Pennsylvania Representative Austin Davis on The Stakes in the States

Voting rights, abortion access, gun violence prevention — there’s a lot at stake in Pennsylvania this November, where ending the rightwing’s unchecked control is within reach. Alongside two college students who lead Fearless Action, we spoke with Pennsylvania Representative Austin Davis to learn what a new majority would mean. Read a snippet of our conversation and listen to the full recording in the tweet below!

Britney from Fearless Action: Representative Davis, you first began serving your state at the legislature at the age of 21, as an intern in the same chamber where you’re now an elected member. As a college student myself, I’d love to hear your perspective on this — why should young people pay attention to the states?

Rep. Davis: The states are really where governing happens. I think people often get caught up in what’s going on at the federal level with the President and Congress, because they get so much more attention. But in state legislatures, we truly do make laws that affect you every single day. From voting rights — because we administer elections — to ensuring a woman has the right to choose because we regulate health and reproductive rights, the most pressing issues that ultimately make their way to the federal level, usually start in the states.

The fight for our future — the fight for democracy — is really going to happen at the state level.

Sarah from The States Project: The States Project is fighting to shift power in the Pennsylvania legislature this November. Right now, we’re four seats away from a new majority in the Senate and twelve seats away in the House of Representatives. Thanks to fairer congressional maps enacted this year, we believe this could be doable. That said, what could your caucus’ policy priorities look like if a new majority is elected?

Rep. Davis: Immediately, we need to shore up our democracy and ensure everyone has equal access to the ballot box. We need to make sure we’re making voting in Pennsylvania as easy as possible. 

I also think raising the minimum wage to a living wage in Pennsylvania would be a top priority for our caucus. Pennsylvania is stuck with a minimum wage of $7.25, and we know it’s past time we raise that. 

And thirdly, we need to make sure we’re protecting a woman’s right to choose and make her own healthcare decisions without fear of government intrusion.

Those would undoubtedly be some of our top priorities.

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