Why are you running for office?
A post-COVID Maryland has left our citizens in need of solid and experienced leaders who recognize that life for everyone has changed, and so must the way we govern. Maryland needs leaders who choose to set aside differences and will work to repair systems and community spirit. Maryland muΩst return to a time when elected leaders governed from the center, listened to the people, worked across the aisle, and built community consensus.
For decades I have demonstrated my leadership skills to achieve these endeavors as a City Manager, County Councilwoman, and State Delegate. I will bring unlikely people together for a common purpose. I will use my compassion to replace anxiety with positive action. I will work to repair our economy, ensure that our community is safe, and that unnecessary burdens are lifted. I will engage people in our government decision-making so that they have a say in their life.
What is the most pressing issue in your district?
The people in my district are overburdened with inflation, and a primary frustration they express is that the government is harming their lives and not helping resolve problems. Daily life is quickly becoming unaffordable for most families. The sudden impact of rising fuel and grocery costs is leading to anxiety.
Some people felt let down and ignored. Many have expressed unhappiness with failed systems like unemployment and EZpass. They want engaged and authentic leaders who care about them.
How will you help your constituents deal with inflation?
Tax relief was my priority this session, and as a Member of the House Ways and Means Committee, I was part of the team that delivered 1.86 Billion dollars in tax relief to Marylanders.
I’m proud to have co-sponsored legislation that will help consumers cope with inflation while we are waiting for the Federal Government to take necessary action.
House Bill 1468 – Retirement and Income Tax Elimination Act of 2022 provides tax relief to all Marylanders 65 and older who earn $100,000 ($150,000 if married and filing jointly).
House Bill 288, House Bill 364, HB 1151, and House Bill 492 – All eliminate sales tax on personal care and safety products for babies, thermometers, blood pressure monitors, respirators, diabetic care products, and oral hygiene products.
We passed the Motor Fuel Tax-Free 30-day tax holiday. I voted several times to extend this tax-free period, but all attempts failed.
What do you see as the top transportation priority in your district, and how would you address it?
US Interstate 95 and US Route 40 traverse my district. The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) recently implemented an electronic collections system and outsourced the collection of overdue tolls and fines. This rollout has been a disaster for consumers as MDTA no longer controls the EZ pass system. The contractor cannot handle complaints or resolve accumulated fines without authority from the Maryland General Assembly.
In 2017, I passed HB 963 / SB973 to authorize the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) to recall a delinquent account from the Central Collection Unit (CCU) and waive civil penalties. The law has expired; therefore, I intend to file this legislation next session to reauthorize this act to again provide relief to the impacted motorist.
What should schools do differently during the next pandemic to help students, families, and teachers?
The Maryland General Assembly should require the State Board of Education, in cooperation with each local Board of Education, to submit a written after-action report on the impact of COVID on education and student development. The information should identify needed resources and lessons learned. Afterward, an action plan to address the next pandemic should be issued as a tool kit for jurisdictional planning.
Engaging families, teachers, and students in the evaluation and planning process are essential. Some key areas of focus should include access to technology and support services. Consideration should be given to the creation of flexibility and alternative learning opportunities. Families need to have practical solutions to support a healthy and functional learning environment for their children.
How equitably do police officers treat people of color?
In my experience and community, our local law enforcement officers are highly trained to treat everyone with respect and dignity. In the rare case where an officer has acted inappropriately, they have been promptly disciplined, retrained, and relieved of duty if the action is warranted. I recognize that my Harford County experience may differ from those who reside in urbanized areas where there are documented cases of bias and unequal treatment of minorities. This shall not be tolerated.
I have had the primary responsibility of managing a law enforcement agency. Insufficient training, policy deficiencies, leadership or supervision shortcomings are often contributing factors to inappropriate acts. Each officer, commander, and funding authority must develop their personnel and deploy a no-tolerance policy. My experience with local, community-based law enforcement has shown that problems are difficult to hide, and successful departments actively engage the community in relationship building. Communication and accountability are essential.
What would you do to make sure Maryland’s voting system is secure and accurate?
Maryland’s voting system is secure and accurate. I am a Member of the House Elections Law subcommittee with direct oversight of the Maryland Board of Elections. We regularly perform audit-type evaluations of the systems and security of the Board of Elections. To ensure voter confidence, Maryland has established an administrative complaint process whereby any person who believes that there is a violation of any provision of the Voting Act or system may file a complaint. The administrative complaint procedure is set out in Chapter 33.01.05 of the Code of Maryland Regulations.
Details about the process and how to file a complaint are available at https://elections.maryland.gov/vote_act_2002/overview_admin_complaint_process.html
The Maryland State Board of Elections will investigate all complaints and conduct a public hearing if requested. The
Board will make a determination of findings and make a resolution to the complaint.
What are the right goals and deadlines for Maryland to reduce carbon emissions and develop renewable
Living at the confluence of the Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay, I am committed to protecting our natural resources. I am proud to have been the primary sponsor of HB 1158/SB0516 – Energy job act in 2019 to establish specific criteria for qualified offshore wind projects and expand the State’s renewable energy portfolio.
This year the Maryland Legislature passed landmark legislation that strengthens Maryland’s commitment to mitigating the effects of climate change by setting achievable goals to reduce greenhouse gases by 60% by 2031 and meet the goal of net-zero statewide emissions by 2045. These standards are obtainable and will create a new green economy sector for innovation and employment opportunities.
What’s Maryland’s best use of federal COVID relief money?
The State of Maryland should use the federal COVID relief money in a thoughtful way to produce meaningful outcomes. This once-in-a-century federal investment should be used for bold, forward-thinking initiatives and not subsidize government activities or pet projects. We need to think big and plan for the next generation of problems we can solve. I suggest that we design and deploy a
cyber-security critical infrastructure network and defense system to protect and sustain Maryland’s robust public and private assets. We could also work with our institutes of higher education and the private sector to develop a homegrown technology workforce with enhanced skills and capabilities.
This type of broad-based investment in technology and workforce development would provide a new lucrative economic sector for Maryland’s economy and support other industrial development. The added benefit is the creation of family-supporting and job-creating outcomes, both with positive social impact.