Policy Priorities of Senator Sharif Street
CREATING QUALITY JOBS
If we want to uplift our communities, we must have access to jobs with decent wages. Sharif will work with developers and unions to bring a fair share of construction jobs for neighborhood residents while we upgrade housing and build beautiful communities without gentrification and “pricing out” longtime community residents.
Sharif also understands that Pennsylvania needs a skilled workforce in order to continue to compete in a global economy. We must invest in our institutes of higher education, our community colleges, and our trade schools and foster partnerships between the education and business sectors to help put individuals on the right path toward job success.
Our small businesses must also have the tools they need to grow and thrive. As Democratic Chair of the Banking & Insurance Committee, Sharif will work hard to reform lending practices in distressed communities so all of us have a chance to build a small business in our neighborhood. There are numerous opportunities for small business owners and organizations to apply for state funding. A comprehensive PA Grant & Resource Directory offered through Senator Street’s office lists state grants and low-interest loans available to individuals and organizations.
REFORMING OUR CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
If you paid the price and have lived a good life, you deserve a fair shot at a job. Unfortunately, a criminal record can feel like a life sentence to non-violent ex-offenders seeking employment and housing. This type of discrimination can have a ripple effect and it is detrimental to communities.
Providing non-violent ex-offenders with job opportunities helps the economy, reduces the recidivism rate, reduces potential future crimes in neighborhoods and saves taxpayers the growing costs of incarcerating repeat offenders.
As State Senator, Sharif will work to eliminate the lifetime ban on employment for returning citizens and expand the number of offenses eligible to be expunged.
IMPROVING ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE
All Pennsylvanians deserve access to quality, affordable healthcare. As state senator, Sharif will ensure that programs like Medicaid and CHIP are working for individuals and families.
As our country continues to grapple with a prescription opioid and heroin overdose crisis, Pennsylvania has taken several important steps to prevent overdose deaths and limit access to prescription opioids, including improving access to the lifesaving medication Naloxone for emergency responders and loved ones of individuals struggling with addiction. Physicians, pharmacists, and the public should have access to comprehensive education about opioid drug abuse and prevention.
Pennsylvania has also joined the number of states that have legalized medical marijuana. The Pennsylvania Department of Health is taking numerous steps to implement the law. Medical cannabis can help individuals with certain disorders for which typical medical treatments do not work, especially seizure disorders in children. Sharif understands that Pennsylvanians deserve access to beneficial and lifesaving medical treatments and will monitor the progress of the state’s efforts to safely and effectively provide access to medical cannabis.
FUNDING OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Sharif understands that we cannot raise our families without access to quality education. As state senator, Sharif will fight to restore charter school reimbursement funding and supporting fair funding for our public schools that doesn’t depend on the value of the homes in your neighborhood.
The state’s basic education funding formula, approved in 2015, provides for a more equitable means of distributing state funding to our 500 school districts. Sharif will fight for increased investments in our public schools so that education funding is both equitable and adequate.
Representing a city that is home to world-class colleges and universities, Sharif will also fight to ensure that higher education is both accessible and affordable to students of all ages and abilities.
FIGHTING FOR OUR RIGHTS
Sharif is passionate about ensuring that all Pennsylvanians are treated equally. We live and work in a commonwealth that was founded on the basis of freedom from religious oppression and a city that is the historical birthplace of freedom and liberty.
While our country has made tremendous strides toward equality, Pennsylvania can and must do more to protect the rights of its citizens, no matter their age, gender identity, race, ethnicity, religious affiliation or ability. Sharif believes that women and men should receive equal pay for equal work, and he supports statewide protections in the workplace for the LGBT community. He will also fight to ensure that individuals with physical and intellectual differences are treated fairly in schools, the workplace and in the community.
INVESTING IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Technology evolves rapidly, and Pennsylvania must make key investments to keep pace. From environmental practices to advancements in medicine to the workforce, investing in science and technology is an investment in our commonwealth’s future prosperity.
Education is a crucial element. As state senator, Sharif will examine the benefits of investing in academics that focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), as well as equipment that students can use in the classroom to advance their learning. Further, he will seek to find ways that technology can help our workforce without risking good, family-sustaining jobs. He will also examine how science and technology can protect and sustain our precious natural resources, including alternative energy sources and cleaner energy.