Another Philadelphia is coming: “no politics-as-usual”

Cheri Honkala, a long time leader in the fight to end poverty, is running for State Representative in Philadelphia’s 197th District.
PHOTO/HARVEY FINKLE

 

PHILADELPHIA, PA —The City of Philadelphia and the State of Pennsylvania is being afforded a special opportunity on March 21 to step out of politics-as-usual. Fraud has become the common practice of the 197th district’s representatives. Leslie Acosta, the former State Representative, resigned on January 3, having secretly pleaded guilty to money laundering, triggering a special election. Ironically, she earned her seat during a special election when the previous Representative, J.P. Miranda, pleaded guilty to having a “ghost employee” on payroll. This time can be different. Finally, something new is being offered to this struggling district.

Meet Cheri Honkala, the Green Party candidate for State Representative, 197th District. Cheri is a decades long activist who has advocated for the rights of the individuals in her district, throughout the city, and across the nation. Once a homeless, single mother herself, she reminds friends, allies, and neighbors that poverty is shameful—but not for those who suffer hunger and homelessness. The shame, she argues, is on the systems and officials who perpetuate it.

Cheri has shown up on the steps of countless individuals facing eviction to fight with them for their right to a home. Repeatedly, while protesting cuts to public assistance and Medicare, she was forcibly removed from the state house floor, alongside the late David P. Richardson and one of her “sheroes,” Roxanne Jones—both highly regarded elected officials still celebrated in their districts.  Cheri intends to give Philadelphia that kind of champion in Harrisburg again.

Upon winning, she will start by advocating for the comprehensive, single-payer “Healthcare for All PA” legislation currently being introduced to the State Senate, and rallying against SB10—a bill that threatens the sanctuary status of Pennsylvania cities. Pledging that no one will be deported from her district without a fight, her office will serve as a sanctuary, even if the city loses its status.

Cheri is eager to leverage power as a state legislator to stand with those against fracking and pipelines, such as the Keystone XL. And even if some have to sleep in her office, she is committed to ensuring everyone in her district has a home. She will fight for a commonwealth in which every child has access to quality education, LGBTQ rights are respected, people with disabilities are cared for with deference and dignity, and workers are paid a living-wage.

She also means to dismantle private prisons and the war on drugs while supporting the legalization of marijuana. She exclaims that “another Philadelphia is coming” and asserts that addressing the dire needs of the 197th is an ideal way to usher in this other, better Philadelphia for everyone.

Cheri believes, as her campaign says: “We Are the 197th.”

Learn more about Cheri Honkala at cheri197.com/

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