Kristen Hayes, of Jersey Shore, is seeking the Democratic nomination for the state's 84th Legislative District in the May primary election.
A stay-at-home mother of three children, she became frustrated with what she said was a lack of response and representation from political figures.
"I want to lend my voice to the 84th district in Lycoming County because I don't see those interests being represented by Rep. (Garth) Everett," Hayes said. "When I saw I was not protected by government and not represented by representatives, I wanted to run. All they do is delay, deny, until the issue dies and talk over our heads."
If she gets the nomination and is elected, she wants to make sure her constituents' voices "do matter." Otherwise, citizens become disillusioned.
"People think, why bother? Why care?" Hayes said.
Hayes wants to galvanize people to come together no matter what their party affiliation for this empowerment. She said she's done this with the nonprofit Protecting the Sanctity of All Life Movement she started nine years ago, by bringing people from different walks of life together.
"With the knowledge I've acquired over nine years, I can help them and they can help someone else, and show they're not powerless. They can have a voice and they can use it," Hayes said.
Polarization too often means less representation, she said, and she wants to get back to "working together for the common good for all people, regardless of what letter is behind their names."
On the issues, Hayes favors a natural gas drilling severance or extraction tax, and said the law could be written so as to distribute the funds to where it comes from, not just big cities. The biggest issue she has with the state's oil and gas law, Act 13, is it initially stripped municipalities of their zoning rights.
"I believe government should be like a tube of toothpaste: squeezed from the bottom up," Hayes said.
She would have voted against the transportation bill passed last fall, as some gas taxes were increased and will have a negative "ripple effect" throughout the state. She cited the American Petroleum Institute, saying Pennsylvania has held its place in the top third highest gas tax bracket in the country.
"Where did that (gas tax) money go?" Hayes asked.
On taxes, she does not support raising taxes on anyone, but rather eliminating loopholes and tax breaks to "level the playing field."
She advocates more funding for education partially by not subsidizing "multi-national, multi-billion-dollar corporations, and stop giving them tax write-offs."
"We need to invest in our children instead of these corporations," Hayes said.
Hayes supports what she calls "family-sustaining wages" by raising the minimum wage to give families more time together and empowering people to help themselves.
"By raising the minimum wage, it will allow people to help themselves out of poverty instead of government lifting them up," she said. " ... I'm big on infrastructure so we can raise each other up, not the government."
Hayes favors legalizing medical marijuana, not just marijuana-derived drugs, saying they're not proven effective to treat intractable epilepsy, which her father has.
"If medicinal marijuana can save or greatly improve these kids lives and people like my dad, who wouldn't support that?" Hayes asked.