amen brown school choice

Democrat House Legislator Calls on Governor, Colleagues to Support School Choice in State Budget

Harrisburg, Pa., Aug. 1, 2023 – Democrat State Rep. Amen Brown today voiced his support for including school choice legislation in the final state budget deal. 

Brown’s statement of support comes as House Democratic leaders have stood firmly against including Lifeline Scholarships (P.A.S.S.) in the budget, and Gov. Josh Shapiro reneged on his campaign promise to support the program, pledging to use his line-item veto to strike the bipartisan program from the recently passed state budget.

Brown made his comments on the Dom Giordano radio show:

“So, my thoughts are straightforward. We need [education] options. I’m a supporter. I’m on record for voting for options when no one else did. So that vote came from understanding what’s going on in our communities. …

“And I’m not saying eliminate the traditional public school system, but we have to give our parents another option and leave it in their hands to choose where they want their child to go.

“We let our parents choose what doctor they want to send their kids to, what college they want to send them to. But because of their financial situation, they’re forced to live in these communities that are impacted by gun violence, and they’re oversaturated in poor schools. …

“… at the end of the day, we have to make the best decisions for these kids. And I know what I fight for every single day in West Philadelphia. And I’m just hoping that a lot of my colleagues start to do the same. We have to remove the politics out of it because our children are dying. … 

“We’ve got two options when this fiscal code come[s] over. It’s either fiscal code A is gonna be vouchers and all the goodies that Governor Shapiro wanted in, and our caucus wanted in the budget.

“Then fiscal code B is gonna be nothing. It’s gonna be a shoestring budget, and that’s all the Senate is potentially gonna send over, and then no one wins.

“… So, we need to really weigh our options here. What’s more important? Are we really gonna put on hold the whole entire state because of $100 million, or are we gonna say, you know what, okay, let’s take a step back and really weigh the options?” 

Commonwealth Foundation applauds Rep. Brown for vocalizing this courageous stance during the ongoing budget impasse. Senior Vice President Nathan Benefield notes:  

“Rep. Brown understands that kids in his district and across Pennsylvania need educational opportunities now—not empty promises to improve schools over decades.  Brown understands that the state budget deal includes historic increases in public education funding, while also giving a lifeline to students most in need. Our commonwealth would be better off if Democratic leadership in the House accepted Gov. Shapiro’s bipartisan budget deal to save kids trapped in failing schools.”

You can listen to Rep. Brown’s full remarks here.


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