I trust that you and your families and friends enjoyed summer and that it was filled with plenty of fun, sun, and relaxation. As we move into Fall and gear up for the election and 2015 Legislative Session, I want to connect with my constituents and partners about my continuing legislative and community work. While the “Washington Report” has been on hiatus, we’ve still been hard at work. My last extended report and email blast in April reported on the goals we accomplished during the 2014 Legislative Agenda. You can read it and previous editions on our website. As you know, I value communicating with and it is important to me to report on things of interest to you, so let’s call this our “What I did during my Summer Vacation” & “Back to School” and “District Happenings” edition of the “Washington Report.”
Immediately following session, the Governor signed into law six bills I championed or sponsored.
- HB 27 Healthy Births for Incarcerated Women Act - Establishes policy guidelines for transport, delivery, and post-partum recovery and bans shackling of incarcerated women during labor and delivery.
- HB 1040 Electronic Grievances Submission - Permits state employees to file grievances or appeal disciplinary actions electronically.
- HB 482 Unaccompanied Homeless Youth - Tuition Exemption Expands the foster youth tuition waiver created last session to include unaccompanied homeless youth, who typically lack the financial, social and emotional support of their families.
- HB 813 Joint Committee on Ending Homelessness - Establishes the Joint Committee on Ending Homelessness. Currently no state legislative ‘home’ exists to address the range of housing, health, and employment related factors that contribute to homelessness.
- HB 1036/SB 796 Interagency Council on Homelessness – Combines two existing advisory groups into a single Interagency Council on Homelessness. It adds key stakeholders such as direct service providers and persons who have experienced homelessness and reports to the Joint Committee.
- HB 794 Maryland Unaccompanied Homeless Youth and Young Adult Count Demonstration Project - Supports six local communities in gathering information about the prevalence and characteristics of homeless youth and young adults allowing to them better address the needs of this vulnerable population. At my request, $200,000 was included in the Governor’s Supplemental Budget to fund this project.
Primary Election Results
My summer had a busy start with canvassing and campaigning in anticipation of the Primary Election held June 24th. By going door to door, speaking with voters face-to-face about the work we’ve accomplished over the last four years, and sharing a vision for the next four years, I requested the honor to serve again. Thanks to my supporters, I received 10,563 votes which earned me one of the three Democratic Party nominations for seats in the 43rd District, House of Delegates. I am pleased to be on the path to returning to Annapolis along with my 43rd District colleagues, Del. Maggie McIntosh, Del. Curt Anderson, and Senator Joan Carter Conway, who handily won their primary elections as well.
As we look forward to the General Election on Tuesday, November 4th, I encourage everyone to get out to vote. This is your opportunity to select your preferred representative for the Governorship; State Delegates and Senator, Maryland Attorney General, Maryland Comptroller, the U.S. House of Representatives, and judgeships. There are also two Maryland Constitutional amendments, myriad local bond issues, and several City Charter amendments on the ballot. Please take a moment to view the 43rd District’s sample ballot (go to page 17 of the document), and make your voice heard November 4th.
General Election Information
Election Day Hours
November 4, 2014, 7 am to 8 pm
Early Voting for the General Election
Thursday, October 23, 2014 through Thursday, October 30, 2014 from 10 am to 8 pm.
If you need to register to vote or change your address, you can do so online at www.elections.state.md.us. The deadline is Tuesday, October 14th, 2014.
Initiatives and Commitments
Count Demonstration Project
I convened the first Homeless Youth Count Demonstration Project meetings in an effort to count homeless youth and collect data about their needs and characteristics across three different Maryland jurisdictions. I am committed to reducing the number of homeless youth living on our streets, and more importantly, to making sure they receive the proper resources to be healthy, successful, independent adults. This initiative was made possible with the passing of House Bill 794, legislation I championed this legislative session.
Visits to Senior Centers in the 43rd District
Over the past months, I have had the pleasure of visiting and spending time at several senior centers located in the District– Stadium Place, Govans Manor, The Brentwood and Wyman House. We worked with Senator Joan Carter Conway as well as Baltimore City’s Commission on Aging and Retirement Education (CARE) to bring State and City services directly to the seniors. Residents obtained information about available services such as the Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) program and received assistance applying for services on site. I believe it is our obligation to stay connected to the needs of our fellow neighbors who are aging and have disabilities; in addition, it is my pledge to visit every senior center in the 43rd District and host similar information and sign up sessions. If you would like to help or know of a residence or community event focusing on elder issues, please contact Christel York, my Community Liaison.
Clean Air Partners 2014 Annual Celebration and Awards Ceremony
I was invited to provide the keynote address at the Clean Air Partners 2014 Annual Celebration and Awards Ceremony where I spoke to students, individuals and organizations about their remarkable dedication to perfecting the air quality in the Baltimore Washington Metropolitan area.
GreenScape 2014: Baltimore Green Schools Summit
It was my great pleasure to speak to hundreds of Baltimore City elementary and high school environmentalists at GreenScape 2014: Baltimore Green Schools Summit. The event, which is hosted by the Baltimore Office of Sustainability, celebrates student environmental leadership in Baltimore City.
St. Elizabeth’s School Commencement Speaker
The St. Elizabeth’s School bestowed upon me the honor of giving the 2014 commencement speech. It was truly remarkable to meet the students who were inspired to live their best life in spite of their disabilities.
First-Day-of-Issue Ceremony for the Harvey Milk Forever Stamp
I received a special invitation from the White House to attend the First-Day-of-Issue Ceremony for the Harvey Milk Forever stamp in Washington, D.C. It was a privilege to meet Harvey Milk’s relatives and many people from across the country who made that day possible. I also learned that there is a campaign to make a stamp for Bayard Rustin who was the openly gay organizer of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. I look forward to that day as well.
Baltimore Data Days: Using Indicators for Community Change
At the Baltimore Data Day: Using Indicators for Community Change, an event hosted by the University of Baltimore, I participated in a one-day conference designed to help city leaders expand their abilities to use technology and data for the improvement of local communities.
Maryland Public Television Appearance
I appeared on Maryland Public Television to discuss the 2014 November elections and important issues for the upcoming 2015 session in January.
National Night Out 2014
National Night Out 2014 was a huge success this year. Many neighborhoods and communities across Baltimore City, especially in the 43rd District, hosted family-oriented festivities and partnered with local law enforcement to take a stand against crime.
Tour of North Calvert Green
The residents of North Calvert Green, a newly renovated apartment and row home complex located in the Barclay community, invited me for a tour of their community. The units are absolutely amazing and will provide affordable housing for moderate-income families.
Back to School
This time of year is always exciting for students, teachers, and parents because of the many opportunities for learning, friendship, and fun. Baltimore City’s Public School System has a new superintendent, Dr. Gregory Thornton. I look forward to partnering with Dr. Thornton and ensuring that the $1 billion in funding to revitalize and renovate Baltimore City public school buildings that my colleagues and I helped procure in 2013 is put to good use.
The New Waverly Elementary/Middle School
The New Waverly Elementary/Middle School is brand new and equipped for students to learn in the 21st century with cutting edge technology in each classroom. The first newly constructed school in Baltimore City in decades, the $25 million building also includes larger classrooms and bright lights to encourage enthusiastic learning. I urge parents who have elementary and middle school children to consider Waverly as an option and to take advantage of having a new state of art school in your community.
As Baltimore City high school juniors and seniors begin the process of exploring and making decisions about college or career certification programs, a key question is always cost. Financial aid is a necessity for most families. One possible source of financial aid is the Maryland Delegate Scholarship Awards which are administered by the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) and disbursed directly to the college or university the student is attending. To be eligible for the awards, families must first fill out and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to qualify for federal and work study grants as well as federal loans by March 1. Additional instructions on applying for the 2015 award will be available in early 2015, but you can peruse the requirements and application for 2014 for more information.
Keeping in Touch
Many communities are hosting fall events, and I would love to come to as many as my schedule will allow. Please let me know about your events and allow me to help spread the word about them. Contact my office with detailed information about your event, and it will be placed on my website’s community calendar and Facebook fan page.
I will continue to do my best to provide detailed updates and alerts via email and at local community associations or other meetings, and you can follow my daily activities and breaking news by liking my Facebook fan page facebook.com/delmarywashington43 or via twitter.com/DelMaryW. As always, I encourage you to contact me with the issues that matter to you at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the district office at (410) 235-2707. I look forward to hearing from you.
Delegate Mary Washington