Candidate Questionnaire: Vanessa Brown, 190th District (Democrat) TakeAction

Posted on May 8, 2010 by

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Name: Vanessa Brown
Office Sought: State Representative – 190th District
Party Affiliation: Democrat

To the Members of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter of American for Democratic Action:

I thank you for the opportunity to respond to your Candidate’s Questionnaire. I won election in 2008 to serve as State Representative of the 190th District. The 190th extends from West Philadelphia to North Philadelphia and includes a variety of communities: Belmont, Carroll Park, Cathedral Park, Mill Creek, Haddington, East Parkside, West Powleton, Strawberry Mansion, Allegheny West and Lehigh West.

In my first year in office I have been working diligently to understand the legislative process to better serve my constituents, who like so many Philadelphians are in dire need of state services to expand excess to healthcare, crime prevention, economic development, quality education and job opportunities. On April 15, I announced the award of $2 million to my district. One $1million was granted to Spectrum Health Services and $1million was provided to Smith Playground & Playhouse. Both these programs are examples of my work to provide improved delivery of healthcare services and provide safe play areas for children and families.

• If elected, what are the top 2 issues you would focus on in the next term and why?

I plan to continue to work for expand community services in my district, and I will prioritize community development, and focus on education, especially parental involvement in education and child rearing.

Few things are more vital to the economic health and stability of a community than the development of its commercial corridors. When neighborhood shopping is safe, convenient and accessible, more people shop in their neighborhoods. I opened my West Philadelphia campaign office at Haddington Plaza, where The Leon H. Sullivan Charitable Trust has partnered with Save-A Lot to open a new supermarket. Neighborhood investment should be encouraged and rewarded, and in my next term I will continue to work to bring businesses and jobs to my district.

• What is your position on the Marcellus Shale?

The Marcellus Shale project – allowing commercial drilling of natural gas on Pennsylvania State Forest Lands – is an issue greatly impacting counties in the western part of the state. I am opposed to drilling of public lands which may put residents at risk. The Marcellus Shale project has received violations from the Department of Environmental Protection. On April 19, 2010 the House Appropriations voted out of Committee Bill 2235 that calls for a moratorium on further leasing of state forest lands for projects similar to Marcellus Shale. I support that legislation and I will vote for it if is put forth to a vote by the General Assembly.

• What is your position on campaign finance reform?

To the extent that money – and the question of whether a candidate can raise vast sums of money – is a corrupting influence on our system of politics, campaign finance reform can be an effective tool in limiting the influence of money in a political race. I would support any common sense reform measure which is proven to work, and which would allow both candidates and incumbents to focus on the issues, rather than fundraising.

•.What is your position on gun control?

I believe the state legislature can work directly with neighbors and local police districts in identifying the community’s illegal gun merchants and putting them out of business.

Weapons offenses should be prosecuted swiftly and consistently, with the goal of keeping guns off our streets. Felons who use a gun in the commission of a crime should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, whether that gun is fired or not.

The state legislature must work to enact simple, common sense gun laws that work for urban, suburban and rural communities. Handgun violence, for example, is a priority for cities, while many rural districts fear government encroachment on the ability to legally own firearms. I intend to work diligently throughout my second term to work for gun control laws which keep guns out of the hands of criminals and off our streets.

• What is your view on how the state should support public education? Should vouchers play a role?

The state’s educational funding formula is deeply flawed. Often schools with the greatest needs are lacking basic educational resources, while others have an abundance. In my next term of office, I will dedicate myself to working on legislation and partnerships which bring improved resources to public schools. Our priority should be to improve our schools, and make them safe for our children. We must expand after school programs, and make education the main priority in our children’s lives. That means more parental involvement. We are going to make programs available for parents, so that when they do reach out, someone is there to help.

While vouchers may or may not play a role in Pennsylvania’s public school future, it is important to allow parents as much choice in their children’s education as possible. I support the current system of charter and alternative schools, although I feel the system should be better monitored and regulated.

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Posted in: Endorsements