean energy project could receive a 50% tax exemption for meeting minimum program requirements (contracting with businesses that have a history of labor law compliance, are owned by women and minorities, and have local workforces and apprenticeship programs); a 75% tax exemption for additionally meeting prevailing wage rates determined by collective bargaining; and a 100% tax exemption for being governed by a community workforce agreement or project labor agreement.
Additionally, we should make sure remediated sites stay under the control of community residents in co-operative ownership, so that they can exercise self-determination over the future of these spaces.

I’m also proposing we establish a Green Public Bank to to provide financing for clean energy projects. A Green Bank can use public investment to draw in private investment, create new markets, serve as a hub for innovation, and guide investment to socially beneficial ends. Green Bank loans would be subject to labor standards eligibility criteria, and also encourage worker cooperatives.

Do you support a ban on fracking in PA? If so, what is your solution for income loss and immediate job opportunities for 609,00 people that a fracking ban would create in Western, PA?

I support a ban on fracking. See my answer to #11.

Given our minority status and political dynamics in the PA state houses, how have you or will you work to advance your agenda and pass legislation? In the past, how have you made progress with those you did not align with politically?

Right now, even in the minority, we could be changing how we’re allocating state grant (RACP) money. I have mentioned schools, but we should also be prioritizing building affordable housing units, libraries and recreation facilities, and other public goods. I also believe there is the possibility of moving the needle on criminal justice reform (regarding probation and parole), and family care (subsidizing child care and long-term elder care).

What measures would you take to protect immigrant communities in Philadelphia and throughout the state? Would you propose legislation stipulating that family separation is an “extreme hardship”?

I have been demonized as an immigrant my entire life, from the casual racism of not being “from here” to relentless verbal attacks, and physical harassment and assault. I am running proudly as someone who has found a home in Philadelphia. I will condemn and vote against any policy that attacks immigrants and seeks to divide us.

There should be no collaboration between immigration authorities and law enforcement. That is the law that governs sanctuary cities. But the principle runs deeper: that cities are by nature places of commerce and interaction among people of vastly different backgrounds and origins, and that they are accordingly places of refuge, in which we learn to understand and care for one another and stand in solidarity with each other. We should ensure that Philadelphia not only assert, expand, and protect its sanctuary status, but that it also foster and enhance spaces of sanctuary—libraries, religious institutions, and centers for legal aid—to help people seeking refuge live a life of dignity and grace.

I oppose family separation to my core and will absolutely propose legislation to halt separations. This grotesque, heart-rending practice is proof of the necessity of defunding and abolishing ICE. The Trump Administration’s attempt to resolve the forcible separation crisis—through indefinite detention—is abhorrent in its own right. Because we should expect the continued arrival of people from Central American countries at our border, none of this is solvable unless we accept thousands more people as refugees, and grant them a pathway to residency and status.

Do you support the E-verify law? Please explain your position. What will you do to protect our immigrant and undocumented population’s ability to support themselves and their families?

I do not. The issue that labor legislation ought to address is misclassification of workers as independent contractors. When employers hire undocumented workers, they misclassify them as independent contractors in order to avoid paying them the prevailing wage.

E-verify laws, in addition to instituting a system of mass surveillance and terror against undocumented immigrants, also tend to encourage misclassification, which is what happened in Mississippi. We should pass overall legislation to end misclassification and not seek to divide workers against each other.

As the children of immigrants, whose parents fought to acquire documentation for refugees, and someone whose neighbors were recently taken by ICE, hospitality and sanctuary are paramount for me. I was the victim of an anti-immigrant violent assault in recent years, the direct result of a growing discourse of anti-immigration in American life.

ICE is an agency that should not exist, and which, like the carceral system more generally, should be abolished. I believe we urgently need statewide legislation that ends law enforcement collaboration with immigration authorities. State troopers have been known to violate the law by acting as immigration officers, and it seems likely that ICE currently has access to the Commonwealth Law Enforcement Assistance Network (CLEAN). Pennsylvania can follow California’s Senate Bill 54, which formally cuts off this relationship. More generally, I would want to draw public attention to the existence of ICE detention facilities, such as Berks Prison, within the Commonwealth, and advocate fiercely for their closure, and to uplift the work of organizations, such as Juntos, that train neighbors in “know-your-rights” work, to foster solidarity and community cohesion.

Do you believe that our current economic system works for everyone or that it could be improved upon to ensure quality of life for all Pennsylvanians?

Economic inequality, ecological devastation, and public disinvestment are united crises that we see on a daily level in South Philadelphia: they are bound up in the history and fallout over the PES Oil Refinery, which ruined the health of workers and the surrounding community, polluted our climate, and received subsidies when our public goods and affordable housing were starved. When it shut down, executives took $5m in bonuses while laying off hundreds of workers. We deserve better. This is why I am promoting a united view of all of these problems.
17. What reforms would you propose to PA’s current tax code? How, if at all, would you improve PA’s inheritance tax?

I would seek to reform the current state tax code, to support jobs and wage-growth in Philadelphia, to fund our public goods in the city and statewide, and above all for the cause of equity, solidarity, and justice. At once the simplest and the most difficult solution would be an end to the uniformity clause, which essentially mandates a flat tax (or worse), and hampers any form of progressive taxation. Repealing the uniformity clause would make the goals of our movement more realizable.

Within the strictures of the uniformity clause, however, I support the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center’s (PBPC) “Fair Share Tax” plan. The Fair Share Tax would create two separate taxes: one on wages and interest, and one on wealth. By increasing the tax on wealth, the PBPC estimates we can reduce taxes for the vast majority of Pennsylvanians, and bring in $2.2 billion in new revenue.

There is another immediate budgetary need: our public transit system, both of which face growing crises. SEPTA in particular faces a debt level of $11 billion. In order to deliver more revenue, Pennsylvania should consider regional tax swaps. This would take a portion of the local tax base and put it into a regional fund which is then redistributed back to our area based on some criteria other than their contributions to the pool.

There are also sources of funding in our existing budget that we should look to free up. The state offers subsidies in the billions to the fossil fuel industry, something that must end. We should also put a moratorium on all new prison construction, at once a failed project of the neoliberal era to bring jobs to rural communities, as well as one predicated on inhumanity and racism; a system that profits off the destruction of families, communities, and the holding and disciplining of disproportionately Black and brown people. Similarly, we ought to have a moratorium on new highway construction, which subsidizes sprawl, drives segregation, and dooms our climate. We should end tax credits for private school education, and revise the school charter law, which currently makes it nearly impossible to close revenue-draining charters. We should also look into ending the Keystone Opportunity Zone program, whose mixed record of growth seems to have come at an enormous cost in revenues.

What reforms would you propose to PA’s current tax code? How, if at all, would you improve PA’s inheritance tax?

I would seek to reform the current state tax code, to support jobs and wage-growth in Philadelphia, to fund our public goods in the city and statewide, and above all for the cause of equity, solidarity, and justice. At once the simplest and the most difficult solution would be an end to the uniformity clause, which essentially mandates a flat tax (or worse), and hampers any form of progressive taxation. Repealing the uniformity clause would make the goals of our movement more realizable.

Within the strictures of the uniformity clause, however, I support the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center’s (PBPC) “Fair Share Tax” plan. The Fair Share Tax would create two separate 2020 taxes: one on wages and interest, and one on wealth. By increasing the tax on wealth, the PBPC estimates we can reduce taxes for the vast majority of Pennsylvanians, and bring in $2.2 billion in new revenue.

There is another immediate budgetary need: our public transit system, both of which face growing crises. SEPTA in particular faces a debt level of $11 billion. In order to deliver more revenue, Pennsylvania should consider regional tax swaps. This would take a portion of the local tax base and put it into a regional fund which is then redistributed back to our area based on some criteria other than their contributions to the pool.

There are also sources of funding in our existing budget that we should look to free up. The state offers subsidies in the billions to the fossil fuel industry, something that must end. We should also put a moratorium on all new prison construction, at once a failed project of the neoliberal era to bring jobs to rural communities, as well as one predicated on inhumanity and racism; a system that profits off the destruction of families, communities, and the holding and disciplining of disproportionately Black and brown people. Similarly, we ought to have a moratorium on new highway construction, which subsidizes sprawl, drives segregation, and dooms our climate. We should end tax credits for private school education, and revise the school charter law, which currently makes it nearly impossible to close revenue-draining charters. We should also look into ending the Keystone Opportunity Zone program, whose mixed record of growth seems to have come at an enormous cost in revenues.

Election security is a major national and state concern. Philadelphia recently spent $29M on new voting machines. What is your position on the legality and propriety of Philadelphia’s recent voting machine selection process? Do you think Philadelphia should keep or replace the new machines? Please explain your position.

I believe there was considerable impropriety in the selection of Philadelphia’s voting machines, among the most expensive options for machines available. The Express Vote machines failed catastrophically in Northampton, PA, and I support the replacement of the machines with a system that relies on hand-marked paper ballots, the only demonstrably safe and reliable method for voting.

Please include a short bio with the following: your job experience, your major endorsements and achievements, your reasons for running, why you think you are well-positioned to represent your community, the top three policy issues you care about, and what you will do in your first 100 days in office – if elected or re-elected.

The 1st Senate District is one of the most dynamic areas in the world. It stretches from the arenas in the south to Polish bakeries in the north, from the steps of the art museum through the pasta shops and tortillerias of the Italian market all the way to the banks of the Schuylkill. The story of the district is an ongoing story of renewal and destruction, of inclusion and inequality: the growth in young people and immigrants with the destruction of rowhomes by runaway development; the booming restaurants that now jostle alongside struggling fabric shops on fourth street; schools with abundantly organized and well-off parent groups to schools like the Academy at Palumbo, whose ceilings and roofs are caving in. It is a district growing in diversity in some areas, and losing it in others. It is a district where luxury hotels are remediated for lead and asbestos, and where schools are closed for the same reason.

It is a district where some people thrive partly because other people struggle: they struggle with rising rents and crumbling schools, with brutalizing police and the looming shadow of the prison, with the cost of healthcare and daycare and elder care, with pollution and asthma and the summer heat that, each year, is more punishing than the year before. I decided to run for state senate because these are crises that we can no longer ignore, and whose root causes it is incumbent on us to address.

We cannot wait, and it is time we said: enough is enough.

I come to politics with a belief in the power of mass movements. I am an Indian, whose ancestors were part of one of the great struggles of this or any century—the immense upheaval that led to the end of the British empire. That fight was not confined to South Asia. In the 1920s, near the Liberty Bell, Indians marched in the streets demanding an end to British rule. That march is linked to the moment in 1965, when Martin Luther King Jr, himself inspired by the Indian freedom struggle, addressed a crowd in Hawthorne, in the heart of the district; he was given to speaking then about the intersection of race and poverty, civil rights and workers’ rights. Those visions and moments and convergences fuel my work in the district and my desire to represent movement power in Harrisburg.

I also love South Philadelphia, and cannot imagine living anywhere else. I am proud to be raising my son, Ishaan, in South Philly with my wife, Shannon; he goes to daycare on Fabric Row, music class at Settlement Music School, and when he is of age he will attend Nebinger Elementary. In 2016 I was a leader in the Bernie Sanders campaign in South Philadelphia, and in 2018, I organized campaigns to fight for change in the Democratic Party and became elected as ward leader of the Second Ward, becoming the first Asian American to be elected ward leader in Philadelphia. I am committed to justice for working people, whether Black, brown or white. I will fight for a Philadelphia and Pennsylvania that works for the many and not the few.

So far, we have secured endorsements from UNITE HERE Locals 274, 634, and 54, Teamsters BMWED-IBT, Reclaim Philadelphia, Second Generation, Sunrise Movement and LILAC.

My top three priorities are:

  1. Pass a Green New Deal series of bills: a) renewable energy legislation (akin to Chris Rabb’s HB 1425), though I would push to move our timeline to transition up to 2030, the year by which the IPCC believes we must act in order to avoid a critical 1.5 degrees of warming; b) expanding transit to encourage coordination within SEPTA’s commuter and urban system; c) moving to build, preserve, or convert thousands of units of housing to affordable, green units.
  2. Make our school funding formula retroactive and immediately deliver funds for remediating and greening our schools.
  3. Establish a benefits fund for long-term elder care and childcare, paired with mandated paid family leave.