I hope you and your families had a wonderful Thanksgiving. For many of us, the holiday included discussion of recent global events. As a Jew, I have felt the weight of recent events on a more personal level with my family and generally prefer to stay in my lane as a state elected official, focusing on state laws and constituent service. However, I have been a part of three recent statements I wanted to share.
First, I joined almost 300 state legislators from 26 states regarding the October 7th terrorist attacks on Israel, rising antisemitism, and increased Islamophobia. You can read the letter here.
Second, there was a more local controversy related to a local immigrant advocacy group's views on the Middle East. I joined a letter with every Jewish member of the Maryland General Assembly responding to the group.
Third and finally, the District 16 Team issued our own Thanksgiving statement. As you probably know, we have a team of diverse religious and cultural backgrounds and I was pleased we could make this statement together. Part of the reason I thought it was important is because my District 16 colleagues and I are in touch almost every day about issues in our community and, sadly, a lot of those recent conversations have been about antisemitic and Islamophobic incidents.
I know from sharing each of these statements on social media that many of you disagree with aspects or perhaps even all of them. These are challenging issues but as your elected official, I feel it is my responsibility to share with each of you my views even when we diverge.
LEGISLATIVE UPDATEEach year the non-partisan Department of Legislative Services releases issue papers that present some of the matters we will be called on to deal with during the General Assembly session.
You can read the 2024 session issue papers here.
Each fall, the Montgomery County House and Senate Delegations hold a Joint Priorities Hearing where any county resident can tell us what they want us to work on. You can watch this year's meeting here.
Several years ago, I worked with my colleagues to create a summer Supplemental Nutrional Assistance Program (SNAP) for school children. It started with a few hundred thousand dollars of state matching funds to encourage local governments to expand the benefit to children in need. The program is now $5 million a year in state funds with $4.5 million in local matching funds and benefits over 90,000 young Marylanders. You can read the latest report on the program here.
BUDGET UPDATEI used to serve as House Chair of the Spending Affordability Committee. They held the first of two annual meetings recently where they discussed the overall Maryland economy and budget outlook.
You can review the meeting materials here.
And watch the meeting here.
TRANSPORTATION NEWSEach year, the Maryland Department of Transportation visits Montgomery County to discuss transportation priorities. You can watch my portion of the meeting here.
And if you want to hear even more, I recently spoke to the Action Committee for Transit (ACT) about the forthcoming legislative session and transportation issues. You can watch the meeting and my comments here.
As a reminder, the Maryland Transit Administration is seeking input on the development of a new guiding plan for the MARC commuter rail train service and has launched an online survey to gather ideas and feedback. More information and the survey can be found here. The survey will remain open through December 4, 2023, and the MTA strongly encourages you and your constituents to take part and share your perspective on the future of MARC.
Take the survey here.
Because of a provision we added to the state budget, every other month the Maryland Transit Administration submits a status report on the Purple Line project. As of September 30, 2023, the project is 58.5% complete. We have requested the addition of further information about progress on the reconstruction of the Capital Crescent Trail to be included in future reports. The full report is here.
The Maryland League of Conservation Voters reviews the voting record of Maryland legislators and scores them. I am pleased to have scored 100% for the 2023 legislative session. You can review the scorecard here.
COMMUNITY NEWSCongratulations to District 16's Meghan Conklin on being appointed by Governor Moore as the state's first Chief Sustainability Officer.
Our District 16 Democratic Central Committeemember Teresa Woorman was recently awarded the Dorothy Davidson Award by the Montgomery County Young Democrats. As a past recipient of the award, I am particularly pleased to congratulate Teresa.
Congratulations to three District 16 residents on their appointment or reappointment to the Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board: Nancy Abeles, Cameron Conway, and George Wolfand.
Friendship Heights Councilmember Paula Durbin recently passed away. She served eight years on the Village Council. Condolences to her family and friends.
UPCOMING EVENTSThe Maryland Department of Transportation is holding an Open House on the American Legion Bridge/270 Corridor on Saturday, December 2, 10am-12pm at Wootten High School, 2100 Wootten Parkway in Rockville.
On November 27 at 7pm (virtual) and December 4 at 7pm (at the County Council building), bill hearings will be heard on local legislation introduced for the 2024 legislative session. You can review the local legislation and when the hearing for each bill will be at http://montgomerycountydelegation.com/legislation.html. I am the sponsor of one of the bills, the Washington Suburban Transit Commission Reform Act that clarifies and makes changes to local Metro governance and board seats.
The House Environment and Transportation Committee that I now chair will be holding oversight briefings on December 15. You can watch along on the Maryland General Assembly website.
Implementation of our ambitious environment goals and addressing housing affordability and access are major priorities and the subject of the hearings.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.