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Coalition Launches “We the People” Campaign

The "We the People" campaign was launched in Pennsylvania's Capitol rotunda on Thursday. (We the People PA)
The "We the People" campaign was launched in Pennsylvania's Capitol rotunda on Thursday. (We the People PA)
May 18, 2018

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Members of more than 20 organizations gathered in Harrisburg on Thursday to launch a nonpartisan campaign to support middle- and working-class Pennsylvanians. The "We the People" agenda was created by people who came together in 13 community meetings across the Commonwealth and from a survey of more than 1,100 voters.

According to Adrienne Standley, deputy director of outreach and engagement with the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, that survey showed while legislators are cutting taxes and spending, their constituents – by margins of 30 to 40 percent – believe state government is investing too little in communities.

"The leadership in our General Assembly is really out of touch with what people really do want from our government,” says Standley. “And I think one of the most striking concerns that people had was education. And people really do want fully funded, quality education for our kids."

She says initially, the We the People campaign will focus on six main policy priorities for the coming election – including raising the minimum wage, expanding access to food and healthcare, and fixing the state tax system.

Standley says the campaign will encourage voters to take their issues directly to the candidates.

"The next step will be officially having them sign on in support of the agenda, as well as having organizations signing on to the campaign, so that they can move forward and use this in their own organizing," says Standley.

Standley adds that Pennsylvanians also want legislators to make it easier to vote, limit the effects of money in politics and put an end to political gerrymandering.

"They're not feeling fairly represented by the politicians,” says Standley. “So, democracy and fairness and a lot of the issues that surround it are absolutely a part of this."

In the coming months, she says the campaign will release a longer list of policy proposals that grew out of the community conversations and the survey results.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - PA