I will not rest until every Marylander has quality, affordable health care. I know firsthand that a devastating diagnosis and unexpected medical bills can strike a family at any time. In particular, I will focus on out-of-control prescription drug prices. We must:
- Reduce prescription drug prices by treating generic prescription drug manufacturers like utilities;
- Establish Maryland’s own universal health care system, which would eliminate copays, deductibles, and premiums while saving millions of dollars in administrative costs;
- Fight for earned sick leave;
- Enhance funding of the Senior Prescription Drug Assistance Program and provide resources to offer seniors choices in long-term care.
Montgomery County’s traffic is among the nation’s worst, and our average commuting times are twice the national average. Gridlock is more than an inconvenience—a recent study found that a lack of reliable and efficient transportation is a key factor in helping people get ahead. We must invest in transit solutions that provide real alternatives to sitting in traffic. I will promote:
- All-day, weeklong MARC service from Frederick to get cars off the I-270 corridor;
- The completion of both the Purple Line and the Corridor Cities Transitway, which Governor Hogan postponed for at least six years in his most recent budget;
- Metro reliability and a dedicated funding source, as well as station improvements at Shady Grove Station; and
- Safety improvements on Norbeck Road, Georgia Avenue, and other state roads in District 19 to protect pedestrians and cyclists.
We must invest in our schools to provide students, teachers, and parents with the support they need. Since the recession, our state has prioritized tax breaks for large corporations over educating the next generation. Every election year, politicians promise that they will outmaneuver other jurisdictions to extract more school funding and, every year, they come up short. It’s unacceptable that there are nearly 50 trailers being used as classrooms in District 19’s elementary schools. Meanwhile, thousands of Marylanders cannot afford higher education, and thousands more graduate every year with a mountain of student loan debt. It’s time to make large corporations and the wealthiest few pay their fair share in order to:
- Expand pre-K to all three- and four-year olds;
- Reduce class sizes and build enough classroom space to keep pace with enrollment;
- Offer competitive salaries to attract and retain highly qualified teachers; and
- Create a path for in-state students to pay little or no tuition at public universities, community colleges, and vocational schools.
Climate change is the existential challenge of our time. Economically depressed areas, particularly communities of color, suffer the most from environmental harm, as they often lack the political power necessary to stop environmental degradation. My hometown in Alabama was devastated by pollution after a company used it as a dumping ground for toxins. As Delegate, I will:
- Invest in green jobs in sustainable energy, energy efficient retrofitting, and mass transit;
- Protect the Chesapeake Bay, as well as our rivers and lakes outside the Bay Watershed;
- Promote efforts to shift energy usage to renewable alternatives, leading to both energy efficiency and lower prices for consumers; and
- Be Maryland’s loudest champion for smarter growth, an end to sprawl, and a reorientation of our transportation priorities from automobiles to transit.
We must empower citizens like you—not lobbyists, large corporations, and the wealthy—to democratically control elections and policymaking. At the same time, we must restore the people’s faith in our government. Elected officials should be responsive and accountable to their constituents. I will practice what I preach by rejecting corporate and lobbyist cash for my own campaign. Once I’m elected, I will hold town hall meetings and knock on doors every year, not merely before the next election. Here are a few of the reforms I will fight for to return power to the voters:
- A statewide public financing system that provides public matching funds for candidates who opt in to the system;
- An independent redistricting commission so that representatives cannot pick their own voters;
- A ban on political contributions from registered Maryland lobbyists;
- Automatic voter registration, expanded early voting, and an Election Day holiday; and
- Live streaming of all meetings of the General Assembly.
Too many Marylanders are working harder, but still struggling to make ends meet. Many District 19 residents on fixed incomes continue to see their expenses increase. As Democrats, we must recommit ourselves to building an economy for everyone, not just the rich and well connected. As Delegate, I will fight to:
- Increase the statewide minimum wage to $15;
- Resist Trump’s deportation policies to keep District 19 families together;
- Protect retirement income and curtail high fees charged by predatory banks and advisors;
- Support families with generous paid family leave, paid vacation, childcare subsidies, and a state-level Child Tax Credit;
- Launch a Task Force to study the laws governing homeowners’ associations to ensure fair governance and reasonable fees;
- Expand protections for renters, increase the supply of housing, and promote aging in place;
- Empower small businesses and entrepreneurs by reversing the trend toward corporate consolidation and closing large corporations’ tax loopholes; and
- Strengthen collective bargaining and fair contracts, and enact a fair scheduling law to give workers’ advance notice about what their work schedule will be.
- Close the loophole that allows multi-state and multi-national corporations doing business in Maryland to hide their revenue and evade income taxes in Maryland;
- Eliminate corporate handouts to large companies; and
- Repeal recent tax cuts for both millionaires (income tax) and dead millionaires (estate tax).