On The Issues
Improve Schools for ALL Students
I believe in the power of education to transform lives. It is the very best investment we can make in the future of our children and in the future of Maryland. Maryland has many wonderful public schools, but not all kids have access to those wonderful schools. We can do better and ensure access to an outstanding education for each and every student.
I have spent the past six years working for an education nonprofit, Teach Plus, where I partner with exceptional teachers — including the State Teachers of the Year from over 20 states — to improve policy and practice in ways that benefit students.
As a member of the Annapolis Education Commission, I fight for equity in Annapolis schools, including to reduce overcrowding, keep great teachers in our classroom by paying them better, improve the health and safety of students, and address other key issues facing our students and teachers.
In 2019, the legislature will be re-writing Maryland’s school funding formula, which was last overhauled over 15 year ago. I want to serve in the legislature so I can help write that formula in a way that is fair and ensures students who have the least get the most. I worked on education policy Capitol Hill for 11 years, including a bill signed by President Obama that brought $250 million new federal dollars to Maryland public schools. I know how funding formulas work and how to get things done in the legislative arena. I want to use what I’ve learned to be a voice for our students.
Ensure Access to Affordable, Quality Health Care
Healthcare is a right, not a privilege. And everyone — especially our children and our seniors — deserves access to affordable, quality health care.
When I worked at the Children’s Defense Fund, I helped lead a national campaign that successfully advocated for the expansion of the CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance) program, which provides healthcare coverage to nearly nine million children who were previously uninsured. Many — including 142,000 in Maryland — are currently at risk of losing coverage. I want to be a voice for these children and families in the legislature.
Health is affected by many factors. We can help ensure a healthy future for us all by supporting livable wages, safe and affordable housing, access to food, convenient transportation and better education.
Specific steps that I support include:
- Helping Anne Arundel Medical Center secure a certificate of need from the state in order to open a much-needed inpatient mental health facility.
- Incentivizing medical providers to accept new Medicaid patients so that the 1 in 5 Marylanders insured under medical assistance, including Medicaid and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) don’t lose access to quality care. I will work to ensure the Medicaid expansion funds that were started under the Affordable Care Act don’t move backward since fewer physicians are accepting Medicaid than in the past.
- Addressing the growing problem of addiction in Maryland. In 2017, there were 1,097 opioid overdoses in Anne Arundel County alone, 155 of them fatal. I will work to ensure access to treatment for individuals with substance use disorders and work to ensure ready access to Naloxone.
- Increasing the Primary Care Physicians. According to the Association of Medical Colleges, nationally we are expected to have a shortage of 40,000 primary care doctors by 2030. Maryland is projected to need to increase the number of Primary Care Physicians by 23% to meet the needs of the aging and growing population. Potential solutions to meet that need include a Physician Reimbursement reform, increased funding for primary care training, and Medical student debt relief.
- Fighting against anti-choice bills that would restrict the right to choose in Maryland. I support reproductive freedom for Maryland women and strongly support HB1, the Rape Survivor Family Protection Act and applaud the legislature for its recent action.
Protect the Environment
From extreme weather events and reduced air quality, to increased mosquito and tick-borne infection and water-related and food-related infection, climate change is affecting our health. I will do my part to make sure that Maryland is part of the solution in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and to develop adaptation strategies that increase our preparedness for climate associated changes.
I am committed to leaving a clean environment – and a healthy Bay – for our children and grandchildren. I support Speaker Busch’s clean energy initiatives, including protecting clean energy jobs and using wind and solar energy as part of power-generation efforts.
I support the League of Conservation Voters’ Clean Energy Jobs Campaign, which recognizes that clean, renewable energy is a powerful driver of economic development and job creation in Maryland, and has set a goal of increasing Maryland’s renewable energy (as opposed to fossil fuels) to 50% by 2030.
I support Chesapeake Bay program initiatives to restore the Bay, including efforts to:
- Address land use, water quality and wildlife resource issues
- Reduce nutrient and sediment, chemical pollution and storm water run-off into the Bay
- Preserve land and open space for recreation, such as our local treasure, Quiet Waters Park
- Protect forests and wetlands
The Forest Conservation Act, which was passed in 1991, is overdue for an update. It needs to be improved in several ways, including by providing a clear definition of ecologically important areas that should be a priority for protections. Transparent and consistent criteria for local governments to use when a developer proposes to clear priority forests, and protect healthy forests by requiring review and planning for natural resource protection to come earlier in the development review process.
We need to expand environmental education. My children and I have engaged in oyster recovery efforts through the Annapolis Maritime Museum and learned about ways to be good environmental stewards through Arlington Echo, which is an incredible resource for our community. I have long-supported Rep. John Sarbanes “No Child Left Inside” initiative.
As your representative, I will advocate for additional incentives for hybrid and/or electric cars to reduce air pollution. And I will advocate for safer, more inviting areas for pedestrians and cyclists.
Prevent Gun Violence
We must bring some common sense to the gun debate. While I support the Second Amendment for handguns and rifles, the fact is no one outside of the military needs military-grade assault weapons or bump stocks like those used most recently in the Las Vegas tragedy.
Research shows, and police reinforce, that common-sense public safety laws reduce gun violence and save lives. People who are mentally ill or have been convicted of domestic violence should not have access to guns. A dangerous provision in Maryland law makes it too easy for convicted abusers to access guns, and the General Assembly must close this gap, as Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Nevada, Rhode Island, and Tennessee have already done. I support Everytown for Gun Safety efforts to close this loophole this legislative session.
We can — and must — put an end to the 700 gun deaths that occur each year in Maryland, and we can do it while upholding the Second Amendment.
Address the Opioid Crisis
It is a tragedy that there were 119 opioid deaths in Anne Arundel County in 2016, and 155 deaths — and 1,097 overdoses — in 2017. Despite prevention efforts like the very powerful “Not My Child” campaign the crisis continues.
Anne Arundel County is one of the more disproportionately affected regions in the state. I will work to ensure access to treatment for individuals with substance use disorders and to ensure ready access to Naloxone. I strongly support the public health department’s efforts to support 19 “peers” to assist with various recovery initiatives but we must do more. We must include peer expertise in prevention efforts as well as treatment and recovery. I strongly support the Safe Stations initiative as well.
As an immediate next step, as Delegate, I would like to create a Task Force that includes people who have suffered from opioid addiction to get their input and ideas for how to address this public health emergency and save lives. I appreciate Anne Arundel County Public Schools’ efforts to reinstate the DARE program (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) but am concerned by research showing that it is generally ineffective. Awareness and prevention are imperative and I would like to work with the school system to ensure that AACPS adopts the best possible prevention efforts.
Restore Our Trust in Government
We deserve leaders we can trust and who will work across the aisle to get results. We deserve leaders who put integrity in practice every day and value the common good over individual gain. We also need to get “big money” out of politics. I am proud that my campaign is fueled by hundreds of individuals who have donated, not corporations.
My dad served one term in the U.S. Congress — his Dream Job. In 1965, he got to vote in support of the historic Voting Rights Act, and did so knowing that – while he was on the right side of history – many of his constituents were not and that he would lose re-election. Despite that loss, until the day he died he said casting that vote was the best thing he had ever done. I learned from him what real leadership looks like and I want to take the values that he taught me, through his actions, to the statehouse.
I do not aspire to be a “politician.” Instead I want to be a “public servant” who sees the role of legislator as one that is first and foremost about serving the greater good for the people of our community.