The following section lays out the concrete policies and laws that Nikil will help fight for when elected to the Pennsylvania State Senate’s first District.
Currently, a million and a half Pennsylvanians pay more than 30 percent of their income on housing and the number of affordable units in the Commonwealth is shrinking. Our remaining stock of public and subsidized housing is crumbling or has been demolished, as the population in need of these units is growing.
We need a Homes Guarantee.
A generational investment in housing and renters’ rights is necessary to not only reverse these trends, but to address unmet affordability needs. The magnitude and breadth of the current crisis requires a multi-dimensional approach.
The United States is alone in the developed world in its failure to cover healthcare for its residents, mandate paid parental leave, and adequately subsidize the cost of child and longterm elder care. The fastest growing section of the country’s workforce, home health care aides, are among the poorest paying and most insecure jobs in the country. As the father of a young child, and a freelancer who has struggled with mounting healthcare costs, Nikil knows the squeeze that the current system places on working people, and the staggering amount of debt that people are forced to shoulder just to make ends meet.
A dynamic and innovative society is one that cares. We need to plan for an aging society, to make childcare affordable, and guarantee healthcare for everyone.
Our state is suffering from a triple crisis of economic inequality, ecological devastation and climate change, and public disinvestment. Most Pennsylvanians’ wages have stagnated, and many communities across our state suffer from deep poverty and despair. The climate crisis threatens the futures of people all over Pennsylvania—none more so than frontline and vulnerable communities and young people—on top of the thousands of premature deaths and tens of billions of dollars of public health costs already caused by fossil fuel extraction and consumption. And our state government’s dramatic neglect of public services has led to toxic schools, unaffordable college, and crumbling infrastructure—all while working class Pennsylvanians shoulder far too much of the state’s tax burden.
Pennsylvania is one of the world’s leaders in mass incarceration. Our incarceration rate exceeds those of every country in the world, including our own. When that rate includes our fellow Pennsylvanians on probation or parole, we have the extraordinary dishonor of being the second most incarcerated state in the United States, lagging only behind Georgia.
It is past time to make Pennsylvania a leader in mass liberation, not mass incarceration. Pennsylvania has made progress in this fight, thanks to the dedication of organizers and social movements in our city, across the state, and across the country. But there is still much to be done. To get it done, we need senators in Harrisburg who understand we cannot solve our social problems with prisons; who understand and address the pain and suffering our system of criminal punishment has inflicted; and who take seriously the harms victims suffer by developing true mechanisms of accountability.