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Anton has over two decades of experience successfully fighting for poor and working families as a lawyer, executive, educator and community activist. He has also been an environmental champion and member of the Board of Trustees of the Nature Conservancy, and a skilled executive and chair of the board of directors of Open Connections, an educational resource center.
Anton was born in Washington D.C. at Freedmen’s Hospital at Howard University—where his parents had met and fallen in love. Anton’s parents are from the West Indies, where they returned so that his mother could manage her father’s furniture store and his father could run a restaurant and and teach as a biology professor. But, the vision they had for obtaining the American dream eventually brought the entire family back to America.
Anton followed his parents’ hard work ethic, and had the opportunity to go to college thanks to federal Pell Grants, scholarships, subsidized student loans, and part-time jobs. He graduated with a political science degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and then from the Hofstra University School of Law.
Anton began his legal career as a specially appointed public defender in Miami, defending the constitutional rights of people who do not have enough money to hire a lawyer of their own. He continued to do the same as a volunteer public defender when he moved to Chester County, PA.
Anton then became a senior/cabinet level advisor to two presidents at Cheyney University, the nation’s oldest Historically Black College or University (HBCU). In addition to being in charge of implementing and enforcing the rules around workplace harassment and discrimination, he worked on special projects including establishing a campus center enabling women and minority-owned small business owners to acquire the proficiency, expertise and experience necessary to compete for government contracts.
During Anton’s 15 years in the district, he have helped grow two small, non-profits—Open Connections and the Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County—and helped the Nature Conservancy constructively engage with diverse communities around urban conservation, health and revitalization.
Read more on Anton's website.
For years, Pennsylvania has faced continued budget battles that have as their origin, the structural deficit in the state’s budget. Constitutionally, Pennsylvania must have a balanced budget, a fact Republicans in the legislature have used to avoid making tough decisions and doing what is right.
Anton will fight for taxpayers and for a brighter future for our Commonwealth by being a tireless advocate for sensible, strategic investments that create jobs and grow the economy while increasing economic output so that Pennsylvania can balance the budget and address the deficit in a way that is truly fiscally responsible.
Anton will champion for school funding and support investing in public education at the state level to guarantee high-quality public education that serves all Pennsylvania students. He believes Pennsylvania needs to build a skilled workforce that attracts employers and fosters economic growth while stopping skyrocketing property taxes in the community.
In addition, he supports funding pre-K to get all children started on the right foot. Just as adequately funding public education for K-12 education creates a foundation for strong economic growth, enhancing our model to include universal prekindergarten is an investment that will give Pennsylvania’s economy an edge in the years to come.
Anton will be an advocate and champion for children, schools, taxpayers and work to make sure the state pays its fair share in creating a public education system of which we can all be proud.
Anton supports continuing the progress made by the Wolf Administration to increase and further expedite our investment in repairing and upgrading Pennsylvania’s aging and crumbling infrastructure as a budgetary priority. These investments in infrastructure now will save taxpayers money in the long-term, create jobs, support businesses big and small, and improve the safety and quality of life for all. Infrastructure investment is therefore foundational to building a strong economy for Pennsylvania in both the long and short term.
Regardless of age, gender, race, or political affiliation, we all depend on clean air, land and water. Protecting the environment is a priority shared by all, and Anton will make sure it is a priority in Harrisburg.
Anton has spent 15 years working diligently to ensure both people and nature thrive, in our communities, by developing The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County into a nationally accredited land conservancy, and working with The Nature Conservancy to achieve urban conservation, health and revitalization.
Anton supports strong regulation on the gas drilling industry and increasing funding for the PA Department of Environmental Protection so that it has the resources necessary to provide meaningful oversight and control, not just on the gas industry, but on all activity that potentially compromises the health and safety of our environment.
In addition, he supports a meaningful severance tax on the value of natural gas extracted from the Marcellus Shale. We must stop giving handouts to big corporations, like gas drilling companies and take the burden off of Pennsylvania taxpayers. The revenue generated by a meaningful severance tax is necessary to pay for the increased costs associated with regulating the drilling industry, as well as invested in statewide priorities, like funding schools.
He also supports investing in the development and deployment of clean and renewable energy. Wind and solar have the potential not only to greatly reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, which will cut carbon emissions and other sources of pollution and global warming, it will make Pennsylvania safer and healthier, while growing the economy and creating jobs.
Gov. Wolf has taken action to ensure access to important medical treatments for overdoses. However, counties and local municipalities are often left out to dry when it comes to dealing with the causes of the crisis. Community health officials, emergency services, and government officials are in triage-mode. They can’t get ahead of the increasing pace of problems they face while buried by the daily realities of the 13+ overdoses a day, and rampant drug abuse in their communities. It’s time for Pennsylvania lawmakers step up and provide support for the hardest-hit communities, and increase prevention initiatives in those areas where the crisis is brewing.
Furthermore, at a state level we need to adopt best practice protocols and programs that benefit from the lessons of past drug-crisis failures. We cannot return to simply arresting every drug user – a shortsighted, ineffective, and deeply destructive practice. Communities often never recover from massive enforcement crackdowns, and Pennsylvania’s taxpayers simply cannot afford to incarcerate tens of thousands of drug users, only to see them on welfare and unemployment when they are eventually released.
Instead, Pennsylvania has an opportunity to lead the way on implementing incentives for local care that follows nationally recognized best practices. By taking a balanced public-health centered approach, we can refocus our spending on proven practices that limit long term damage to communities, get victims and addicts back on their feet and back into the productive economy.
America has come a long way in the last decade in our treatment of people of every sexual orientation and gender identity. However, much work remains to be done in Pennsylvania. People in Pennsylvania can still be fired, lose an apartment, be denied a mortgage, or be denied access to hospitals, hotels, and other services just because of their gender identity or sexual orientation. Not only is that unjust, it has very real economic and social consequences. Across this country, people from the LGBTQ community are more likely to be homeless, impoverished, unemployed, and unable to access basic services. This isn’t a coincidence – when society denies a group access to the things that everyone else relies on to survive and thrive, of course that group is more vulnerable to falling out of the economic systems that keep us all afloat. Passing laws, like the PA Fairness Act, would be a good first step to solving that inequality – and keeping people from depending on state and local services like Medicaid and housing support.
Communities of Color
Pennsylvania is a diverse Commonwealth, but not every community faces the same treatment from their government and has equal access to the services we all depend on. Although the relationships between race and poverty are complex, and much of the work of bringing our state and country together has to be done at the individual level, human being to human being, there is much that Pennsylvania can do to ensure that race is not a factor in the level, quality, or type of services and economic opportunities that our people have access to.
At the State level, the legislature can help by ensuring every community has a voice at the table – not by locking out poorly represented communities or caving to the demands of donors at every opportunity, at the expense of some of our most vulnerable populations. Ensuring that desperately needed funds and services flow not just to those areas that have the most political influence but to those in the most need is a key role for government in protecting marginalized communities. Addressing our nation’s complex relationship with race, poverty, and discrimination cannot be done by government alone, but we can start by doing our part to lead in an unfinished healing process.
Women In Pennsylvania
We must begin to address many of the economic, health, and justice issues that disproportionately affect women nation-wide, right here in Pennsylvania. Whether its the gender pay gap, or access to affordable healthcare for women, Pennsylvania should be leading the nation in lifting the burden on women. As a matter of both justice and basic economics, Pennsylvania should immediately take steps to address these issues. According to one 2016 estimate, Pennsylvania’s women lose almost $19 billion dollars every year to the gender pay gap. That’s income that every working family, single mother, every Pennsylvanian misses out on. Now is the time to put that back into Pennsylvanian’s pockets.
Women in Pennsylvania deserve access to quality healthcare that isn’t dictated or directed by politicians in Harrisburg. Decisions about a women’s health should be made by a patient and her doctor, not by legislators trying to push their agenda into healthcare. It’s time to repeal the burdensome and unnecessary regulations on women’s health clinics that require abortion providers to comply with “Ambulatory Surgical Facility” regulations. Both the American Medical Association and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have come out against the regulations and worked diligently to roll them back. We need to follow the advice of our doctors and medical professionals and roll back those regulations, as well as prevent further interference in the provision of medical care.
Anton believes Pennsylvania must pass common sense regulations in areas where there is clear agreement as to a sensible path forward.
One example is having a pre-purchase background check before every gun purchase. Currently, in Pennsylvania, a resident of any age can purchase a rifle, including a semi-automatic rifle, through a private purchase with no background check. Anton is in favor of closing this loophole.
Another necessary change is to demand a ban on civilian purchase or possession of rapid-firing, semi-automatic assault weapons that were used in Parkland and too many other mass shootings.
After the expiration of the federal ban on assault weapons in 2004 and the failure to renew it by Congress, it now falls upon the states to pass sensible laws to prohibit these deadly weapons. Anton is committed to finding common sense solutions and pass legislation to provide sensible regulations.
At the state level, the state constitution specifies that “Unless absolutely necessary no county, city, incorporated town, borough, township or ward shall be divided in forming either a senatorial or representative district.” Yet, in the 160th District, Upper Chichester township is split and the 160th itself is split between 2 counties.
Anton supports the efforts of Fair Districts PA to create an independent citizens’ redistricting commission to handle the redistricting process. Quite simply, legislators cannot be trusted to create the districts. Unfortunately, Republicans in the PA State House gutted HB722, replacing the independent commission with one made up of legislators.
He will fight for and support amending the Pennsylvania State Constitution to have an independent citizens’ commission in control of the redistricting process.
To flip PA’s state legislative chambers, Democrats need to win 4 Senate seats and 9 House seats. Momentum is on our side: in 2018, Democrats broke a Republican supermajority in the Senate and flipped a dozen State House seats. We can build on this energy to flip at least one chamber in 2020.
Flipping a chamber would give Democrats a critical seat at the redistricting table, particularly for Congressional redistricting. Republican state legislators have brutally gerrymandered PA’s Congressional districts. And the political commission in PA that draws state legislative maps has also permitted terribly gerrymandered maps. As an example, in 2018, PA’s Democratic State House candidates received 54% of the vote, but only won 45% of the seats. We can prevent this from happening again by flipping a chamber and ensuring that Democrats have a voice in the next round of redistricting.
Flipping a chamber blue is especially important because the PA Governor does not have veto power over state legislative maps. So while Democratic Governor Wolf will be in office during the next round of redistricting, we’ll still need Democratic control of a chamber to have a say in the outcome.
These are ‘last chance’ races: whoever is elected to the PA state legislature in 2020 will draw the next round of district lines.
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