This time of year is special for me and my family — and the entire Jewish community.
The High Holidays are a time for all of us to gather together with friends and loved ones, reflect on the year that has been, and rededicate ourselves to a peaceful and purposeful future.
This year feels especially impactful, however, as we are now just weeks away from an election that will shape the future of our country.
We are all living in historic times. With control of the U.S. Senate on the line, the eyes of the nation are squarely on Pennsylvania. And for all the commentary and noise about the Pennsylvania Senate race, the choice in this election comes down to three questions.
First, which candidate will fight for you and your family — and help lift up the middle class?
Second, which candidate will keep our nation safe and fight for Israel’s national security?
And finally, which candidate will fight for the values the Jewish community holds dear to ensure people are treated fairly and justly under the law, and with respect?
To me, the answer to all three of these questions is clearly Katie McGinty.
McGinty’s candidacy is based around the important premise that for too long middle class families in this country have gotten the short end of the stick. At a time when wages for too many have stagnated, the middle class needs someone in Washington who will fight for them, and represent their values.
I know that McGinty will fight for the middle class because she understands the middle class. McGinty is the ninth of 10 kids, the daughter of a police officer and a restaurant hostess. Her parents worked tirelessly to support McGinty and her siblings to ensure that they could make ends meet and pursue their dreams.
But for too many families today, that basic bargain that sustained McGinty’s family — if you work hard and play by the rules, you can get ahead — is out of reach. So, McGinty is running for the U.S. Senate to do something about it.
Her top priority in the Senate will be to create more good-paying jobs and expand opportunities for Pennsylvanians. We have watched as good-paying, family-sustaining Pennsylvania jobs have been shipped to other countries, thanks to bad trade deals supported by politicians like Pat Toomey.
McGinty will be a vocal advocate against these bad trade deals, and push to end tax breaks for companies that ship our jobs overseas.
Creating more good-paying jobs begins with having a skilled workforce that is ready to compete for the jobs of tomorrow. That’s why McGinty will work to put a lid on the cost of higher education, so every child has the opportunity to develop his or her skills.
McGinty believes that no one who works a full-time job should be living in poverty. She has proudly stood on the front lines of the Fight for $15 campaign to raise the federal minimum wage, and will champion closing the gender wage gap that hurts our families.
What’s more, McGinty will always protect Medicare and Social Security benefits that Pennsylvania seniors have earned. Toomey has advocated for undermining both of these vital programs.
And while McGinty is fighting to make our country more prosperous at home, she will fight for a strong and smart foreign policy — and always stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel.
McGinty is clear-eyed that in these challenging times, with various threats present all around the globe, strong American leadership is essential. We must work together to defeat and destroy ISIS, combat terrorist threats at home and abroad and work to strengthen our military.
McGinty knows that we have no more important ally than Israel, and we must do everything possible to ensure that Iran never has access to a nuclear weapon.
It is that principle that will guide McGinty’s decision making in the Senate. McGinty believes that the Iran nuclear deal, while imperfect, is the best option to ensure Iran never has access to a nuclear weapon. McGinty is steadfast that we must carefully monitor and verify Iran’s compliance with the agreement, and any violation must be met with swiftly increased sanctions with the cooperation of the international community.
While McGinty is pushing for a resolute foreign policy, Toomey still cannot bring himself to disavow the dangerous candidacy of Donald Trump — even after Republicans including Tom Ridge said Trump would be a “dangerous president” who would put our national security at risk.
Worse yet, the Trump-Toomey team has a plan to take our country backwards with its offensive rhetoric and policies that only serve to divide us.
Judaism teaches us that every person was created in God’s image, and must be treated equally and with respect. That is a core belief that shapes McGinty into the person she is today.
It is why she has been a strong and forceful advocate in favor of LGBT rights, and equality for all.
It is why she will take on discrimination at every turn to ensure that every person — regardless of gender or race or religion — is treated fairly under the law.
It is for those reasons, and many more, that I am proud to support Katie McGinty. I hope you will join me in voting for her on Nov. 8.
The writer is a Democratic member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. He represents the 23rd legislative district.