Pennsylvanians deserve to have an unabashedly progressive voice in the executive office to challenge the status quo and create real, structural change. Brian has spent his ten years in the House fighting for policies that break down historic, structural barriers and working to build a better world for all Pennsylvanians. As Lieutenant Governor, Brian will continue these fights and will use the platform of the office to build statewide coalitions that advance workers’ rights, racial and ethnic justice, climate justice, criminal justice reform, LGBTQ+ civil rights, and women’s and reproductive rights.
Women’s and Reproductive Rights
A woman’s right to choose is sacred – full stop. As Lt. Governor, Brian will continue to be among the loudest voices pushing back against Republicans if they ever try to jeopardize that right. Roe v. Wade is codified in many states, but if it is overturned, our nation will be left with a patchwork of red and blue states where abortion access will be dependent upon political control. To protect access for the most vulnerable individuals seeking abortions, we must codify Roe in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania also doesn’t guarantee equal pay for equal work. Brian has spent his decade in the House working to advance equal pay legislation that will close loopholes and crackdown on wage discrimination. Brian is the proud sponsor of HB 819, a bill that aims to modernize Pennsylvania’s antiquated Equal Pay Law. As Lt. Governor, he’ll continue this advocacy at the executive level and will work with the Governor and Democratic leaders in the Senate to ensure equal pay for all women becomes a reality.
Fracking should be banned in Pennsylvania, but until that is a reality, we should apply a severance tax to corporations who engage in fracking in our state. The federal government should pass a national tax on corporations engaged in fracking, but in absence of this, it is up to our state government to muster the political will to do so.
Pennsylvanians deserve clean air and water, and the continuation of fracking in our Commonwealth is in direct opposition to that goal. Our state needs to invest in renewable energy sources and green infrastructure to complete the transition away from fossil fuel dependence. Extracting natural gas and oil by fracking is polluting drinking water and poisoning communities across the Commonwealth. In the long term, removing fossil fuels from the earth and burning them is only contributing to the poisoning of our air and the warming of our climate.
Brian is the proud sponsor of HB 1382, a bill that bans the supply of single-use plastic bags at retail locations and provides for a tax on non-reusable paper bags to fund the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Program to conduct cleanup actions at sites where hazardous substances have been released.
Brian is also the proud sponsor of HB 100 which aims to transition Pennsylvania to one hundred percent renewable energy by 2050. As a state, we must invest heavily in the renewable energy industry to make it a viable alternative to nonrenewable energy for consumers, while also limiting the production of nonrenewable energy. As Lt. Governor, Brian will continue to support legislation that invests in renewable energy infrastructure and green jobs while also working to decrease our state’s reliance on fossil fuels.
Racial and Ethnic Justice & Criminal Justice Reform
Criminal justice reform is a crucial path toward securing racial and ethnic justice in the Commonwealth. Our state has unjustly imprisoned far too many individuals, and while the deeply racist and classist roots of our criminal justice system make reforming it impossible, the Board of Pardons is one of the few places where we can bring justice to those that have been falsely imprisoned. Brian will be the first civil rights attorney to chair the Board of Pardons and will serve with compassion and with an eye toward decarceration. Our Commonwealth and country have had to bear witness to a punitive justice system for hundreds of years and have seen little positive effect. Our criminal justice system should seek to repair the harm done to victims and rehabilitate offenders.
As Chair of the Board of Pardons, Brian will work with the board to further streamline the application process and work to ensure the pardons process is as accessible as can be – so all who seek clemency have a fair chance at taking their lives back.
Historically, the Board of Pardons operated with a restorative justice approach, recommending clemency for applicants at a much higher rate than at present. Because of the tough-on-crime approach to criminal justice that took root both in Pennsylvania and nationally during the 1980s, the Board of Pardons saw a steep decline in the number of clemency recommendations. There are steps the Chair of the Board can take to move the Board further toward a framework of restorative justice, such as ensuring the incarcerated and returning citizen communities have a voice on the Board, and working with district attorneys to ensure their testimony– which has great influence over the fate of clemency applications– is fair, unbiased, and not prejudicial.
Brian supports legalizing recreational marijuana possession and consumption and clearing records of those convicted of possession. Marijuana criminalization disproportionately targets black and brown Pennsylvanians.
Brian also believes we should “ban the box” that prevents Pennsylvanians from a second chance in employment, move away from mass incarceration, end discriminatory cash bail and stop-and-frisk, ban mandatory minimum sentencing, and end the death penalty. Our communities need high-quality job training, high-quality and accessible education, good-paying jobs, and a strong social safety net. Without strong social programs that invest in uplifting communities, we will not be able to solve the underlying problems that contribute to crime.
Since his first day in office, Brian has been elevating LGBTQ+ issues to the forefront of conversations in Harrisburg. As the most senior member of the LGBTQ+ Community in the legislature, Brian takes seriously my role as a leader in the LGBTQ+ Community and is extraordinarily proud that although he was the first LGBTQ+ member of the House, he was not the last. He works closely with the Victory Fund and regularly recruits and supports other LGBTQ+ Candidates. Brian chairs the Equality Caucus and has been working with the Governor’s LGBTQ+ Commission and advocates from around the Commonwealth to push forward legislation that would benefit the LGBTQ+ community and fight back against the many attacks faced in the last decade.
While we are now lucky to have both the PHRC and the Supreme Court interpret gender protections as covering sexual orientation and gender identity in cases of workplace discrimination (and for the PHRC – in housing and public accommodations as well) – there is still a long way to go to ensure that trans citizens and youth are truly protected in their jobs and housing. We need to start by passing HB 300, the nondiscrimination bill in PA.
But we also need to do more – to protect gender-affirming health care, housing for trans kids, and protection in schools. There is so much to fight for: the right of students to play sports, use gender-affirming facilities, and be called by their chosen names. Brian works with LGBTQ+ advocates to stand against legislation like the Women in Sports bill that would deny trans girls the ability to play sports. As Lieutenant Governor, he will continue to advocate for schools that protect and affirm all of their students, but especially their trans students.
The Pennsylvania Legislature has launched some of the most fervent attacks on voting rights in the United States. After the 2020 election, Brian’s Republican colleagues worked to undermine the election results. As a member of the State Government Committee – the committee charged with passing laws regarding our elections – Brian used his voice and his vote to fight back against their attempts to undermine and suppress votes.
Brian has spent his decade in office fighting for legislation to expand the franchise and ensure access to the ballot for all and will continue to do so as Lieutenant Governor. As a legislator, Brian has sponsored legislation to create early voting, expand vote by mail, and make registration easier. He is currently the prime sponsor of a package of bills that aim to make voting easier and more accessible for returning citizens. He has also introduced a bill to educate formerly incarcerated Pennsylvanians on their voting rights.
As Lieutenant Governor, Brian will stand against voter suppression laws that come through the Pennsylvania Senate and will use the statewide platform of the office to advocate for in-person early voting, automatic voter registration, Election Day as a public holiday, and the re-enfranchisement of returning citizens. Brian will do everything in his power to protect and expand access to the ballot for all Pennsylvanians.
Schools, Children and Families
We need to do more to protect children and families, while ensuring a quality education for everyone, regardless of zip code. Public schools are an integral part of our cities’ and our state’s social fabric. All students should have access to a high-quality public education that cares for their educational, emotional, physical, and social health. Public schools are also one of the most important links for families to have access to federal, state, and local social services. For these reasons, we must do all that we can to protect our public school system from funding cuts and privatization attempts.
Brian is proud to be one of the original legislators of the Fund Our Facilities Coalition. Together, the coalition worked with legislators, unions, and teachers to demand Philadelphia’s crumbling schools be treated as the emergency they are. The Coalition worked with the Governor to secure funding for the remediation of Philadelphia’s toxic school buildings, but we cannot stop there. As Lt. Governor, Brian will fight for increased funding for remediation so educators and students can learn and thrive in safe facilities.
Overall levels of school funding should be determined by present student needs (which vary widely by district), district incomes and property tax bases, and student enrollment numbers. That said, the state of Pennsylvania needs to increase its overall school funding budget. Pennsylvania ranks close to the bottom in the amount spent by the state on student education. This lack of funding leaves school districts to make up the difference and often leads to increased property taxes in districts that already struggle to raise the necessary revenues for school funding. Funding per school district should be based on an equitable fair funding formula that takes into account the racialized and inequitable funding in our state’s history. Our funding formula should apply to all funding, not just new funding, otherwise, we are only building upon the racist and classist funding inequities of the past.
To fund our schools and more, we need to implement a fairer tax structure. Brian supports closing all loopholes that allow large multi-state and multinational corporations to skip out on paying their fair share of taxes in Pennsylvania. He also supports a progressive tax structure that would relieve the tax burden of middle-class and working-class families and ensure that our state’s high earners are paying their fair share of taxes.
Brian’s been proud to stand with workers during his decade in the PA Legislature. He’s consistently advocated for a $15 minimum wage indexed to inflation because Pennsylvania’s minimum wage is not a living wage. Raising our minimum wage would not only put much-needed money into the hands of millions of working families but would also stimulate our state’s economy. If the Republican leadership in Harrisburg cannot muster the political courage to increase the state minimum wage, municipalities should have the right to increase it on their own.
Brian strongly supports the right to organize, which is among the most important rights for workers. Unions create worker power and allow bargaining power to increase wages, improve conditions, and secure a voice in the workplace. It is the duty of elected officials to safeguard and strengthen the right to organize.
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