As a progressive young mom in a conservative pocket of rural Pennsylvania, Emily has no business running for state senate — especially not against an experienced, well funded conservative opponent. But she cared about her community too much not to run. Through Get Her Elected, I helped Emily’s insurgent campaign find its voice.
My name is Emily Best, and you’re not supposed to vote for me.
I’m a young mom. I don’t have any political connections or wealth. I work with farmers all day. My kids are on CHIP. My campaign staff is 100 percent volunteers because I won’t take any corporate campaign cash. Worst of all, I’m a Democrat.
But I believe I can earn your vote. I’m running because Central PA is my home, you’re my neighbor, and I think our families and our kids deserve better representation in Harrisburg.
Here’s where I stand on the issues that matter most to people like us.
Land and private property
My family and I settled in Central PA because we love this land. As a mom, I want my children and yours to grow up and stay in the same beautiful, safe, and rural part of the world we are blessed to live in today.
Defend our defenders. I’m in favor of fully funding the Department of Environmental Protection, which safeguards our land. While some agricultural regulations can be frustrating, DEP helps farmers by keeping the playing field level so family farmers can stay competitive with agribusiness. Just as importantly, the DEP defends the land we farm from the CEOs of oil and gas companies.
Prevent abuses of eminent domain. To build the Mariner East pipeline east of here, Sunoco is seizing land from Pennsylvania citizens by claiming the power of “eminent domain” — and so far, the government is letting them get away with it. Central Pennsylvania landowners need a state senator who won’t sell out to Sunoco without a fight.
Farming is my life. Every day I go to work as the manager of a farm co-op in Hustontown. I believe that agriculture is the heart of our success as a Commonwealth and as a nation. Nothing is more important to me than seeing our Central PA farmers thrive.
Preserve family farming as a way of life. Small and medium-sized farmers don’t have the lobbying clout or political connections of corporate agribusiness. As your senator, I’ll work to make sure Pennsylvania state regulations don’t unfairly advantage corporate agriculture while burdening family farmers.
Keep it country. America loses three acres of farmland to development every minute of every day. Here in Central PA, local farms grow food, keep our property taxes down, promote tourism and create jobs. In Harrisburg, I’ll be a strong and consistent voice for the value of farmland in our part of Pennsylvania.
Schools and taxes
I went to public schools from kindergarten through Pitt. I know the difference a good education can make for any child — especially rural and small-town kids like ours. As your senator, I’ll work hard to make sure that our schools have the resources they need teach our children well — through tax policies that help rural and small-town people, not big business and the wealthy few.
Fight for our kids. In America, every child has the right to a good education — city kids and farm kids, no matter who their parents are or how much money they make. I’ll fight for strong public schools in Central PA, so that all our kids have a fair chance to succeed.
Tax corporations, not families. While our property taxes continue to rise, our schools don’t have the resources they need. Rather than forcing private homeowners and small farmers to foot the bill for our schools, I’ll support laws that ask corporations to pay their fair share, like a severance tax on natural gas.
Decent health care that we can afford
The family farmers I work with every day pay way too much for health care that’s not good enough. So does my family. As your senator, I’ll put people over politics to support health care reforms that actually work.
Get politics out of health care. Health care is broken because politicians like it that way — expensive insurance and bad care helps them raise campaign cash. I’ll work to improve health care in Harrisburg with an open mind — not by supporting any party line, but by making sure every law we pass actually helps Central PA get better care for less money. Our legislators get “Cadillac” health plans, yet many of us struggle to access basic care. I will fight to bring accessible, affordable care to all, so that we don’t have to wait to go to the ER, so that we can afford to get the preventive tests, and so that we can take our kids to the doctor when they need it.
Bring care back to the country. When I gave birth to my son Max, I had to drive 45 minutes over the mountain into another county. Driving long distances for basic care is a hardship Central PA shouldn’t have to endure. I’ll fight for the resources our rural health centers need to keep decent care where we live. And I’ll fight to ensure that our healthcare providers — from doctors, to nurses, to LPNs and caregivers — have the resources they need to care for us.
Prevent every “death of despair.” Rural Americans are dying from suicide, addiction and overdose. The citizens of Central PA know why: too many drugs, too little opportunity, and health care we can’t afford. Even one “death of despair” is one too many. That’s why we need to have a healthcare system that is affordable and accessible to everyone — and work to build healthy communities where people take care of each other.
Government that works for us
The average household income in central PA is about $45,000. My opponent spent more than twice that amount to win the Republican primary. I believe money like that has no place in the politics of a free country, and I bet you agree.
Make voting matter again. As your senator, I will support an independent commission to draw our legislative and congressional districts. I will never support secretive committee meetings or backhanded legislative deals to determine how our democracy works.
Crack down on corporate cash. For the bargain price of $60 million in cash, oil and gas company lobbyists have bought Harrisburg. Since ordinary people in Central PA don’t have that kind of money, I’ll push as hard as I can to get corporate lobbyists out of our politics.
Good jobs for hard work
At a time when many young people leave our part of the state for the big cities, I moved to McConnellsburg because I saw possibilities. Today, when I help family farmers sell the food they grow, I see the economic possibility of Central PA. I see small businesses that maintain good jobs for people who work hard, a thriving culture of private enterprise and a deep tradition of hard work. As your senator, I’ll work as hard as you do to build an economy that works for all of us.
Welcome business. The first step to better jobs is to welcome business to our region. I’ll prioritize internet speed and accessibility issues so that businesses want to be located here.
Invest in long-term growth. Oil and gas are temporary, but factories and farms endure. I believe our natural resources are our greatest source of economic power, and I’ll work to balance the need for jobs today with the need to sustain our economy for generations to come — including investing in a sustainable, clean-energy economy that will create jobs and shore up our manufacturing base.
Make hard work pay. To succeed, Central PA needs to attract jobs that provide more than minimum wage — jobs that build careers and wealth, and that give young people a reason to stay.
© 2018 Committee to Elect Emily Best
P.O. Box 95, McConnellsburg, PA 17233