In an effort to inform the local community about the upcoming election, Newbold Neighbors asked the candidates for State Representative to answer a few questions about education, blight, safety and other neighborhood issues. We will continue posting the candiates responses as we receive them.
Note that Newbold Neighbors Association is a 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any candidates.
Candidate: Jordan Harris
Q: What do you envision as the role of the state representative in the neighborhood?
As State Representative I will advocate for members of this community in Harrisburg. Additionally, my office will be a place of information as well as a place to troubleshoot the government’s bureaucracy. On a personal level, I wish to maintain visibility in the community once in office. My goal is for community members to have direct access to me as an elected official.
Q: What do you consider to be the biggest problem facing our neighborhood, and do you have any proposed solutions?
Public Safety is a major issue in the community, the problem with addressing public safety is that it can’t be singularly addressed. To address public safety we must also address education and job opportunities. In the short term we can provide better lighting to dimly lit areas of the community. Additionally, providing funding to community based police programs like Town Watch would assist in putting my “eyes on the streets” to protect our communities.
Q: What are your first three legislative goals?
I would like to actively pursue the proper taxing of Marcellus Shale revenues. The income from taxing of Marcellus Shale could help balance the state budget and provide additional funding needed for educational programs as well as programs for seniors.
Philadelphia’s illegal handgun epidemic is unique in comparison to its surrounding counties. Because of this, I would like to readdress the concern of Philadelphia having the ability to create its own gun legislation.
I’m very interested in reviewing legislation and the creation of legislation that provides a “2nd chance” for those who once were involved in the criminal justice system. Currently, more than 73% of citizens who were incarcerated will be rearrested within 2 years of their release. One reason for this is the lack of job opportunities that are provided to those with criminal records. My thought is those whom were arrested for non-violent offences should be given a 2nd chance if they have refrained from criminal activities for a period of 10 years. This 2nd chance would come in the form of their criminal record being sealed to employers.
Q: What are your plans for supporting the area schools and police in this district?
I believe we need to create more public/private partnerships. E.M. Stanton located at 17th and Christian street is a great example of these types of partnerships. By building these partnerships we could provide needed funding for schools and police while not increasing the burden on the tax payer.
Q: What are your priorities in terms of spending state money in the district?
Educational funding is important and we need to work aggressively to restore the funding that was cut during the last budget cycle by the Governor and the legislature. Additionally, we must look at the spending of the School District of Philadelphia and charter schools to ensure that tax dollars are being spent properly.
Public Safety funding would be a priority for me as State Representative. We must ensure that our law enforcement agencies have the funding needed to work at full capacity. Additionally, we need funds for community policing and restorative practices that will ensure not just short term decreases in crime rates but long range solutions.
Clean streets are important to members in our community. As State Representative, I would look to provide grant dollars and build partnership for more Big Belly Trash Reciprocals in our community and look to create a system that provides small stipends to keep high traffic corridors clean.
Q: Is there a way you would be able to help members of the community purchase abandoned properties? What is your advice for this matter?
While abandoned properties are mainly a city issue, my office would be open to helping community members purchase abandoned properties. The more properties in our community with people in them the more funds we will have for our tax base. Additionally, the more eyes on the streets the less crime we would see in our community. My state website would also be a great resource to members of the community on finding the owners of abandoned properties and the process for purchasing.
Q: What solutions would you propose for problems the City hasn't found an adequate solution for yet, such as illegal dirt bikes, bandit signs, litter outside of businesses, etc?
I would encourage and support members of my community to work with different city agencies to address these issues. I would also look into the creation of dirt bike parks as an alternative to those who enjoy riding these motor vehicles. Finally, I would look to provide funding for the placement of speed bumps on residential streets. The speed bumps would help cut down on the traffic of dirt bikes in the community.
With regards to bandit signs and litter outside of businesses, I would work with city officials to provide more funding for the enforcement from the city department responsible for these issues (i.e streets department and others).