STRENGThENing PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Every child deserves to have access to a high-quality public education. Strong schools are the foundation for strong and growing communities, and this work takes all of us, both at the state and local level. In 2019, the General Assembly will rewrite the State’s education funding formula for the next decade. It’s our chance to get it right, and as you’re Senator, I’m committed to providing every community the funding and resources that they need.
- I believe in investing in high-quality, universal pre-kindergarten because it benefits all children, helps to close the achievement gap, supports working families, and starts children on the path to success in school and in life. We’ve all heard the saying that it’s easier to build strong children than to repair broken men. The same is true in our school system – a strong educational system in Maryland is built from the ground up. That starts with ensuring that every child has access to universal pre-k, because we know that the most crucial time for a child to begin learning is early in their lives.
- Every parent knows the value a top-notch educator in the classroom can bring to their child. I will to fight to ensure that every classroom in Maryland is led by a well-trained, fairly-compensated educator who is empowered to put his or her students first. That means fighting for things like improved teacher pay and benefits, as well as incentives and support for teachers to continuously improve their professional practice and improve student performance. To attract and retain the best and brightest teachers, we must offer competitive compensation that is, ideally, comparable to other high-status professionals and provide them with opportunities to continue to refine their practice and grow as leaders.
- We must prepare every student for success in the 21st century economy and expand opportunities in career and technical education, such as coding, dual language certification, training in the marine industry, and pipelines to real apprenticeships that lead to family-sustaining careers with good salaries and benefits.
- We live in one of the wealthiest counties in one of the wealthiest states in one of the wealthiest nations in the world, but not every community has access to equitable resources. All of our children deserve to learn in environments that facilitate and promote learning, and out-of-date, over-crowded, and temporary portable classrooms are not the answer. We need to ensure that every child has access to school facilities that are safe, conducive to learning, and designed for 21st century learning.
- In order to ensure that every child in our schools is engaged, challenged, healthy, safe, and supported, we must provide more connections and wrap-around services for students and their families. We must teach the whole child. If students’ most basic needs are not taken care of, they will not be able to learn in school. We will promote and support creative school and community partnerships to find solutions to the struggles that students and families face and continue to develop schools as anchors for their communities. This may include more having more social workers and other mental health providers at school, mobile health clinics and dentist offices, and different ways of leveraging community resources to help students achieve.
Protecting the Chesapeake Bay
The Chesapeake Bay is our greatest natural resource, our economic engine, and key to our way of life. We’ve made tremendous progress in restoring and protecting the Bay over the last forty years, but overdevelopment, pollution, climate change, and sea level rise present significant threats that require local solutions.
- Oysters are natural filters for the Bay, yet we have seen populations dwindle to a fraction of historic population size. We must create an economic incentive to restore the Chesapeake Bay by investing in oysters, protecting our watermen, and promoting oyster aquaculture.
- Our community is blessed to have an abundance of access to the water, but that means we are also the most vulnerable to rising seas. Maryland must continue to lead the fight against climate change and sea level rise by achieving 50% renewable energy and creating good, green jobs, such as manufacturing solar panels and wind turbines, right here in Maryland.
- We need to grow smarter, grow greener, and grow in service of the people who live here. That means protecting our trees by strengthening Maryland’s Forest Conservation Act and preserving our critical areas through better enforcement.
- Farmers are critical partners in protecting our environment. We need to help offset the financial burden and incentivize best management practices for farms by providing support to farmers to use healthy soil, increase cover crops, and build streamside buffers and streamside fencing will minimize runoff.
MOVing HEALTH CARE FORWARD
Access to affordable, quality healthcare is a fundamental right. Maryland has always been a leader on affordable, accessible, innovate healthcare, but we need to make sure our healthcare system works for all Marylanders.
- In order to make healthcare more affordable for everyone, we must stabilize the individual health insurance market by going beyond reinsurance to explore Medicaid buy-in on a sliding scale to give consumers more choice and incentivize competition.
- We can reduce health disparities, improve access to underserved communities, and build healthier communities by supporting innovative access to community-based healthcare. Building off success stories like the community clinic at Morris Blum Senior Apartments, Maryland can connect need with access and resources by supporting a better continuum of care, integrating primary care with mental and behavioral health, utilizing technology in telehealth and digital records to provide better preventative care.
- We must expand home healthcare services that allow seniors to age in place. This means better integrating healthcare and support services, expanding senior center services, and increasing transportation opportunities – everything from building wheelchair ramps to providing better public transit.
Fighting the opioid epidemic
The opioid epidemic touches nearly every family in District 30. This isn’t a partisan issue, it’s a public health crisis. We must act now and rise to meet the challenge.
- We must remove the barriers and expand access to substance abuse treatment. Whether that’s improving support and funding for Safe Stations or removing excessive regulation to open up more beds, Maryland must to do more to work with local leaders and ensure they have the resources they need to fight this challenge.
- Decisions about treatment should remain between doctors and patients. However, we need smart oversight to hold bad actors accountable, such as pill mills and reckless pharmaceutical companies, accountable with real deterrents of those who seek to harm our communities.
- Addressing this crisis means ensuring we have the trained workforce, such as social workers, certified nurses, counselors, crisis intervention professionals, and peer recovery coaches, to meet the demand. Maryland work hand-in-hand with our community colleges and universities to ensure we’re graduating and incentivizing the service of the skilled professionals needed.
Working hard for working families
Improving the quality of life for all families in District 30.
- Something is wrong when child care costs more than tuition to the University of Maryland. We need to expand the voucher program and tax credit brackets to ensure all families have access to affordable, quality childcare.
- Our economy needs to work for all of Maryland’s workers. No one in our community should have to live in poverty. We need to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour statewide to ensure all Marylanders can build a better life for their families.
- Transportation should never be an obstacle to a job. We need common sense, regional approaches to our very real transportation challenges. I will to fight for 21st Century transportation solutions that are affordable, accessible, and consistent in order to connect communities to job and educational opportunities.
- Unions built the American Middle Class. We must to protect and expand collective bargaining rights and union apprenticeships for more Marylanders.
Keeping our communities safe
As your State Senator, I won’t be afraid to lead on the toughest challenges, and I will advocate for gun safety legislation that will help keep our neighborhoods, and our children, safe. Now more than ever, Maryland needs to be a leader on gun safety. At this moment, there are four emergency bills in the General Assembly that have my strong support - they would make our schools safer by strengthening background checks, increasing mental health services, assigning more school resource officers with the proper training, and providing funding for common-sense measures to help protect children. At the same time, we need to stop discussing ridiculous ideas like arming our teachers, who are already pressed for the resources they need to teach. But we must go further: we need to provide universal background checks on all private purchases and we need to finish the job this session by passing strong legislation currently being considered to ban bump stocks, require domestic abusers to surrender their firearms, and to create a "red flag" rule to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals. We don't need to have a discussion about gun safety OR school safety - we can and must do both.
Serving our Veterans
Anne Arundel County is home to the second largest populations of veterans in Maryland. They deserve a Senator who is going to stand up for them because they’ve stood up for us.
- Maryland’s community colleges have been national leaders in supporting veterans. We need to provide the state support they need to serve our veterans by establishing and funding veterans resource centers at every community college and four-year university in Maryland.
- On average, 22 veterans take their own lives every day. We must develop a comprehensive action plan to expand professional health services and prevent veterans suicide.
- Veterans reintegration services: Ensure the easiest transition from military to civilian life by removing barriers to employment, expanding veterans courts statewide, and work with County and Federal agencies to serve our Veterans.
- Maryland ranks just 38th in best states for veterans to retire. We must do all we can to support retired veterans and their families by making Uniformed Service Retirement Income 100% exempt from Maryland State income taxes.