A Blueprint for a Better Lehigh Valley

Authors: 
Stephen Herzenberg
Publication Date: 
October 1, 2000

The Lehigh Valley is one of the swing areas that will decide the outcome of this November’s elections in Pennsylvania.1 Analysis of past elections indicates that the formula for electoral success in the Lehigh Valley
will be advocating public policies that would improve quality of life for the “Forgotten Majority” of middleincome voters. Two main concerns in the lives of middle-income voters are:

• “the new insecurity,” which stems from a cluster of problems experienced by working families since 1980 – falling or stagnant wages, eroding benefits, declining job security and advancement opportunities; and

• the stress faced by economically strapped dual-earner and single-parent households in which adults juggle work and family responsibilities.

At their root, both of these problems stem from the fact that public policy lags behind the major changes in the economy and social structure since the 1930s – and hence behind popular needs. By bringing policy into alignment with the needs of hard-working Pennsylvanians and the needs of the new economy, we can achieve a future that is more just and more prosperous.

This blueprint contains 10 concrete ideas that would help relieve the insecurity and stress that burden the lives of too many hard-working members of the Lehigh Valley. Candidates can win in the Valley by endorsing these ideas and mobilizing support among working families.