Philly For Change Endorsement Questionnaire: State Representative Babette Josephs (182nd district)
Philly for Change Questionnaire 2012
1. If elected, what will be your top three priorities, and how will you achieve them?
I have had and continue to have three main goals:
1. Bringing jobs and natural resources, economic development, services, and quality public education to Philadelphia;
2. Defending the health, safety, civil rights, and well-being of women and their families.
3. Protecting the environment.
If we can take back the majority, we can achieve these goals and much more. If the legislature remains in the hands of Republicans, there is little chance that I will have legislative success with any of these progressive goals, so I have been organizing among voters. The citizens I serve are angry. I give speeches, write Op-Eds and columns, send out press releases, use email and social media to make the voters informed, sometimes enraged and vocal!
That is the only way progressives can let their agenda be heard in today’s legislature.
2. What steps will you take to create jobs and raise Philadelphians out of poverty?
First and foremost, I will do what I have for years on end - organize the voters. My mostly middle class constituents understand that they cannot exist in their middle class neighborhoods if the rest of the city is plunged into deep poverty. I get that word out to my voters in any way possible. I have and will vote and advocate for safety net services, quality public education; safe affordable transit; a fair tax on gas from Marcellus shale, and job development.
3. What steps will you take to improve Philadelphia’s public schools and our ability to provide a quality education for every child?
We need to do what the Rendell Administration did. From 2003 to 2008 reading scores went up in every grade testing, EVEN IN PHILADELPHIA. Rendell invested in early childhood reading and math, in professionalization of teachers, and intervention programs for troubled youth and their families. Guess what, that worked! Educators from all over the country (all over the globe) tried to copy that model. The propaganda we hear from the Corbett people that all our schools are violent and failing is just a lie. We need to always invest, grow and find newer/greater ways to sustain education not only in Philadelphia, but throughout the Commonwealth.
4. What steps will you take to ensure women have access to safe legal abortions and emergency contraception? What will you do to protect women from state-mandated vaginal ultrasounds and other ridiculously invasive punitive procedures?
I support emergency contraception. I believe it must be offered even by religious institutions that say they are having a moral objection to contraception. Religion is separate from medicine and sometimes people don’t have the time or means of transportation to find another facility that will morally support the patient’s wishes; that’s why I support emergency contraception.
I have legislation to repeal troublesome portions of the Abortion Control Act which include a 24 hour waiting period, the state mandated lecture, and various over burdensome reporting requirements for facilities. I will advocate strongly until this bill becomes law. Moreover, there is a new spark for me to worker harder, and speak louder on this issue – no Mr. Corbett I will not close my eyes!
5. What steps will you take to promote marriage equality for the LBGT community?
I have a bill adding the right to marry a same-sex partner to the Pennsylvania Constitution. I will work for its passage until that happens.
6. In light of Pennsylvania's expanded natural gas drilling, what steps do you support for protecting Philadelphia’s water and the Delaware River Basin?
I have voted for moratoriums on drilling for Marcellus shale in or near natural water/drinking water ways or streams. Also, I want to set up moratoriums for shale that is fractured near or on our precious forests. I am ready to vote for and advocate for future moratoria. Protecting the water (and air) is paramount for our future!
7. Do you pledge to forswear voter suppression as an electoral tactic and combat it if elected?
Yes. Voter suppression is wrong no matter who does it.