CONTRIBUTE

DEMOCRAT FOR DELEGATE

DISTRICT 17

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PRIORITIES

Climate: Joe believes Maryland has what it takes to become the first state in the country to reach net-zero emissions. Even more importantly, considering the importance of global cumulative emissions, Joe understands that Gaithersburg and Rockville can be at the forefront of necessary climate innovation and can do so in a way that drives equitable economic growth.

 

Paid Family Leave: No Marylander should be forced to go back to work just days after giving birth, or have to choose between caring for a sick family member or earning an income. Unpaid leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act is inaccessible for 56 percent of working Marylanders. Thousands of Marylanders have had no choice but to leave the labor force to care for their families or their own health. Paid Family and Medical leave is good for the wellbeing of Marylanders and for Maryland’s economy.

 

Ensuring High-Quality, Affordable Child Care: The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the nation’s child-care crisis as millions of working parents, disproportionately women, were forced out of the workforce in order to care for their children. Joe will work to establish a just system that offers every Rockville and Gaithersburg resident high-quality, affordable child care so that no parent has to choose between their work and their families again.

 

Implementing the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future: Every child in Maryland deserves to go to a high quality, world-class school where they can learn, thrive and feel prepared for a successful future. Joe will work to address the racial, geographic and socioeconomic inequities in our education system, from disparities in graduation rates, to under-invested schools, to unacceptable teacher pay. Our state’s future depends on implementing the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, a plan that gives opportunity and hope to all students.

 

Investing in Transit: The transportation sector accounts for 40% of Maryland's greenhouse gas emissions. To address this challenge and prevent more harm to our planet, Joe believes we need to significantly expand affordable public transit options and accelerate our transition to electric vehicles. Investing in multimodal public transit options and supporting efforts to make our streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists would not only decrease emissions but also ease the congestion many Rockville and Gaithersburg residents face during their commute.

 

Reproductive Health Care Rights: Joe has always believed that people, not the government, have the right to make decisions about their reproductive health and will continue to fight to protect reproductive rights for all. As reproductive rights are under attack nationwide, Joe is proud to live in a state that is committed to protecting the constitutional right to an abortion and will work to make health care more accessible to all Marylanders.

 

Addressing Rise in Hate Crimes: Everyone in our community has the right to learn, work, and live without the fear of being attacked or discriminated against for who they are. The rise of antisemitic, anti-Black, anti-AAPI, islamaphobic, and homophobic hate crimes have no place in our community. Joe will work tirelessly to address the rise in hate crimes in Maryland, create solutions to chronic underreporting, and further investments in anti-bias programs.

 

Criminal Legal System Reform: Reimagining public safety to address systemic racism in policing and criminal justice while keeping our communities safe through crime preemption efforts must be top priorities for our state. Joe will work to reform a criminal justice system that for too long has targeted Black and Brown communities by investing in mental health care crisis intervention responders, moving away from the unjust cash bail system, supporting post-incarceration community reentry, and fighting for the full legalization of marijuana and expungement of records for non-violent marijuana offenses. 

 

Democracy and Voting Rights: Electing leaders who understand the importance of protecting our democracy and fighting for voting rights is more critical than ever. Joe’s parents grew up under a repressive dictatorship and moved to the U.S. when he was three years old because they believed in the prospects and opportunities of America’s democracy. Joe will work to address the attacks on our voting rights and democratic institutions and fight to sustain our democratic ideals.

 

Ending Gun Violence: Growing up in a generation devastated by school shootings, Joe is ready to send a clear message that now is the time to end this deadly epidemic. Joe will take the necessary steps to address the growing threat of ghost guns, get assault weapons out of our neighborhoods and build upon recent progress on background checks – a strong stand to ensure gun violence does not stand between any Marylander and their future. 724 people die by guns in the state of Maryland and 1,747 more are wounded. Gun violence costs Maryland $5.7 billion each year, of which $375.8 million is paid by taxpayers.

 

Health Care: Every Marylander should have access to affordable and reliable health care, regardless of race, class or immigration status. Approximately 350,000 Marylanders do not have health insurance, while 12.2% of Marylanders have medical debt in collections, with an average debt of $530 dollars. Joe will also prioritize addressing the mental health care crisis, maternal mortality crisis and opioid epidemic which all continue to ravage our state and disproportionately affect minority communities.

 

Housing and Homelessness: Access to adequate housing is a human right. For too many in our district, the cost of housing is increasingly impossible to afford. With a post-pandemic eviction crisis on the horizon and housing prices continuing to rise, Joe will support efforts to expand access to safe and affordable housing, protect tenants, and advance re-housing programs to guarantee every Marylander keeps a roof over their heads.

 

Immigrant Justice: As a family of immigrants, protecting Maryland’s immigrant community is personal to Joe. While we await federal action on immigration reform, Maryland should expand rights and protections for our immigrant community – continuing to make our state a welcoming place for all. Joe will fight every single day to make sure all immigrants are treated with decency and dignity, are provided with the resources necessary to support themselves and their families, and have access to educational and economic opportunities. 

 

Investing in Small Business: Small businesses are the backbone of Maryland’s economy; with 99.5% of Maryland’s businesses being small businesses and employing over 1.2 million Marylanders – almost half of the state’s employees. While the pandemic devastated small businesses in our community, Joe has a plan to work with small business owners to get them the resources they need to recover and rebuild even stronger than before. 

 

Standing Up For The LGBTQ+ Community: As an openly gay candidate, Joe will work every single day to determine gaps and areas where law fails to sufficiently protect our community. Despite the passage of critical pro-equality legislation, the Movement Advancement Project still ranks Maryland 17th in the country for LGBTQ+ equality. We have more work to do! Joe will work to ensure every transgender Marylander has access to affirming health care, that every LGBTQ+ student is treated with dignity, and that LGBTQ+ Marylanders in the criminal justice system are protected from harm.

 

Government Digitization: Joe believes we should leverage technology to make Marylanders’ interactions with government as seamless as possible. Maryland residents and small businesses spend too much time dealing with complex paperwork and archaic processes. We should be empowering state workers with modern tools for delivering better service and meeting their mission.