In our May edition, we featured a Meet the Candidates segment with bios on the people running for office. With early voting for the primary election starting on July 7 and Election Day scheduled for July 19, we asked the candidates about their priorities and experience.
While not every candidate could respond, we hope the responses we collected will inform voters headed to the polls this month. Some responses have been edited due to space limitations.
State Senate, District 33
What would be your three priorities upon taking office?
First, one of my top priorities is education. I believe that all children should be given the opportunity to learn and thrive in a safe environment, and our public schools need the resources and support to do so. It is imperative that we address school overcrowding as well as teacher burnout and recruitment issues.
Second, helping working families is a top priority for me. Recently, there has been much talk about labor shortages; however, without access to affordable, quality child care and paid family and medical leave, it is difficult for many working families to continue to work. In fact, among my many reasons for running for office is my frustration with the impact that the pandemic had on working families and especially women leaving the workforce. I will work to continue to expand paid family and medical leave, recently passed this last session, as well as access to affordable child care.
Third, I support strong environmental protections, including the need to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed. I also believe we should continue to build on efforts to address the impact of climate change.
What would be the greatest challenge you would face in this office?
Initially, one of the greatest challenges I believe that I would face is growing inflation. There is no doubt that inflation has placed an immense strain on Marylanders, particularly on working families and retirees on fixed incomes. Many of the tax relief policies that the General Assembly implemented in the most recent session, including tax relief for retirees and exemptions for hygiene and child care products, are steps in the right direction. I would continue to fight for an expansion of targeted tax relief that is fiscally sustainable and responsible but also provides the greatest support for the most vulnerable Marylanders such as working families and retirees.
I also think we need to ensure that residents have access to jobs with good benefits, and further, that smart policy decisions are made so that small businesses are supported.
What aspect of your background or your experience sets you apart from others running for this office?
Advocacy and public service have long been part of me, as an attorney for the last 15-plus years as well as a military spouse and nonprofit leader. As an attorney, I represent businesses of all sizes in litigation. As for my leadership experience, I served as president of Military Spouse JD Network, a well-respected organization of approximately 1,000 members that advocates for expanded employment opportunities for military spouses and that provides pro bono legal services to Gold Star families and veteran caregivers.
Currently, I serve as secretary of Vigilant Torch Association and Vigilant Torch Foundation, an organization that provides emergency relief assistance and scholarships to members of the special operations community and their families. Additionally, I serve as a trustee on the board of trustees of Rockford University, and in that capacity, I am involved in budget oversight, alumni engagement, and student services. Finally, I have devoted significant time volunteering in my Severna Park community and my daughters’ school.
I decided to run for office because I felt as though the people of District 33 deserved more effective representation in the Senate. With a background of being a mom of three, military spouse, nonprofit leader and attorney, I am focused on four key priorities: supporting working families, protecting the environment, helping small businesses thrive, and investing in our public schools. I am committed to serving with the same dedication and integrity that I have shown in my many years of advocacy and nonprofit leadership. Ultimately, I intend to work with integrity, responsiveness and consensus-building to get the job done for the people of Maryland so that we are all given the opportunity to thrive.
What would be your three priorities if elected to the Senate?
What is the greatest challenge you would face in the next four years?
The challenge we'll face in the next four years is making sure we have a balanced budget without raising taxes on working families and making sure businesses continue to recover from the pandemic.
What sets you apart from others running for this office?
Experience matters. I am well-versed with many issues facing everyday Marylanders. I have built a record of being a consensus builder and finding common grounds for the benefit of all Marylanders. The relationship my office has built with our constituents serves as a testament that we can serve all Marylanders. We are deeply involved with our small-business community and understand pressing issues in specific neighborhoods like no other.