Legislative District 11 Interviews

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Questions for Legislative District 11

  1. For new candidates: Why did you decide to run and what are your credentials?
  2. For incumbents: Why did you decide to run again? What are some of your recent achievements?
  3. Highlight/explain three of the most important policies in your platform.
  4. What is the most pressing unmet need in your district and how do you plan to address it?
  5. What policies or programs have you authored or support that would, or do, benefit the Jewish community?
  6. Why should residents vote for you? How do you stand out from your opponents?

DISCLAIMER: Some responses have been edited for content and clarity.


SEN. BOBBY ZIRKIN

Why did you decide to run again? What are some of your recent achievements?

For 20 years, I have served the great residents of District 11 in the House and Senate and currently serve as Senator. I am proud of our record of accomplishment and am running for re-election to continue that progress.  We have a lot more to do.  The following is a brief list of some of our major achievements for which I have advocated:  stronger laws against drunk driving, domestic violence, cyberbullying, and human trafficking, marriage equality, reasonable gun safety measures, the Justice Reinvestment Act, facilitating the transfer of Rosewood to Stevenson University, major crime reduction package focused on violent offenders, education funding, stronger child abuse laws, and banning fracking in Maryland.

Highlight/explain three of the most important policies in your platform.

Protecting Children from Emerging Threats: Although we have made major strides in the area of protecting children, much more must be done.  Maryland’s cyberbullying law, although better than most in the nation, is in need of reform, including a focus on protecting children from bullies and predators with changing technologies such as social media.  Grace’s Law 2.0 was a great starting point and made it through the Senate only to be blocked in the House.  This bill is critical.  Additionally, child abuse and child abuse reporting laws are in need of reform, issues in juvenile and social services have again come to the forefront, and we must fully fund school safety initiatives such as the School Resource Officer Programs across the State.

Public Safety: Protecting our citizens has to be our top priority.  With 343 homicide in Baltimore in 2017 alone, we must continue to respond.  I chair the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, which has overseen major criminal law reform including a focus on treatment for addiction and mental health issues, reasonable gun safety legislation, parole and probation reform, and greater sentencing accountability for violent offenders.  We must continue to take a holistic approach with increased funding for community strategies and community policing, expanded expungement opportunities for those who truly get back on track, and holding accountable criminals who commit violent crimes.  We must further strengthen the juvenile services system which has clear gaps in both treatment and accountability.

Protecting our Environment: One of my proudest achievements was leading the successful fight to ban fracking in Maryland.  We followed that up last session by placing a huge roadblock in the way of offshore drilling off of Maryland’s coast.  We have much work to do, including holding the oil and gas industry strictly liable for damage done by their infrastructure, including pipelines, greater use of incentives for clean energy, higher goals for the use of cleaner technologies and energies, combating global warming, and a constitutional right to a clean environment including clean air and water.  Leaving a better environment for our children is a moral issue.

What is the most pressing unmet need in your district and how do you plan to address it?

Baltimore County, and specifically our area, have significant needs in areas of education and recreational opportunities. Although the County is primarily responsible for funding these initiatives, we as state legislators have worked hard to assist.  I am particularly proud that we were finally able to transfer the enormous Rosewood property to Stevenson University.  The University has committed to using the property for educational and recreational opportunities for both the student body and the community.  I am further excited at the prospects of the use of the vacant Pikesville Armory for recreation, culture, and arts and am excited to be Chairman of the Commission that will recommend its future use.  We will continue to fully fund our schools from the State, and need to insure that our County lives up to its obligations for school construction and renovation, and for programs such as class size reduction.

What policies or programs have you authored or support that would, or do, benefit the Jewish community?

Issues such as education, environmental protection, and healthcare, and public safety discussed above benefit all communities, including the Jewish community. Specifically, the previously discussed focus on crime reduction, including successful passage of the Justice Reinvestment Act, the Crime Reduction package, and the like has a direct impact on our community as we are affected on a daily basis by the increasing criminal activity.  I am proud to have worked closely with the Baltimore Jewish Council on a significant number of bills, including child abuse, education funding, and a bill I sponsored to insure that Maryland stood firmly against the BDS movement and the boycott of Israel, a movement I find to be abhorrent. Over the years, I am further proud to have sponsored and assisted in funding critical initiatives including but not limited to Jewish Vocational Services, the Talmudical Academy, the Gordon Center, and programs at Sinai Hospital.

Why should residents vote for you? How do you stand out from your opponents?

For 20 years, I have served the incredible residents of District 11. I hope that people know me as a hard-working, non-partisan, policy-oriented public servant who truly cares about finding solutions to challenging problems.  In addition to my legislative duties, I am proud to have spent 20 years trying to educate and inspire the younger generation on the value of public service.  We have achieved an incredible amount together over these years on very important issues such as drunk driving, domestic violence, violent crime, protecting our environment, providing affordable healthcare, and educating our children.  Far too often these days, candidates for office spend their time tearing down opponents but have little to say about what they would do.  I believe that elections should be about what a candidate has done and what they hope to accomplish in the future.  I hope that my achievements over the years, my position of leadership in our Senate, my record of public service, and most importantly, our vision for moving forward on so many issues is what this election is all about.

 

SHELDON H. LASKIN

For new candidates: Why did you decide to run and what are your credentials?

I am running for the Maryland Senate because I believe the incumbent, who has run unopposed for twelve years, no longer represents the interests and values of the 11th District. It is not healthy to democracy to have any legislator continually run unopposed for reelection. Furthermore, I believe Senator Zirkin is increasingly out of touch with the values of his constituency to foster social and economic justice for all District 11 residents and, by virtue of his chairmanship of the powerful Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, all Marylanders.

I am an attorney, husband, father and 20 year Pikesville resident.

I began my legal career representing migrant and seasonal farmworkers in Florida. I came to Baltimore in 1981 to accept a staff attorney position with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. I then worked in private practice, where I had the honor and privilege to argue – and win – an employment discrimination case in the United States Supreme Court. I was an Assistant Attorney General under Joe Curran, where I represented the Maryland Comptroller of the Treasury. For the past 20 years, I was counsel for the Multistate Tax Commission, a national organization of state revenue departments and attorneys general. Among my responsibilities was drafting model state tax statutes and regulations for consideration by our membership. I will use my expertise in state taxation to help modernize and simplify Maryland’s tax system.

Highlight/explain three of the most important policies in your platform.

All workers deserve a livable wage, indexed to inflation, and reasonable protections, including paid sick leave. All Marylanders deserve high quality health care at reasonable cost. Maryland should move towards single payer health care to eliminate the role of for-profit insurance in health care financing.

Maryland needs to regain its first rank position in public education quality. There must be adequate funding in all school districts to assure that every student gets an equal right to a sound public education. We have neglected vocational education for too long. Not only does training in fields like plumbing, electrical work, carpentry, and HVAC provide lucrative employment opportunities, but these experts build stronger neighborhoods. The state needs to expand existing vocational-tech programs, to refine them for the 21st century and to adequately fund them.

To promote public safety, the criminal justice system must turn away from the failed strategy of mass incarceration and toward community-based policing, a focus on rehabilitation, and effective reentry services. The cash bail system, which punishes the poor for their economic status and releases dangerous individuals with financial resource, is inherently flawed and must be replaced with a system based on risk assessment and pretrial services.

What is the most pressing unmet need in your district and how do you plan to address it?

The greatest unmet need in the district is accountability.

I am a Represent Maryland Small Money Certified Candidate. With the exception of two contributions from two union locals, my campaign has been 85% funded by small donations from voters. I am not accountable to special interests. I am accountable only to the voters.

What policies or programs have you authored or support that would, or do, benefit the Jewish community.

The Jewish values of community, fairness, and pursuit of justice guide my campaign and will guide my work as Senator. Jewish communities benefit from a society where every member is treated fairly and with respect and dignity, including marginalized communities like immigrants—indeed most American Jews, including me, are descended from immigrants. I will work tirelessly to ensure that all residents of District 11 and the state of Maryland feel safe and protected.

The Jewish community has grown more diverse in recent decades, in terms of national origin, race, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The Jewish community is also subject to the same forces that negatively impact all communities, including drug and alcohol dependence, domestic abuse, and poverty. In my social justice work both with Baltimore Hebrew Congregation and with Jews United for Justice, I have met and worked with members of many segments of the very diverse Jewish community. I think this work gives me a solid foundation to act to bridge differences between those segments and to foster cooperation in addressing common needs.  Such cooperation is essential to maintain a sense of a unified community among those diverse segments.

Why should residents vote for you? How do you stand out from your opponents?

Throughout my legal career, I have been mindful that the law must be to enhance social and economic justice or it becomes an instrument of oppression. Whether working with migrant and seasonal farmworkers, immigrants or employees that have faced discrimination in the workplace. I have been mindful that the strength of any society is measured by how it treats the least among us. On all issues, I would be mindful of the need to advance social and economic justice in all laws. Laws that are not predicated on justice perpetuate injustice.

 

AMY BLANK

Why did you decide to run and what are your credentials?

The day after the presidential election, when we had lost the White House, the Congress, and possibly the Supreme Court, I knew that the only recourse we had to protect decades of progress was through our state legislatures. As a lobbyist for Planned Parenthood, the Baltimore Jewish Council and Advocates for Children and Youth, I have been our community’s advocate in Annapolis and in coalition with others, we never lost a piece of legislation I was responsible for.

I worked for historic campaigns and causes that have changed the face of American politics: Barbara Mikulski for U.S. Senate, Barack Obama for President, Hillary Clinton for President, and Marriage Equality. As an educator at University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University for ten years, I trained students to create social change movements.

If I am elected to serve, I will use my knowledge and ability to create positive results for our community, our state, and our country.

Highlight three of the most important policies in your platform.

Knocking on doors over the past 16 months, I have had conversations with more than 4,000 constituents and listened to their concerns. The three issues I heard repeated over and over were Education Reform, Public Safety, and Health Care.

Education Reform: I will work to implement and fund the Kirwan Commission and expand its scope, by making curriculum more relevant to middle schoolers and providing vocational training, entrepreneurship programs and public service academies for non-college-bound high school students, so that all graduates are well prepared for a living wage career.

Public Safety: I will improve Public Safety by re-envisioning community policing to include recruiting, training, and retaining officers and emergency personnel from the community to work within the community, and I will advocate strictly enforcing and expanding gun safety laws.

Health Care: I will work to improve health care affordability and accessibility by supporting Medicare For All.

What is the most pressing unmet need in your district and how do you plan to address it?

In my conversations with over 4,000 constituents, education was identified as the most pressing need for our district. I support the Kirwan Commission as the blueprint for education reform, and recommend increasing its scope to provide vocational training, entrepreneurship programs and fire, police and EMS academies for non-college-bound high school students. Additional funding would come from gambling and stadium authority proceeds, online sales taxes, the redirection of funds from obsolete or redundant state programs, and savings from the implementation of best procurement practices.

Starting with early childhood, we need to make sure children enter school healthy and ready to learn, with robust early childhood education programs and wrap-around healthcare services. In the primary grades, teachers need the freedom and resources to teach to all learners, with experiential learning opportunities to help students develop their innate curiosity and love of learning. By middle school, curriculum should be tailored to subject matter that is relevant to the students’ own lives, to sustain their interest. In high school, students should begin to discover their passions and unique potential, so that both college and non-college bound students can attain living wage jobs and successful careers.

What policies or programs have you authored or support that would or do benefit the Jewish community?

Authored and passed:

  • Insured safe, unfettered access to women’s reproductive health medical facilities
  • Secured $2.5 million in the state budget to resettle Soviet Jewry
  • Formed a coalition of children and seniors to protect them from harm, neglect, and abuse
  • Almost doubled the childhood immunization rate in Maryland by passing the Grandparent Bill, which gives grandparents and close relatives the authority to take their children for immunization with parental permission
  • Established Sub-Cabinet for Children, Youth and Families and created a pooled fund from the four child-serving state agencies to better serve the needs of at-risk children and youth, and their families
  • Transitioned the state from institutional care to community-based services for individuals with disabilities
  • Innovated program to encourage promising start-ups in Maryland by providing venture capital from State Pension Fund at a profitable rate of return

If elected, I will:

Implement the Kirwan Commission and expand its scope to make curriculum more relevant to middle schoolers and provide vocational training, entrepreneurship programs and public service academies for non-college-bound students, so that all graduates are well prepared for a living wage career.

Improve public safety by re-envisioning community policing, to include recruiting, training, and retaining officers and emergency personnel from the community, to work within the community. I will strictly enforce and expand gun safety laws.

Expand quality, affordable healthcare by providing Medicare For All

Why should residents vote for you? How do you stand out from your opponents?

As Barbara Mikulski says in her most recent video, “Amy knows policy, politics, and people.” My experience as an educator and social change agent has prepared me in those three arenas to address complex issues, communicate effectively with constituents and peers, and collaborate with others to be an effective legislator.

I am uniquely qualified to represent the 11th District because of my understanding of how the legislature works from years of advocacy in Annapolis, my experience as an educator and policy strategist, and my ability to work collaboratively to produce positive results.

 

JON S. CARDIN

For new candidates: Why did you decide to run and what are your credentials?
For incumbents: Why did you decide to run again? What are some of your recent achievements?

I am in the unique position of being a non-incumbent with a proven record. I served as 11th District Delegate for three terms, from 2003 through 2014. And now, I reflect on the radical shift in our political climate, noting how everything has become more polarizing and complex since I left office. Sharing this unfolding stress with my neighbors, I feel charged to again serve the 11th District constituents.

My passion and ability emerge from significant policy experience and solid legal and legislative accomplishments. With a UMBC Master’s in Public Policy, an 18-year law career and a government relations practice, I have demonstrated the educational foundation, specialized experience, strategic planning and managerial skills to reignite confidence in our political systems and provide positive results.

Furthermore, during my tenure as delegate, I defended constitutional rights and championed causes to build a thriving, safe and empowered Maryland. For over a decade, I joined statewide leaders to vigorously fight for civil rights and equality for all Marylanders – even the most vulnerable. A tireless advocate for our youth, I sponsored the nation’s toughest anti-cyber bullying law. Working to protect consumers, I took on big corporations, increasing penalties for companies who play fast and loose with consumer credit information. And, as an avid protector of the Chesapeake Bay, and Maryland’s unique natural treasures, I implemented incentives to expand solar power, hybrid technologies and bio-solid renewable fuel sources. I plan to do this again!

Highlight/explain three of the most important policies in your platform.

My platform is built on dedication to Maryland’s citizens, including former priorities that are still of critical concern:

Securing Equal Rights for All Marylanders. No matter your race, gender, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or identity – you deserve an equal opportunity to fulfill your potential and succeed in our state. This includes fully funding our education budget and fighting discrimination emerging in areas ranging from reproductive health to allocation of resources for under-served communities to our most sacred of civil liberties—the right to vote.

Protecting Maryland Families. In a rapidly changing world, it is critical to develop modern laws that address emerging threats to our families and children. One example of this is monitoring cyber bullying, which I tackled by authoring Grace’s Law in 2014. In addition, I support common-sense measures to protect Marylanders from gang and gun violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking, and I will lead the fight against predatory lending practices that hurt Maryland families.

Protecting Maryland’s Environment. We owe it to our children to leave Maryland’s environment in better shape than we found it, and to build the infrastructure for continued sustainability for future generations. Not only do I lead by example by living in a carbon-neutral home, I have and will support legislation dedicated to improving the Chesapeake and reducing carbon footprints. I have earned a greater than 97% lifetime voting record with pro-environmental groups.

What is the most pressing unmet need in your district and how do you plan to address it?

There are many needs, ranging from addiction treatment to public transportation improvements to developing and preserving green spaces, but perhaps most pressing is the enhancement of public education. I support increases to the budget as proposed by the Kirwan Commission. But funding alone does not lead to excellence in education. It is equally important to develop new recruitment efforts that lead to the hiring of strong, motivated teachers. As a delegate on the Ways and Means committee, I supported this goal and I will continue the effort to rank Maryland #1 in public education. With a personal background in teaching and two daughters of my own, I understand that a strong education leads to a bright future. If elected, I will work to find innovative solutions, raising our schools to a higher standard of excellence for the community.

What policies or programs have you authored or support that would, or do, benefit the Jewish community?

Below are just a few of my issues wherein the organized Jewish community and the BJC provided favorable testimony:

  • Iran Divestment
  • Anti – BDS
  • Business Equity for Kosher Wines
  • Full Funding of the Developmental Disability Administration
  • Comprehensive Campaign Finance Reform
  • Revenge Porn Criminalization: Your daughter’s ex-boyfriend, in retribution and without permission, posts a compromising picture of her. The photo hits over 500,000 computers before the victim wakes up. The particular impact on young girls surfaces with difficulty in college and getting jobs because of the powerlessness in preventing admission officers and employers from executing a simple google search revealing damaging images. Years later, children reopen the humiliating wounds when they search their name.
  • Cyber Bullying: A protective instinct shared, not just by the Jewish community, surfaced in 2014, when Grace McComas was threatened by a schoolmate on Facebook with violence, rape, and humiliation. This incident tragically demonstrated the degree to which our children were not protected in the ever-evolving dominance of technologies underlying the internet and social media. In response, I authored Grace’s Law to fight against the destructive force of cyber bullying. This law continues to evolve and be updated to lead the country in diluting the toxicity of cyber bullying. This is one example of how a father and delegate can fight to protect our children.

Why should residents vote for you? How do you stand out from your opponents?

I have a proven record of teamwork, data driven policy initiatives and effective legislative accomplishments that demonstrates my desire to fight for a stronger Baltimore County and a better Maryland. With three previous terms as a delegate there will be no learning curve. I understand how things work in Annapolis, and I will immediately focus on legislation that reflects the interests of our community. My hiatus from politics and much needed time for personal growth (and raising babies) as a “citizen” give me a fresh vitality and sense of urgency to tackle new obstacles. I understand all too well the feeling when your voice as a voter is not heard. If elected, I will work tirelessly to ensure that citizens are heard with dedication, honesty, and transparency.

 

DEL. SHELLY HETTLEMAN

Why did you decide to run again? What are some of your recent achievements?

I am completing my first term in elected office and while I am proud of what I was able to accomplish over the past four years, there is still much more to be done. I have focused a great deal of my attention on issues that matter to the residents of the 11th district, like access to higher education, access to healthcare, and economic justice. When I learned that student loan debt is the second highest form of debt, behind mortgage debt, I wanted to ease the burden on students. When I learned that the unintended pregnancy rate in Maryland is 55%, I introduced legislation to broaden access to family planning resources. When a woman who had been raped in our county had her rape kit destroyed, I introduced legislation to create a statewide standard for their maintenance. Finally, realizing that the increase in the minimum wage was going to stop this July, I introduced legislation to gradually raise it to $15 by the year 2023.  I’ve been fortunate to have a good working relationship with my colleagues in the General Assembly and worked as a team to enact legislation that addresses issues of importance to the 11th District.

Highlight/explain three of the most important policies in your platform.

Education – We need to be sure that our children have access to a high quality educational system starting from the very youngest age. The Kirwan Commission will be issuing recommendations for how we can have the very best educational system. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I want to weigh in on the expansion of pre-K, teacher training/retention, how to address the needs of struggling learners, and how better to create alternative career paths for students who do not want college.

Healthcare – We need to get the cost of our healthcare system under control. The Affordable Care Act broadened access to health care by expanding access to health insurance, yet rates continue to soar. This year’s legislature enacted a one-year “fix” to help stabilize the individual market, but next year the General Assembly will focus on creating a longer term solution to bring rates down.

Fairness and Equity – I think about how our laws and policies impact citizens and I am sensitive to their unintended consequences. When research demonstrated that too many nonviolent offenders were being held in jail merely because they could not afford to pay bail, I joined with my colleagues to petition Attorney General Brian Frosh to assess whether our system was constitutional, setting in motion a judicial rule change.  I supported legislation to provide voting rights to individuals who were formerly incarcerated, served their sentences, and were transitioning back into the community. I also authored legislation, enacted this year, to improve the sexual harassment training of our state employees, with the hope of having interactive training rather than a dry recitation of legal implications.

What is the most pressing unmet need in your district and how do you plan to address it?

A high quality education system is a pressing issue in my district. I hope to play a significant role in the education reforms the General Assembly will consider next year (see #2).  But there are also higher education issues. The General Assembly enacted legislation I sponsored to require Maryland colleges and universities to provide individualized student loan notification letters so students would better understand the terms of their debt and take out less of it. My bill to provide a tax credit for student loans to graduate students was also enacted this year. Finally, a bill I sponsored will help protect students from the predatory practices of certain for-profit and career schools, shielding them from debt if a school should declare bankruptcy, as happened a few years ago in Baltimore County, and requiring that schools disclose more information to students so they will have a better understanding of what they will get from the school.

The 11th District is the home to many older adults and as they age they face many challenges. I want older adults to be able to age in place, staying in their homes for as long as they would like, but we need better services and supports to ensure that older adults maintain strong connections to the community. A bill I introduced last year, working with CHANA, was enacted that will help protect older adults from abusive relationships.

What policies or programs have you authored or support that would, or do, benefit the Jewish community?

In addition to being a strong supporter of public education, I support a program called Boost that has helped families that send their children to Jewish day schools. The program provides financial support to lower income families whose needs are not best met by the public school system.  As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I am also an advocate for programs that address the safety and security needs, as well as infrastructure needs, of our Jewish institutions. In addition, I supported legislation to prevent the state from procuring goods or services from companies that support the boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) movement.  I have also worked with my colleagues in the 11th District to bring state capital financial resources to support the JCC, Bais Yaakov, B’nos, TA, the Jewish Teen Advancement Program, Hatzalah, and Ner Israel.

Why should residents vote for you? How do you stand out from your opponents?

I’ve lived in this community for over 40 years. I grew up here, a product of the public schools, got married and raised my children here. I know this community. And while it has changed over the years, we all still care deeply about the quality of our public schools, community safety, healthcare, and the environment.  I believe in an inclusive community and form of leadership that celebrates its growing diversity.  I am fortunate to be able to work full-time as a legislator and I’m in the community, attending events, and am very accessible.

I’ve just been able to highlight a few of my accomplishments here, but I have demonstrated my ability to get things done for the 11th District. The legislative process requires an ability to work with others to advance an agenda and I’ve been able to accomplish much in a short period of time. There is still much more to be done, and that’s why I’m asking for your support, so that I can get back to work, advocating for our community.

 

DEL. DANA STEIN

For incumbents: Why did you decide to run again? What are some of your recent achievements?

In the past four years, we have made much progress in Maryland on issues as diverse as protecting the social safety net, safeguarding the environment, and keeping higher education affordable.

I know we have much more work to do, and I believe I am in a good position to help Maryland face many of its toughest challenges: ensuring affordable health care; bringing our education system into the 21st Century; ensuring consumer protection; and protecting our environment against changes being made by the federal government. As Vice Chair of the Environment and Transportation Committee and Chair of the Baltimore County Education subcommittee, I have developed expertise in advocating for improvements to our local schools, policies to protect our air and water, and innovative ways to improve our roads and highways.

As a Delegate for our district, I have worked hard to be responsive to local concerns and to advocate for our district in Annapolis.   I’m running for re-election to continue my work on the policy challenges we will face and to be a strong advocate for the district.

My recent achievements include:

  • Securing capital funding for the Pikesville Volunteer Fire Company building renovation and for Hatzalah of Baltimore
  • Sponsoring legislation that protects Maryland from the impact of climate change, especially sea level rise
  • Working to ban fracking in Maryland and to protect the State from offshore oil drilling
  • Sponsoring legislation that protects Maryland students from scholarship award displacement – legislation that was first-of-its kind in the country
  • Sponsoring legislation that encourages more environment-friendly practices in agriculture.

Highlight/explain three of the most important policies in your platform.

  1. We must continue to stabilize Maryland’s health care exchange to ensure that hundreds of thousands of Marylanders do not lose their individual health insurance coverage.
  2. The legislature should enact the key recommendations of the Kirwan Commission. The Commission will issue its final recommendations later this year; its preliminary recommendations include support for universal pre-kindergarten, providing more career opportunities for students, and improving the accountability of school systems.
  3. Maryland must continue to make progress in cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay, as well as combat climate change that could easily erase all of the water quality gains of the past 40 years.

What is the most pressing unmet need in your district and how do you plan to address it?

One of the most pressing unmet needs is the need for capital funding to alleviate overcrowding at Summit Park Elementary School and help rebuild Dulaney High School, parts of which are in serious disrepair.

Regarding Summit Park, the Capital Improvement Plan approved by the County School Board for FY 2019 included a request for the replacement of Summit Park Elementary in the future, depending on the availability of funds.

Just as I advocated for the retrofit/renovation of Pikesville High School, I will be a strong advocate for a new building for Summit Park Elementary and Dulaney High School. I will continue to lobby the Baltimore County School Administration for these projects.

What policies or programs have you authored or support that would, or do, benefit the Jewish community?

My “bond bill” capital requests have directly benefited the Jewish Community in many respects. I secured capital funding for Hatzalah of Baltimore, Ner Israel, the Gordon Center at the JCC, and the Pikesville Volunteer Fire Company.

I have also supported funding the BOOST program, which provides tuition assistance to students who attend non-public schools. Many students who attend Jewish Day schools in the district have benefited from the BOOST program.

Why should residents vote for you? How do you stand out from your opponents?

I have proven leadership and experience. As Vice Chairman of the Environment and Transportation Committee, I am responsible for promoting legislation to protect the Chesapeake Bay, combat climate change, and protect Maryland’s natural resources. I am also a senior member of the House transportation subcommittee and have passed legislation that enhances child auto safety, protects against disclosure of consumer data by car makers, and enhances highway safety.  My Natural Resources subcommittee stopped a bill to allow statewide Sunday hunting in Maryland and has supported open space and recreation programs throughout the state.

I also serve as co-chair of the State’s Financial Education and Capability Commission, and in that role, I have successfully advocated for financial literacy instruction to be incorporated into the public school curriculum.

Locally, because of my tenure as a legislator and in my role as Chair of the Baltimore County Delegation Education Subcommittee, I have been able to advocate for needs in our district that include the renovation/rebuilding of Pikesville High School; road safety improvements—such as speed humps, turn signals where needed, and directional signs; material support for First Responders; and the transfer of Rosewood to Stevenson University to ensure that the Rosewood property is used in a manner that will have significant community benefits.

As a seasoned legislator, I am able to address many constituent concerns quickly. I have always been committed to responding to constituent needs. I work with all parties involved to achieve a resolution, whether by our State and/or County government.

In addition to my role as a legislator, I am the Executive Director of Civic Works, a nationally acclaimed “Urban Peace Corps” in Baltimore for 25 years whose mission is to strengthen Baltimore’s communities through education, skills development, and community service. Civic Works also operates a high school, which gives me unique insight into the needs and potential of young people and keeps me in touch with the needs of the Baltimore area.

Republican Jonathan Porter of Brooklandville is running unopposed as a delegate in the 11th and decided to save his ink for the general election. Democratic candidates Kate Skovron of Pikesville and Linda Dorsey-Walker of Owings Mills did not respond to emails.

The Primary Election is June 26. Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. Early voting runs June 14 through June 21 at early voting centers from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m.

 

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