As a member of the House Judiciary Committee, I will continue to work to make our communities safer. I am sponsoring legislation this year that would close a loophole in Maryland law that currently allows criminals to get away with certain gun crimes because the penalty for those crimes was omitted.
Along with Delegate C.T. Wilson, I have fought for years to bring Maryland into the majority of states that require all car passengers to wear seat belts. This law would reduce the number of injuries and deaths on our roads and reduce public health costs born by the state.
I want to bring more jobs to our community so that our workers do not have to commute long distances in order to work well-paying jobs. Creating jobs locally will also help to strengthen our tax base so that Montgomery County and the State of Maryland can afford vital public services and continue to maintain one of the best school systems in the nation.
As Vice President for Business Development of a Maryland company, I know what it takes to create jobs and stimulate economic growth, and I am working to put my experience to work for our community. Creating jobs and strengthening our economy must be Maryland’s top priority right now, and we need to be thinking about new and smarter ways to move our state forward. I will work to bring more high-growth, high-value industries to Maryland—industries like biotechnology, nanotechnology and “green” technology.
Maryland needs to cultivate its small businesses, which create two out of every three jobs in our state and drive our economy. This is why I testified before the Maryland General Assembly on behalf of the Job Creation Tax Credit, which Governor O’Malley signed into law.
I grew up here in District 19 and believe that we must fight to protect our excellent public schools, universities and community colleges—especially during this time of severe budget cuts. High-quality education is the key to success for our children and also maintains a highly skilled workforce that attracts businesses and brings jobs to Maryland.
As your delegate, I will continue to work hard to ensure that the next generation of Maryland students receives the best education our state can provide, and that begins with making sure our schools, universities and community colleges get their fair share of funding.
Especially in the current fiscal crisis, I think we need to repeal many of the special interest giveaways and loopholes Annapolis has created and take a hard look at the way Maryland is spending our tax dollars.
That is why I have co-sponsored legislation that would remove several special interest and luxury tax breaks that Maryland just cannot afford right now, including repealing the Gold Bullion Tax Break, which exempts large amounts of gold coins and bullion from sales tax.
Measures like these alone will not close Maryland's large budget deficit, but they are steps in the right direction. It is going to be difficult to put our state budget back on track—I am under no illusion of that—but we must take on this challenge and make sure that Maryland is able to fund our community's real priorities.
Additionally, I will work to make our government more open and transparent. That is why I have co-sponsored legislation to limit the "lump-sum" loophole and require political candidates to disclose all campaign contributions they receive.
Severe traffic congestion continues to be one of the greatest threats to quality of life in many parts of District 19. I believe we need to take a comprehensive approach to reducing traffic that includes expanding mass transit options and promoting mixed-use development so that we can live, work and shop without major traffic delays.
I support the expansion of mass transit options like bus rapid transit lines in District 19 and the Purple Line and believe that Maryland needs to keep its commitment to funding Metro.
I believe that revenue raised expressly to maintain and build Maryland's roads (e.g. the gasoline tax) should remain dedicated for that purpose. That is why I co-sponsored legislation that would place the Transportation Trust Fund in a lockbox so that cannot be raided for other spending except in emergencies.
We should close the gaps in the statewide smart-growth policies to prevent sprawl in overdeveloped areas of Montgomery County and encourage mixed-use building around Metro stations.
While I believe the current ICC plans have several significant flaws, construction is nearly complete in several sections, and we must work together to mitigate the effects of construction and use on our community’s residents. About 15 percent of the ICC’s overall budget ($370 million) has been set aside for environmental projects, and, as Delegate, I will work to make sure these funds remain dedicated to helping our community and that these projects are completed on time.
Even before the BP oil disaster, global climate change and energy security were two of the greatest challenges facing the United States and Maryland. The global climate crisis, however, is more than an urgent scientific imperative; it is also a tremendous economic opportunity to secure America’s leadership in creating a low-carbon global economy and our future prosperity. To help get to these goals, Maryland must continue to invest in renewable energy and seek ways to make infrastructure investments as efficient as possible. And we need to be willing to confront these challenges with some innovative solutions.
As your Delegate, I will continue working to expand the use of alternative energy and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and keep Maryland on the path to becoming a national leader in renewable energy. I have co-sponsored legislation that would require Maryland energy companies to make long term commitments to purchasing renewable wind energy.
As a law clerk to Attorney General Doug Gansler, I worked on the AG’s plan to promote a market-based mechanism to convert 500 million pounds of Maryland chicken waste into clean energy. It may sound unconventional, but innovative ideas like this can help to turn potential sources of pollution into clean and renewable energy while creating jobs in Maryland.
I also support investment in public transportation initiatives and city planning measures that will ensure developments are centered around mixed-use facilities with access to public transportation and an increase in access to public transit in Montgomery County and across the state in order to reduce traffic and pollution.