Philly For Change Endorsement Questionnaire: Numa St. Louis (202nd State House district)
Philly for Change Questionnaire 2012
1. If elected, what will be your top three priorities, and how will you achieve them?
- My first priority if elected is to reengage the citizens of this district in the political process. For nearly 40 years the incumbent has served as the State Rep for this community and during this time the level of voter apathy has reached an all time high. I will restore the role of a state representative by providing top notch constituent services, and by also being accessible, visible and responsive by consulting regularly with residents and stakeholders.
-My second priority is to attain the funding that my district needs in order to revitalize its business corridors and foster economic development in the district and in the state of Pennsylvania. By accessing available investments and financial resources and combining it with the power of the major employers in and around the 202nd district, I can fuel economic development in a measurable way—because economic development is driven by financial resources.
-My third priority is to increase funding for public education and ensure public safety. I will achieve this by fighting against the expansion of Pennsylvania’s prison industrial complex.
2. What steps will you take to create jobs and raise Philadelphians out of poverty?
I want to create and foster more family sustaining jobs and strengthen the middle class by supporting small businesses and revitalizing commercial corridors. I would do so by partnering with community stakeholders in the 202nd District and investing public dollars into job training initiatives. This is essential for preparing residents for new jobs in a modern economy and increase placement into existing job opportunities.
3. What steps will you take to improve Philadelphia’s public schools and our ability to provide a quality education for every child?
As an educator, I believe that state spending needs to be significantly increased in the education sector. In order to equip our youth with 21st Century skills that will allow them to be marketable in the job market, our students in Philadelphia deserve leaders that truly stand up for equity in the school system, which means that the needs of the children come FIRST. The lack of success the school district has been experiencing in educating our students isn’t simply a matter of choosing between public schools and private schools, moreover it is an indication of the lack of resources and funding allocated per student. The state plans to expand on nine of its prisons and build an additional three in the coming years. I think that’s misguided and not cost efficient. Educating young people should be our priority versus imprisoning them.
Increase parent involvement in children’s education, by being sensitive to language needs and other means of support to some of the students. Improved funding is critical to address these needs such as hiring bilingual counselors, engaging parents in focus groups to assess reasons for lack of involvement, and providing parents with tools to be more effective advocates for their children.
We need to pour that funding into the front-end in programs such as: Early child education, Daycare and Youth employment to consequently decrease our increasing crime and incarceration rates. Instead, current legislators are lobbying to spend more money on housing criminals than on teaching our youth not to become criminals. Additionally, I think that revitalization programs are in dire need of increased funding, and as a legislator I would support and propose legislation in this area.
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 believe that these laws are a way to circumvent Roe v. Wade. I do not support any attempts by the state to suppress the rights of women. If elected, I would be willing to fight for the civil liberties of women. I would join and form coalitions which are geared towards protecting the rights of women.
5. What steps will you take to promote marriage equality for the LBGT community?
I support legislation in the state of Pennsylvania which protects the rights of the LGBT community members to marry and participate in civil unions as well. It is my understanding that legislation can only be passed if its goals are clear and it is being managed with perseverance. It must also attain a level of compromise that makes it appealing to all voting parties while maintaining its original integrity. Once I am elected, I will support the aforementioned legislation and will reach across party aisles as much as possible to ensure that LGBT citizens are not marginalized or left unprotected by the laws of the state.
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?
Taxation on the Natural Gas Drilling companies along the Marcellus Shale is essential to protecting Pennsylvania residents. The people of the Commonwealth are the owners of this natural resource and thus, should benefit from it. By having proceeds invested in infrastructure, education and public safety. It is unlikely that Natural Gas Drilling will stop, which is why we need to provide oversight and regulation of this industry, and demand transparency from these drillers. They must be held accountable for their actions, and those who refuse to do so should be restricted and possibly even prohibited from future drilling. If we do not demand these things, we will not get them. Furthermore, I will advocate for safe and sound environment policies and focus on cultivating alternative energy and green jobs
7. Do you pledge to forswear voter suppression as an electoral tactic and combat it if elected?
Yes I do. I have witnessed the injustice of voter suppression first hand and I pledge to forswear all such tactics and combat them if elected. We should do all possible to increase voter participation and turn out.