My name is Dana Hamp Gulick and it’s time we Turn the Tide in Harrisburg. This is why I’m running for the 97th District PA House Seat which includes most of Manheim Township, Lititz, and Warwick Township. Let me tell you a bit about myself, my experience, and what I propose to do as state representative.
Born and raised in Manheim Township, I benefited from a first-class public education and went on to earn two degrees from the University of Pittsburgh. I started a career in marketing at Armstrong. I bought a home, got married, and had a beautiful healthy child. In short, I lived the American Dream.
But I lived a version of the American nightmare too. Years into my marriage and thousands of miles from home and my support networks, my ex-husband’s well-concealed mental illness revealed itself, aggravated by a jobsite injury and prescription opioids.
He stopped working, our bills mounted, and we faced eviction. My daughter and I were driven to seek public assistance. He became dangerous and we left to come back home after three months in a domestic violence shelter and another six in a YWCA. My daughter and I arrived back in Pennsylvania with nothing but our two suitcases. But we made it and I resumed my career, but it has not always been easy.
I know what it’s like to face catastrophe and hardship. I know what can happen. I know what opioids can do. I know what it is like to fall into the safety net. I know what it is like to have to lean on friends and strangers, and one’s community. I hope that no one will have to experience what I have, but suffering and hardship attend our lives. This is why I feel compelled to run for office in the commonwealth.
Our state government is supposed to serve the people: to be of, by, and for the people, to paraphrase Lincoln. I want to help create a state government that works for the people by being more reasonable, more responsible, more reliable and more helpful to all Pennsylvanians. After all, many of us are one layoff, one illness, one injury away from catastrophe.
The political events of the last year and a half have also pushed me to step up. I have watched with disbelief as the Party of Trump has thrown aside all decency, respect for the law, fiscal responsibility; respect for women and workers’ rights; and protection of immigrants and refugees. I have also watched with disbelief and anger as Pennsylvania lawmakers have simply failed to act to end partisan gerrymandering, to reduce gun violence, or protect our state's ailing environment. I have watched as Republican lawmakers try to strip away the safety net programs that my daughter and I relied upon, and millions of Americans rely on everyday, to get them through.
My campaign slogan is “Turn the Tide” because there is so much that needs changing. But I often speak of trying to affect change in three key areas:
First, we need to make sure OUR FAMILIES enjoy greater economic security by being able to earn fair, livable wages. We need to ensure that Pennsylvanians can afford health insurance or that they can access public healthcare options, and that our state provides reliable safety net programs when people need them. This is how government can promote the security of families.
Second, we need to protect and sustain OUR COMMUNITIES by making sure Pennsylvania is working to promote their economic stability. Our state needs to make sure that small businesses have a good chance of making it, that we fund quality public schools, and that we protect our land, air, and waterways.
Third, we have to preserve OUR COMMONWEALTH by restoring our state government to real financial health. While lawmakers tout the amendment to our state constitution that requires a balanced budget, the budget still contains a $2 billion structural deficit. Our state government needs to deal with this shortfall so that it can serve and empower Pennsylvanians rather than weighing them down. We need the state to fairly and adequately fund schools and pensions, and fulfill its obligations to update our infrastructure such as repaving and widening roads where necessary. If we put these pieces into place, we can ensure our families are more secure and our communities are healthier.
Lastly, we need to make sure OUR COMMONWEALTH is indeed our common wealth by demanding an end to partisan gerrymandering and other means of suppressing the vote. We need campaign reform to reduce the influence of money in our elections so that we move away from “one dollar one vote” and back to the foundation of “one person one vote”. And we must demand more and better from our lawmakers by making sure that their activity is transparent to the public and in the public's best interests - not their own.
Can I do all this by myself? Can we do all this in one election? No and no, but we can sure START! As voters we can only elect one legislator at a time. The moment for change is upon us. Send me to Harrisburg and send others like me too. Turn the tide in 2018 so that our families, our communities, and our commonwealth can all move forward.