Helping Maryland Thrive...Together
equality for all
Regardless of race or color, gender, sexual identity or preference, age, national origin, religion, disability, veteran status, socio-economic status--or anything else that makes all of us unique--everyone should be treated with respect and dignity. Analyzing decisions through the lens of equality creates a more unified and cohesive community.
opportunity to succeed
Investing in people while they take steps to improve themselves is beneficial to our community and families. Working together to provide education and vocational training strengthens our workforce, lifts disadvantaged residents out of poverty, and provides the opportunity for all Marylanders to achieve a higher level of success.
Weighing the needs for economic and community growth with environmental and budgetary concerns is never easy. Marylanders understand the importance of preserving nature and limiting urban sprawl while seeking opportunities to expand our economy and revitalize our communities.
All Americans deserve affordable healthcare. While expanding Medicare, the ACA exchange and outreach have reduced the percentage of Marylanders without insurance down to around six percent. We need to get that number down to zero. Expanding programs that locate and educate vulnerable and uninformed populations, and provide healthcare education are critical for achieving healthcare for all of Maryland.
small business development
Large companies are great, but small businesses are a critical part of the Maryland economy. Small businesses make up slightly more than half of businesses in Maryland. Adding small businesses keeps money in the local economy, requires less infrastructural investment, and spurs innovation and competition. Helping entrepreneurs navigate regulations and obtain small business grants and loans is a win-win for growing communities.
Helping formerly incarcerated people rebuild their lives reduces recidivism rates and leads to safer communities. The Justice Reinvestment Act is critical to achieving this goal by improving substance abuse and mental health treatment for inmates as well as offering incentives directed toward changing behavior. More work needs to be done to improve education and training opportunities necessary to reintegrate former inmates into society.
PROBLEMS & SOLUTIONS
PROBLEM: We are investing $500M per year ($175M each from Maryland, Virginia, and D.C.), yet we are not incentivizing use of Metro. Instead, prices go up, service and safety go down as ridership declines year after year.
SOLUTION: Offer discounted rates to students and low-income workers. In D.C., high school students can buy a monthly pass for $30, and college students get unlimited ridership while in school through an expanded UPass program. These programs not only bring added revenue to Metro, but also develop mass transit habits among the next generation. Providing discounts to low-income workers will create opportunities for higher paying jobs in more affluent areas without losing the difference in wages to high transportation costs.
COLLEGE EDUCATION / VOCATIONAL TRAINING
PROBLEM: We are excluding our most marginalized residents in higher education opportunities by not providing financial aid for remedial classes, and through the most recent requirements under recent bill promising free college tuition at 2-year colleges. By requiring that students take 12 credit hours and have only been out of high school for two years, we are not providing access for working parents or older students. This bill also ignores the barriers of attending college and vocational training among the working poor and parents.
SOLUTION: Expand financial aid to include coverage for remedial classes. Allow students to take part-time class loads and eliminate the two year out of high school rule. Expand financial aid for books, transportation, daycare for working parents, and other wrap-around services.
HEALTH CARE (MEDICaID)
PROBLEM: We currently have a Medicaid system that is tiered, capped at low income levels, and does not incentivize Medicaid participants to make wise, economic decisions. Our current Medicaid system kicks out dependents at 19.
SOLUTION: Implement a sliding scale for Medicaid premiums as a percentage of income, and require all recipients to pay graduated copays for their PCP, specialists and hospitalization. Tiered copays will be capped at reasonable levels (similar to insurance companies); however, low-income participants will pay nominal graduated copays ($5, $10, $20)*. Expand Medicaid to cover through age 26 for dependents.
*Contrary to popular belief, current Medicaid recipients want to contribute. People do not want handouts, they want dignity; they want to be Medicaid participants not recipients. A copay waiver would exempt participants receiving mental health services, who suffer from chronic conditions and/or require ongoing care, or cannot afford copays.
SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
PROBLEM: Maryland, and Montgomery County specifically, fails to support businesses that serve as the gateway to employment. Businesses are moving to Virginia, which consistently ranks in the top 15 states for small business friendliness and growth.
SOLUTION: In addition to supporting biotechnology, cybersecurity and other businesses that bring high-paying jobs, we must support small businesses that hire and train entry-level employees. Investing in resources for employee-owned businesses and vocational training will empower a swath of people currently unemployed or underemployed, and will strengthen our workforce and tax base from the ground up.