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  • Education is our Greatest Asset

    Maryland maintains one of the best public school systems in the country, and that is not by accident.  We have made a concerted effort to make sure that our schools get the funding they need to help our kids achieve all of their academic goals and set them on the right path towards success.  I am a strong supporter of our public schools and take immense pride in those achievements.  Public school funding not only helps our students achieve their goals, but helps us as a State maintain a highly educated citizenry, our greatest economic resource.  I am happy to work with my colleagues in the General Assembly to make education a priority even while we've dealt with painful cuts to our budget.  We continue to focus on maximizing school funding, both operationally and through capital construction funding.  This way, we can maintain the best possible learning and education facilities, staff them with the best, most experienced educators and school staff, and provide the resources that our children need to learn and thrill in a competitive economic environment.

    Recently we have worked to obtain maximum State funding for new schools and facilities, work to make sure the school budget promised to the people are upheld, and protect schools outside of Montgomery County with declining enrollment to maintain their facilities, because all of Maryland’s kids are our responsibility.  In addition, I have sponsored legislation to establish grant programs for robotics programs, and have vehemently supported and co-sponsored legislation to limit the amount of testing that our kids are subjected to.  Education is more than testing, and we should allow our students to learn for their knowledge, not just to the test. 

    Education also goes beyond K-12, and we have some of the best public Universities available to our graduates.  Providing funding is a necessary step I fight for every year, but in addition, we need to make sure higher education is affordable as well.  That is why I supported the College Affordability Act of 2016 and supported establishing the Student Loan Tax Credit in 2017.  As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I fought and obtained funding for facilities and resources for both Montgomery College and the Universities at Shady Grove.

    Our schools in Montgomery County are leading the way in nationwide rankings and I will continue to work to make sure to continue that tradition of success.  This means preserving and expanding the funding for primary, secondary, and higher education, preserving retirement benefits for teachers and other employees, and continuing to build state-of-the-art learning facilities. 

  • Access to Healthcare is my Highest Priority

    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane.” 

    I spent eight years on the Health and Government Operations Committee, the primary health policy committee for the Maryland House of Delegates, where I worked to provide Marylanders with safe, affordable, and effective access to expanded healthcare services.  I believe that every Marylander deserves quality, affordable healthcare and will continue to make that my mission in Annapolis.  Currently, I serve as the Chairman to the Health and Human Resources Subcommittee on Appropriations, taking all I have learned over eight years of policy work to improve our State’s healthcare budgeting and financing.

    Even prior to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, we were examining and implementing ways to expand access to coverage and care.  One of my very first votes as a Delegate was to expand the Medicaid Program, establish the Primary Access to Care (PAC) waiver, and create a mechanism by which very small businesses could get a tax credit to insure their employees.

    With the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Maryland has moved quickly to implement Federal health care reform.  We have diligently worked to establish the Health Insurance Exchange, which has helped to provide coverage to nearly 500,000 Marylanders, bringing our uninsured rated down to 4.5%, one of the lowest in the country.  In addition, we have implemented a series of laws and regulations that will help to establish health information networks between all of your medical providers to improve efficiency and reduce medical costs.

    I have worked to improve patient safety and expand opportunities for medical access and practice.  This includes developing safety standards for plastic surgery procedures, improving medical licensure requirements, expanded access to medical facilities, and creating standards for online mental health services.

    I continue to work to provide medical care and coverage to Marylanders with autism and other developmental disabilities, and those struggling with addiction and mental health issues, as well as protect Planned Parenthood funding, crack down on pharmaceutical price gouging, create equity for contraception utilization, and have been a vocal supporter of legalizing medical cannabis.

    With health care access currently being threatened in Washington, I am working on making sure Marylanders continue to get access to affordable care, and am always exploring to new ways to achieve universal coverage.  With some of the highest per capita costs for medical care, and some of the worst health care outcomes in the industrialized world, I believe that there are better ways to provide for universal coverage, and I am open to any and all new ideas on how to achieve it.

    I will continue to work hard to expand health care coverage to the uninsured, work to provide quality health care to our most vulnerable, and make sure that Maryland is ready to take full advantage of Federal health care reform.

  • Transportation

    Our region is in desperate need for new and innovative transportation and transit solutions.  Traffic is our number one detractor for improving our quality of life, as well as being a drain on the economy and a hazard to the environment.  We need to get more people out of their cars even as our population continues to grow and industry continues to expand.

    With the depletion of the State's Transportation Trust Fund, we need to find new sources of transportation revunue that is fair and equitable to all, while meeting our goals for funding our massive transportation and transit needs.

    Building the Corridor Cities Transitway (CCT) and the Purple Line will be a huge step in helping to achieve this aim.  The CCT is a critical link between UpCounty Montgomery and the Shady Grove Metro Station, and is the lynch pin in spuring hundreds of millions of dollars in new science and technology development in the Great Seneca Science Corridor.  The Purple Line is a vital link between east and west county that will help to take thousands of cars off of the road and provide a mass transit alternative between Bethesda, Silver Spring, and College Park. 

    Finally, the planned development of the Watkins Mills Town Center and the redevelopment in the area in and around Lakeforest Mall cannot move forward without the construction of the Watkins Mill Interchange.

    While in Annapolis, I am fighting for these and many other transportation needs
    for Montgomery County.

  • Jobs and Small Business Growth

    In these tough economic times, job growth should be one of our number one priorities.  By getting people back to work and helping small business get back on their feet is the only we will be able to turn the economy around and put money back into people’s pockets and State coffers. 

    I am proud of the many pieces of legislation I helped pass in the last few years that helped to get Marylanders back to work, such as the Job Creation and Recovery Tax Credit, providing a tax credit up to $5,000 to employers who hire unemployed Maryland resident receiving or have exhausted their unemployment benefits and legislation to reform Maryland’s unemployment trust fund improving the system and allowing us access to $126.8 million in federal stimulus funds.

    We have made serious commitments to helping to grow the Tech and Bio-Tech sectors, and have made unprecedented commitments to higher education to provide for a trained workforce, including the construction of the Bio-Tech Sciences Center at Montgomery College in Germantown and the Science Center at Montgomery College in Rockville, and helping to fund STEM programs at our public schools and universities.

    In leading the charge on the
    Job Applicant Fairness Act, I worked to help Marylanders with bad credit be able to obtain and retain employment, and worked to create opportunities for small businesses under an expansion of the Small Business Reserve Program.  I continue to work to provide more opportunities for minority-owned, women-owned, or veteran and service-disabled veteran-owned, or otherwise disadvantaged small businesses.

    Much more needs to be done, and I look forward to working with business and labor to make sure that we continue this growth.

  • Environmental Protection

    It is our responsibility to be good stewards of our environment.  My priorities include preserving our environment are the protection and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay.  The Bay is not only an ecological treasure, but is depended on by the majority of our State for food, jobs, and much, much more.  I will continue to vote to increase funding and support policies to restore the Chesapeake Bay and do what is necessary to limit run-off and waste that goes into it.

    I will also help our State to invest in alternative energy infrastructure.  Maryland has an opportunity to lead the nation in revolutionizing our energy structure to one that is cleaner and less dependant on foreign oil.  This includes developing our own source of offshore wind, promoting research into wind, solar, and other renewables, and encouraging a shift to efficient energy uses in our every day lives.

    I have helped pass legislation to regulate greenhouse gases, increase energy efficiency of buildings, require the use of environmentally friendly construction material standards for new buildings to help prevent pollutants from entering our environment and the Bay, and devote more resources to cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay.  I stood up on behalf of the University of Maryland’s Law School to make sure that they were not punished for their pursuit of a lawsuit against the polluting chicken farmer industry.

  • Public Safety & Civil Rights

    I am proud of my record in protecting the safety of our children and our community, while protecting the civil rights and liberities of all Marylanders.

    To deal with the growing problem of gangs in Maryland, I helped to pass Safe Schools Act of 2010 making our schools safer from gangs and their activities, and passed the Maryland Gang Prosecution Act of 2010, strengthening our gang laws by, among other things, making organizing, supervising, financing or managing a gang a felony.

    To protect our children from sex offenders, I helped pass legislation that increased the mandatory minimum sentence for committing a sexual offense against a victim of 13 years or younger and eliminated diminution credits for sex offenders.

    I have also protected children specifically and the public at large from looping public health and safety concerns.  I worked to eliminate harmful chemicals such as BPA from children’s products, helped to eliminate lead from products and buildings, and restricted the use of corded window blinds that have strangled children.  I continue to work on public health issues such as obesity, tobacco use, prescription drugs, and artificial tanning to ensure that the health of the public is one of my top priorities.

    I addition, I have been one of the most vocal proponents of improving and expanding the civil rights and civil liberties for all Marylanders.  I have actively worked to expand voting rights in Maryland through early voting, online registration, and continue to fight for the implementation of election-day voter registration.  I was an early and strident supporter of both the Maryland DREAM Act and Marriage Equality

    However, there are still many civil rights issues facing us that I will continue to fight for, including transgender rights, employment issues for ex-offenders, and elimination of the death penalty.

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