Northeast Times

Arkoosh highlights importance of a woman’s voice

A wo­man’s way: Dr. Val Arkoosh is run­ning for the seat be­ing va­cated by Allyson Schwartz.

Dr. Val Arkoosh, a Demo­crat­ic can­did­ate in the 13th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict, un­veiled an on­line video high­light­ing what she sees as the im­port­ance of main­tain­ing a wo­man’s voice in the Pennsylvania con­gres­sion­al del­eg­a­tion.

Arkoosh is run­ning for the seat be­ing va­cated by fel­low Demo­crat Allyson Schwartz, who is run­ning for gov­ernor. The oth­er can­did­ates are state Sen. Daylin Leach, state Rep. Brendan Boyle and former con­gress­wo­man Mar­jor­ie Mar­gol­ies.

In the 20-mem­ber Pennsylvania con­gres­sion­al del­eg­a­tion - two mem­bers of the Sen­ate and 18 mem­bers of the House of Rep­res­ent­at­ives - Schwartz is the only wo­man.

As a phys­i­cian, Arkoosh has spe­cial­ized in wo­men’s health and provided care to thou­sands of wo­men in the Phil­adelphia area for al­most three dec­ades. Arkoosh also has worked with groups and or­gan­iz­a­tions com­mit­ted to em­power­ing wo­men to be­come to­mor­row’s lead­ers. 

She serves on the board of the Mont­gomery County Wo­men’s Lead­er­ship Ini­ti­at­ive, a group aimed at in­creas­ing wo­men’s pres­ence in Mont­gomery County polit­ics.

Earli­er this year, Arkoosh re­ceived an en­dorse­ment from the Wo­men’s Cam­paign Fund, a prom­in­ent na­tion­al or­gan­iz­a­tion ded­ic­ated to sup­port­ing wo­men run­ning for of­fice.

“We need Valer­ie Arkoosh with her ex­per­i­ence, her lead­er­ship skills, her cour­age, her con­vic­tions, sit­ting at the table in Wash­ing­ton mak­ing sure that Con­gress fo­cuses on Amer­ic­an fam­il­ies,” said Mary Helf, a sup­port­er and par­ti­cipant in the video. “She is a moth­er; she is a doc­tor; she has worked with thou­sands and thou­sands of wo­men.”

“Wo­men need to have a voice, be­cause they need a voice for chil­dren, they need a voice for fam­il­ies. And they need a di­verse voice that we don’t have right now be­cause we don’t have many wo­men in polit­ics,” said Michele Wein­er Lock­man, a long­time sup­port­er fea­tured in the video. 

Arkoosh, a first-time can­did­ate, leads her op­pon­ents with more than $588,000 cash on hand, ac­cord­ing to cam­paign fin­ance data re­leased last month.

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Mar­gol­ies, the oth­er wo­man in the Demo­crats’ 13th dis­trict primary race, was en­dorsed by Mont­gomery County Com­mis­sion­er Leslie Richards.

Richards com­men­ted, “Mar­jor­ie’s ex­per­i­ence, both on the Hill and around the globe work­ing to em­power wo­men in emer­ging demo­cra­cies as head of Wo­men’s Cam­paign In­ter­na­tion­al, is that of a fight­er who un­der­stands the im­port­ance of get­ting more wo­men to the de­cision-mak­ing table. I want that kind of lead­er for Mont­gomery County in the U.S. Con­gress.”

The dis­trict is al­most evenly split between Phil­adelphia and Mont­gomery counties.

••

Tom Wolf, a Demo­crat­ic can­did­ate for gov­ernor, plans to heav­ily in­vest in pub­lic edu­ca­tion if elec­ted.

At the same time, he’ll take a close look at op­er­a­tions at charter and cy­ber charter schools.

As gov­ernor, he’d lever­age the ef­fect­ive, in­nov­at­ive teach­ing tools be­ing de­veloped in high-per­form­ing charter schools while re­form­ing policies and strength­en­ing over­sight of the charter school sec­tor. He’d cre­ate a state-level Of­fice of Charter and Cy­ber Charter Schools to im­prove fin­an­cial and aca­dem­ic over­sight and in­vest­ig­ate fraud and waste.

Also, he’d re­quire charter schools to sub­mit monthly en­roll­ment stat­ist­ics.

••

Dur­ing a roundtable with col­lege stu­dents at the Uni­versity of Pitt­s­burgh, Demo­crat­ic gubernat­ori­al can­did­ate Allyson Schwartz an­nounced a plan that would give Pennsylvania com­munity col­lege gradu­ates full tu­ition to com­plete a four-year bach­el­or’s de­gree in the state sys­tem of high­er edu­ca­tion.

The plan would also of­fer a sim­il­ar level of tu­ition as­sist­ance awards for com­munity col­lege gradu­ates to at­tend any Pennsylvania col­lege.

Schwartz also pro­posed a two-year tu­ition freeze at state uni­versit­ies, restor­ing state sup­port for high­er edu­ca­tion and strength­en­ing fin­an­cial aid sup­port to make col­lege more af­ford­able.

To re­duce the col­lege debt fa­cing many stu­dents from middle-class fam­il­ies, Schwartz pro­posed to raise the in­come-eli­gib­il­ity ceil­ing of Pennsylvania’s state grant pro­gram to ex­pand ac­cess to col­lege grants to more stu­dents.

••

State Treas­urer Rob Mc­Cord, who is seek­ing the Demo­crat­ic nod for gov­ernor, re­cently was en­dorsed by nine cur­rent and former county com­mis­sion­ers and five cur­rent and former county Demo­crat­ic Party chair­per­sons.

Com­mis­sion­ers an­noun­cing their en­dorse­ment of Mc­Cord gov­ernor were Tony Ama­dio (Beaver County), Kathi Cozzo­ne (Chester County), Pa­tri­cia Evanko (In­di­ana County), Craig Leh­man (Lan­caster County), Larry Maggi (Wash­ing­ton County), Har­land Shober (Wash­ing­ton County), Joe Span­ik (Beaver County) and Vince Za­po­tosky (Fay­ette County). Former Beaver County Com­mis­sion­er Dan Dona­tella is also on board.

County Demo­crat­ic Party chairs adding their names to the pre­vi­ously re­leased list of more than 20 county party chairs en­dors­ing Mc­Cord were Ger­maine Do­nahue (Sul­li­van County), Sheri Mor­gan (Frank­lin County), Mi­chael Sisk (Beaver County) and Hugh Re­iley (Schuylkill County). Former Schuylkill County Com­mis­sion­er Ed­ward M. Kleha is also in Mc­Cord’s camp. ••

You can reach and at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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