Dwight Evans (D-Incumbent) and Michael Harvey (R) are running for the United States House of Representatives in Pennsylvania’s 3rd congressional district, which falls west of Broad Street and encompasses neighborhoods like Allegheny West and Strawberry Mansion.
If re-elected on Nov. 3, Evans will prioritize addressing inequity in the healthcare system, like addressing food insecurity and defending the Affordable Care Act, he said.
Harvey’s main goal is to lower unemployment in the 3rd District, he said in an interview with The Republican Zone, a podcast hosted by Drew Murray. His campaign did not respond to multiple requests for comment from The Temple News.
In the 3rd District, approximately 81 percent of registered voters are Democrats, seven percent are Republicans and 12 percent are registered with other parties, according to the Pennsylvania Department of State.
Here’s an overview of both candidates, and where they stand on issues like unemployment, the COVID-19 pandemic and education.
Dwight Evans (D-Incumbent)
Born and raised in North Philadelphia, Evans is a 1978 Temple alumnus who worked as a teacher in the School District of Philadelphia until 1980, when he was first elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives at the age of 26, according to the biographical directory of the U.S. Congress.
Serving in the state House for 36 years, Evans advocated on issues like food insecurity and education, and became the first Black chairman of the Pennsylvania House Appropriations Committee in 1990, according to his website.
As a state representative, Evans led Pennsylvania’s Fresh Food Financing Initiative in 2004 in bringing nearly 100 grocery stores to food deserts across the state, including Philadelphia, according to his website.
Pennsylvania is currently expanding this initiative by creating a relief fund to provide grant support to food businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
In 2016, Evans was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in a special election for Pennsylvania’s 2nd District after incumbent Chaka Fattah was indicted on corruption charges, including fraud and bribery, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
After Pennsylvania’s congressional redistricting in 2018, Evans was re-elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018, this time serving the 3rd District.
In the U.S. House, Evans serves as the vice chair of the House Small Business Committee, where he is a member of the Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight and Regulations. He is also a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, where he serves on the Subcommittee on Health and Subcommittee on Worker and Family Support.
Evans led efforts in January to provide federal assistance to struggling urban hospitals in response to the closure of Hahnemann University Hospital in 2019, The Temple News reported.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Evans released his Making Housing Matter plan on Sept. 17, which builds on the HEROES Act the House passed in May by seeking to provide federal aid to renters and homeowners struggling amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to his website.
The plan employs a combination of immediate solutions, like providing $100 billion in rental assistance as part of the HEROES Act, and long-term strategies for making housing more affordable, like establishing a minimum 4 percent credit rate for low income housing tax credit.
Evans believes this plan will ultimately help address poverty in the 3rd District, he said.
“You must address housing, you must address healthcare, you must address jobs,” Evans said. “Those are the ways that you ultimately address poverty.”
One way Evans plans to address poverty is by passing legislation to provide higher education institutions with funding to reduce tuition prices because he believes student debt has become “astronomical” and an “impediment” to the accessibility of education, he said.
“We have an amount of debt that’s not acceptable public policy,” Evans said. “So, we have to have an overhaul in terms of the cost of people being able to go to school.”
Evans also believes issues of systemic inequality and racism must be addressed to combat poverty, and has worked to promote diversity in workplace leadership. In June, Evans co-sponsored and helped pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020, which sought to end policing practices like chokeholds and sovereign immunity.
“It is only through enlightened leadership that there are some models of functioning police and community together, and you need that combination,” Evans said.
Michael Harvey (R)
Michael Harvey, a 1985 Temple alumnus, is a Navy veteran who currently works as a paralegal and serves as the leader of Philadelphia’s 60th Ward and a block captain in West Philadelphia.
If elected, Harvey plans to focus on increasing employment opportunities for residents in the 3rd District, like expanding jobs in industrial and manufacturing industries, he said in an interview with The Republican Zone.
“We’ve got to bring back the businesses that will function as an anchor of gainful employment,” Harvey said during the interview. “We’ve got to diversify the economic footprint.”
Focusing on employment, Harvey criticized Pennsylvania for “unnecessarily” delaying the reopening of the state economy, saying the state was equipped to handle a rise in COVID-19 cases in a May 3 Facebook post.
“Let’s reopen and manage the inevitable results,” Harvey wrote in the post. “At this point, we have enough science and real-time knowledge about this virus.”
Regarding his approach to COVID-19, Harvey proposed plans in a Facebook post on March 25 to divide the nation into four quadrants, each with its own manufacturing hub to produce personal protective equipment like N95 masks and ventilators.
Harvey said the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for multiple education options, including public schools, charter schools, private schools and virtual learning. In terms of higher education, Harvey wants to focus resources on trade and vocational schools, he said in an interview with The Republican Zone.
“We have to develop the talents and the skills of our children, and allow them to flourish,” Harvey said in the interview. “And that’s what I think we’ve gotten away from. We need to get back to that.”
In terms of policing, Harvey is against divesting funds from police departments because he believes it would leave the U.S. Armed Forces as the only policing body, which he said would be unconstitutional in a Facebook post on June 10.