Representative Danilo Burgos wants jobs in number and quality for Philadelphia. Any action that leads to the creation of jobs for the largest metropolis in Pennsylvania will have his support.
When asked about the most urgent need of the City of Brotherly Love, the Democrat had no doubts. “It is the creation of new jobs. But jobs with a future. Like those in the green energy market. It ranges from electricity generation to agriculture. In fact, I proposed through a bill to create a commission. Its mission will be to encourage people of color to be able to work and own farms in Pennsylvania. The idea is that they have greater participation in the opportunities that exist in the agricultural sector.”
Danilo Burgos is a progressive politician. He is the first Dominican elected to serve in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. He is first-generation Hispanic American and was born in New York City. His family moved to Philadelphia in 1990 when he was 10 years old. Representative Burgos has a lengthy public career in the metropolis. We spoke with him about gun violence in the city. We also took advantage of his institutional interaction to learn about the impact of COVID and the driver’s license plan for the undocumented in Pennsylvania.
Danilo Burgos wants jobs
State Representative Danilo Burgos, introduced HB 1301 in late April. It is a legislation to establish Pennsylvania Socially Diverse Farmers Commission. Its central role will be to review current policies and produce a report with recommendations. The idea is to promote and implement a diversity, equity and inclusion plan within the Department of Agriculture.
That is one of the alternative options. Danilo Burgos wants jobs and as a representative, he is looking for the best opportunities. Pennsylvania’s agricultural market represents $132.5 billion annually. “Each and every Pennsylvanian has the ability to touch, feel and taste the state’s abundant fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy and other agricultural products.” However, not every resident has the same opportunity to help grow and produce it. Nor the same chance to participate in the agricultural industry.
The education system
Gun violence is one of Philadelphia’s most urgent problems. Lack of jobs is estimated to be one of the variables that fuels the social problem. “We need to improve our educational system so that our young people can have decent employment. We must offer options and not leave them with the only alternative of aiming for a minimum wage. We have a large part of the population that feels stuck on minimum wage.”
“As you know, we are working to create opportunities for all of our communities. Not just for Hispanics, but for everyone. The state of Pennsylvania is organizing an anti-crime project. One that will improve citizens’ sense of security.”
The existence of so many guns on the streets stems from a social problem, Burgos said. “We have too many socioeconomic problems. Some sectors blame the police, but it is a problem that goes beyond the police. It is a judicial problem, of our educational system.” Danilo Burgos wants quality jobs to make a counterbalance. “In addition, there are institutions that promote students just to keep the numbers of children coming out of the schools. They do not care about developing the capacity of that child. And this is a very serious problem that is affecting our communities.”
The coronavirus issue
According to the Representative, the pandemic has shown that most of the front liners, the essential workers, come from North Philadelphia. “It has likewise been the community most affected by COVID. The numbers of the spread of COVID in our community at the time were quite devastating. At some point we have all suffered a loss very close to home.”
There are many things to overcome. Danilo Burgos certainly wants jobs to create a leading edge to win this battle against poverty. Something has become very clear. “Hispanics with the pandemic are seen as hard-working, hard-fighting people, and we have proven it.”Now politicians must work to get the Hispanic community to trust the vaccine. “That is the solution we have at hand to take care of our families,” Burgos said.
The topic of licenses
“The initiative that will give driver’s licenses to undocumented people in Pennsylvania has exposed a double standard.” This was pointed out by Burgos who is part of those pushing for the granting of driver’s licenses. “Undocumented immigrants are good to work for lower than average wages. However, they cannot be granted a document that allows them to drive without being bothered by the police”.
So Danilo Burgos wants jobs and something more for Pennsylvania. On the driver’s license he presented his proposal last year, but did not find the necessary support. In early February, he took up the initiative again. He is confident that having two Republicans among his co-authors could lead Pennsylvania to join other states that have already taken this step, including New York and New Jersey, which began accepting applications on May 1.
“The Transportation Committee is the first obstacle the bill faces. The House and Senate are controlled by Republicans. They represent the second barrier. The goal is to get the number of votes needed to be able to move the legislation,” he commented.
He also admits that there are Democrats who are conservative. They have not yet spoken out on their legislation in favor of undocumented immigrants, many of whom are front-liners.
The arguments made in other states are the same in the second state of the Union. Opponents argue that if a person is not authorized to be in the country why should he or she be granted a permit to drive.
Late last year a similar bill came to the Senate in Massachusetts, but it was not voted on.
Supporters of the initiative in Pennsylvania have joined together in the Driving PA Forward coalition in an attempt to prevent the measure from being stalled in the legislative process.
Translated by: José Espinoza