Op-ed: Fitzgerald has done a fine job in the 203rd

By Nicholas Ear and Ethan Moreland

Isabella Fitzgerald, Democratic representative of the 203rd Legislative District of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, focuses a lot of her work on education, and ensuring all children get the proper education they deserve.

On Feb. 24, 2017, Fitzgerald co-sponsored and announced her plans to reintroduce Pennsylvania House Bill 754, which would provide full-day kindergarten services to children ages 3 to 5. This bill will provide many children with the initial ability to start their education early on in their lives with safety and plentiful resources. More recently, she also generously helped provide a $1 million grant to the West Oak Lane Branch of The Free Library of Philadelphia, stating, “Libraries are fundamental to revitalize our neighborhoods… They connect, they get to know each other, share concerns and look for solutions – and that’s how you build a community.”

Fitzgerald invests a lot in education and providing people of all backgrounds the opportunity to succeed, and works hard fighting for legislation that will improve the Philadelphia education system. In future proposals, Fitzgerald should work to establish programs with the intention of promoting mental health and wellness in teenagers.

Anxiety and stress-related illnesses are common and often go untreated in the teenage and minority communities. It is important for people to be educated on these topics and know how to identify and approach the conditions. Fitzgerald should make legislation proposing the creation of curriculums that help students avoid or handle stress-related illnesses, and provide programs for coping and treatment, making the school environment the academic and emotional haven it should be.

Fitzgerald also strives to better the Philadelphia community in its entirety. She believes happiness is key in a healthy community. When she witnessed homeless people in the city of Philadelphia be oppressed through the proposal and passings of laws prohibiting acts such as begging and littering that deliberately targeted homeless persons, Fitzgerald decided to take matters into her own hands. She helped introduce the Homeless Bill of Rights, which is focused on ensuring the rights of citizens without homes are protected. She gave a voice to those who could not fight against the laws on their own. Fitzgerald fights to protect their right to vote, privacy, employment, and their very right to live as humans.

Fitzgerald sees the importance of available and equal healthcare for citizens of Philadelphia as well. She sponsored House Bill 339, which helps combat discriminatory medical malpractice. In some cases, physicians may provide less-than-adequate medical assistance to those with criminal records or of different backgrounds and ethnicities. With House Bill 339, those who provide medical malpractice are given criminal offenses.

Fitzgerald also fought for the rights and health of newborns, supporting legislation that requires medical screening for newborns in order to quickly identify and treat any possible physical and mental illnesses.

Fitzgerald represents the greatest number of people in a district also home to the largest percentage of minorities. She strives to create an open and caring community, and fight for the rights of the minorities she represents. Fitzgerald incessantly fights for equal opportunity and education for all people, regardless of background. She is a voice for the people, and, more importantly, the minority. ••

Nicholas and Ethan are seniors at Julia R. Masterman High School. In their social sciences class, they have been assigned a project to write an op-ed on their local state representative.