This is a Moms Clean Air Force exclusive interview with Pennsylvania’s Representative Brendan F. Boyle:
What is unique about protecting the 13th District’s resources?
The 13th district is unique in that it is evenly divided between the City of Philadelphia and Montgomery County, with a mixture of densely populated neighborhoods and newer spread out communities in the more suburban Montgomery County. These various areas within the district present distinct challenges, but one common theme is ensuring that green space and ecologically sensitive areas such as the waterways of Frankford Creek and the greenspace in Pennypack Park are protected against pollution and encroachment associated with increased commercial and residential development.
A related challenge is the continual effort to promote investment in our local and state parks. The 13th district contains Benjamin Rush State Park, the only state park within the City of Philadelphia, as well as parkland within the Fairmount Park system, one of the largest municipal parks in the country. Working with our partners at the state and local level to protect and grow investment in these natural resources is a continual effort that is a top priority for our district and our region.
As a parent are you worried about the effects of climate change on your children and the children of South East Pennsylvania?
I have serious concerns regarding both the ecological and economic consequences of climate change, as well as the lack of urgency in addressing the effects of our changing climate that are already evident, including unprecedented weather events such as Hurricane Sandy. We are seeing the consequences of inaction unfolding before our eyes. I believe we have a responsibility to protect and preserve our environment for future generations.
Climate change is often characterized as a global problem that will predominantly affect the developing world, but this characterization ignores the fact that many low lying coastal areas of the United States will face more frequent flooding, including many major cities. Moreover, many areas will be affected by more extreme temperatures and weather events, as well as increasing water scarcity and other consequences. These are developments that will have damaging effects on our economy and require immediate and broad based preventative efforts at the federal level.
Why is a bipartisan effort so important and how can these efforts be achieved in our politically polarizing culture?
As a former Democratic state lawmaker in a legislature that had a Republican majority, I have several years of experience working within a divided government. The key to bipartisanship in Congress or any other legislature is the realization that the most important issues we face have facets that transcend party rhetoric. Ultimately, all lawmakers share common goals for their constituents and our country: job creation, a clean and safe community and environment, economic security and a quality education for every American.
In 2013 in Pennsylvania, we passed the first comprehensive transportation funding bill for the first time in a generation because we were able to confront the reality that if we failed to act, the rapid deterioration of our state’s roads and bridges would place the future economic viability of Pennsylvania in jeopardy. Ultimately, we worked together to find common ground and passed a bill that will infuse billions of dollars into our infrastructure over the next decade. This is but one example where a divided government can come together to pass substantive legislation that will have a lasting impact on our region, and it provides a blueprint for success that can be replicated elsewhere.
Is there anything you’d like to share that is important for Moms Clean Air Force members to know?
I believe that providing a clean and safe environment is one of our government’s fundamental responsibilities. As a member of Congress, I am committed to advocating for legislation that will fulfill this obligation, including promoting greater adoption of renewable energy sources and more fuel efficient transportation infrastructure, while supporting entities such as the Environmental Protection Agency in their authority to regulate air and water quality in the public interest. I will vigorously oppose efforts to turn back the clock on environmental regulations, and I will fight to ensure that we place the safety and security of our natural environment above corporate profit and other special interests.
I commend Moms Clean Air Force for all that you do, and I am strongly committed to standing with you in order to achieve these goals now and in the future. Please keep in close touch with me and my staff as we work to magnify your voice in Washington.
U.S. Representative Brendan F. Boyle is currently serving his first term representing Pennsylvania’s 13th Congressional District. The 13th District includes parts of both Northeast Philadelphia and communities across the eastern half of Montgomery County. Congressman Boyle currently serves on two committees in Congress: the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Oversight Committee, which is the main investigative committee in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The first in his family to attend to college, Boyle is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, as well as the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Congressman Boyle is married to Jennifer who is a public school teacher, and they have one daughter Abigail.