Showing Up

Showing up. Not much could be more important for a representative. The entire job is to show up for your district, and to use your position to advocate for your neighbors. Unfortunately, some politicians get so cozy in their jobs, or view their role in such cynical terms, that they show up in ways that hurt the very people they’re supposed to represent.

On the day I made the above video, incumbent Brad Roae literally did not show up for a candidate forum at Allegheny College. Why? Because he thought it more politically useful to bash the College, which serves as an important cultural, economic, and community foundation for the district. That is not showing up.

A week ago, Brad Roae used his position as a legislatively-appointed member of the PASSHE Board of Governors to vote in favor of merging Edinboro University with Clarion and Cal U. That merger puts another foundational educational institution in peril, it threatens jobs, and it removes local options for our high school graduates. That is not showing up.

Public campaign finance records show that Brad Roae raked in more than $34,000 from energy PACs, insurance PACs, and other corporate special interest PACs (despite making a big deal in promising, when first elected, that he would never take PAC money). That is showing up for the wrong people.

Brad Roae bragged on his Facebook page that he has a 100% rating from Americans for Prosperity, a right-wing corporate libertarian organization whose entire aim is to advocate for the prosperity of corporations, and corporate profits. They’re climate change deniers and oppose environmental protection. They are anti-union and work to undermine workers’ rights to organize. And they’ve been linked to several instances of voter suppression. Being proud of that rating is showing up for the people who exploit our region.

Brad Roae spits out lots of talking points from ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council another right-wing organization that writes “model legislation” for members, so they don’t even have to bother thinking about the needs of their districts. ALEC coordination across state legislatures has been linked to efforts to force far right ideologies into the mainstream. And, of course, one of the founders of ALEC was one of the Koch brothers. This is not even showing up and showing up for the wrong people.

Brad Roae brags about having a 100% pro-gun voting record (which includes voting no on a bill that required the surrendering of weapons by people with protections from abuse orders filed against them), and tried to make political hay out of my F rating from the Firearms Owners Against Crime group. That group is run by a dude considered too extreme even for the NRA and opposes any common sense gun safety laws. Recently, he’s advocated for people to open carry firearms at the polls on election day. This is showing up for extremists.

Brad Roae has repeatedly voted against helping low income Pennsylvanians get affordable healthcare, and has bragged on his Facebook page about throwing folks off welfare. He represents a District with a poverty rate above the state average, where one in four Meadville residents live in poverty, and where Crawford County ranks 56th out of 67 PA counties in per capita income. That is not showing up for people who need help. And it is not showing up for his District.

Brad Roae wants to shunt public money away from public schools. He regularly rags on teachers. And he’s fine with cyber charters fleecing the budgets of our local districts. That’s not showing up for our kids.

The point is, we need a rep who will show up for the residents of District 6. That’s why I’m running, because we’ve been stuck with politicians who don’t show up for a very long time. They’re happy to cash their fat checks, and happy to stir the pot to divide the community, and fine with pretending they’re doing their jobs. They’re not. He’s not. He isn’t even showing up.

I’m proud to be endorsed by the teachers and support professionals of PSEA, whose members show up for our kids every day.

I’m proud to be endorsed by the AFL-CIO, whose members show up to work every day as the backbone of our community fabric.

I’m proud to be endorsed by One Fair Wage, who shows up to advocate for wait staff and tipped employees, to fight for the pay they deserve.

I’m proud to be endorsed by APSCUF, whose member professors and coaches show up to provide exceptional education for students enrolled in our state owned universities.

I’m proud to be endorsed by Moms Demand Action, who show up for common sense gun safety regulations that can help prevent avoidable injury and violence.

I’ll be proud to show up for the people of Crawford and Erie Counties every day as your state representative.

November 3. Show up then, so we can have a rep who shows up for us all.

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