As State Senator, I will push policy to make it easier for people to own homes rather than rent and increase the quality and quantity of public housing in the state.
A majority of the percentage of people who rent homes in Maryland are black. Black people are around 30% of MD’s population, and 24-26% of people rent homes in MD. In Baltimore alone, the city/county with the highest black population, the number of renters has far exceeded that of homeowners since at least 2018. It’s almost uncalled for that this is something that has never been addressed in this state, but I’ll fight to change that.
The fight to expand tenants rights on a state level starts with the institution of much needed rent stabilization and control measures. As State Senator, I will:
Maryland is currently experiencing a housing shortage brought about by the terrible zoning laws we have allowed to persist in our growing communities. As State Senator, I will push for and support policies that increase density in these crucial areas in Maryland, which has the overall positive impact of reducing housing costs, increasing housing supply, and stabilizing the housing market.
These policies and more will eliminate homelessness, expand homeownership for all communities, and bring us closer to a just society where nobody is left destitute.
The pandemic has proven 2 things to all Marylanders:
In country after country with single payer healthcare, the numbers of coronavirus infections and deaths dropped dramatically, partially due to their governments effectively shutting down municipalities and states, and also from their healthcare systems being proven as able to weather the crisis better than us due to its inherent traits.
As State Senator, I will push for our state to pass its own single payer healthcare system, also known as the Healthy Maryland Act proposed in Maryland's state legislature by progressive legislators. The idea of single payer healthcare maintained high popularity since 2018, and has only increased in favorability since the pandemic hit. It just makes sense that we would pursue single payer healthcare at this point.
As of 2019, a living wage for a single adult with zero children was about $15.84 per hour in 2019. It skyrockets to over $30 per hour with one child. A living wage for a family of 4 is $22.82 for each working adult, just to make ends meet. The fight for 15 was a fight meant for 2015. We’re now past that, and need to be working on increasing the wages to at least $22 per hour in the state of Maryland, to keep track with rising expenses for individuals and families.
As State Senator, I will create and support legislation moving our state towards an actually livable wage.
We’ve reached a state in this country where universal basic income has almost become a necessity for people to survive. With wages being fought over and their increases taking too long to effectively help those in need right now, we need to establish a UBI for the state such that people in financial pain can get the relief they need immediately.
Studies have proven the effectiveness of UBI, from several countries as well as states within the US. The only issue at this point is politicians pushing back against what is clearly a good and winning policy in bad faith. I aim to fix that.
It is a well known, yet under-discussed fact that our tax system in Maryland is highly unfair towards working class people. Poor people pay more in taxes than the rich in this state, and our system incentivizes the growth of a select few individuals over the majority.
Why did billionaire wealth rise by a collective $5.1 trillion dollars in 2020 during a global pandemic while millions upon billions of people lost their jobs, homes, and livelihoods with little to no recompense? How did the wealth of Maryland billionaires Dan Snyder, Bernard Saul II, David Rubenstein, Ted Lerner, Mitchell Rales, and several others’ wealth rise during the pandemic while the average unemployment rate in Montgomery County reached levels above the state average as recently as last October 2020?
It’s because our tax and incentive system is flawed and blatantly corrupt.
As State Senator, I will fight for increasing taxes on the wealthy, and I would institute a law heavily penalizing “capital flight”, or any wealthy individual or business attempting to flee tax increases while still enjoying the benefits of Maryland.
I will also aim to fix Maryland's tax code by reducing the sales tax and banning flat taxes/fines/bank fees, which disproportionately hurt working class families.
The price of college has continuously gone up in this state, continuing to bar those from middle to lower class backgrounds from receiving higher education if they wanted. The Promise scholarships were a start, but instead of pushing for more universality, a strategy that is proven time and again to be more popular and effective, it was means tested to hell by the Hogan administration as well as more conservative and “pragmatic” democrats in the state legislature. This caused the rollout to be lackluster and it’s hardly picked up steam since. I’m going to change that.
While there isn’t much that we as a state can do in regard to federal student loan debt, we can make it easier for future generations to have access to higher education without crushing them with decades of debt. If elected, I will fight to expand the Maryland College Promise scholarship to include everyone pursuing community college, to start. I will also fight to expand the Maryland Student Loan Debt Relief Tax Credit by increasing its accessibility and funding to help Marylanders being choked by student loans in this state.
Teacher pay and school funding is a subject that is hardly talked about as well in the state legislature. Currently, the pay for teachers in the state of Maryland varies heavily across counties, such that there are situations where teachers can not afford to live in the neighborhoods in which they teach. This kind of inequality among schools is one of many symptoms of our broken school system, and is why we see schools in Baltimore falling apart or schools in other counties having extremely high student-to-teacher ratios.
As State Senator, I would fight not only to increase teacher salaries to at least $60,000 and make it universal across the state, but would also push for expanding the collective bargaining rights of teachers in the state of Maryland. I will also push for a thorough restructuring of the state's budget such that our public schools are properly funded, more people are incentivized to become teachers and substitutes, and the infrastructure of our schools are finally updated to meet and exceed the needs of our students and our communities.
Students were pushed into remote learning and out of schools during the pandemic abruptly and haphazardly. As a result, hundreds upon thousands of students began failing due to their inability to properly acclimate. The government spent all this time and money bailing out big corporations, businesses, and to a much lesser extent the people, but hardly any attention was given to students who suffered from their own unique troubles. As State Senator, I would draft legislation for all students of every grade to be allowed to advance to the next level regardless of their grades should an uncontrollable event like what we've experienced over the past few years happens again.
Too many well-meaning students are likely to fall through the cracks because our state and education system allow it. That won’t be the case when I become State Senator.
Studies have shown that increasing our reliability on public transit has a net benefit towards reducing traffic, so it only makes sense that the solution to the myriad of issues we see on our roads in this state starts with investing heavily into our public transit system.
As State Senator, I will immediately push for the Metro Transit Administration to make fares free for all transit users. Doing so increases access to all Marylanders, with the added benefits of reducing our overall CO2 emissions by reducing traffic on our roads, increasing jobs due to the need for more bus drivers and train operators, among other things.
I will also push for an expansion of the MTA's subway system to serve more places than it does now, including Frederick County, Charles County, St. Mary's County, and Baltimore County. I will also push for an expansion eastward, across the bay and all the way to Worcester County.
While making public transit free is a net good, there is a lot of work necessary to make sure that our public transit system meets the needs of the users it currently serve as well as the new influx of commuters that will arrive with the creation of free transit. With more users, it will be up to the state legislature to make the improvements needed to make it worthwhile using. As such, I will fight for budgets that increase the quality of and expand our metro system, while also opposing any form of highway expansion in this state that doesn't also invest equally or heavily into our public transit system.
For too long the metrorail and bus system has not been brought to its full potential as a reliable service for all Marylanders. That will change when I become State Senator.
One specific issue I may push for is removing or limiting “speed traps” and the like, as these have been exploited to be used outside of residential areas and school areas. They have been proven to be less effective in reducing speeding, as opposed to other measures such as increased speed indicator signs, or “guilt traps”, and speed bumps. Police making upwards of $62 million from speed camera tickets is uncalled for. At the very least, the money would be better used toward the communities that the cameras are placed in, rather than being used to bolster an already bloated police budget.
As State Senator, I’ll also push for a law that terminates any and all officers who are caught breaking the law or abusing those they claim to protect, rather than put them on “administrative leave”, and penalize all police districts and chiefs who do not adhere to this policy. I’ll also introduce a bill to create a standalone committee or investigatory group that will work independent of law enforcement to ensure that corruption among the police force is weeded out, and criminal cops are actually properly prosecuted and sentenced.
Too many law enforcement officers have been let go after committing heinous crimes or actions with barely a slap on the wrist.
I aim to change that.