Candidate Q&A: Marty Malloy, 9th Senate District

Marty Malloy

Marty Malloy

Editor’s Note: Once again, we posed the same nine questions to our legislative candidates and offered to publish them without edits or modification to allow our readers to get an unfiltered view of their positions on some of the top issues of the day in Pennsylvania. We will run the answers of all of the candidates for a given race at the same time — assuming all have responded.

1. There seems to be universal agreement that the state continues to face lower revenues than expenses. How would you address this issue — by additional cuts in spending (if so, where?), raising taxes or some combination of the two?

The only way to address the looming structural deficit is to elect legislators that will deal with the problem with a transparent and common sense approach. Any strategy that does not simultaneously consider a combined approach of identifying reccurring revenues with strategic cuts in spending will place our credit rating at risk, thus exacerbating the deficit with higher amounts going to debt service over the long term. There are common sense opportunities for savings in almost every spending category of the budget. In terms of revenues, it is time we passed a severance tax on oil and gas companies and moved to combined reporting to close the so-called ‘Delaware loophole.’

2. School funding continues to be an issue for many folks — and litigation over fair funding is now working its way through the courts. Does Pennsylvania provide enough funding for local public schools and is it fairly distributed? Also, Act 1 of 2006 is beginning to put some school districts in a bind — thanks to a combination of lowered real estate values, skyrocketing pension, health care and special education costs — is it time to revisit the act and rework some aspects of it?

Pennsylvania does not provide enough funding for its local public schools. According to US Census Data, Pennsylvania ranks 46th in the nation in education funding from the state. In addition, Pennsylvania has the widest gap between poor and affluent districts of any state in county. Despite voters clearly demanding that legislators due their Constitutional duty and “provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth”, they have consistently failed in this endeavor over the past few decades. There are districts, and more importantly children in the 9th Senatorial district that are getting left behind due to extreme inequities in funding. Act 1 of 2006 is a part of the educational funding system in our state that is inadequate and broken. I have been clear throughout my campaign that fixing this crisis of inequity and lack of funding is more than just my top legislative priority; it is a moral imperative.

3. Although Pennsylvania has the highest gas tax in the nation, it continues to struggle to pay for road and bridge maintenance. How would you address this issue?

Pennsylvanians are paying the highest gasoline tax in the nation and those funds should stay in the highway fund for the state and not be diverted to other areas that do not support the repair and maintenance of our roads and bridges. This is an economic development priority, especially in Chester and Delaware counties where strong transportation routes support critically important industries like the Mushroom growers, other Agri-business and the energy sector.

4. There have been at least five gun-related homicides in the county this year — four in the last few weeks — in addition to a number of non-fatal shootings this year. What would you do to stem gun violence?

Voters across the district have consistently brought up the issue of gun violence as a priority issue during this campaign. The good news is that people overwhelmingly support sensible gun regulations, like universal background checks, limited magazine sizes and restricting access for people with restraining orders against them. Thoughtful gun owners and hunters across this district, are required to go through gun safety courses, the same should be required for anyone who wishes to purchase a gun so that they understand how to properly use and care for their gun. Doing this would place no burden on responsible gun owners, while simultaneously placing a roadblock on straw purchasers.

5. As the opioid crisis grows, what efforts do you support both to curtail new addictions and help those already in the grip of addiction?

Combating the opioid crisis must be a full community effort including law enforcement, educators, public health organizations, and constituents. We need to be treating the opioid epidemic as a public health crisis, providing support and treatment for those with the disease of addiction, while simultaneously instituting harsh penalties for drug dealers and pill-mill doctors.

This will require thoughtful legislation, like getting more ‘drop boxes’ for unwanted or expired medications and providing for life saving equipment and medicine getting into the hands of first responders. It will also require using the State Senate office as a convener of stakeholders to build awareness of the crisis as well as integrating community health initiatives and mental health services.

6. Land use continues to be front and center in Chester County — from the development of farmlands to housing developments to needed redevelopment in our urban areas. In terms of your district, what should the state being doing now to better preserve open space and target development to areas with existing infrastructure?

The opportunities for sustainable development and smart growth that preserve open space are abundant in the 9th district. From the redevelopment and rebuilding of existing communities in many parts of Delaware County, to the care and cultivation of our rich agricultural lands in Chester County, the state can work with local municipalities as a partner for higher economic returns and quality of life improvements for residents. This is an issue that requires strong public-private partnerships to work fully. One area however, that is vital to consider at the state level is ensuring that the environmental requirements, as well as the repair, maintenance and expansion of public works for any new development are fully in place and funded before any new development.

7. Do you support efforts by some to take state legislative and congressional redistricting out of the hands of the legislature and put it into the hands of an independent commission? If so, why? If not, why not?

I do support taking politics out of the redistricting process. Gerrymandering is a big part of the reason why we have become so polarized in Washington and Harrisburg. Several states have already done this and we can learn from their process to see what would make the most sense for Pennsylvania to follow suit.

8. What issue do you feel that the media/public fails to discuss enough in terms of state government?

I do not think there is a glaring issue that the media and public fail to discuss in terms of state government. I think rather, that there is so much happening in the lives of people and with issues that deserve coverage in the media, that there is a depth of engagement issue. We live in a ‘sound bite’ culture; one that looks to create oversimplified us versus them narratives. Yet with most issues, it is not simple and requires much more depth of engagement. This is why people elect representatives to serve them and focus on these complex issues. It is incumbent upon public servants to provide more transparency and more content so constituents can more easily interact with a deeper level of information and engagement.

9. Can you tell us something mildly surprising about yourself (hobbies, unusual past jobs, etc.) that the public might find interesting?

In my off time, I love to kayak.

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