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Issues

  • A World Class Education For All

    Education is the cornerstone of our society.  Our success depends highly on access to a quality education that prepares everyone for the global market.

     

    For five years in a row, Maryland schools were ranked #1 in the nation.  That is an honor we earned through a number of initiatives, including record investments in education while capping tuition increases for schools in the University System of Maryland.  Our teachers deserve much of the credit for their commitment to delivering the best possible education for our children.

     

    Despite this accomplishment, the achievement gap in Maryland remains an imminent threat to the future of our children.  While we as a State are collectively number one, school performance depends on jurisdiction.  Even within Anne Arundel County, success in the classroom varies depending on what school you are looking at.

     

    I support continuing to fully invest in our public education system.  Additionally, I will work to secure the resources necessary to modernize our schools.  There is no excuse for overcrowding in the classroom (for example, Brock Bridge Elementary School is at 116% capacity).  Our children also deserve better than to learn in an environment that is both outdated and ill-equipped to meet the demands of the curriculum.  Finally, I will also support and advance an education that includes exploring the arts - an endangered area in our schools.  After all, no education is complete unless a child can reach his or her full potential by delving into art, music, theatre, and other creative avenues.

     

    To this end, I also support the development of additional elementary, middle, high, and charter schools where it is necessary and appropriate.

  • Job Creation To Achieve Our Piece Of The American Dream

    Maryland has weathered this Great Recession remarkably well.  Our unemployment rate stands at about 6.4%, and Maryland has recovered more than the roughly 146,000 jobs lost.  The abundance of federal jobs in this area insulated us from the effects of economic downturn.  Still, so many of our men and women are out of work and anxiously looking to return to a state of financial independence and security.  Federal sequestration adds uncertainty to the federal jobs that buffered Maryland from economic ruin.  Priority number one is making sure that Maryland reduces its unemployment rate back to the 3-4% realm indicative of a healthy economy.

     

    To do this, we must all commit ourselves to a number of initiatives.  First and foremost, Maryland needs to continue to build upon its success for having the number one schools in the nation.  Education is the key to a lifetime of sustainable, measurable, and predictable success.  This will prepare our children for a lifetime of success when they lead our country down the road.  Important, too, is ensuring that every Marylander has access to a top notch, affordable college education.  For those that long ago graduated or never had the opportunity to do so, we must build workforce and continuing education programs that are accessible to every citizen.

     

    Second, the State needs to make good on continuing to attract and retain good paying jobs.  Thanks to BRAC and heavy investments in the biotech industry, among so many other initiatives, Maryland is a leader in cutting edge science-based industries.  And with BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport and the Port of Baltimore greasing the wheels of regional economic activity, Maryland is prime territory for a number of manufacturing and other jobs.

     

    According to the National Chamber of Commerce, Maryland is number one in entrepreneurship and innovation.  To continue to earn this distinction, we all must remain committed to the educational and economic development efforts on the part of the State.

     

    Why is this important?  Because a wealthy, prosperous Maryland means a Maryland with a robust and thriving middle class.  These citizens, who are the very same people we see in the grocery store and at football games, build the small businesses that employee the vast majority of Marylanders.  They unlock opportunity for our friends and family while making sure that Maryland dollars remain in and are reinvested in Maryland.  And with Maryland being a high demand tourist destination due to Arundel Mills Mall and Ocean City, that means we capture money from out of state that ends up going back into our schools, roads, and health systems.

     

    Living in a free market society, government cannot be the go-to solution for job creation.  That mantle is to be carried by our hard working men and women that make Maryland such an amazing place.  But the State can and should create a climate that is welcoming to businesses of all sorts.  This can be accomplished through a number of methods – education, economic incentives, tax reform, and public safety, to name a few.

  • Safer Communities, Peace-Of-Mind

    Whether we are out enjoying the many things Maryland has to offer or staying at home to spend time with our family, friends, and neighbors, we have a right to expect that we are safe from harm.  As your State Delegate, I will work with State, County, and local law enforcement to ensure that they have the resources and policy support they need to protect our communities from violent crime, human trafficking, robberies, vandalism, drugs, and other dangers to our society.  And for our firefighters and EMT’s, I will work to secure the necessary funding and support needed to keep our communities safe and to respond effectively to emergency situations.  These brave men and women risk their lives for the rest of us to be secure in our communities.  They deserve better than to worry about funding, equipment, and support, just like you deserve to know they are properly trained and equipped for the life-saving jobs they perform selflessly every day.

     

    The recidivism rate for ex-inmates in Maryland stands at roughly 40%.  While this is a drastic drop from the data in 2000, that is still incredibly high.  We can and should expect for this number to drop, which would translate into tax savings that can be allocated to other important functions.  All too often, ex-inmates resort back to a life of crime because they lack access to education and training that will unlock alternative, productive, and meaningful opportunities for them.  In order to reduce recidivism and properly reintroduce/reintegrate ex-inmates back into society, I will work with our education, law enforcement, and correctional communities to develop programs that will teach job skills and entrepreneurship.  As the saying goes, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”  I will also support similar programs for all members of our community via continued education and workforce development.

     

    With the rise of cyber crime and identity theft, it is more important than ever to be vigilant on the internet.  To this end, I will collaborate with our law enforcement officials to get them the support they need to combat cyber crime and identity theft.  We should not have to worry that our identities will be stolen and retirement nest egg destroyed.

  • Fiscal Responsibility That Reflects Our Values

    Maryland is required to pass a balanced budget every year.  As your State Delegate, I am committed to working with our public and private partners to protect investments in key areas while eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and duplication from our budget.

     

     A lot has been asked of Marylanders over the past eight years.  Time and again we have seen increases in our taxes and fees for government services.  Our families are making the most of every dollar available in the household budget, so I believe it is time for the State to do the same.

     

    Instead of raising taxes as a way of balancing our budget, I will support and work to close tax loopholes as a means of capturing lost revenue.  For example, implementing combined reporting will capture about $200 million annually for our State coffers that is lost to multi-state corporations who play a shell game to hide their profits in order to avoid paying Maryland’s corporate income tax rate – a rate that is paid by our very own small businesses.  By closing this loophole, Maryland can level the playing field between large and small businesses while obtaining revenue to fund education, health, and public safety.  If it can work in Texas and California without costing them small business job creation, then it can and will work in Maryland.

     

    I will also work to make sure that our designated funding in schools, roads, and other vital areas stays designated instead of being used for other projects.  Dipping into designated funds in past years may have balanced our budget, but it has left transportation priorities and other key projects on hold.  Maryland can and should expect better from Annapolis.

     

    I am not inclined to support any tax increases over the next four years.  However, in some cases our citizens may be ready and willing to pay a higher tax.  For example, when the General Assembly was debating and passed the 9% alcohol tax, polling showed that a majority of Marylanders agreed with the 3-cent-per-dollar increase so long as it was earmarked for the Developmental Disabilities Administration in order to get children with special needs the services they need.  To this end, I will consider voting for a tax increase during my term if the Good Citizens of District 32 contact me and express their support for such an increase.  Otherwise, I believe that we can accomplish more by eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and duplication while closing tax loopholes that do not benefit our working and middle classes.

  • Transportation Infrastructure For Growth & Prosperity

    Maryland is the hub of economic activity on the east coast.  With major commerce centers, like the Port of Baltimore, and key linkages for interstate and intrastate commerce, like the I-95 Corridor, Maryland needs a transportation infrastructure to meet the high demand.

     

    Unfortunately, congestion and an underdeveloped network of roads and highways cost Maryland $6.2 billion in lost economic activity and wasted fuel.  This means that you lose about $2,200 a year, in addition to less time to spend with your family.  And with the increase in the fuel tax taking effect in 2013, we have every reason to demand and expect better.  As your State Delegate, I will work with State and County officials to secure funding for key transportation priorities.  Furthermore, I will support repaying the money borrowed from the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) to balance the budget in past years, while opposing efforts to borrow/transfer money from the TTF in the future.  Our road projects need to be completed, not remain half finished for years at a time.  We deserve for the Route 175 project to be finally completed, and we deserve to have a Route 198 that does not receive failing marks when graded.

     

    Additionally, I support transit-oriented development (TOD) to give Marylanders and tourists access to a network that moves them around efficiently while reducing demand and pressure on our roads.  In order to fund TOD, more emphasis needs to be placed on fare box recovery (money received from tickets and passes to use transit services) instead of diverting gas tax and other revenues that should be prioritized for roads.  Furthermore, the Maryland Transit Administration and other local/regional transportation providers should study the feasibility and operation of an interconnected transit network that efficiently transports people all over our State and region.

  • Health Care That Works For Us

    Maryland is home to the University of Maryland Medical System and Johns Hopkins University.  We are fortunate to have the number one Shock Trauma service that is a model for the rest of the United States.  As your State Delegate, I will continue to work with our health professionals to make sure that the necessary State resources and funding are allocated to keep Maryland among the best, if not the best, in the nation when it comes to health care delivery.

     

    With the Affordable Care Act taking effect, Maryland is working to use this new federal law to insure the 800,000 Marylanders that currently lack insurance, or are under-insured.  This is an important first step towards making sure that everyone has access to quality, affordable care that will protect them if their health is in jeopardy, God forbid.  As of January 10, it is promising that more than 20,000 individuals have obtained insurance coverage.  Still, this number falls far short of the 800,000 citizens in need.

     

    The unrolling of the Health Benefits Exchange (HBE) hasn’t been smooth, either.  Procurement issues and a lack of accountability caused the October 1, 2013 roll out date to go horrible awry.  It is excellent that our legislative leaders in Annapolis are working with the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of Health, and so many other key players to fix these problems so the citizens can get the service they require, and I sincerely hope they are successful.

     

    Regardless, the Affordable Care Act is and remains an important first step towards dealing with the insurance problem threatening our state and household budgets.  As your State Delegate, I will pay close attention to opportunities where we can properly and effectively reform health care and insurance coverage in Maryland so that premiums stop inflating uncontrollably so that every person has a coverage plan that will protect their health and their finances.  In light of the HBE roll out, I will also support efforts to streamline and simplify our procurement processes, in addition to those efforts to give government agencies the necessary and proper oversight over contracted projects to make sure that the job is getting done as it should.  We as a State should not accept shoddy workmanship from contractors.  We wouldn’t accept such a product in our personal transactions.  Taxpayers deserve to know that their money is being spent wisely, and that the best possible product is being provided for our dollar.

  • Protecting Our Chesapeake Bay & Environment

    The Chesapeake Bay is the crowning jewel of Maryland.  Many of us have grown up on and around these waters, while others have chosen to move or visit Maryland to indulge in its natural beauty.  The health of the Bay was declared a disaster area not too long ago, and many strides have been made to clean up and rejuvenate it.  Today, the health of the Bay is better – but so much work remains to be done.

     

    We need to remain committed to restoring the vibrancy and vitality of our Chesapeake Bay not just for our way of life, but also for our economy.  Many have said that without the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland wouldn’t have a thriving marketplace.  When you look at the fisherman, crabbers, researchers, restaurateurs, and other citizens like you and me that depend on the Bay for a living, I am inclined to agree.  And when you look at the Bay’s impact on property values, it further qualifies this belief.

     

    Designated funding for the Chesapeake Bay needs to be protected.  As your State Delegate, I will work to protect these funds to continue aiding the Chesapeake Bay in her recovery.  I will also support programs and other initiatives to restore the grasses and wildlife that call the Bay home, while proactively reducing wasteful spending and being mindful not to place an additional undue tax burden on Marylanders.  I will also support prioritizing open space and environmental stewardship programs that protect the entire watershed.

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