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Concerns on firearms, asbestos


By Harshita Parmar

I am a student in the School District of Philadelphia and I have been reading about the efforts Martina White has put in for our community as a state representative. I was quite pleased with her work toward creating jobs, fighting gun violence, supporting our communities, working on reducing the effects of climate change and much more. In particular, I was intrigued by the passing of two bills to export liquified natural gas to create jobs in an eco-friendly way. The signing of Act 133 and Act 103 creates the Port of Philadelphia extraction station for natural gas that has been liquified and extends the ability to operate businesses to carry forward Net Operating Losses. These natural gas-harvesting efforts address the export of liquified natural gas and the city’s business tax climate. Philadelphia’s abundance of underground liquified natural gas can provide the United States with energy freedom, by using the exporting port in Philadelphia. The LNG or Liquified Natural Gas export facility will help reduce carbon emissions globally so that the U.S. is no longer energy dependent. This will also promote peace with our European allies who would no longer rely on oppressive governments for their energy supply, create good-paying jobs and make energy cheaper for families across Pennsylvania. This effort improves the quality of life for our community and I support these acts.

In addition, as I am a student, I often take public transportation to school and it is always a safety concern for my parents and me. According to the Washington Post, not a single week in 2022 passed without at least four mass shootings. I have been concerned about gun laws in Philadelphia and I am pleased with Martina White’s recent statements to sponsor the passing of the effort to provide the attorney general concurrent jurisdiction over gun crime in Philadelphia. She would want that instead of Jim Kenney banning guns from recreation centers. He should focus on fully funding our police department so it has the resources to get criminals with illegal guns off the streets. However, to further combat these issues, I believe the sole and center issue stems back to the sale and ownership of firearms. The recent gun laws in New York and the recent bill, Senate Bill 565, increasingly allow guns to be carried in public. These laws are acting as an impediment to the community. Many lives will be put at further risk as these laws allow guns to be carried in a concealed or open fashion without a permit. The sale and distribution system of firearms should be reevaluated and worked on given the recent tragedies. To know that our officials are working against crime and in favor of the community brings me great satisfaction, however, our policies and laws need to be reevaluated as time progresses.

A wave of concern grows and then dies down repeatedly for the current asbestos matter. And I, along with many of the Philadelphia school district teachers and members, would like to have a safe school to attend. I have been going to Masterman for 8 years now and it has been long known that long-term asbestos exposure creates a risk of mesothelioma and lung, laryngeal and ovarian cancer. Some of our staff have been employed in this building for over 20 years and have almost given up on trying to protest the current system that does not fix the asbestos issue. Like Committee Minority Chairman Matt Bradford said, “We know our kids are going into schools that have been affirmatively closed because of lead, asbestos and mold. So while we can quibble about whether the first authorization should be for $1 billion or $100 million, we need to get the ball rolling.” It has been over 50 years since we have been hearing about asbestos in Philadelphia buildings, government officials should act on this issue before the impacts of asbestos start to show on people’s health as the impact intends to show up years later from the first exposure.

I am truly grateful for the work state Rep. Martina White has done for our community and hope to see continuous improvement for our district in the near future. The current issues of control of firearms and asbestos in Philadelphia buildings are two of the major concerns I urge her to tackle. She has met with my districts’ families to complete their needs and hear their concerns for their children’s education, their own job security and much more. As Martina White’s philosophy is built on the values of trust, accountability and service, I am looking forward to having her represent our interests and ethics as my district leader. ••

Harshita Parmar is a student at Masterman High School.

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