Note: the following text was drafted by Rebecca Davis to introduce Leanne Krueger-Braneky at a local fundraiser in 2017. We have republished these notes for those unable to attend.
Like many of you in this room, I voted for Leanne when she ran for State Assembly. At the time, I knew she was the Democratic candidate, but I confess that I didn’t know much more. Then came the election of 2016, and also like many of you, I became desperate for allies. And that’s when I realized what a powerhouse of an ally we have in Leanne Krueger-Braneky.
Since winning an against-all-odds special election to the Pennsylvania House in the summer of 2015, Leanne has been an outspoken advocate for women, children, and working families. Instead of playing it safe, Leanne spent her freshman term recruiting others to run and helping raise money for challengers. Within the first six months of Leanne being sworn into office, EMILY’s List nominated her to be one of six in the running for the Gabby Giffords Rising Star Award in 2016.
Her courage matters all the more because of the deeply conservative make up of our state legislature. Friends, it’s not even close. Republicans control both the State Assembly and the Senate, and together with Democrats from conservative districts, they are passing the most pro-gun, anti-choice, anti-environment bills their feverish imaginations can cook up. Actually, that’s the generous interpretation: they pass whatever right-wing garbage their conservative donors pass long from hard-right extremist think tanks.
All of which leaves Leanne utterly unafraid. Far from it, she’s fired up. Within her first few months in office, Leanne was tasked with whipping votes against the most restrictive abortion ban in the nation because the conservative-leaning Democratic leadership did not take a position on it. But Leanne isn’t just organizing the resistance to these horrendous pieces of legislation; she is also introducing bills that help all Pennsylvanians. She introduced legislation—which was passed in a Republican House and Senate, and signed by Governor Tom Wolf—to enable Pennsylvania to receive millions in uncollected revenue from the tobacco settlement.
Just this past week, she helped pass bipartisan legislation to protect unemployment compensation call centers. In her efforts to protect public-sector employees, like teachers and firefighters, she went head to head with GOP assemblyman Daryl Metcalf, the same guy who made news recently for his transcendently homophobic response when another male member of the assembly placed his hand briefly on Metcalf’s arm.
Leanne is a champion for other progressive women running for office — from candidates to Swarthmore borough council to Jennifer O’Mara running for the 165th.
Far too many of the people she’s up against in Harrisburg are assholes and idiots. Leanne is smart, principled, ethical, and powerfully driven to do right by the people she represents. She needs our support as she heads into another election season. The republicans are targeting her because she’s so good at her job, she disrupts their plans and exposes their dirty tricks. They try to silence her by cutting her off when she is questioning her colleagues in the Assembly, but she persists, and she persists because she believes in fighting for what is right for all of us. Friends, she can’t fight those assholes alone; she needs our help. Please give generously. This district is a surprisingly challenging one for Democrats. In 2016, despite outspending her opponent by a nearly 3-to-1 ratio, Leanne won re-election by only 597 votes. So, in order for Leanne to be able to keep fighting for us in Harrisburg, she needs both the resources to run another robust campaign and the moral support of progressives like us.
Leanne has a lot to fill us in on and I am so glad that she is here to share with us her insights on the road for democrats to take back her state and—through better redistricting—congress. And so it is my honor to introduce you to Pennsylvania State Representative Leanne Krueger-Braneky!