Janay Hawthorne, running for State Representative
I am a third-generation City of Philadelphia public servant and member of a union family; I want to empower, uplift, and assist with providing relief where I can for Philadelphia working families. I have also served as a Shop Steward for AFSCME DC 47. As a wife and mother and Northwest Philadelphia native, I am most passionate about family and community. My family has helped mold my core leadership values, integrity, and responsibility. The daughter of a teacher and firefighter, and granddaughter of retired Philadelphia police officers, dedication to Philadelphians and progressively improving our city for everyone’s benefit is ingrained in my DNA. After nine years, I resigned from my full-time position as a Program Analyst with the City of Philadelphia's Department of Behavioral Health to fully commit to campaigning for the position of State Representative.
1 (a). Some of Philadelphia’s most dangerous streets for pedestrians and cyclists based on injury statistics are PennDOT-owned arterials, many of which are major downtown streets and commercial corridors running through densely-populated parts of Philadelphia. Would you use your position to support safer urban arterials by pushing PennDOT to adopt Vision Zero and complete streets policies? (https://www.inquirer.com/opinion/commentary/philadelphia-traffic-fatalities-penndot-20190208.html)
1b. What types of legislative and policy changes are needed to correct this problem at PennDOT?
There definitely should be more investment in the Vision Zero initiative with a focus on mitigating the issues among the high injury network in the Commonwealth.
2 (a). Will you co-sponsor the ‘Vulnerable Road User’ Bill which increases fines for causing death, serious and bodily injury of vulnerable roadway users by careless and reckless driving? (https://bicyclecoalition.org/vulnerable-road-user-bill-introduced-in-pa-state-house/)
2 (b). Parking-protected bike lanes have a row of street parking between vehicle traffic and the bike lane. These kinds of lanes are allowed now on city streets, but not state roads, which are among the busiest and most dangerous for bicyclists. Will you co-sponsor the parking protected bike lane bill? (https://www.inquirer.com/transportation/parking-protected-bike-lane-cycling-philadelphia-pennsylvania-legislation-20190430.html)
3 (a). State lawmakers like Nikil Saval and Brian Sims endorsed the Safer Washington Ave campaign’s demands and played a helpful role in showing support from elected leaders. Will you join these other elected officials in publicly endorsing Safer Washington Ave and future road safety campaigns? (https://whyy.org/articles/city-facing-criticism-says-washington-ave-pivot-was-a-matter-of-equity/)
3 (b). How would you listen and respond to constituents who oppose road safety measures out of fears of traffic congestion and gentrification?
I would host a town hall to hear constituents' opinions on road safety measures and create a safe space for them to express themselves. I would also create a task force to handle gathering data from larger cities where such measures have been taken and present all of the data. The task force would be responsible for data gathering and presentation so all parties can draw a logical solution.
4. Pennsylvania passed legislation enabling automated speed enforcement on Roosevelt Blvd and highway work zones. Do you support the expansion of automated speed enforcement to School Zones and on other High Injury Network streets throughout Philadelphia? (https://whyy.org/articles/roosevelt-boulevard-speed-cameras-represent-rare-bipartisan-win/)
I support the expansion of automated speed enforcement because of the large number of hit and runs throughout the city. We should implement more sustainable, evidence-based interventions to decrease harm of all Philadelphians.
5. Do you support state-enabling legislation for congestion pricing, permitting municipalities and regions to institute tolls on cars entering into the most congested areas, and using the funds for improvements to transit, and for infrastructure for walking and bicycling? (https://www.inquirer.com/transportation/congestion-pricing-new-york-philadelphia-traffic-20190402.html)
I'm unsure because Philadelphia is the poorest big city in the country, and this idea penalizes low-income and working-class people, deterring them from working in the city. Also, this toll could drive up Septa prices making it one of the more expensive cities for public transit.
6. Transportation is the third-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Pennsylvania. While many elected officials are relying on people adopting electric vehicles, we would like to see the commonwealth play a more active role in reducing car dependence. What do you see as the solution to combat these emissions, enhancing mobility and improving safety in your district and Pennsylvania more broadly?(https://www.dep.pa.gov/Citizens/climate/Pages/GHG-Inventory.aspx)
There needs to be better interconnectivity among public transit and public safety, making more convenient and safe options for travelers. Safer public transit options are certainly attractive to travelers and can make their decision to commute a lot simpler.
7. Would you support prioritizing the East Coast Greenway multi-use trail system by accelerating the completion of gaps in its network, improving safe walking and biking connections to underserved neighborhoods, and creating a dedicated maintenance funding source to upgrade existing trails in need of repairs? (https://www.greenway.org/faqs)
8 (a). State gas tax revenue has been decreasing due to improvements in fuel economy and a switch to electric vehicles. Of the options in Gov. Wolf's Transportation Revenue Options Commission Report, which recommendations do you support the most? (https://www.penndot.pa.gov/about-us/funding/Pages/Gap.aspx)
Out of the recommendations, I prefer managed lanes.
8 (b). Should our commonwealth continue to fund highway expansion projects as a means to combat congestion?
9. What are some of your own ideas for enhancing mobility and improving road safety in your district and Philadelphia more broadly?
I am an advocate for expanding mobility and road safety throughout Philadelphia. I think it is important to get the public involved and hear their ideas for how they would like to see their neighborhoods upgraded.
10 (a). Do you support the Transit For All PA funding platform to generate $1.65 billion dollars/year to replace Act 89's funding for transit? (https://www.transitforallpa.org/platform/)
10 (b). Do you support legislation enabling local governments to implement new transit funding mechanisms, while ensuring that local funds are supplemental and not used to replace a shortfall from the state? (https://www.transitforallpa.org/platform/)
10 (c). How would you propose raising the necessary funds for Pennsylvania's public transit going forward?
Equitable taxes for high-income earners and ensuring large corporations pay their fair share is a good start.
11 (a). SEPTA is undergoing several projects to reform the way it currently operates including redesigning its bus network, improving its wayfinding, reimagining regional rail, and modernizing its trolley system. Do you support these efforts? (https://planning.septa.org/projects/)
11 (b). If so, how would your district benefit, and what will you do (or have done) to ensure that SEPTA can advance these changes? If not, how should SEPTA spend its capital budget instead?
The 200th legislative district would benefit as it has limited bus and regional rail access compared to other parts of the city. To ensure Septa can advance changes, I would work with stakeholders and advocacy groups to determine the best options for the community.
12. Do you support dedicated bus and trolley lanes and legislation enabling automated enforcement cameras to deter other vehicles from using these lanes? (https://mobilitylab.org/2018/09/17/automated-bus-lane-enforcement-is-more-effective-than-police-among-other-findings/)
13. What are some of your own ideas for solutions to improve the quality (frequency, speed, and accessibility) of transit service in your district and Philadelphia more broadly?
Once the public safety aspect of public transit is adequately addressed, how often people use public transit will change tremendously. I would converse with the Disability Community to discuss accessibility and to reimagine the current transit system.
14. The price of a typical home in Philadelphia was increasing at a faster rate than the ability of a typical Philadelphian to pay for it. Do you see a major component of this problem as constrained housing supply due to restrictive zoning laws? (https://www.inquirer.com/opinion/commentary/housing-affordability-philadelphia-covid-20211206.html)
15. Would you support state-based efforts to preempt local zoning and land use controls to encourage housing development particularly in affluent and transit-rich areas? (https://www.planetizen.com/definition/state-preemption)
16. If elected, what will you do to make housing, both market-rate and subsidized, more affordable?
I would support rent control, expand HUD services (not limited to housing vouchers) and support low-interest, non-predatory loans.
17 (a). An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is a self-contained home with its own kitchen, bathroom and sleeping area on the same lot as the main house. They can be used to keep multi-generational families together, to give homeowners the option to rent part of their property, and to give seniors more options for aging in place. Do you see permitting ADU construction as an important element in increasing housing supply? (https://local.aarp.org/news/adus-provide-unique-housing-solution-to-todays-challenges-pa-2021-06-17.html)
17 (b). What efforts will your office take to ensure seniors can age in place?
18 (a). Philadelphia is currently experiencing over 1,000 overdose deaths annually, a significant public health crisis. Do you see supervised injection sites as an important element in the battle against addiction deaths? (https://whyy.org/articles/time-for-safehouse-to-ask-forgiveness-not-permission-on-philly-supervised-injection-site-experts-say/)
18 (b). Why or why not?
Safe injection sites are important and necessary. The question lies where the sites should be located. Taking into consideration all constituents and their comfort levels is vital to this initiative.
19. Governor Wolf and the Pennsylvania DEP are moving to participate in a program that would limit harmful carbon pollution from power plants in Pennsylvania. This program is called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), and it would have power companies pay for the pollution they generate while setting caps on future pollution. Different interest groups within the Democratic Party have taken different positions on this, with some building trades unions on one side and environmental groups on the other. If elected, would you support joining RGGI? (https://www.inquirer.com/science/pennsylvania-house-rggi-climate-change-gov-wolf-20211216.html)
Joining RGGI does not mean there will be fewer jobs for areas dependent on coal and natural gas; it means we may have to revamp job focus and provide the necessary training for workers to participate in their new jobs. I believe holding power companies accountable for their practices and environmental impact is a huge priority.
20. Tell us more about what you bring to the table as an ally for urbanist politics in Harrisburg. What makes you the right person to advance the urbanist movement's goals politically or substantively at the state level? How would you build support for pro-urbanist policies among your colleagues from outside our region?
In general, I am pro-progression for people. I am a solution-oriented person and am open-minded to urbanist goals and ideas.