And we’re back with Broad + Liberty’s Candidate Spotlight Series! Each week, we reach out to candidates all across the Commonwealth up for election to public office — an equal number of Democrats and Republicans; incumbents and challengers. We ask one question per week about public policy pressing to you. Those who choose to respond will have their answers shared on our website every Wednesday through Sunday.
If you are a candidate for public office in Pennsylvania and would like to participate, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week’s question: The cost of gas and groceries have risen significantly for PA families. What are your specific plans to lower these prices? Will you encourage our state’s energy production to lower the cost of shipment for products on which our economy depends?
Broad + Liberty thanks the following candidates for their response. Please click on a link below to jump to the responses from your district’s candidates!
- Frank Agovino (R), Running for State Senate, District 26
- Jessica Florio (R), Running for State Senate, District 44
- Edward Mongelluzzo (R), Running for State House, District 161
- Nichole Missino (R), Running for State House, District 165
- Kristin Marcell (R), Running for State House, District 178
- Ilya Breyman (D), Running for State House, District 178
Frank Agovino (R), Running for State Senate, District 26
As this is written, inflation/CPI in the US is at a staggering 8.5%. The economy is in the early stages of retraction. Just how bad it is for working families is yet to be seen.
The best tool in our box to curtail the cost of staples, such as food, gasoline and heating fuel, is a common sense energy policy — which is not the case currently. Governor Wolf, with the support of Senator Tim Kearney, entered PA into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, RGGI for short. RGGI taxes and caps carbon emissions in the name of protecting the environment. However, what RGGI really does is the following:
- RGGI causes energy companies to move operations to states such as Ohio and West Virginia: technically speaking, causing more emissions in PA border states.
- RGGI crushes the creation of high-paying union jobs in the PA energy industry.
- The world desires more clean natural gas, especially Europe. RGGI stifles PA’s opportunity to become the global natural gas export leader.
- PA residents have seen their energy bills climb 30% on average directly related to RGGI.
- Higher energy costs, simply put, affect the price of everything families need to survive.
On day one, I would join many other Pennsylvania legislators who seek to move PA away from RGGI and into a common-sense energy policy. Energy companies are not our enemy, and I will work with them to continue to be innovative in their protection of the environment while growing the natural gas industry in PA exponentially.
Frank Agovino’s opponent, Tim Kearney, chose not to respond.
Jessica Florio (R), Running for State Senate, District 44
Pennsylvanians should not be paying some of the highest energy costs when we have an abundance of energy right underneath our feet. However, extracting, manufacturing, and transporting this energy does not automatically come at the cost of public safety. We can absolutely have a robust energy sector, and we can absolutely protect our environment at the same time. As the President of Borough Council in my hometown (Honey Brook Borough), I have learned that in order to make meaningful change, you have to work with everyone on both sides of the issue. I am committed to bringing all stakeholders — energy producers, environmental groups, residents, legislators, and others — to the table to develop a plan that puts Pennsylvanians’ economic and environmental interests first.
Jessica Florio’s opponent, Katie Muth, chose not to respond.
Edward Mongelluzzo (R), Running for State House, District 161
We need to start by either ending or stopping liberal government policies — on spending, on limiting energy production, on restricting our supply chain, and on hurting small businesses — that have driven inflation to record levels. My plan is to ensure strong fiscal discipline in state budgeting and borrowing, and support job-creators as they work to revive our economy. I will also work to safely harness all of Pennsylvania’s resources when it comes to energy production, which will help address inflationary pressures.
Edward Mongelluzzo’s opponent, Leanne Krueger-Braneky, chose not to respond.
Nichole Missino (R), Running for State House, District 165
I am a huge advocate for PA families and small business owners. As a small business owner myself, I see firsthand how people are struggling: my product costs are increasing and I have had to raise my prices twice against my will. I will do what I can to lighten the burden on my district. I would like to see us rely on our own energy, despite the current administration’s determination to keep us all struggling.
Nichole Missino’s opponent, Jennifer O’Mara, chose not to respond.
Kristin Marcell (R), Running for State House, District 178
Liberal government spending policies — combined with initiatives that limit energy production, restrict our supply chain, and hurt small businesses — have all driven inflation to record levels. My plan is to ensure strong fiscal discipline in state budgeting and borrowing and support job-creators as they work to revive our economy. I will also work to safely harness all of Pennsylvania’s resources when it comes to energy production, which will help address inflationary pressures as well as reduced shipment costs for products.
Ilya Breyman (D), Running for State House, District 178
In the month of July, inflation didn’t continue the upward trend that we have been experiencing for the greater part of the last year, and gas prices have fallen by almost $1 in some parts of the state. This is good news for Pennsylvanians of all stripes, and I hope these figures mark the beginning of a longer term trend for all of our sakes.
However, just as it would have been misleading to suggest any one thing was to blame for inflation and gas prices, it is misleading to give any single entity credit for the turnaround. I am running for a state legislative seat and the state government in Harrisburg has very little control over monetary policy or international diplomacy — which are the responsibility of the federal government exclusively, and are the only reasonable ways to fight inflation or alter significantly the price you pay at the pump.
This highlights a critical issue however, one that we need to be talking about more. While some places in the state have taken steps to build the infrastructure for certain types of fossil fuel refinement, creating good paying union jobs in the process (the Royal Dutch Shell Plant on the Ohio River as an example), we need to be realistic about the long-term viability of fossil fuel extraction as we head into a future where we will need to rely on these fuels less and less. This means that not only does our state need to make investments in renewable energy, but we also need to source transitional fuels that will help us quickly with our energy needs while we make those longer term investments. This is where nuclear and cleaner burning natural gas will have a critical role to play to make sure our energy needs are met as we undergo this necessary realignment.
Whether the cause is the issue of inflation in the short-term, or our necessary energy transition in the longer term, we need to make sure that as Pennsylvanians, we are looking out for our most vulnerable neighbors and their families during these tough times. We can and should be providing earned income tax credits to help put money back in the hands of those in need and we can and should find innovative and financially responsible ways to make childcare more accessible and affordable for middle-class families to help parents seek full-time employment and steady careers, helping them as they work toward building their American Dream.
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