In Erie, Biden backers pitch a ‘worker-centric’ economy

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By Shayma Musa

Judy Pasold owns the Valley Inn, a bar in McKean, Pa., just outside Erie. Like a lot of business owners during the pandemic, she’s been struggling. 

“My business has no money coming in. However, the bills are still coming in. The Trump administration has given massive help to big corporations that have gotten enormous assistance, but it seems that small business has been left out,” she said.

Pasold said she’s had to layoff her employees, and cut utilities, such as her internet service, to lower her overhead,.

“We had to cut back in any way that we can because of those bills that are coming in.” 

So she’s looking to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to get the help she didn’t get from President Donald Trump.

“I’m supporting Biden because he wants to deal with the virus first and get us back to normal,” Pasold said during a local stop on the campaign’s “Broken Promises Tour,” which is designed to draw contrasts between Biden’s and Trump’s respective economic plans. 

The event, held virtually, featured Pennsylvania state Senate Candidate Julie Slomski, state Rep. Bob Merski, D-Erie,  and Erie-Crawford Central Labor Council Vice President Dave Henderson speaking on democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s economic plans and how they will impact Erie county, as well as Northwestern Pennsylvania. 

Biden’s plan, Build Back Better, highlights his policy related to jobs and economic recovery. It includes supporting the $15 minimum wage, increasing funding for schools, a strong pro-union backing, and a proposal to move towards clean-energy. 

Erie County Democratic Party Chair Jim Wertz described Biden’s economic plan as, “worker-centric.”

If elected, Biden will assist struggling small businesses by overturning tax cuts granted to major corporations by the Trump administration in order to build government funding for small businesses, backer said Friday. 

“The Build-Back Better Initiative focuses on us, the middle class, and protecting our workers. We’ve been neglected by the Trump Administration, and by republicans in Harrisburg that don’t care about the middle class. It’s so exciting to have our democratic presidential nominee be one of us, a Pennsylvanian who gets it, he can relate to us like no one else can,” Slomski said. 

Henderson highlighted Biden’s support from unions. 

“Biden’s economic policies reflect that he never forgot where he came from and that the working people of this country are the backbone of this economy. Not Wall street. Main street. That’s the difference in Biden’s plan versus Trump. Biden puts people first. He understands that if you don’t have money to invest in stocks it doesn’t matter that the stock market is sky high. That doesn’t matter when you can’t put food on the table, or provide for your family.” 

Merski spoke on how teachers and educational institutions would be supported by Biden’s plan, 

“I was just on a phone call with the local school district [Erie] this morning and they spent over 1.3 million in hot-spots for children because we don’t have high-speed internet through Erie County. That’s an expense incurred by our local school district, those are things that we should marshall our federal resources for and implement to help our local school districts and our states.” 

Shayma Musa covers Erie and northwestern Pennsylvania for the Capital-Star. Follow her on Twitter @Musa_Shayma