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I n the current climate of partisan gridlock, Congress needs bold, progressive leadership to tackle the difficult issues, and Pennsylvania’s 13th Congressional District is the perfect place to start. The race for this seat is a close one, with four Democrats - including two Penn professors - in the primary. Only one candidate, however, has proven his ability to boldly and intelligently fight for the causes we believe in and against the rampant inequality facing Pennsylvanians and all Americans. Because of our confidence that he will faithfully and passionately fight for progressive values, the Penn Democrats endorse Senator Daylin Leach for Pennsylvania’s 13th Congressional District and will work tirelessly to support his election to the U.S. Congress.

Senator Leach has demonstrated an unparalleled commitment to tackling rampant inequality on a state level. As rising income inequality has concentrated societal power in the hands of a privileged few, he has consistently stood up for struggling Americans by supporting a proper living wage to keep working families from going hungry.

He has fought against racist and regressive drug policy since his entry into state politics over a decade ago. Through the failed “War on Drugs,” young people - disproportionately minorities - have been subject to mass incarceration for victimless crimes. Senator Leach has fought to combat that destructive trend, supporting the legalization of marijuana many years before the issue was politically popular.

Senator Leach has also been battling at the front lines of LGBTQA equality since his first election to the State House. He successfully led the fight against an amendment to the state constitution that would have permanently outlawed marriage equality, and he introduced the first marriage equality bill in Pennsylvania. Senator Leach has consistently worked to enact new protections in Pennsylvania against workplace discrimination. He knows - as do we - that workers’ jobs should never be at risk because of whom they love.

Further, Senator Leach has fought harder than any other lawmaker in Pennsylvania state government to ensure women’s full equality under the law. He introduced the first legislation mandating state funding for breast and ovarian cancer screenings, and he has proposed legislation allowing parents of newborns to receive up to 12 weeks of paid leave. He has been a strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act, which prevents insurance companies from price discrimination based on gender, ensuring that being female is no longer considered a pre-existing condition.

Quite simply, Daylin Leach has shown an unparalleled commitment to making people’s lives better. He supports a path to citizenship and expanded rights for undocumented immigrants who are working to provide for themselves and their families. He has advocated for increased investment in infrastructure, the environment and public education because he understands the need to leave behind a sustainable planet and economy for future generations. Time after time, Senator Leach has stood out front, fighting for progress and for the ideal that every child born in this country should have a chance to be successful.

The race for the 13th district is competitive with four strong candidates, and we have heard from each of the candidates over the past year. We know who they are, and we know where they stand on the issues. While all of the candidates have their own positive qualities, Daylin Leach is the candidate who presents the best combination of experience, vision and issue expertise. We know that he will bring an energy to Congress that can help cut through the gridlock and result in tangible change for the people of the 13th Congressional District and people all across America.

Today, the Penn Democrats choose to endorse the candidate who has been ahead of his time on nearly every major issue affecting us today. We choose the candidate who refuses to stand by while racism, sexism and ho mophobia add to the suffering of countless Americans. We choose the candidate most committed to ensuring that everyone in America has equal opportunity for success, no matter their background or demographic. We choose Daylin Leach.

The Penn Democrats Executive Board

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