Plan for the 197th
Another Philadelphia is Coming!
Big Changes... Faster!
Cheri also intends to concretely use her office towards this vision of a zero-tolerance policy for homelessness, hunger, deportation, and environmental destruction.
While many legislators use their $159 per diem each time they spend a day in Harrisburg towards luxury apartments and to help pay towards second homes outside their districts, State Representative Honkala will use her per diem towards food for the people of the 197th.
While other legislators may ignore the homeless on their block or be content trying to pass legislation, State Representative Honkala will open her offices to the homeless to sleep in.
While the Pennsylvania legislature may not resist Trump’s order to deport hard-working immigrants who are our friends and neighbors, Cheri’s office will be a sanctuary space for those at risk of being kidnapped from their homes. Immigration officials will have to break into State Representative Honkala’s office and go through her and her lawyers to get to a member of our community.
While establishment politicians may have the money to feel safe from the poisoning of our water and damage to our land by corporations, State Representative Honkala will commit civil disobedience when fracking and pipelines threaten the our children’s future.
Why Does This Matter?
A home for everyone.
Having overcome homelessness, Cheri has spent the better part of 30 years advocating for people without homes—often taking them into her own home or sleeping with them on the street in solidarity. As State Representative, Cheri would prioritize housing as a human right. Harrisburg has not taken seriously—nor shown compassion toward—the plight of homeless people in the 197th and across the state.
Many ways exist to generate additional revenue to fund these programs. For example, we can close the Delaware tax loophole that allows corporations to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. Every dollar corporations do not pay ends up coming out of the wallets of working-class Pennsylvanians. We must not let profits come before providing for the basic human needs of our neighbors.
On Day 1, Cheri will do her part to end homelessness. Whether by opening her office or sleeping alongside homeless people in the state capitol building, she will work toward housing people until legislators act.
Everyone fed—no one hungry.
People in the 197th District live on an average wage of $2 a day. This is not enough to feed oneself, let alone a family with children. Food is a human right. Eight multi-billionaires have more wealth than half of the people in the world. The notion of scarcity is a fallacy. We must not accept the idea that everyone cannot be fed. This is an illusion created by politics as usual and the inequitable corporate economy it supports.
In Pennsylvania, one way to increase funding for an anti-hunger program is to tax corporations who are currently drilling into our land in the Marcellus Shale area. While we wait for the state to ban fracking, these corporations that are ruining our earth can—at the very least—pay for all people in this state to be fed.
As a legislator, Cheri will donate her $157 per diem that legislators receive for their daily work at the state capitol toward food for people in the 197th. Other legislators use this amount to stay in fancy hotels or even to pay for their second homes in Harrisburg. That’s not Cheri’s reality, nor the reality of her neighbors.
FACT: People are hungry and Harrisburg is ignoring them.
Remain a sanctuary.
One thing that makes Trump’s presidency the same as other presidencies is that our hard-working neighbors are being deported and separated from their families and communities. This is not acceptable. Many people and families within the 197th have migrated to Philadelphia from other countries. A state legislators needs to represent every person within their district—not just privileged with voting rights or citizenship.
The Pennsylvania Senate recently passed Senate Bill 10 (SB10), which is attempting to ban cities and municipalities from functioning as Sanctuary Cities. If elected, Cheri will combat that by introducing legislation that will make the entire state a sanctuary for all Pennsylvanians.
If deportations continue in Pennsylvania, Cheri’s offices will be a sanctuary for those in emergency circumstances at risk of being deported. At minimum, federal officials trying to split up families and take our neighbors will have to break into her office and go through Cheri and her lawyers while being livestreamed to the world.
Affordable healthcare for all.
Thousands of people within the 197th district are without healthcare. Thousands of people within the 197th district also have a disability. Without affordable coverage, they cannot receive the medical assistance to care for themselves, their families and fully participate in our community.
Even with the help of the Affordable Care Act, thousands of people within the 197th district must address illnesses and, for 40% of the district, manage disabilities - all without healthcare. The burden this places on families, communities and the healthcare system is unconscionable and completely unnecessary.
Pennsylvania has been presented with the best healthcare legislation in the country. Immediately upon being elected, CheriI will/would co-sponsor and fight for the “Healthcare for All PA” legislation introduced by Rep. Pamela DeLissio (194th district). In 2009, the U.S. Congress should have passed a single-payer system. Until that is corrected, Pennsylvania must ourselves be leaders in setting a higher standard for the nation and ensure our entire community is cared for and healthy.
Quality schools for every child.
At this moment, there are schools in the City of Philadelphia without libraries, with no or limited arts programming, and with overcrowded classrooms receiving no additional classroom supportive staff. Principals are balancing their important duties as educational leaders with additional responsibilities such as facilities maintenance. There are even a few children who have died at their school because of a lack of full time nurses. When the future hinges on the skills, abilities and survival of the next generation this borders on the criminal.
We must increase funding for our schools and we can do that if we tax the financial transactions of Banks and Insurance Companies doing business in Pennsylvania. We must also ensure that every child who wants to continue their education can, and we can do that by making tuition free at every community college and state-run university in Pennsylvania.
Living wage employment.
A minimum of $15 an hour and a union is the right of every worker. It’s simple. We cannot expect Pennsylvanians to live on wages that have stagnated over 35 years while the cost of living has increased over that same timeframe. People need to be able to clothe, feed and house themselves. For this to happen, we all need living wages.
States surrounding Pennsylvania—including New York and New Jersey—are raising their minimum wage because they know this grows the economy in a way that supports workers. We must remain competitive. More importantly, workers must be able to afford to live.
While advocating for a living wage, Cheri will demand on a local level that the 197th district gets jobs from the Philadelphia “Rebuild” program. This private-public initiative to improve the city’s libraries and parks must be steered by our elected officials—not by private foundations that are not obligated to put the interests of the public first.
Everything is connected. To focus on the schools, without focusing on living wage jobs, housing, healthcare and neighborhood services creates the fantasy that changing one thing solves our problems.
Protecting the land and water.
Poor communities are more likely to suffer the health consequences of the destruction of our land and water. Whether it be local dumping sites or pipelines, the destruction of our natural resources causes public health epidemics that costs taxpayers even more money and keeps already disadvantaged folks from flourishing.
In Harrisburg, Cheri will fight against fracking and fossil-fuel pipelines. Fracking is the hydraulic cracking of the earth for fossil fuels. The fracking occurring in the Marcellus Shale area has already been polluting our drinking water. Both national pipelines, such as the Dakota Access and Keystone XL Pipelines, and local pipelines, such as Mariner East 2, deny the grave reality of climate change.
We need to focus on creating green energy jobs in Pennsylvania. Cheri will encourage the PECO Energy Company to make it easier for solar panels to be placed on homes in the 197th district as part of a renewable energy push.
Bottom line: We need a representative who has gone to jail for justice, not someone who is on their way to jail for corruption. We also don’t need public officials who shake hands with special interests that destroy the land, water and health of our communities. Cheri Honkala is a long-time resident of the 197th who has taken people off the streets and into her home. Now it’s time for all Pennsylvanians to experience Cheri’s big heart and warrior spirit.