PA-12: Summer Lee (D)
Fred Keller (R)[i]
Pennsylvania House of Representatives (State Representative, District 34); NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund (Intern); Office of the Attorney General of the District of Columbia (Intern); Children’s Defense Fund – Freedom Schools (Intern); University of Pittsburgh – Office of Cross Cultural & Leadership Development (Intern); KDKA-TV (Intern)[ii] [iii]
Democracy & Voting Rights; Disability Justice; Economic Justice & Union Jobs; Education; Environmental Justice; Gun Violence; Immigration; Justice Reform; LGBTQ+ Rights; Medicare for All; Reproductive Health, Rights & Justice[vi]
ON THE ISSUES
Lee asserts that the “right-wing extremists on the Supreme Court have gutted our constitutional right to abortion care, and Congress must do everything in its power to protect this fundamental right.” She supports federal protections for abortion care as well as repealing the Hyde Amendment. Lee supports legislation including the Women’s Health Protection Act and the EACH Act, which she asserts make “reproductive health more accessible.”[vii]
ECONOMY, JOBS & TAXES:
Lee advocates for legislation “that supports a livable wage and aims to close the unnecessary gap between skyrocketing corporate profits and working people’s poverty wages,” including a $15 federal minimum wage. She argues that the current US economy “works for the wealthy few at the expense of the working poor.” She supports the PRO Act as well as the jobs guarantee in the Green New Deal.[viii] [ix]
HEALTHCARE & SOCIAL SAFETY NET:
Lee supports Medicare for All, which she asserts “would eliminate fees and expand coverage, which means no one has to live in fear of bankruptcy in the event of a medical emergency or even just seeking preventative care.” She advocates for a universal healthcare system that would include medical coverage, as well as vision, dental, reproductive, mental health, and long-term coverage. She believes the government should be allowed to negotiate drug prices to bring down prescription costs.[x]
IMMIGRATION & BORDER SECURITY:
Lee believes no human being is illegal and that our current immigration system “is a broken web of xenophobic policies that seek to punish brown and Black people instead of building pathways to citizenship.” She argues undocumented immigrants, Dreamers, and people with Temporary Protected Status all deserve a pathway to citizenship. Lee says undocumented immigrants should have access to covered healthcare and that ICE has turned into “a violent policing agency.”[xi]
CRIME & PUBLIC SAFETY:
Lee argues that the existing criminal and juvenile justice systems “are among the biggest barriers to social justice and upward mobility and yet taxpayers foot the bill.” She is “committed to ending the school-to-prison pipeline,” asserting that the current model of “referring children to armed law enforcement on campus and prosecuting them for schoolyard infractions feeds children into the prison industrial complex and limits their future prospects.” Lee is opposed to mandatory minimums and supports eliminating cash bail and the death penalty.[xii]
GOVERNMENT INSTITUTIONS & ELECTION SECURITY:
Lee opposes “racist voter ID laws” and supports restoring “the full power of the Voting Rights Act.” She believes every person in the US deserves the right to vote, including “previously incarcerated people to immigrants.” She supports expanding “automatic voter registration, nationwide early and mail voting, federal holidays for election days, and same day voter registration.” She supports expanding the Supreme Court, ending lifetime appointments for justices, and comprehensive campaign finance reform that ends Citizens United.[xiii]
Lee believes public colleges, universities, and vocational programs should be tuition-free and all existing student loan debt should be canceled. She supports universal pre-K, including childcare, as well as “dramatically expanding teacher-training programs with a focus on generating high-quality teachers with cultural competency among an increasingly diverse student population.”[xiv]
CLIMATE CHANGE, ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT:
In Congress, Lee commits to fighting for a Green New Deal “to transition to a 100% clean and renewable energy economy.” She supports ending fracking, which she asserts has posed a “disproportionate threat” to her community. As a state legislator, Lee has “always been vocal” in her opposition to fracking.[xv]
BIG TECH & DATA PRIVACY:
Lee believes that “unregulated Wall Street and Big Tech companies […] have only reinforced the deep systemic inequalities that we continue to face as a nation.”[xvi]
Lee supports a ban on assault weapons, expanded background checks, ending protections for corporate gun manufacturers, and “bold gun-safety legislation to stop the mass shootings that have become all too common across schools, churches, stores and cities across America.” To address the root of gun violence, Lee also supports investing in schools, after-school programs, and wrap-around services.[xvii]
Referring to the war in Ukraine, Lee argued US foreign policy should be rooted in “humanitarian practices and human rights” while also “prioritizing diplomatic strategies.” She supports welcoming Ukrainian refugees, “avoiding military intervention at all costs,” and implementing “targeted sanctions against Russian oligarchs.”[xviii]
[i] Felicia Sonmez, “Rep. Fred Keller (R-Pa.) announces he won’t seek reelection,” Washington Post, February 28, 2022, available at https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/02/28/rep-fred-keller-r-pa-announces-he-wont-seek-reelection/.
[iii] “Incoming Rep. Summer Lee,” LegiStorm, accessed October 25, 2022, available at https://www.legistorm.com/person/bio/308492/Summer_Lynn_Lee.html.
[v] “Incoming Rep. Summer Lee,” LegiStorm, accessed October 25, 2022, available at https://www.legistorm.com/person/bio/308492/Summer_Lynn_Lee.html.
[ix] Chris Potter, “WESA Candidate Survey: Summer Lee and Mike Doyle on the issues,” WESA, September 30, 2022, available at https://www.wesa.fm/wesa-voter-guide/2022-09-30/wesa-candidate-survey-summer-lee-and-mike-doyle-on-the-issues.
[xviii] “Summer Lee on war in Ukraine,” WTAE-TV Pittsburgh YouTube, May 10, 2022, available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DoPXqqlSZ7Y&ab_channel=WTAE-TVPittsburgh.