Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Maryland House of Delegates, District 9B

Last night was great.  Could not have been better.  For those of you who were there, I cannot overstate how much your support means to me.  For those who were not there but have sent your support by other means, I hear you loud and clear.  It is hard not to be moved by all of this and, in the end, be inspired to do more, be more, and win.

As you can tell from the title of the post, I will be running for House of Delegates in District 9B.  This is a new district carved out from what was formerly District 9A.  We'll have the website up later today, which will help you identify if you live in the district, but in the interim here is a map (PDF).  As you will see, the district primarily follows the zip code lines of Ellicott City with slivers of Columbia and Elkridge to the Southeast.

I noted in my speech last night that the opportunity here is to advocate for this City at the State level on issues ranging from storm-water/flood management to CSX to the horrific traffic problems along 29 that kept about 10 people from attending last night's event.  As I say time and again, Ellicott City faces existential problems on a monthly basis and those things merit address.  Ellicott City needs a champion and I would be honored with the opportunity to fill that role.

Other than that, my campaign platform is simple - Good Government.  Smart Government.  Your Government.  I would like to think that these words are familiar to all of you who have read this blog over the years.  These words represent the change that motivated me to run for office and the opportunity I seek therein. 

Good Government - We need to treasure and cultivate the public trust.  We can't have law-makers and other state and local leaders committing crimes in office and leaving with their pensions.  We can't have special interests moving legislators like chess pieces to get their objectives accomplished.  This is a very basic interest, but one that resonates. 

Smart Government - I honestly believe that when most people say they favor "small government", they really mean "smart government".  If a program was effectively placing low income single mothers in gainful employment while offering reliable daycare, we would want that program to grow, serve more people, and change more lives.  The key word is "effectively".   There is an opportunity to promote the great things law can do and do away with those things that make you shake your head.  We need greater analysis of new bills as they are proposed to evaluate the cost on business/taxpayers, the long-term benefits of the law, and the opportunity for revision (i.e., sunsets).  The Rain Tax is a glaring example of a missed opportunity to make a lasting solution for a permanent problem.  It will be revised, but rather than inspire Marylanders to take on a problem of poisoning our Bay, and promote those innovative aspects of the law that encourage private solutions (i.e, rain gardens, etc.), we're left with people presuming that the amount of rain that falls onto their property equates to a tax bill at the end of the month.

Your Government - As I said last night, this is me.  Transparency is not the issue.  The issue is clarity.  Do you understand the issues before your State legislature?  Can you speak competently about those issues with your community members?  Do you know how you may be involved in the process?  We need you involved, engaged, and heard.  Otherwise, the echo chamber wins and laws are written on a bias.  Technology is at a place right now were the interface between law-maker and constituent can, and should, be fluid.  When I'm elected, you will know what I know, what I'm thinking, and how the process works.  I think I've proven that and I can't wait to take it to the next level.

I picked these planks for a reason.  For the most part, they are things I can accomplish as a freshman Delegate.  I can't promise that I will get any laws passed, but I can promise that your relationship with the General Assembly will change for the better.  You will have access points that you never had before.  That is where we build our power; off of one another.  One of the nicest things I heard from last night was the idea that I touched on the "imagination" of the people in that room.  I sure hope so.  We're breaking through and, as I've said many times before, this is an effort to change government as we know it.  It won't be all at once, but it will happen, and our community will be a better place for engaged citizens to make themselves heard.

As I did last night, I want to end with one of my favorite quotes about public service: 

“If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come here because your liberation is bound up in mine, then let us work together.” - Lilla Watson

Public service only works if you act as if the stakes are as high for you as they are for the person you are serving.  More than empathy.  You need to be one with that person, take on their burdens, and live their solutions.  I'm not in this for followers.  I'm in this for teammates.  Others may try to spend us out of the race, attack us out of the race, or drown us in the same partisan muck that has poisoned our national dialogue, but as long as we have our team, I don't think those efforts will work.  The ideals shine through.

Have a great Wednesday doing what you love.  Rock on.