Philly For Change Endorsement Questionnaire: State Representative Mark B. Cohen (202nd district)
Philly For Change Questionnaire Answers of Rep Mark B. Cohen
1. If elected, what will be your top three priorities, and how will you achieve them?
First, restore as many Corbett budget cuts as possible by publicizing how they harm average Pennsylvanians and organizing people around the state to the degree possible. Second, reverse the erosion of freedom of choice and voting right by litigation, publicity, and organization. Third, if revenues and political arithmetic make this viable, push for an expansion of the State System of Higher Education in Philadelphia, through the creation of a state university (my choice) or the expansion of existing state universities here.
2. What steps will you take to create jobs and raise Philadelphians out of poverty?
Expand educational opportunities for every Philadelphian, from pre-school through graduate school. Expand the Philadelphia Airport and the Port of Philadelphia. Encourage the construction of both new affordable housing and upscale housing.
3. What steps will you take to improve Philadelphia’s public schools and our ability to provide a quality education for every child?
Seek to restore funding to the level of the Rendell Administration. Seek out and follow community input in determining whether each individual school should be a charter school, a magnet school, a neighborhood school, a disciplinary school, etc. Work with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers at citywide and school levels to encourage cooperation with neighborhoods and other pro-education forces. Encourage stability of charter schools by encouraging unionization and creating a state funding stream in order that their funds do not come from School District appropriations.
4. What steps will you take to ensure women have access to safe legal abortions and emergency contraception?
Vigorously fight Republican efforts to limit such rights as I have done time after time as a member of the Health Committee.
What will you do to protect women from state-mandated vaginal ultrasounds and other ridiculously invasive punitive procedures?
Join others in pointing out their absurdity and work to persuade Republicans who are not zealots on this issue of that. I am pleased 30 Republicans have already withdrawn of this legislation and that this legislation, at least in its current form, appears dead for this legislative season.
5. What steps will you take to promote marriage equality for the LBGT community?
I have already co-sponsored a marriage equality bill and prime sponsored a civil unions bill and worked for many years to stop a Constitutional amendment banning such legislation from being enacted. I will continue in these efforts. At this time, it remains my belief that the fastest way to get marriage equality in Pennsylvania is to get civil unions first. I believe civil unions are an attainable goal in the immediate future if there is an organized campaign for them.
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 favor a ban on all natural gas drilling in the Delaware Valley River Basin, and I have informed the Delaware River Basin Commission of that.
7. Do you pledge to forswear voter suppression as an electoral tactic and combat it if elected?
Absolutely! My goal is to the most possible votes in any election in which I run, and I want the highest possible turnout. Anyone who works for my campaign engages in turnout increase tactics, not turnout suppression tactics.