We are in unprecedented times having witnessed a sitting United States President attempt to undermine a democratic election. The specter of a future threat to the integrity of our democracy still looms. We have also seen legislatures in other states enact policies with the sole goal of disenfranchising voters for political gain. Our response in Maryland should be to serve as a model for the country and take the high road and conduct our elections with the greatest of integrity and free from conflicts of interest. A look at our electoral map in Maryland reveals we are unfortunately falling far short of this standard. As your Delegate, I will advocate for the creation of an independent commission to draw elections lines and to remove this authority from politicians. The people should choose their representatives and not the other way around. I will stand up to any efforts from either party to oppose this. The true test of integrity is whether our politicians can yield their power and stand against their own narrow interests to do the right thing. If elected your Delegate you can count on me to do so.
Sustainable economic growth should be our greatest priority because it is the priority which enables all others. Private sector economic growth is what creates jobs and improves lives. In addition, without sustainable economic growth we will not be able to afford the investments in education and environmental protection which are essential to protect our future. As your Delegate, I will work to make Maryland the greatest place for businesses to start and grow and for good jobs in the country. This will involve listening and learning from business owners and employees and implementing ideas where appropriate. Government’s role in promoting economic growth should be limited but it is essential in areas such as workforce development and ensuring a simplified and reliable operating environment.
Taxes are essential to support the government services we rely on to protect us and to support the less fortunate among us. Unfortunately, we often lose sight of all government does to ensure society as we know it whether it is monitoring our drinking water or ensuring the enforceability of a valid contract. However, we must also not lose sight of the fact that every tax dollar comes out of our pockets. Therefore, as your Delegate, I would be a fiscal hawk and fight to repeal unnecessary taxes and not approve new spending unless it meets a high hurdle of necessity. For instance, I would introduce legislation to remove the burdensome and arbitrary inheritance tax that disproportionately affects non-traditional families and is one of a handful of taxes that drives our seniors to other states in their golden years. I will also support efforts to curb the impact of the elimination of the State and Local Tax deduction at the federal level and tax relief for business owners seeking to share equity in their business with employees or investing for growth.
I strongly believe that the current state of our schools in a pressing national security threat and we should invest and approach education with this in mind. The launch of the Sputnik satellite by the former Soviet Union once woke America up to the need for urgent focused attention on education. But it the absence of a similar Sputnik moment America continues it slide behind other developed nations in educating our children. We must pay teachers higher salaries and enable a supporting and dynamic framework within which all kids can learn. This should be the case regardless of what zip code a child happens to live in. We need all hands on deck for the future. We also should provide access for Maryland kids to attend college in the state if they maintain a certain grade average, major in science, technology, education or math and commit to working in Maryland after graduation. Further, we should encourage apprenticeship programs to fill the jobs of the future and lure growing companies to Maryland.
Protect the Environment
The damage human beings are inflicting on the environment is an existential threat to the survival of our species. We must muster all our resources to fight this threat to our future and invest in measures to safeguard our rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay. In Maryland’s District 33 we have a river flowing through our communities which is hazardous to human health after a rain storm. It should be obvious and non-partisan that this is unacceptable. To combat climate change we must invest in environmental protection measures, hold polluters accountable, and we must support innovation in technologies that enable the clean energies of the future and also provide a great avenue for economic growth. It should be our goal to move to a net zero carbon economy carefully but deliberately and expeditiously. As Churchill said, “we must utterly refuse to remain neutral between the fire and the fire brigade.” This effort will require collective attention, action, and sacrifice on our parts. In sum, we must fight this battle on multiple fronts and wake up to the reality the stakes literally could not be any higher.
As your Delegate, I would be an advocate for retirees, the elderly, and those with disabilities. We must plan for the aging of our population and ensure we make the investments that will allow our seniors to age with dignity and continue to enjoy all our community has to offer. We must ensure access to affordable heath care, transportation and housing for seniors. We must also oppose policies that seek to insert the judgment of politicians to restrict the liberty of seniors by limiting their financial and health care options as they grow older. It will also be important for us to support those who are caring for an aging parent through resources and education.
The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the strain on many of our working families and particularly those with a single parent household. The pandemic made clear a need, which was already clear for many, for paid family leave as well as the necessity for predictable schedules that are provided to workers a reasonable time in advance. These policies are good for sustainable economic growth as they provide a more stable and happy work force. However, the costs of these policies should not be on the backs of business owners. This would only place an unnecessary weight on economic growth and further bind workers to their current employers negating employment mobility and dynamism. Women disproportionately bore the brunt of lost wages and economic set back due to the pandemic and continue to do so. We must work to remedy this and put in place policies to ensure this does not continue to take place in the future.
As a former federal prosecutor, I know the importance of public safety. We must vigorously pursue, investigate and deter violence in our neighborhoods and safeguard our communities. We must support our police officers with proper training to protect us and not unnecessarily escalate encounters with the public. The overwhelming majority of police officers and first responders are heroes and deserve our gratitude and respect. We must focus our police officers on their best use and not interject them in circumstances where the visit from a social worker or mental health professional may be more appropriate. We must reject the false choice between public safety and real criminal justice reform. We send too may non-violent offenders to prison and lock them out of the economy after prison. As your Delegate, I will bring my experience to work on criminal justice reform and ensure we have safe communities and equal justice under the law.
Maryland is one of the wealthiest states in the wealthiest country in the world. But still we see dramatic wealth and health inequality that continues to compound. We must take steps to address this inequality by working to provide equal access and opportunity, not equal outcomes, for all. This may involve greater employee ownership and encouraging access to investment opportunities outside of traditional employment settings so the benefits of economic success are shared more equally. But more fundamentally we must address the root causes of this disparity such as the inequity in education, environment and health care. Its unjust when children are trapped in failing schools or entire communities are denied access to healthy foods and medical care. We must also work to provide support and opportunities for those with mental illness, with physical disabilities, those with addiction issues and individuals with a prior criminal conviction so they are not trapped out of the economy. I firmly believe that expanded capitalism is the best way to bridge this opportunity gap in the years to come and make progress toward a more inclusive and prosperous community. We cannot afford to leave our fellow Americans behind because we need all hands on deck in the fight for the future.