CORRECTION (9/9/19 10:26 a.m.): The name of applicant Jessica Klaitman was mistakenly reported as Kaitlin Klaitman. The editorial staff of the JT apologize for the error.
Towson residents Cheryl Gottlieb and Jessica Klaitman threw their hats in the ring last week as applicants for the position of delegate in District 42A when Steven W. Lafferty (D-Baltimore County) steps down this month.
A member of the House of Delegates since 2007, Lafferty is leaving to serve as chief sustainability officer for County Executive John Olszewski, Jr. His position will be filled by appointment rather than election, Klaitman explained in a Facebook post on Aug. 6. “Applications to fill the role will be submitted to the Baltimore County Democratic State Central Committee for consideration by the district representatives and the full body, and a nomination for a replacement will be made,” she wrote. “The Central Committee’s nomination then will be sent to Governor Hogan for appointment.”
Klaitman, 46, is a yoga instructor, licensed social worker, and activist. She previously worked as a social worker for the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services and as director of UJA-Federation of New York before that. She is a leader in Baltimore Women United, the Stoneleigh Cooperative, Come As You Are (a progressive Jewish women’s social justice group), the Baltimore County Advocates Coalition, Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. She is passionate about voter education and getting underrepresented groups engaged in the political and electoral process and community organizing around issues such as education, equal pay, the environment, and community development.
Gottlieb, 34, is an Advocacy Specialist for Maryland Department of Health’s Developmental Disabilities Administration, where she troubleshoots issues that individuals have with accessing DDA services. She is a former vice-chair of Disability Rights Maryland’s mental health stakeholder advisory council. She was a leader in efforts by ADAPT (American Disabled for Attendant Programs Today, a grassroots disability rights advocacy group in the US) to save the Affordable Care Act.
“A Blueprint for Healthy Communities,” Gottlieb’s five-point plan based on economic, environmental and social justice, includes advocating for new school buildings and Kirwan-recommended community schools, reducing out-of-pocket
medical expenses for families, and changing Maryland’s minimum wage law so that it is indexed to inflation and addresses tipped workers.
Both women mention their advocacy for gun control legislation in their platforms.