I took an email break for the month of August, but I did not take a break from work – read below to see all I have been up to.
Greetings on this first day of classes for our public school students! I dropped off my son Teddy this morning for his first day of first grade – I’m excited to see all he will learn this year and so grateful for the teachers and school leaders who will work with him!
First things first: Public Schools. Today is the first day of school for most Maryland public school students, and you may have seen some of the back and forth between the General Assembly and Governor Hogan over the past month about education policy. I want to be clear here: passing a strong education reform and funding bill in 2020 is absolutely critical to the future success of Maryland. Multiple states – including Oregon and Texas – have passed massive new reform and funding bills. It’s our turn to act now. I hope the Governor will stop playing partisan politics and will work with the General Assembly to pass a strong bill next session.
You may or may not be familiar with the Kirwan Commission, a state-level commission of Marylanders appointed by the Governor and Legislative Leaders, that has been meeting for the past few years and released this Interim Report last year. The Legislature passed the Education Blueprint based on this report last year, a bill to start implementing the Kirwan Commission reforms – it was a bipartisan bill that I was proud to vote for. But there is much more work to be done.
As is so ably stated by a former State Superintendent in the Sun, Maryland’s school system is failing our state and failing our children. The Kirwan Commission asked the critical question, “what do we need to do to provide our kids a world-class education?” Their report is the answer. It is now up to all of us to ensure that we take the important step of passing once-in-a-generation legislation to create a school system that will empower our children and our grandchildren to succeed.
What do you think? Let me know why taking this survey on education!
My summer was full of visits with community associations, non-profit organizations and events, where I’ve discussed the work we did last session as well as listening to my constituents to help guide my 2020 legislative agenda. Additionally, I have had the opportunity to attend several conferences and events to learn about best practices from across the country related to transportation, education, healthcare and much more!
Last month, I spent a weekend in Nashville for the annual conference of the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators and the National Conference of State Legislators. Over 5000 legislators were in attendance at NCSL this year. We spent several days strategizing, comparing notes, and discussing how to build a healthier future for our constituents. With the Environmental Legislators, I also discussed eliminating single-use plastics, moving to a cleaner energy economy, creating cleaner transportation options, and ensuring our diverse and low-income communities that have traditionally felt the brunt of pollution, are not only greened-up but also that they have equitable access to new clean technology like solar.
Here in Baltimore, I was proud to host the House of Delegates Economic Mobility Workgroup’s first listening session (along with Delegates Tony Bridges, Shelly Laskin Hettleman, Charles Sydnor & Steve Lafferty). We had many service providers and their clients meet us at the Center for Urban Families to discuss the barriers they encounter and strategies and successes they have had in overcoming barriers – in addition to challenges that still exist. I then attended additional listening sessions in Cambridge and in Cumberland. The bottom line: we have to change how we do things to empower Marylanders to thrive in today’s economy. Many Marylanders have been left behind and we must do more to ensure everyone has the opportunity to succeed.
A few other highlights from around Baltimore include the following-
- I attended the Transportation & Climate Initiative forum at the University of Maryland to discuss challenges and opportunities for building a greener and cleaner transportation system that meets the needs of all communities
- I attended a community celebration at Riverside Pool to celebrate Splash City and the volunteers who worked so hard to remake this pool into a more vibrant & welcoming space!
- The new community organizers for the Cherry Hill CDC and the Greater Baybrook Alliance and I met to discuss how I can help support the efforts of these great groups! Later that week, I also met with faith leaders in Brooklyn to discuss the important work they are doing and what I can do to help.
- In responding to attacks on our immigrant brothers and sisters, I attended the Lights for Liberty event but also organized two “Know Your Rights” trainings – in Brooklyn and Lakeland – for our residents. Thanks to CASA for leading the trainings and to two schools for hosting the events!
- I had a great time speaking with students at the first ever Summer Institute organized by the John Hopkins Center on Gun Policy & Research.
- Last week, the Appropriations Committee toured several Baltimore City schools, including the Stadium School and Baltimore City College to see up close the damage that underfunding capital needs can do – including doors that don’t lock, schools with inadequate AC and heat, mold and damaged walls, and more. This is unacceptable and I am glad that the Speaker has agreed to make HB 1 in 2020 a bill to increase capital funding to schools around the state.
September 4th @6:00 PM- Fells Point Al Fresco Night
September 4th @8:30PM- Fells Point Move Night (Films on the Pier)
September 5th @5PM- Trash Free at Monument City
September 6th-8th @9AM-10PM- Little Italy Madonnari Arts Festival
September 7th @12PM- 5th Annual Vino in Vouge at Harbor East
September 7th @1AM-6PM- Locust Point Festival 2019
September 11th @8:30PM- Fells Point Move Night (Films on the Pier)
September 14th @10AM- District 7 & 11 Clean-Up (co-hosted by Volunteering Untapped, Councilman Costello, and Councilman Pinkett)
September 16th @6:30 PM- Canton Canopy Public Meeting
September 21st @11AM- Pride of Baltimore II Welcome Home Celebration
September 28th @1PM-7PM- 3rd Annual Patterson Park Brew Fest
As always, I am here to serve the residents of District 46! If there is something that my legislative director, Dani DiPietro, or I can do to help, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’d like me to attend your neighborhood meeting or any other event, please send us the information so we can add it to the calendar!
And please, take a moment to fill out the survey here to let me know your thoughts on education!
Keep in touch!