EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION
As a former teacher, I know the importance of education and have spent my entire career working for our schools. My track record is clear: I don’t just talk about what needs to be accomplished, I work to get it done. Over the years I have fought for policies and resources to improve our schools. Being a leader means understanding that success is never achieved alone, but by working with others and building coalitions to make positive change. I have the experience we need on the Council to form good working relationships with the School Board and engaging teachers, parents, and students.
We have a lot to be proud of in Montgomery County but we have real work to do. The achievement gap has gotten worse, not better. We face challenges in keeping class sizes down because our county is growing at about 2500 children a year. We need to work to ensure the schools grow along with the community.
We need to make smart investments. Pre-Kindergarten, is especially important in low performing schools but, it is also a program which should be county-wide. The evidence is clear: the more we invest to make sure students get a good start, the better the outcomes in middle school, high school and beyond.
We have seen real success with community schools. Making schools the anchors of our community, we enable the health of the entire community. If parents are lacking the basic needs, we can be certain the children are, too. When there is integration with social services for parents, we can improve outcomes for the entire family.
I have experience in working for real solutions in education. Along with my Democratic colleagues, we fought to make college more affordable by freezing tuition and limiting tuition increases at Maryland’s public universities. Our work has taken tuition at Maryland’s public colleges from the 7th most expensive to the middle of the pack. But I know the dream of a college degree is still out of reach for too many of our young people. I have been working with my colleagues to develop a plan to make community college more affordable, with the goal of eventually ensuring free tuition to any student willing to put in the work.
PROTECTING OUR ENVIRONMENT
I will work to protect the Agriculture Reserve and stand up for smart development in the county. My long track record in Annapolis of working to protect our environment speaks for itself. Last legislative session, working with my colleagues, I co-sponsored the bill and fought to ensure the State of Maryland banned the dangerous practice of Hydraulic Fracturing, also known as “fracking”. I have a strong record in Annapolis of working to protect our environment, receiving a 100% score from the Maryland League of Conservation Voters the past three years.
It is not just the big issues on which we need to focus. The Council needs to protect our open space and parks, from the AG reserve to the small neighborhood parks. I will work to make sure we are committed to making our public parks clean and safe for all to enjoy.
INVESTING IN TRANSPORTATION
We have a great county and great infrastructure that we need to constantly fight to protect and make investments to improve. Right now, our citizens waste too much time sitting in traffic. I will bring to the Council the experience to work with our state and federal leaders to deliver more resources in our county. We need to invest more in the Bus Rapid Transit, Corridor Cities Transit, MARC trains, address I-270 gridlock, and widen Norbeck Road, Routes 355 and 27. We need to fight to improve Metro and make sure the Purple line is built. I will work everyday to make sure Montgomery County gets its fair share of transportation dollars.
EXPANDING ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES
In the 2017, I was a proud co-sponsor of the Earned Sick Leave legislation and will vote to override the Governor’s shortsighted veto of this important bill. Too many of our neighbors have to choose between going to work sick, sending a sick child to school or giving up a day’s pay. Growing up we were taught if you work hard you can succeed. That’s why I believe we need to reward hard work with living wages and basic protections on the job.
We need to make sure everyone has a voice. Over my career I have sponsored many collective bargaining bills because having a voice on the job created the middle class. Last session, I was the lead sponsor on a bill that protected the fair representation of employees. I co-sponsored bills to ensure collective bargaining rights at our community colleges and expand collective bargaining rights to the Maryland Environmental Service.