Since the 2018 midterms, it seems like progressives have been a nearly unstoppable force in Congress. Alexandra Hunt is positioning herself to be one of the next victories, this time in Philadelphia’s 3rd district. A former public health researcher, she is hoping to stand out in a time when public health has taken a front seat due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On the issue of fracking, Alexandra’s campaign told me that “the public is rightfully concerned about fracking,” and stressed the growing evidence pointing toward environmental issues related to the oil-extraction process. Hydraulic fracking, or just fracking for short, is the practice of pumping an often toxic fracking fluid into the ground to create small cracks for natural gas withdrawal. Existing in its modern form since the ’50s, the practice of fracking has skyrocketed in use throughout the United States, including Philadelphia. Hunt supports a federal ban on fracking, and is in favor of creating green energy jobs to take its place. It’s worth mentioning that Hunt’s support of the Green New Deal plays into labor dynamics as well. One of the main foci of the plan would be addressing expected job loss in fossil fuel industries. Ensuring a fair transition to a green economy is a top goal of Green New Deal proponents and climate-advocacy groups.
Hunt is also a supporter of Unions. Recently, Democrats in the House and Senate have been pushing the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, which would repeal anti-union “right-to-work” laws along with strengthening union protections. Hunt’s campaign made clear that she would support further efforts to protect workers’ rights to strike along with other measures to bolster US labor rights. One of these proposals is strengthening the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Passed during the ’30s, the NLRA was undoubtedly a turning point for unionization in the States — the act protected workers’ rights to unionize. Notably, much of the NLRA was undermined by the subsequent passing of the Taft–Hartley Act in 1947, which led to many of the aforementioned “right-to-work laws.”
On the issue of coronavirus, Hunt’s work as a clinical data manager has shaped her views on public health, and the US’ handling of the pandemic. Hunt’s campaign criticized one of the earlier COVID relief bills (CARES) for not adequately extending to vulnerable communities. The latest COVID relief bill passed more direct stimulus checks, along with direct aid to local communities and childcare benefits. Hunt supports these measures, along with further packages until the end of the pandemic. Hunt is also an avid supporter of Medicare For All, and in a TikTok credited lack of universal healthcare as a main reason for running for Congress.
Hunt’s campaign for Congress is definitely a long-shot, taking on the establishment-backed incumbent, Dwight Evans (not to be confused with the Red Sox right-fielder). Hunt is relying completely on individual contributions and rejects corporate funding for her campaign, which has only become more difficult since the pandemic due to limited ability to canvas. If Hunt will be able to deliver a victory in 2022, however, it would secure another progressive victory in an overwhelmingly conservative Congress.
Featured image: Alexandra Hunt