District 18 Issues
Ensuring the Highest Quality Education
As the former President of the Board of Directors at the Esther Peterson Child Development Center at the U.S. Department of Labor, and the mom of a public school student, Leslie will be a fierce advocate for improving our schools in the immediate term. Read Leslie's platform on education.
Gun Violence Prevention
If Congress won't stand up to the gun lobby and protect its citizens, the state legislature will. Gun violence is a public health crisis and needs to be targeted in the same way in which we defended ourselves against Ebola -- with time, resources, and human power. Read Leslie's platform for gun violence prevention.
Making Healthcare Affordable, Accessible, and Safe
As the Executive Director of a public health organization, and a leader with more than a decade of experience in the non-profit healthcare sector, Leslie understands the healthcare landscape. Read Leslie's platform on healthcare.
Prioritizing the Environment
Economic growth and protecting our environment are not incompatible. Investing in renewable energy, such as wind and solar, will grow the economy, bring new jobs, and establish new non-tax revenue for the state. Read Leslie's platform for prioritizing the environment.
Moving Women Forward
Women made big breakthroughs in 2017, but we still face barriers in workplace equality and continue to be underrepresented in leadership roles. Read Leslie's priorities for advancing women.
Smart Growth for Forest Glen and Wheaton
An important part of a Delegate's role is to fight for dollars at the state for our District. Forest Glen and Wheaton have unlocked potential for smart economic growth that would allow those communities to become more vibrant and prosperous without pricing neighbors out of their homes or losing the community's character. The delegation must work with County Council and active citizen groups to amplify local community development efforts, and develop plans for investment. Leslie will work with communities in Forest Glen and Wheaton to create an attractive environment for new businesses, and fight for state investment to create healthier, more walkable neighborhoods.
Leveraging Technology to Address Transportation
Transportation issues affect every aspect of our lives, from our time to our health and safety. Our major commuting arteries are clogged with traffic, and present safety hazards during rush hour with poor signage for shifting lanes. Read Leslie's platform on Transportation.
Seniors are living longer, and we want to help them stay in their homes as long as possible. "Aging in place" is a goal that is achievable in Maryland with the right advocates in the General Assembly. Read Leslie's platform on Prioritizing Seniors.
Issues Facing Immigrants in D18
When it comes to immigration reform, we need to bring a moral compass to our decision making. Those who were brought to the U.S. as children or have Temporary Protected Status to work legally in the U.S. should not be treated as violent criminals. There are many hard-working individuals with this status in D-18 who pay taxes, assist their employers in growing thriving businesses, and contribute to their communities. There are young children in D-18 from immigrant families who fear every day that when they come home from school, their parents may be gone. Leslie supports the Maryland SAFE Act, which separates the work of our local law enforcement agencies from federal immigration enforcement efforts so that otherwise law-abiding people are not targeted in immigration enforcement efforts and immigrants feel comfortable reporting crimes to local law enforcement.
Economic Growth for Maryland
Maryland's fiscal health is not as strong as it needs to be. In the 2018 budget, we are borrowing close to $1B, and our fastest growing budget line item is paying down our debt. We need to drive economic growth by creating opportunities for small business, expanding entrepreneurism, and creating a business environment that attracts the right industries offering our people good jobs. We need to invest in clean renewable energy, namely solar and wind, as a long-term growth opportunity for Maryland. We need to invest in workforce development training, affordable housing around public transit, and economic opportunities for those with disabilities. We can provide specialized training opportunities in the tech and renewable energy sectors to grow our communities in sustainable ways.
Republicans don't own fiscal responsibility. Just ask the countless Democrats running thriving businesses and establishing balanced budgets. We are facing difficult decisions in the coming years when our spending is projected to outpace our revenue. In the FY2018 budget, the fastest growing line item is our public debt at 5% over FY2017. Our approach cannot be undisciplined spending. Increasing the tax burden on families is not the answer. As a Delegate, Leslie will propose the internal infrastructure necessary to create new, diversified streams of revenue that are not based on taxing working families. She has done this type of work for her entire career, and is ready to hit the ground running. She is capable of making difficult budget decisions when necessary. Above all, she will provide leadership in evaluating the return on each investment to ensure we achieve our intended outcomes.
In her early 20s, Leslie backpacked around the world, and volunteered with various organizations, including Mother Teresa's sisters in Calcutta, India. Inspired by that experience, she founded a nonprofit organization focused on changing the abusive working conditions for factory workers making less than $2/day who produce goods for US corporations. Since that time, Leslie has been committed to understanding and changing the structural components of poverty, not with band-aid solutions but from an economic justice perspective. As a Delegate, Leslie will support the fight for a $15 minimum wage, support union labor collective bargaining efforts, pursue affordable housing, invest in workforce development in the tech, biotech, and renewable energy sectors, support free breakfast/lunch for low-income children, and continually ask the question: how can we lift those in our community from poverty?