for PA House
68th Legislative District
Carrie will work for YOU!

My Platform

Since being nominated as the Democratic candidate, I've had many opportunities to talk to local leaders and citizens about their hopes and concerns for our district. I thought it might be helpful to share my platform with you. Here are the top three issues I want to work on in Harrisburg:

Who Is Carrie?

Career and Technical Education Center – We need a Career and Technical Education Center (CTC) to serve the 68th district. Having the opportunity to fight for one was the primary reason behind starting our campaign. Our current educational model, a one-size-fits-all approach focused on post-secondary education, cannot alone provide our community with the workers and jobs a sustainable economy needs to thrive. Our current model leaves too many behind.

A CTC would provide a path to graduation for students who struggle with the current focus on post-secondary academic education. This type of educational facility will help prepare students for good-paying jobs, will create a workforce that is able to stay in our community, and will provide opportunities for adult basic education and retraining. It will also help attract new businesses into our area that need a ready source for skilled and technical workers.

Infrastructure – We need to invest in rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure including water and sewer systems, roads and bridges. We should expand cellular service and high-speed internet access. We should also look into the possibilities of creating new types of infrastructure such as solar and wind farms. Investing in infrastructure serves two important purposes. In the short term, it helps our area by putting people to work in skilled jobs with decent wages. In the long term, good infrastructure will make it easier for people to start their own small businesses and will make our area more attractive to businesses that may consider locating here.

Community health and safety – Addiction, depression and domestic abuse are serious issues in the 68th District. We need comprehensive solutions to these problems that are both pragmatic and start from a basis of compassion. Yet access to mental health services is extremely limited in our rural area. We need to look at a number of ways to increase access to and support successful mental health programs. We should look at treatment facilities that have a proven track record of success and pattern new rehabilitation facilities after them. There is also a great need for transitional services that will provide a semi-structured setting for individuals in between residential treatment facilities and self care.

Carrie has been endorsed by the Pennsylvania State Education Association

Carrie Heath is a teacher, wife, step-mom, union member, and Tioga County native running for the 68th District in the PA House of Representatives.

She currently teaches at Wellsboro High School and has held leadership positions in several local associations:
  • Friends of the Green Free Library
  • Wellsboro Art Club
  • Mary Wells Chapter #452 Order of the Eastern Star
  • Tioga County Indivisible

Carrie lives in Wellsboro with her husband, Sergeant First Class David Pettit, who is a combat veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, a woodworker, and a beekeeper.

They have a son who is in his freshman year at Penn State.

They live on two little acres of heaven just outside Wellsboro with Dave's bees and  entirely too many pets!

What Does Carrie Support?

  • For job creation and supporting small businesses
  • For public education, particularly vocational education
  • For increased mental health services 
  • For rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure
  • For IT infrastructure in rural areas
  • For alternative energy sources
  • For supporting family farms
  • For responsible use of natural resources

  • For decreased costs for college education
  • For supporting veterans
  • For redistricting reform
  • For campaign finance reform
  • For term limits for politicians
  • For gender, race, and marriage equality
  • For a woman’s right to make her own medical decisions
  • For common sense gun safety
  • For community development
  • For organized labor
  • For decriminalizing marijuana and studying its medical uses

Question: How do we meet the educational needs of rural students when our tax base is decreasing and funding from the state is being decreased?
Answer: We need to vote for representatives who value education so that state funding increases! There is a fair funding formula that would equalize funding across the wealthier and poorer school districts. We also need to promote our rural areas as places for businesses to locate so that we can increase our tax base locally.

Question: Scott Wagner is on record saying that we could cut 10% of teachers and no one would ever notice. He has also said that retired teachers should return some of their pension money since they are receiving too much money and pensions are too large. If he is elected Governor, will you support or oppose these views?
Answer: I oppose them. We already know in our area what it looks like to lose ten percent of your teachers and it is not pretty. There are approximately 1,000 education employees in the 68th district. Since the drastic education budget cuts in 2003, nearly 100 teachers and aides have been cut from local staffs. At Wellsboro Area School District, that equates to cutting back art and music teachers at the elementary schools, no longer having librarians in most schools, not offering drivers education, and cutting back on vocational programs like computer aided drafting.

We do need to figure out how to pay for the pensions that school districts are already liable for. Here's what happened: The state legislature voted themselves (literally in the middle of the night) a 50% increase in pension benefits and kicked in a 25% increase for teachers so that people wouldn't complain. They then did not make the required payments into the system for over a decade. I compare it to maxxing out your credit card, then making less than the minimum payments for ten years. You end up owing far more than you originally charged. And since Governor Corbett, our state doesn't fund school districts anywhere near as much as other states. So the school districts are saddled with these huge debts that they can't get out of. Here's a good article that goes into more depth - https://whyy.org/articles/state-pension-crisis-how-did-we-get-here/

Public education funding: The current funding system for our schools is terrible for school districts AND for homeowners. Pennsylvania's school districts have the greatest disparity between poor districts and wealthy districts of any state in the country, because the state does not adequately fund education, leaving local municipalities to make up the difference with higher property taxes. PA funds about 37% of the costs for education compared to an average of 45% in all states. Pennsylvania is currently 46th in the nation as far as state funding of public education. 

There has been a push to eliminate school property taxes, but this would actually result in a net increase in taxes for the majority of homeowners because that money would need to come from things like increased sales taxes.

The average increase for a middle class family would be around $350 per year. Families in rural areas that earn less than $66,000 would be the hardest hit. So we should not eliminate school property taxes, but the state must come up with other revenue sources in order to fully fund our public education system as well as create a fair formula to distribute that money to create an even playing field between wealthy and poor districts.
Here are some other funding issues to think about. 

Charter or cyber charter schools: When a student enrolls in a charter or cyber charter school, their home public school district has to foot the bill, which is typically around $14,000/year per student and can be as much as $23,000/year. Per student. Coming out of public school funds. To pay for education that is not subject to the same standards as public school. The teachers don't have to be highly qualified. The students don't have to pass the same tests. And the schools don't have to be transparent about how they use their funds as public schools do.
Vouchers for private schools: Public schools are provided by taxes for the common good. They benefit us all. Vouchers for private schools would drain huge amounts of money out of the school system in order to benefit a few individuals. It would be like taking your township taxes, plus four of your neighbor’s taxes, to pay for your own driveway.

School Athletics:
Question: Much talk has been occurring in the state over the structure of PIAA districts regarding the unfair advantage private schools have over public schools when it comes to athletic participation.  Would you be in favor of going to 4 classes for traditional public schools and 2 classes for private schools?  PIAA has said it cannot change the classifications because it is a legislative issue.  Do you believe it is a legislative issue and if so, would you be in favor of moving to Single A, Double  A, Triple A, Quad A plus 2 additional classes for the private schools to level the playing field.
Carrie’s Answer:  This is not truly a legislative issue. School athletics programs are required by PA’s Public School Code of 1949. In 1972, the Legislature adopted Act 219, which states, “Private schools shall be permitted, if otherwise qualified, to be members of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association.” (emphasis added) The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association is a voluntary membership organization, which should be able to make its own rules and I would hope that those rules were based on input from its members. Between 80-90% of coaches think the playoffs should be separated. If the majority of member schools are in favor of going to 4 classes for traditional public schools and 2 classes for private schools, then they should be allowed to make that change.

Costs of College Education -
Just as for our public school system, Pennsylvania must restore funding to our state system of colleges and universities in order to decrease the incredible financial burden that is placed on young people trying to make a better life for themselves. “Since 1978, college tuition and fees have increased by a whopping 1,120%.... tuition prices have gone up four times faster than the consumer price index,” according to a report by Bloomberg. “Total student loan debt in the U.S. ballooned to $1.2 trillion, eclipsing the amount of credit card debt Americans hold.”

GOP Governor Candidate Scott Wagner is in favor of defunding PA’s public colleges, like Mansfield University! Colleges like these are a stepping stone to a better financial future for many Pennsylvanians, and it is the ONLY university within driving distance for much of the northern tier. Mansfield University is also a big economic driver for our region. Matt Baker was a vocal advocate for the university, and I will be too.

Questions on mental health in schools and the opioid epidemic
1.  How do we get more mental health services for our students in our schools?  
Answer: Ideally, I would like to see a program where each school has an assigned social worker to connect students and their families with available local services. In the shorter term, it may be best to foster agreements with area agencies to offer counseling at the schools, as Wellsboro is currently doing with Concern.  We should find evidence-based programs to be taught at the elementary school level that work to teach young children how to identify their emotions and how to cope with strong emotions.

2. How will you promote and support evidence based prevention measures to mitigate the opioid crisis in the long term?
Answer: It is important to continue studying programs and using data to make decisions about which ones are effective. Programs like Strengthening Families, and the family literacy program that Mansfield University’s Adult Basic Education department used to offer must be funded and offered in easily accessible locations. Or we can look to the Partnership for Community Health’s example of facilitating transportation so that families can take part.