Strong public schools are essential to our community’s wellbeing. During the Covid pandemic, we have learned how important consistent, in-person instruction is for our students and their families. As we return to a more normalized education environment, we must ensure that staff and students get what they need to thrive despite the ongoing challenges presented by Covid. In addition to basic instructional supplies, schools need community resources to support students and their families. All staff members deserve a living wage and benefits: paraprofessionals, bus drivers, custodians, cafeteria workers, administrative
The MD Blueprint for Success accurately identifies universal pre-K, highly qualified diverse teachers, and college and career readiness. We are finally primed to fully fund our school districts in the way they have needed for years. As a Maryland public school educator for over 20 years, I will represent the real needs faced by educators and students as these historic funds are allocated.
“Schools need the resources to do the job that society demands of them. Educators must be supported- they are ensuring the next generation is ready to lead us all through challenges we have never faced before.”
We must protect our environment while working with all stakeholders. For too long we have not worked for environmental justice and our most vulnerable groups have been negatively impacted by water and air pollution. Industrial waste and dangerous exposure to toxins have disproportionately impacted communities of color in the US. In addition to protecting the earth, we must navigate sustainable growth and land preservation moving forward with every citizen’s health centered.
There are actions we can take now to protect the environment, as covered in the Green New Deal. There are similar initiatives in the MD General Assembly. One law that will specifically address our declining bird population, and conserve energy in industrial buildings is HB43- Maryland Sustainable Buildings Act of 2022. We need to ensure our ecosystem is preserved through a variety of actions- locally, statewide, and nationally- before it’s too late and we lose essential animal species forever.
“Environmental action can be a win-win-win proposition. We can preserve our ecosystem, reverse the harm that’s already been done, and develop green industries that can employ countless people for generations to come.”
Access to healthcare is a universal right, and Marylanders should not have to decide if they will pay for the care they need or basic needs like food or housing. We must have a healthcare system that provides comprehensive coverage, reduces the costs imposed on patients, delivers true patient-centered care, and eliminates health disparities. I support a single-payer system as a way to achieve these goals.
Women are particularly vulnerable in our healthcare system. I will work to ensure reproductive health justice: the right of women to have children or not have children and raise them in a safe and healthy environment. Women’s health needs to be proactively protected after centuries of unequal medical research and development.
“We need to be healthy as individuals to be healthy as a nation. Healthcare is currently a privilege; we must make it an American right.”
We must work with the business community to support the creation of quality jobs that pay a living wage while also ensuring that affordable housing is available so people can live in the same areas where they work.
As a teacher in Howard County, I know many other educators who would love to find a home within their budget near the school where they work. Recent increases to the minimum wage in Howard County are just the first step. Next, we need to increase the minimum wage across the state and continue to increase payments to ensure a living wage for all Marylanders.
“Everyone deserves a living wage and safe, affordable housing. We must do whatever we can to build that infrastructure across our state.”
Mass incarceration has been called the civil rights crisis of our lifetime. It is common knowledge that when a person is arrested, charged, and put in jail, they face a daunting future when trying to find employment and housing after they have served their time. This is in addition to the loss that families and communities feel when someone they love is imprisoned. As a society, we need to consider alternative, or diversion, programs that address the harm a person commits without using incarceration as the only recourse. Police reform, marijuana legalization, and programs like the LEAD Initiative in Howard County need to be a part of state-wide actions to reduce crime and restore communities.
“Our current approach to justice in the US is not doing what we want- ensuring the safety and health of our communities. We need new tools when thinking about crime and punishment if we want a stronger Maryland.”
Gun violence is a public health crisis. Shootings across the country have traumatized thousands of people who have been directly involved and millions of students who must endure drills in preparation for possible shootings. Guns dramatically contribute to our nation’s tragic suicide rate. Maryland has been a leader in gun control legislation, but we need to do more to close the loopholes that still exist and further limit access to guns.
“Over half of all gun deaths in the US are suicides. When we reduce access to guns, we reduce deaths.”
True democracy cannot be achieved until all voices are included in rooms where policies are developed. Maryland can be a leader in addressing generations of systematic oppression. We must consider all policy decisions and legislation through a lens of racial justice and equity. There are many ways we can proactively look for opportunities to begin correcting past and current inequities.
It is critical to the progress of our nation to include the comprehensive history of our state and country in our public schools. It is time to center the stories of historically excluded groups like Black & Brown Americans, undocumented immigrants, members of the LGBTQIAP+ community, Asian Amercians, and Indigenous people.
“Our country is stronger when we are all represented in rooms where decisions are being made.”
Voting is one of the core rights Americans enjoy. It’s the best way to impact the composition of the government and the focus of legislative bodies. Voting should be easy. Instead, access to polls has been repeatedly threatened throughout our nation’s history. Losing protections from the Voting Rights Act is one of the most recent setbacks.
The good news is we have recent legislative protections like the Value My Vote Act (HB 222) which ensures the right to vote for Maryland citizens who are incarcerated. Nationally 5.8 million people are disenfranchised due to connections with the criminal justice system. Maryland can be a leader in protecting the voting rights of all Americans.
“Voting is the best way for citizens to communicate with their government. We must get as many people to participate in elections as possible.”