One of Wheatley’s priorities will be to ensure this legislation, which was passed in the House, will be approved by the Senate and signed by the governor. However, he also said a monitoring agency needs to be in place to ensure developers and contractors are actually doing business with MWDBEs when they claim they are.
“The missing piece is none of us have the power to monitor whether they’re really doing what they’re supposed to be doing,” Wheatley said. “We pass the legislation but there’s no one there to monitor it.”
In light of the recent tragedy in Newton, Conn. the conversation also delved into gun violence. Wheatley said the state is forming a taskforce to look at both gun control legislation and mental health, but his suggestion is to mirror Philadelphia’s public health campaign.
“They did a pilot program, collecting data on victims to find out how these situations occur,” Wheatley said. “Say you notice 80 percent of your victims are coming from the Hill District lower Hill community, maybe we should target our resources at trying to change the dynamic in that neighborhood.”
Wheatley’s other priorities for the new year will be investing in public transportation, infrastructure, and restoring funding cuts from education, health care and social services.
Now in his sixth term, Wheatley represents the 19th Legislative District, which includes the Hill District, North Side, South Side, Allentown, Hazelwood, Downtown, Knoxville, Beltzhoover, Manchester, Arlington, and parts of Oakland.