On the Issues
Where Does Cheryl Stand on Key Issues?
FOCUSING ON OUR FISCAL PRIORITIES
Cheryl understands that we all work hard for our money and want every dollar in state taxes to be used wisely. And unlike the federal government, Maryland is constitutionally required to balance its budget every year. That's why--especially at a time of fiscal crisis like now-- Annapolis must prioritize spending. Roads, schools and other central functions of government must be maintained, while at the same time we must uphold our moral obligation to help those in need. When facing the kind of big budget gaps that may plague our state for the next several years, hard questions must be asked of those spending the people’s money: how can unnecessary costs be avoided altogether; how can our goals be realized less expensively; how can state government work smarter? Cheryl demanded accountability on state spending when she served in the House of Delegates, and she will continue to do so in the State Senate. In addition to oversight, we need an advocate for Montgomery County. Too often, we are seen as a bottomless piggy bank; we need a Senator who can work with legislators from around the state so they understand that we have significant needs as well.
BUILDING OUR ECONOMY, CREATING JOBS
There’s no more important issue on the minds of Marylanders this year than jobs and the economy. Professionals who’ve never been out of a job are looking for work, or worried they soon will be; too many storefronts stand empty along Route 355.
There are several ways government can help boost the economy. First, smart tax reform-- including cuts targeted to small business and job creation-- can spur development and hiring. At the same time, wise public investments in priorities like education, transportation, and the environment always pay us back many times over. Maryland and Montgomery County must leverage their unique strengths-- home to several high-tech Federal agencies and our proximity to the nation’s capitol; a highly-educated workforce; and superior infrastructure--to foster capital formation and job creation. Aggressively reaching out to existing firms and creating a nurturing environment for start-ups will help expand the number of employers in the I-270 Technology Corridor, the planned Great Seneca Science Corridor, Shady Grove Life Sciences Center, and elsewhere around the County and State. This will create jobs in the targeted industries as well as in support services ranging from law firms to restaurants. Smart Growth‐‐ building homes within walking or biking distance of businesses, schools, stores and mass transit-- fosters economic expansion while preserving the environment and lifestyle that make our community an attractive place to live, work, raise a family, and start a business.
SUPPORTING PUBLIC EDUCATION
A K-12 graduate of our Montgomery County Public Schools, a former MCPS substitute teacher, the sister of one teacher and wife of another, Cheryl knows firsthand and from many angles the strengths and challenges of our local school system. Keenly aware of the importance a first-rate public education played in her later success in college and her career, Cheryl is determined to make the state a good partner to local schools as they ensure that all of our students learn and thrive.
That’s why Cheryl:
- Will always advocate for the heroes of our schools, the teachers and librarians, including guaranteeing them secure pensions. (The Montgomery County Education Association endorsed Cheryl in both of her campaigns for State Delegate.)
- Will closely monitor “maintenance of effort” requirements for state aid to make sure they’re reasonable and fair, rather than punitive of our County’s extra expenditures;
- Knows that local schools need more human and fiscal resources to provide the best possible education;
- Recognizes the challenges of our schools’ changing demographics, including the higher percentages of multi-lingual and lower-income students.
IMPROVING TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS
Transportation affects our economy, our health, and our quality of life. As a dedicated environmentalist , Cheryl is a strong advocate of mass transit (including the east-west Purple Line) and will always work to see that Metro and Ride-On receive the funding they need. She also supports Smart Growth developments: mixed-use communities near public transportation where residents can walk, bike and ride to work, school, and shopping such as Rockville’s revitalized Town Center. At the same time, she recognizes that most people still rely on their cars, and that road systems must be adequately maintained and improved. During her tenure in the House of Delegates, Cheryl showed award-winning leadership on the Intercounty Connector (ICC). She recently testified at a public hearing on the topic of tolls ; her testimony became the basis of a Dr. Gridlock column in The Washington Post.
PROMOTING PUBLIC SAFETY
The brave men and women who put their lives on the line ensuring our public safety deserve our respect, gratitude, and support. Cheryl is a graduate of both the Montgomery County and Rockville Citizen's Police Academies, giving her a better understanding of the processes and challenges of police work. She had the opportunity to work further with law enforcement when she helped Jim and Sarah Brady enact effective gun control. Cheryl is proud to have the endorsement of the Montgomery County Career Firefighters. They know she will always work to ensure our first responders receive fair wages, the best health care available and strong, secure pensions.
PROVIDING AFFORDABLE HOUSING
There’s no getting around it: Montgomery County is an expensive place to live. But to continue to be a vibrant area, we must make it welcoming to families of differing backgrounds and income levels. It’s also in everyone’s best interest when teachers, police, firefighters and other integral members of our community are able to live close to the areas in which they serve.
That’s why Cheryl:
- Supports Montgomery County’s nationally-renowned Moderately Priced Dwelling Units (MPDU) program, which creates mixed communities that are home to residents of all incomes.
- Has worked with nonprofit organizations like Montgomery Housing Partnership and Victory Housing to improve community outreach in the ongoing effort to increase the availability of affordable homes in our County.
PROTECTING OUR ENVIRONMENT
As a member of the Maryland House of Delegates, Cheryl earned a perfect voting score from a Maryland environmental group (and proudly wore the “Green #1” lapel pin she was awarded). She believes concern for the environment should not just be a political issue, but a personal one as well: that’s why her house in Rockville is now entirely powered by renewable energy sources and incorporates many other environmentally friendly features. (See her Earth Day blog post of April 22, 2010 to learn more.) The environment is too important an issue for safe or half-hearted positions; securing our planet’s future demands bold and consistent political leadership.
DEFENDING REPRODUCTIVE CHOICE
There is no more personal or profound decision than whether and when to bear children. That’s why Cheryl believes it belongs exclusively to each woman-- in consultation with her family, doctor and spiritual advisors-- and not to the government. Throughout her career, Cheryl has done more than just talk about preserving reproductive choice: in the Maryland legislature she was a leader on the issue, not just a vote.
- Sponsored legislation to make the so-called 'morning-after’ pill available to victims of rape and incest;
- While director of the progressive organization Independent Action, changed the criteria for endorsing candidates to require they be pro-choice;
- Always believed that choice is a right that all women should have, regardless of income;
- Worked on the staff of National NARAL (now NARAL Pro Choice America) and the pro-choice National Women’s Political Caucus.
For these reasons and more, NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland endorsed Cheryl’s campaign in May, saying that she would be a “real leader for reproductive health care issues in the Maryland legislature.”
DELIVERING ON HEALTH CARE
While imperfect, the recently passed federal health care reform is a good step forward, insuring more of our citizens, curbing the worst insurance company abuses, and saving the government money. Contrary to their citizens’ best interests, some states began trying to undermine the new law the moment it was signed. Cheryl wants to make sure that Maryland partners with the federal government to be sure that the biggest change in America’s health care system in nearly half a century effectively serves our residents’ health care needs.
DISCLOSING & LIMITING CAMPAIGN FINANCES
Cheryl believes there’s too much money in politics. That’s why she created and instituted her “Clean Seventeen” funding restrictions, in which she voluntarily cut in half the maximum donation she will receive from donors (she has even sent money back!). This way, her financial support is broad and popularly-based, not dependent on a few big donors. When she represented the 17th District in the House of Delegates, Cheryl sponsored legislation to bring state reporting requirements on political donations up to the federal standard. She continues to support sensible campaign finance reform in Annapolis, including requiring more timely disclosure of contributions and closing the “LLC Loophole” that allows wealthy donors to skirt contribution limits.
Montgomery County has changed a lot since the time Cheryl grew up here. It has become more ethnically, linguistically, and economically diverse than ever before. This diversity has enriched our community in ways ranging from the dazzling choice in restaurants to a more nuanced perspective on world affairs. (As she campaigns door-to-door, Cheryl has plenty of opportunity to practice her French and Spanish!) Even as the county and state deal with the challenges of change-- such as effectively educating students from diverse backgrounds-- we should welcome change for the new vibrancy it brings to Montgomery County.
There are many kinds of diversity. Cheryl believes that every Maryland resident deserves the Constitutionally-protected right to pursue happiness, and that includes the right to marry the person you love. LGBT rights are everyone’s business, for when the rights of some are diminished or restricted, we all suffer. She supports the Attorney General’s decision to recognize same-sex marriages conducted in other jurisdictions, and looks forward to the day when Maryland will join the ranks of states that afford every loving, committed couple the right to marry.
This is obviously not an exhaustive list of the issues facing the residents of central Montgomery County. Your next Senator will have to show energy and judgment on these and many other questions that will come before the legislature during these next four years. But they are among the topics that have come up in the thousands of conversations I’ve had with District 17 voters as I have campaigned door-to-door in our neighborhoods. Some issues are perennials, such as budget and taxes. Others come and go with changing circumstances. What will never change is my commitment to listening and responding to your problems, your concerns, and your ideas. Please feel free to raise issues that are important to you by contacting me. Many thanks for reading and for your interest in our campaign.