Jonathan McCabe and Robert Brooks: Candidates for State Rep.

On Nov. 6, voters in Pennsylvania’s 54th House District will have a choice of two candidates for state representative: Jonathan McCabe (Democrat) or Robert Brooks (Republican). Rep. Evankovich (R) held this seat until resigning in August.

This district includes parts of Westmoreland and Allegheny Counties: the TOWNSHIPS of Allegheny, Fawn, Penn, Upper Burrell, and West Deer, and the BOROUGHS of Export, Murrysville, and Lower Burrell City.

We asked each candidate five questions about their stance on key policies to combat hunger in Pennsylvania. We did not receive a response from Brooks despite multiple requests, and were not able to determine her position based on public statements.

McCabe’s full response is below the graphic.

Where Jonathan McCabe and Robert Brooks stand on 5 key policies to combat hunger in the race for PA's 54th House DistrictJonathan McCabe (D)

Do you support work requirements as a condition to access public benefit programs, even though it would prevent people from accessing healthcare or food assistance?

I do not support work requirements for access to benefits. As I mentioned, my family has lived through the struggle of not having a job and relying on benefits. Also, with the rise of globalization and automation, many average Americans are going to be faced with an increasingly difficult time finding jobs in the future. For example, one of the most popular jobs for workers without a college degree is truck-driving. But this industry is going to gradually become automated, and many workers are going to be faced with the difficult task of finding another job.

What should the state minimum wage be?

I believe that the minimum wage of the state should be at least 10.10, and it should be indexed to inflation. Minimum wage is great for small business growth because it puts money into the hands of people who support those businesses.

Do you support state laws that preempt laws on local taxes, local public health regulations, or local labor protections? In particular, do you support HB 861?

I do not support HB 861, or state laws that preempt on local labor protections. HB 861 would simply strip workers of local labor protections that are already implemented, such as paid sick days. HB 861 would also be an attack on LGBTQ Pennsylvanians because many local ordinances have already passed laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of many protected characteristics, including sexual orientation. Local governments deserve the right to pass local ordinances that meet the needs and reflect the values of their own communities.

Do you support the Fair Share Tax Plan?

Yes. I absolutely support the Fair Share Tax Plan.

Do you support the Marcellus Shale severance tax, as proposed in Gov. Wolf’s budget, as a way to provide sustained revenue for Pennsylvania?

Yes I support the Marcellus Shale severance tax.

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