For the undocumented members of our community, time is of the essence. We must do everything we can to make sure they are protected and feel free to continue their lives a valued members of our community. This law is a simple first step toward that goal. If this law is passed not by the time I'm elected, it will be my first order of business.
A short walk down Georgia Ave will quickly clue you in to a couple of things about district 18; 1) the traffic is bad and, 2) our community is very diverse. This diversity makes for an inviting community in which everyone can thrive. At the heart of it all are our small business owners and restaurateurs, many of whom are immigrants.
Immigrants have been, and continue to be, important members of our community. For me personally, I have been blessed and proud to call them co-workers, friends and family. I’m sure many of us in district 18 can say the same. Our community has certainly been made better and stronger as result of the contributions they have made. This is why I believe vehemently that we must stand up against any and all efforts to limit their rights, curtail their engagement in society or add unnecessary burden to their lives. Further, we must ensure that their rights in the work place are upheld to make sure they aren’t taken advantage of. If elected, indeed- even if I’m not, I pledge to use whatever means are at my disposal via the office or otherwise to fight for their rights-which are our rights. I will work diligently to pass the Maryland Trust Act in order to help build and repair trust between local law enforcement and the community. I will work diligently to support and strengthen the Maryland Dream Act in order to make sure that each and every child of immigrants in Maryland has access to same quality education as all children in Maryland should.
It's no secret; we have an affordable housing problem in our district and we need to address this problem on both ends- through public programs and by incentivizing more private development. If elected, I will work tirelessly to address this problem.
We have a great public school system but the growth we are experiencing is pushing it to the limits. We need more funding from Annapolis to support one of Maryland's largest school systems. If I elected, I will use every tool a available to direct more funding back to our school system.
This includes making universal pre-K a reality for all our children, helping to create a more comprehensive curriculum that ensures students have access to STEM education as early as kindergarten, ensuring teachers have a stronger voice in our operational decisions, increasing food security by streamlining the application process, and creating more language immersion programs to break down barriers to access, further integrate our schools and build a greater sense of community.
If you have been to downtown Wheaton recently, then you have seen the rapid pace of development in our district. You will notice that most of the new buildings are mixed use residential buildings. That is good news given that our region is facing a housing shortage- particularly a shortage of affordable housing. I believe the best way to address the affordable housing problem is to create more housing.
To do that, we need to keep Montgomery County as one the most attractive areas to develop. Additionally, we need to make sure our small business thrive in order to keep or unemployment rate low and our quality of life high. We must also or workers and our unions to make sure the wages in Montgomery County are livable see that all citizens enjoy the fruits of our success.
Therefore, If elected, I will: 1) work with organized labor, businesses and educators to develop and promote solutions that foster viable workforce for both present for future opportunities, 2) I will work to simplify the regulatory burden and process on small business and, 3) help incubate and promote new business ventures in Montgomery County.
Montgomery County has a long standing reputation in the region of being the best place to settle, start a family and open a business. As a result, the county’s population is growing exponentially as people continue to choose to move here for our great schools and our diverse community. In order to make sure that this growth serves to the benefit all, we need better and increased transportation networks. The Bus Rapid Transit projects (Viers Mill Road) are a great start and I support their implementation.
Further, the most congested roads in District 18 are state highways. As development and the ensuing construction continue, the congestion (see Georgia Ave on a Saturday afternoon!) gets progressively worse. In order to mitigate this, the State and the County must work together on a transportation policy that will prioritize moving people as safely and efficiently as possible. If elected, I pledge to be an active and reliable resource to advocate, address and elevate the concerns of the community with State and County agencies to make sure our needs are met.
Additionally, I am a strong proponent of the Purple Line which, in the long run, will help to alleviate the high levels of traffic congestion affecting our commuters. However, during construction, there will be a myriad of road closures and other projects that will make traveling our roads more difficult. In order to mitigate this, I believe that elected officials in our district must maintain constant communication with impacted neighborhoods and work to increase coordination between State and County agencies responsible for these projects.
I have been and continue to be metro rider for my daily commute. All of us have a story (or several!) that highlights the difficulties of metro. While WMATA has been working diligently to stay on top of these issues, the system has unnecessary hindrances to getting ahead. One of these is the lack of a dedicated funding stream which is the norm across the country for transit systems of similar size and use. As such, I strongly support a dedicated funding stream for WMATA.
Montgomery County has access to great parks and trials for those of us who enjoy outdoor activities. Additionally, Maryland has access to great freshwater ways, the Atlantic coast and the ever important Chesapeake. Yet, all of these treasures are under threat from the catastrophic impacts of climate change. To combat the effects of climate change, we must strengthen regulations to keep our air and water clean and improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods. We should also focus on policies that make Maryland a leader renewable energy thereby creating a sustainable future.
Therefore, if elected, I will work to: 1) prevent offshore drilling of the Atlantic coast of Maryland, 2) support our efforts to enact the goals set forth in the Paris Agreement, 3) support efforts to clean and improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay, 4) advocate policies and practices that promote sustainable infrastructure and, 5) advocate that Maryland divest from fossil fuels.