PennFuture Blog

Our Perspectives on the Latest Issues

A New Role as Policy Director

For years, I’ve lived, worked, and organized in rural Pennsylvania to support organizations and causes that impact our everyday lives, including the Boy Scouts, prison reform, and clean water. Recently, I moved into a new role at PennFuture as Director of Policy. I’m excited to continue advocating for communities around the Commonwealth that want a clean environment and strong ecology for themselves, as well as their children, friends, and family. 

I’ve long desired to work in environmental and conservation policy to save the resources I’ve fallen in love with over the years. Growing up, I spent countless hours on my family’s farm property and became intimately familiar with the forested and mountain landscapes of Penn’s Woods. My worldview has been indelibly shaped by memories of learning to swim in the Juniata with my father, fishing in the Conococheague, and today, I continue to enjoy kayaking the Yellow Breeches and backpacking the Appalachian Trail. It’s these experiences I believe my six-year-old and two-year-old nephews should also have some day. These experiences should be available for all Pennsylvanians.

But, these waterways and land won’t be preserved from degradation without organizations like PennFuture building relationships with and holding accountable state and federal legislators.

It is essential I keep my finger on the pulse of moving issues and that PennFuture regularly weighs in on policy matters in both Harrisburg and Washington. As PennFuture’s chief lobbyist, I’m on the front lines of a battle being waged to defund our parks, farmlands, trails and water, and a battle against our state agencies’ power to enforce strong laws and regulations over polluters.

From early on and through my professional work, I’ve held an inner conviction to defend the powerless and advance justice wherever I can. As an advocate for our clean air, water, and climate, I’m called to speak out. Speaking our truths to those in power helps us imagine and create the world in which we want to live. I want to live in a community where my drinking water is protected, forest land is conserved, animal species are saved, and the ability to breathe without fear of pollution is realized. My work means believing deeply in what we say and fighting for our voices to be heard in every legislative and executive office PennFuture engages. My raison d’être is to increase public participation in government at all levels, to advance government for the common good by increasing stakeholder engagement in all public decisions, and to look out for the people of Pennsylvania during policy debates and budget negotiations. Sometimes these positions aren’t popular and might mean taking a risk, but, to me, that’s what it means to stand up for something.     

We face formidable challenges and opportunities on the road ahead. More troubling is that we live in a rapidly changing political landscape that, at times, threatens our basic laws for the stewardship of our environment. It is important, now more than ever, that PennFuture serve as the watchdog in our statehouse, Congress, and municipalities and that we all do our best to preserve and restore our environmental protections. I’m happy to be a part of this team and driving the policy work, day to day, for our members and all Pennsylvanians.

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