A Progressive Vision for a Better Anne Arundel County
Top Public Schools
The children of Anne Arundel County deserve the best public schools we can offer. Their futures and the future of our county depend on it. Communities around the nation become strong because they have excellent schools. Modern facilities, appropriate class sizes, competitive salaries, and engaging and challenging curricula that reflect the diversity of our county are critical to the success our schools.
The strength of Anne Arundel County Public Schools is closely tied to the economic success of our county. With neighboring counties frequently topping national lists of excellent public schools, we need to redouble our efforts to strengthen our own public schools.
We are fortunate in Anne Arundel County and Annapolis to have many institutions that provide substantial economic stability: the US Naval Academy, state and local government, and St.John's College to name a few. Our importance in American History, our location on the Chesapeake Bay, and our prominence in the Sailing/Boating community worldwide provide additional engines for economic activity.
As we explore ways to expand economic activity, we need to find new ways to encourage entrepreneurs and new business activity. Similar regions across the country have found success in economic development where accomplished entrepreneurs mentor and support new startups. Seasoned business owners can help novices overcome obstacles to business success.
Recruiting and supporting professionals in high-need fields can also be a way to expand economic activity. For example, our region faces a shortage of mental health care providers. By actively seeking out young professionals in that field and supporting them as they open new practices, we simultaneously create new economic activity and meet a community need.
Diversity & Inclusion
In recent months, county residents have observed an increase in racially-motivated incidents and hate crimes. I pledge to listen to and work alongside impacted communities within our county to ensure their needs for safety and inclusion are met. We also should work with the Board of Education to make certain that curricula reflect the diverse range of backgrounds and experiences that our students bring to our schools. Whenever possible, our county should take opportunities to address racism and bias head-on.
Sustainable, Inclusive Transit
As we look toward the future of our County, we need to approach our transportation policy with an increasing emphasis on options beyond single occupancy, gas-powered vehicles. Our heavy reliance on single driver cars is not sustainable for many reasons. Traffic, fossil fuel use, and pollution will eventually require a shift to other modes of transportation. Designated bike lanes, more sidewalks, ride-sharing, bike-sharing, and targeted bus routes must all be a part of our transportation future. These alternate modes can help alleviate traffic, reduce our carbon footprint, and help our residents save time and money. Furthermore, thoughtfully designed, reliable transportation can help increase financial stability among struggling families. Less money spent on getting around is more money in our pockets that is ultimately spent in our local economy.
Support for Immigrants
Many Americans agree that our immigration system is broken. That doesn't mean, however, that we can allow millions of undocumented immigrants living peacefully in our communities to become the victims of our collective inability to fix it. Fear of unnecessary and unexpected deportations has no place in our county. Like U.S.-born citizens, the vast majority of immigrants simply want a good life for themselves and their families. Many have fled unimaginable terror and violence in their home countries in order to search for that better life here in the U.S. Programs such as the 287(g) program that deputize correctional officers to do the work of ICE, have no place in our county. Our immigrant neighbors living in our county peacefully for years or even decades should not live in fear that their lives will be torn apart through reckless actions of a President who has no plan for fixing our broken immigration system.
Chesapeake Watershed Protection & Restoration
"Oysters lay thick as stones and posed a hazard to navigation."
-- Captain John Smith, 1608
"Of fish we were best acquainted with sturgeon, grampus, porpoise, seals, stingrays whose tails are very dangerous, brits, mullets, white salmon, trouts, soles, plaice, herring, conyfish, rockfish, eels, lampreys, catfish, shad, perch of three sorts, crabs, shrimps, crevises, oysters, cockles, and mussels.” -- Captain John Smith, 1612
The Chesapeake Bay as described 400 years ago is quite different from today. Early descriptions are important as a standard for complete restoration of the Bay.
Cuts to environmental protections at the federal level mean that local action is more important than ever. We must ensure that our waterways are protected from runoff and discharge. We must support endeavors to restore underwater and shoreline habitats.
Anne Arundel County's location on the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries is arguably our county's most unique and valuable asset. When the County Council revises the General Development Plan and examines land use throughout the county, we must always keep this asset at the forefront. We must always take the long view and ensure that development projects do not exchange the long-term health of our environment for a short-term gain that mainly benefits a few developers. We must ensure that developers make contributions to the county commensurate with their projects' impact on schools, infrastructure, and the environment.
With more and more families impacted by opioid addiction and overdose, our county government needs to increase efforts to be a part of the solution. Our county's safe stations at county police and fire stations are an excellent step toward connecting people facing addiction with needed services. Nonetheless, we need to find ways to introduce additional treatment options to our county and expand our prevention efforts among people of all ages.
First Responders & County Department Employees
County employees and first responders, including both police and fire fighters, deserve our utmost respect for their work as public servants. This respect should be demonstrated in tangible ways. First, we must ensure that salaries offered to first responders and other county employees are competitive and commensurate with their training, education, and experience. Second, we must ensure that first responders and county employees have the resources and tools they need to successfully complete their duties. We cannot balance the county budget on the backs of those who risk their lives for us.