Candidate Q&A: Gwen Stoltz for PA’s 143rd House District

If elected, Stoltz will fight to protect abortion rights, pass common sense gun safety measures, and raise Pennsylvania's minimum wage, as well as support other policies to improve voters' lives in Bucks County.
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What drives you to serve the people in the 143rd district of PA?

Growing up in Bucks County, raising three children here, owning a small business here and being a scientist gives me the knowledge and experience to deliver results for the residents of the 143rd district. I know the issues we are facing in our district because I am — and have been — facing them, too. As a scientist and advocate for causes in our community, I’m most energized when taking on a challenge, and I’m excited to work hard in Harrisburg to give back to the community that shaped who I am.

Why should we be worried about reproductive rights? What can be done to protect them?

With Roe v. Wade overturned, reproductive rights are now coming down to the states. In Pennsylvania, some legislators are actively seeking an outright ban on abortion without exception. Doing this would not only affect reproductive healthcare, but it could have broader impacts on our healthcare system. With an outright ban, physicians would become wary of practicing medicine here due to potential lawsuits. This could dramatically affect wait time to get care across the board for people. In addition, as the majority of Americans want abortion to remain safe and legal, an outright ban would make Pennsylvania an unattractive place for people to move and work, which could have broad and dire economic impacts as well.

Abortion is healthcare, and access to it is a basic human right. I will stand with the majority of Pennsylvanians and will fight to protect our reproductive freedoms. In Harrisburg, I will be a champion for reproductive rights and women’s healthcare.

How will you communicate with the people of the 143rd if elected? How do you plan to keep them engaged?

To most effectively represent the 143rd District, open and frequent communications with constituents are needed. Holding regular community meetings throughout the year to hear directly from voters, in addition to sending out newsletters and staffing the district office with responsive staff will ensure communication and keep people engaged in their community.

What are your worries regarding education? What can be done about it?

I worry that due to extreme polarization, our public schools will lose funding and support that they need to provide our children with the best public education possible. As a State Representative, I will be committed to ensuring that our public schools are adequately and fairly funded. As a product of our public education and now having three children in our public schools, I remain steadfast in my commitment to our community to support our school districts, educators and administrators to deliver the best education for our children.

What can be done to make elections more efficient and effective?

I will advocate to maintain the integrity of voting in Pennsylvania and support measures aimed at increasing accessibility of voting for legal voters, including giving voters more time to register to vote, automatic voter registration, and expanded early in person voting.

What can be done to keep our voting rights secure?

To ensure that every legal voter’s voice is heard at the ballot box, we must take measures to end gerrymandering and to remove money from politics. We should also take steps to ensure that when pieces of legislation have strong and clear bipartisan support, they are brought up for a vote. 

What can be done to create safe and responsible gun ownership? 

To protect the rights of responsible gun owners, I support common sense gun safety measures including comprehensive background checks and firearm safety training. If a person is deemed by a judge to be of danger to themselves or to others, then I would support firearms being removed for safety reasons.

What else (broad spectrum) is important to you, that you want to accomplish when in office?

High prices are making life harder for everyone in Bucks County. Small businesses form the bedrock of our economy in Bucks and statewide. As a small business owner, I know we need to be doing more to protect and build our local economy. We can help our local businesses succeed by ensuring they have access to capital they need to invest and grow and by simplifying processes to meet regulatory requirements. Thriving small businesses can help increase pricing competition and supply, which ultimately have the potential to bring overall prices down. Ensuring that Pennsylvania is an attractive place to work will also help businesses. We can do this by having a minimum wage that is comparable to surrounding states and that reflects an actual living wage, implementing paid family leave, and by retaining reproductive rights. Without these things, it will be difficult to attract workers, and without a strong workforce businesses cannot operate.

To ensure we all have access to clean drinking water, we need to make water testing more accessible and affordable, especially for those with private residential wells. Harmful chemicals in our water can lead to devastating health consequences and subsequent medical bills, followed by costs to clean up our water. In addition, contaminated water brings property values down, also hurting the economy.

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David O'Donnell

David O'Donnell recently ran for School Board Director in Pennridge SD. He has been a manager in Retail and Hospitality for over 20 years. He works within the community through organizations such as Pennridge Democrats. He is also a coach in the Pennridge Little League.

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