The simple, winning message of state Rep. Martina White

In a district with twice as many Democrats as Republicans, the winning formula for state Rep. Martina White (R-Phila) mixes straightforward messaging with old-fashioned hard work. While campaigning, she knocks on thousands of doors in her northeast Philadelphia district promising to work for safe streets, good paying jobs, and quality education.

It's paid off. In each two-year election since her first win in a special election in 2015, she has increased her margin of victory.

“It’s a blue-collar, working-class district that has seen what 60 years of rule by the other party has done to the city,” she says, “and they’ve had enough of it.”

Along those lines, White was appointed to the recently-created House Select Committee on Restoring Law and Order, which immediately targeted one of the main culprits behind escalating violent crime in the city – District Attorney Larry Krasner.

Backed by radical billionaire George Soros, Krasner is highly permissive on crime and was recently held in contempt for ignoring a subpoena from the committee. Instead of complying with the subpoena he instead sued the select committee.

“By suing, Krasner has made the ridiculous claim that the committee has no authority over him or his office, though the state Constitution explicitly gives the House the power of impeachment as a safeguard against corrupt or unfit elected officials,” White said in a joint statement with state Rep. Josh Kail (R-Beaver), who sponsored the resolution creating the committee.

“The reality is Krasner believes he’s above the law, and the lawsuit to stop the committee is a desperate act by a dangerous, desperate man,” they added.

White said the spike in crime under Krasner impacts more than individual residents; it hits businesses hard as well.

“People don’t feel safe,” she said. “And when they don’t feel safe, they’re afraid to go downtown to patronize our businesses. It’s craziness.”

She’s also bringing the fight to Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf over his Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) electricity tax and his support for across-the-board tax increases, which White says, “hurts working families the most.” White also wants to increase educational opportunities for kids, which Wolf and his teacher union allies have opposed for the last eight years.

For example, Wolf has undermined the Charter School Appeals Board (CAB), where charter applicants can appeal if denied by an authorizer, by not appointing new members and recently dismissing the others, effectively rendering CAB useless. White’s legislation, HB 1626, will shift the power to appoint members from the governor to the four legislative caucuses.

“The CAB was established with the intent of it being an independent body to review decisions made by charter school authorizers (local school districts authorize brick-and-mortar charters and the PA Department of Education authorizes cyber charters),” White explained. “These decisions include whether to grant or deny a new charter school application, and if an existing charter school will be granted a renewal or if their charter will be revoked. These decisions have the power to impact the lives of thousands of public school students who are desperate for quality school choice options.”

White also sponsored legislation, HB 1541, to increase the funding for the hugely successful Education Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program where business provide scholarships to kids in underperforming public schools so they can attend private schools. She got $125 million of the $150 million requested in her legislation, the largest increase ever.

She also signed onto related legislation by state Rep. Clint Owlett (R-Tioga, Bradford, Potter) that would establish the Lifeline Scholarship Program.

Under the bill (HB 2169), parents with school age children (1st through 12th grade) who reside within the attendance area of a district school in the bottom 15% of performance metrics based on state testing would be eligible to receive a scholarship to offset costs associated with choosing an alternative academic setting that meets their child’s individual learning needs.

When discussing the economy, she finds it incomprehensible that Pennsylvania’s energy resources haven’t been mobilized to refuel our allies Europe who have been cut off by Russia.

Her legislation, HB 2458, which passed the House in April, would create an LNG task force to explore what’s holding Pennsylvania back.

“As a state with both an abundant supply of natural gas and a port in Philadelphia, we are perfectly positioned to become a leader in exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) to supply the energy needs of our allies around the world,” she said.

During White’s first trip to Harrisburg after her special election win, former State Rep. John Taylor (R-Phila.), whom she calls her mentor, took her to the back of the House and told her that the people in this chamber represent the absolute best their districts have to offer.

“I think he was both half serious and half kidding,” she said.