The League of Women Voters’ online Voters’ Guide for Maryland is now available at www.vote411.org. Here are my specific thoughts on their questions.
QUALIFICATIONS: How does your experience prepare you for the duties of this office?
I am actively involved in our community, serving on many boards doing public service. As an entrepreneur, I have created jobs and done business in every county in Maryland and in countries around the world. I am effective at collaborating with others and getting things done. My experience in business and communications will help me represent Ellicott City as we prepare for our future.
REDISTRICTING: What changes, if any, do you support in the process for drawing congressional and legislative district lines in Maryland?
It’s time to stop gerrymandering. Drawing legislative districts is a civic process. It should not be a political process. Elected offices do not belong to political parties; they belong to the people. We need an independent commission that uses demographic data — that does not include voter party affiliation. Politicians should not select voters; voters should pick the politicians.
ENVIRONMENT: What are the most significant environmental challenges and how will you address them?
Over development causes deforestation and water pollution. The Forest Conservation Act needs improvement to preserve and protect our water ways. I will work to increase renewable electricity standards and grow Clean Energy Jobs that transition us from fossil fuel-generated carbon emissions. I will support expanded recycling efforts to reduce trash. I will be a champion for the environment.
DISCRIMINATION: What policies will you support to address discrimination based on race, gender, religion, disability, or poverty?
The pay gap for women and minorities must be eliminated. Employers should show that they are paying employees equally. Equal pay for equal work must become the law of the land. As a member of the newly founded Housing Center in Howard County, I have worked for “intentional housing integration” that encourages inclusion and diversity. Wage equity and fair housing policy will reduce discrimination.
EDUCATION: What education policies would you support and how would you fund them?
Pre-K, especially for children from economically disadvantaged homes, should be expanded because the benefits of early childhood education echo for a lifetime. We need free community college for eligible students. We also need lifelong learning opportunities for adults to make career changes. I will fight to get the millions of dollars from Casinos “locked in” as a revenue source for education.
HEALTH CARE: What are the most significant health challenges facing Maryland and how will you address them?
We need to provide health insurance coverage for all through a “single payer” system that will reduce wasted dollars and ensure that everyone gets good care. We need to expand opportunities for mental health services and control unjustifiable drug costs. Also, the home health care industry, which now lacks trained personnel to service seniors and others, needs help to grow.
TRANSPORTATION: What are your transportation priorities and how should they be funded?
We need affordable, accessible, effective and safe mass transit to get cars off the road. We need a regional transit system to connect Howard County to Baltimore and Washington. These long term investments will be a boon for jobs and business which will pay for its development. Also, quality of life will improve as people get from home, work, school and recreation more conveniently and quickly