I was born at Bryn Mawr hospital to two loving parents. My dad was from Zimbabwe, my mom was from Philadelphia. Being an interracial couple wasn’t easy for my parents all the time. Even during financial hardships, my parents worked hard, cared about others, and carried themselves with integrity.
I went to McCall elementary school in Philadelphia. When I completed fifth grade, my family moved to Collingswood, NJ. I attended Mark Newbie elementary school, Collingswood Jr. high school, and graduated from Collingswood Sr. high school. I applied to four great universities (Lasalle, Drexel, Rutgers, and Temple) and was accepted to all of them. I chose Temple and majored in economics and finance. The reason I chose Temple main campus was because of its diverse student body and its location near center city Philadelphia. My goal was to become an investment banker and live in New York, so Temple was my choice.
To pay for college, I worked at a popular retailer, Clover, whose parent company was Strawbridge & Clothier. I loved that job. It taught me how to deal with all types of people and situations. After graduating from Temple, I started my own concert promotion business. That business failed and since I could never get a bank loan, I used my credit cards to finance the business. After the business failed, I worked three jobs (Modell’s Sporting Goods, Circuit City, and Costco) to pay off my debts because declaring bankruptcy was something I refused to do. While paying off my debts, I wrote a book and three screenplays and moved to Los Angeles. After two years, I moved back to King of Prussia and continued to work in retail. I have worked in retail my entire life and still work in retail to this day. One thing I’ve always believed in is that your job and net worth does not define you - how you live your life does. Were there times in my life that I zigged when I should have zagged? Yes. That said, I have spent my life helping others, hiring people that no-one else would, having faith in others, and believing that everyone can have a positive effect on their surroundings.
Why Am I Running?
I’m running for office because I’ve written to enough congresspeople about issues important to me. I’ve never gotten a response. I’m running for office to make positive change. I’m running to improve the lives of my friends, neighbors, and of all those who live in Pennsylvania. This state should be the state that all other states look up to and admire. This state should be the most innovative, most educated, and most pro-business state in the union. We have the people, the know-how, and the resources to make this happen.
I’m not the one percent. I make less than $70,000 a year. I get many people telling me that I’m crazy to run because I don’t have a high net worth and powerful contacts. What I think is crazy is that that’s what people think you need to have in order to run for office.
Pennsylvania is a great place to live, grow up, and work. Its socioeconomic, cultural, sexual, and ethnic diversity makes this state poised to do even greater things. We must support our teachers and law enforcement personnel. We must continue to support our institutions of higher education and entice the graduates of these great institutions stay in this state and strengthen our society. We must increase our agricultural output. We must recruit manufacturers and corporations to set up their factories and headquarters here. We must be on the forefront of renewable energy and have a 5G network that covers every part of Pennsylvania. We must work together to improve our way of life. We must ensure that ALL people have a fair chance for a better life. We must make a legitimate attempt to make the lives of all Pennsylvanians better. We must work together and put our differences aside. We are all in this together. There is no them, there is only us. I thank you for taking the time to go to my website. I hope you join my campaign and/or vote for me. Even if you don’t, if elected, I will spend every waking hour fighting for you and this state. Let’s get to work!!
Controlling The Virus
WE have made a difference! I work retail. THANK YOU to all the people who came into my work location wearing a mask and practicing social distancing!! Pennsylvania is doing better, but we're not there yet. Let's go out and have fun, but let us all stay mindful of others and respectful to businesses as they navigate through these times. We are now, as we've always been, in this together. Let's continue to work together, stay safe, and make sure this never happens again....and if it does, let's get right to work early and get ahead of the situation! TOGETHER!
Labor and Minimum Wage
I am pro-union because union workers make more money than non-union workers and generally have better working conditions than workers with the same education and work experience. The decimation of unions is one of the biggest causes of the suppression of wages. Working conditions and benefits the American worker has today are due to the labor movement. The 40 hour work week, paid overtime, holiday pay, vacations, healthcare, and sick time are all due to the hard fought struggles of the labor movement decades ago.
I believe all Americans who work hard should be FAIRLY compensated for their work. Should minimum wage be $27 an hour? Of course not. That would close many small businesses as well as cause hyperinflation. A gallon of milk would be $18 so that the low income workers would still be at the bottom. Minimum wage was $3.35 when I had my first job in 1987. The fact that the minimum wage has only increased by a little over four dollars in 30 years is a disgrace because it has not kept up with the cost of living. The need for a second or third job is not unusual in today’s economy. If the federal minimum wage kept up with inflation, it would be $10.75 an hour. If the federal minimum wage was based on American workers’ actual productivity, it would be $18.67 an hour. There are many other reasons why wage growth has stagnated. One is the decrease in full time employment due to efforts to avoid paying health benefits to workers. Another reason is because pay increases go disproportionately to CEOs and others at the top. I no longer make minimum wage because of my education and work experience. That said, if there is no increase of minimum wage or union growth, we as Pennsylvanians must put a greater emphasis on education - that is the key to increasing prosperity!!
The most important thing we can do is to educate our children and ourselves. It’s an old saying, but “knowledge is power”. College isn’t for everyone, but it should be available to everyone if they have the grades to get in. Pennsylvania is ranked 32nd in education for kids. We can change this. We must change this. We must give teachers the resources they need to get their students into college or a trade school. We must not cut music and sports programs, we must expand them. We must support the schools who must kick out bad students who disrupt learning and endanger teachers and other students. Teachers are only one part of students getting into college. This endeavor truly takes a village. A successful child has many assets in his or her support system. Sports and after school programs should be created and supported in all communities that wish to have them. The cost of education isn’t cheap, but we must do all we can to insure that all Pennsylvanians have equal access to the opportunity of acquiring a great education. Our state’s way of life will improve with a fully educated society. We can capitalize on new inventions and new ideas. We can all benefit with more people making more money. We can move forward with more Pennsylvanians working less dead end jobs. We can put less strain on social programs if more people are doing better because of having college degrees or gaining certification from a trade school.
The police are a vital part of our community structure. Are there bad cops? Of course. There are dishonest and poorly skilled workers in all professions. The police departments in Pennsylvania MUST establish policies and procedures that actually weed out unprincipled and unethical police officers and detectives with speed and precision. Some policies and procedures need to be reworked, others must be thrown out and rewritten. Much like dishonest attorneys and doctors are barred from working in their fields, a police officer who is found to have acted illegally, should be fired and never allowed to be a part of any law enforcement agency in America - some should face prison time. Bad officers endanger the thousands of great officers who follow the rules and keep the rest of us safe everyday.
Having worked in retail my entire life, I have called the cops hundreds of times. I have always had a good relationship with the police. The great majority of police officers and detectives are honest, hard working Americans. We cannot allow our anger towards the few bad officers change the way we look at all the great officers out there. I know many police officers who go to work everyday unsure if they will come home. Most areas of this state require a greater police presence, more substations, and more equipment to match the resources some criminals and criminal organizations possess. That said, it’s not just about cops. Areas with high crime rates are also places where people don’t have access to a good education and the ability to get a GOOD job - as a result, they have lost hope. The greater the divide between the haves and the have-nots, the more crime we will see. Trust me, I’ve locked up too many criminals to say that it’s not the criminals’ fault. However, when all opportunities of having a good life are blocked, SOME individuals may turn to crime.
We must continue to fight for equal rights for women, minorities, and those in the LGBTQ community. It’s easy to not get involved, but these people are our friends, family members, co-workers, and neighbors. We must insure that all Pennsylvanians are treated fairly and with respect.
I will never vote for a bill that in any way limits the people’s right to peacefully protest. Protesting and speaking out is in the American DNA. If you don’t like something, organize and peacefully protest. Can’t find anybody to protest with you? Protest by yourself - I started this campaign alone as I rode on a Septa bus. Be heard. The time of sitting on the sidelines and waiting for change is over. If you want change, you go make change. I’ve volunteered most of my adult life. I’ve voted my whole adult life. There are things I see on the news or read in the papers that I don’t like. I’ve never thrown a brick through a window. I’ve always done the most American things I can do: speak out, volunteer, and vote in EVERY election. Now I’m running for office so I can have the ability to improve a greater amount of lives.
We must intensify our effort to insure we leave this state to the next generation in better shape than it is now. We must create tens of thousands of new jobs in clean energy and be the leading producer of clean energy in the Northeast region of America. Clean energy is the future. We can either be the leader in this endeavor or become the customer to other states and nations that create the future.
We have to use the graduates from our best universities to secure our infrastructure and secrets. We must make sure that no foreign country or entity can access our healthcare records, defense contractors’ databases and product development plans, as well as harm our power, food, and transportation industries. Russia, North Korea, and China are masters of disinformation as well as targeting governments’ infrastructure. We have to hire the best to defend ourselves against these threats. This is the new war of the future.
We must make starting a small business easier and fairer. We must protect the small business owners in this state by not crushing them with taxes. We must make it easier and cheaper for small businesses to give their workers healthcare. In many cases, small businesses spur on innovation faster than big businesses. We must make PA the state that cultivates a pro small business environment.
Being a leader in this subject is imperative. How many good workers don’t join a business because that business has poor or no healthcare? Healthcare is expensive - I get it. We need to lower the price of care for individuals by expanding our buying power. PA has over one million small businesses. One million. What if we went to an insurer for top tier healthcare and said one million businesses will give you $100 a week for full coverage of all of their workers? That’s a weekly payment of $100 million dollars. Do you realize the buying power of that insurance plan?? Some will say I’m oversimplifying matters. I don’t hear many ideas on this topic other than raise taxes to pay for healthcare. I think we all need to realize that a healthy workforce is more productive and has better attendance. It is in society’s best interest to have great healthcare. Fixing and finding issues early saves the system and society time and money down the road. Let’s use dental hygiene as an example. Frequent cleanings help insure less cavities and root canals as well as even fending off heart issues because there is a direct correlation with poor dental hygiene and heart disease.
There are many people out there who hate big business. Somehow various politicians and political talking heads have made big business out to be the boogeyman. Big business employs many people and has the ability to make great change. Our state must attract more big businesses in order to put more people to work. The influx of these businesses will help the small restaurant owners, local mechanics, retailers, realtors, landlords, nail salons, and schools. I want Apple, Amazon, Disney, and GM to have their headquarters, parks, warehouses, and plants in PA!!
We must bring more manufacturing to PA! Period. We have the people, infrastructure, and space to build millions of cars and more furniture. We have the farmland and resources to feed millions more Americans and sell food to our Canadian neighbors. We must attract companies to want to invest here. The more businesses we have here, the more jobs we’ll have here. We must make it easy to start a business in this state so more small businesses start opening here and more big business want to come to Pennsylvania. The more businesses we get to come to Pennsylvania, the more tax revenue we will get. This means we can generate more money to use on education, law enforcement, and infrastructure.
I believe in the constitution. I believe all adult citizens who are non felons should be allowed to own guns. I have a gun. Back in 2000, I sold guns in Los Angeles when I worked at Big 5 Sporting Goods. I was in favor of the ten day wait period (“cooling off period”) from back in the day, but I see that’s no longer a thing. I do have a problem with fully automatic weapons, large magazines, and straw purchases. But if any Pennsylvanian is legally allowed to purchase a gun and wants to buy a gun or guns, I have no problem with that. There are many areas in Pennsylvania where citizens either hunt or need guns to protect their homes. That is their right and I will never do anything to have people lose their right to legally own a gun.
With great power comes great responsibility. Punishments for crimes involving guns must be increased. For example, in Pennsylvania, carrying a firearm with the intent to commit a crime is only a misdemeanor with up to five years in prison. This must be increased to a felony with a sentence of ten to fifteen years.
I believe the recreational use of marijuana should be legal. First of all, if marijuana was sold in stores, it could be regulated and taxed like beer and cigarettes. Secondly, we could free up police and the courts to focus on bigger crimes as opposed to being bogged down with cases concerning two joints found at a traffic stop. Laws would have to be created to give fines if someone is driving while “too high” and there will have to be a way to test how high someone is. Companies are currently researching ways on how to detect and measure THC levels in the body. Maybe that’s a test that can be developed in this state.
We must put more resources towards helping humane enforcement officers and increasing community education about pets and animals. More clinics are needed for animal welfare and health. The punishment for cruelty to any animal in Pennsylvania should be upgraded to a felony.
Repairing bridges and train tracks needs to become a higher priority. Our roads and power grids need repairs and greater protection. Having a strong infrastructure creates new jobs, increases public safety, and makes our state more attractive to prospective residents and companies. We have great people, restaurants, bars, hotels, and venues in this state. One day, we must host the Olympics.
Please note, I appreciate any money you can donate to my campaign. However, I prefer your time. I know some of you don't have the time to help or feel you're unable to help, but please contact us!! We can always use people to make calls, knock on doors, help put up lawn signs, and hang door signs!
Paid for by Lew Tapera for U.S. Senate