If elected, I will strive to make a positive impact on the life experiences and life outcomes of my constituents related to issues of social justice. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the forefront and exacerbated long-standing social justice issues that must be addressed. Not only have inequities and exclusions in employment, housing, and health care worsened, millions of Marylanders are unemployed, food insecure, homeless, and without adequate health care. Before the pandemic, long-standing issues of systemic racism, voter suppression, criminal justice, and police reform brought about protests across the entire nation. If elected, I will work diligently and tirelessly for the people in my district and ensure their best interests take priority in these and other important areas including:
- Health Equity: Eliminate health care disparities, especially those that negatively impact our most vulnerable populations. Communities of color and Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (ALICE) populations have suffered disproportionate risks and consequences from the pandemic. Remove barriers to healthcare access, and ensure adequate, stable housing, paid sick and safe leave, and living wages to foster healthy families and communities.
- Voting Rights: Voting rights are the bedrock of our democracy and as such our voting systems and procedures must offer everyone unhindered access to the ballot. I support HB1048 and SB 683 and will fight to make it easier to vote by mail, increase the number of early voting centers, support automatic voter registration of all citizens of voting age, and increase the number of ballot drop boxes. I also support provisions in past or proposed legislation that would permanently expand voter registration opportunities and ballot access for formerly incarcerated individuals.
- Publicly Financed Elections: By creating a system of public matching funds more people can run for office and more elected officials will be responsive to everyday Maryland voters, not just corporate and big-money donors.
- Racism as a Public Health Threat: I will support legislation declaring racism a public health threat and fight for the elimination of impediments to racial equity in public health matters, such as healthy food, good schools, infrastructure, jobs, and a healthy environment. Victimization can be especially traumatic for minorities because it is commonly associated with racism and related violence. Racial bias in the application of policies and procedures, such as over-policing and use of excessive force, pose health and safety hazards for people in communities of color. Public policy should be viewed through a racial equity lens.
- The Elimination of Hunger and Food Insecurity. Food insecurity is linked to negative health outcomes in children and adults, and it may cause children to perform poorly in school. Giving more people benefits to nutrition assistance programs, increasing benefit amounts, and addressing unemployment may help reduce food insecurity and hunger and improve life outcomes for many.
- Greater Accountability and Transparency in Law Enforcement: We must limit law enforcement’s use of force, protect constitutional rights, appropriately address police misconduct, and institute police department hiring and deployment of trained social workers, psychologists, counselors, and behavioral specialists as part of the first responder units, where appropriate.
- Mass Incarceration: I will work to support appropriate alternatives to incarceration, and advocate for programs that help people returning from jails and prisons re-enter society and lead productive lives. These and other inequalities in our justice system must be remedied.