PA. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 82nd LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT
Name: Adam Harris
Occupation/work history: State representative, 2003-present
Family: Married, Jenise – daughter Adelyn Grace
Have you ever run for or held an elected position?
Yes. I have been the representative in the General Assembly from the 82nd District since 2003. Previously this district included all of Juniata County and parts of Mifflin and Snyder counties. After the most recent redistricting changes the district is now all of Juniata and parts of Mifflin and Franklin counties.
If elected/re-elected, what can be done to get the economy moving again and help unemployed Pennsylvanians get back to work?
We recently made Pennsylvania much more attractive to companies looking to grow or relocate here by eliminating our Capital Stock and Franchise Tax (CSFT). Most of our neighboring states only assessed a Corporate Net Income tax (CNI) and Pennsylvania for decades assessed both of these taxes. Now that we only have one business tax, companies are more interested in looking at expanding in Pa. We are close to many urban centers on the east coast and as our transportation infrastructure improves (thanks to Act 89 of 2013) we should be able to continue to attract new employers to the Keystone State. We must also keep up our investment in workforce development programs and ensure that young people have access to technical education programs that will allow them to meet the needs of our growing economy.
Do you support natural gas extraction in Pennsylvania? Why or why not?
I do as long as the gas companies strictly follow all state and federal environmental rules and they pay the land owners the royalties they are owed in a fair and timely fashion. If they deviate from either of these they should be assessed fines and penalties in an amount that will deter future violations and repeat offenders should not be granted permission to continue doing business in the state.
Do you support labeling genetically-modified foods? Why or why not?
At this time I do not. Quite honestly I have not heard much from my constituents about this being a concern to them. I’m not sure that a state or federal mandate to label foods is needed at this time.
Is the state’s share of funding for public education adequate, or should more money be given to local schools even if that means higher taxes?
Under the current funding formula most schools in rural Pennsylvania make out pretty well. We have a “hold harmless” clause that ensures that districts get at least the same amount of money as the previous year even if the student population declines. I don’t believe higher taxes are needed at this time to increase our investment in education but I do think it should be one of our top priorities every budget year when determining how we will appropriate the approximately $30 billion in revenue that the state brings in each year (currently education receives about $10 billion per year).
How can we improve our education system in general and how can we make higher education more affordable?
One way we could greatly improve our K-12 educational system would be to reduce the focus on standardized testing and develop a system that tracks how kids are doing 5 or 10 years after graduation. I’m more concerned with whether someone can attain a job and excel in the workforce than how he or she did on a standardized test in their teens. Developing top-notch technical education programs will allow many of our students to enter directly into the workforce without incurring tremendous amounts of debt.