Bringing Common-Sense, Civility, and Courage Back to Washington
“America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination, and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.” -President Truman
I am not a career politician. I haven’t spent years trying to climb higher and higher on the political ladder. Instead, I seek this seat because we do not have time to waste.
Right now, people in our district are dying from opioid addiction. Right now, people in our district are seeking jobs on which they can raise a family. Right now, our rural communities don’t even have access to broadband internet. Right now, our roads and bridges are crumbling. Right now, China is trying to develop next-generation technologies. Right now, politicians like Andy Harris are trying to strip health care – with no alternative plan in place – from the 54,000 people in our district who are dependent on their coverage through the Affordable Care Act. Right now, children in this country are drinking dirty water and breathing dirty air.
We need leadership, vision, and action – right now.
At graduation from Ranger School, we were told that the hard work actually lay ahead of us. We would have to live up to the expectations that came with the newly-earned Ranger Tabs that we would wear on our uniforms for the rest of our military careers. The expectations?
To work harder than the next person. To get the job done – no excuses. To demonstrate integrity when faced with ethical challenges. And, above all, to lead. To lead teams through the most challenging missions. To put the mission and our Soldiers ahead of ourselves. In other words, to run toward problems while others run away from them. The speaker’s point became clear: we’d be living up to the standards and symbol of our Ranger Tab for as long as we wore the uniform – and beyond.
As I’ve gone around our district since launching our campaign, I’ve been thinking about that speech more and more. I wish more elected officials saw their jobs in similar terms. I wish more had the courage to reject tired debates and the conviction to put the values of their constituents and the interests of our country ahead of their careers.
The world is going through big changes. Some leaders want us to hide from those changes. Others want to pretend we can simply turn the clocks back to yesterday. Many want to blame others to distract from the fact that they offer no solutions and lack the courage to speak truth to power. I refuse to do any of those things.
I don’t have all the answers, but I am running directly toward the problem – and invite you to join the community gathering around our campaign.
I will not hide from the big issues that face our district, our state, and our country. I will talk to anyone in Washington—left, right, or center—who is willing to work together to solve our problems with fair, long-term solutions. And I will always do what is right, not what is convenient.
If privileged and honored to serve the people of Maryland’s 1st Congressional District, I promise to always ask two questions when a bill crosses my desk: “how does this piece of legislation speak to the values and needs of the folks in our district?” And “is this piece of legislation in the best interests of our country?”
The reality is the jobs of the future will look vastly different than the jobs of yesterday or even today. We need leaders with the vision to see ahead of the curve and the courage to enact policies and direct resources towards investing in the jobs that come with them. We need to better invest in teaching students about technology - starting in grade school and continuing all the way through two- and four-year colleges and universities.
Our district has exceptional natural resources, people, and resolve. The next generation of software developers, solar panel technicians, or cybersecurity experts can learn, work, and grow businesses in our district. We can build a district in which our children see plentiful opportunities and reasons to build careers and families close to home.
Why do we invest in the future? Because the returns are enormous. When we invest in infrastructure, pollutants stay out of the water, tourists visit our restaurants, and residents get to their jobs and homes faster. When we invest in 21st century infrastructure such as high-speed internet, our children can more easily prepare themselves to one day make the next groundbreaking medical discovery or build the next great start-up company. These investments ensure that our local businesses have fast and affordable access to the world’s markets and hire more workers.
Some want to put their heads in the sand - to say that change is too scary and therefore it won’t come. Some, like Andy Harris, say we should prop up out-of-district coal plants and drill for oil in the waters off of our beautiful shores. I say clean water is the lifeblood of Maryland and the 1st Congressional District. I say let’s invest in tomorrow. Let’s invest in solar installation jobs, one of the fastest growing industries in the state and country. Let’s invest in our district’s burgeoning ecotourism economy with the growing revenue and visitors it brings into our district. Let’s invest in environmentally-sound, economically-viable technologies and sustainable practices. Investments that protect the Bay and allow our farmers to increase harvests and more-effectively access markets near and far.
The greatest investment we can make is an investment in ourselves and our future. When we do that—when we stop being “penny wise pound foolish”, when we take the time to think about the long-term—we make our community and our country a richer and more equitable place. It just takes a little courage and belief in ourselves to do it.
Health care is a right. Plain and simple. It’s a right for every American, whether you’re a rich banker from Park Avenue, a retired school teacher in a nursing facility in Bel Air, or a waterman from Cambridge. When every American has quality, affordable, and accessible medical care our society as a whole is better for it. We do not miss time at work. We can take a risk and open a new business. We can mentor our children as they grow up.
Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Plan help those in need and make our country a better, stronger place. They represent America at its best. I will fight not only to protect them, but to strengthen them.
Many businesses and individuals are stuck with limited, often expensive insurance options. They face ever-increasing premiums, deductibles, and prescription drug costs. We must do more to reduce costs and improve coverage. Private insurers can negotiate prescription drug prices with pharmaceutical companies. Why can’t Medicare? In Congress, I will fight to give Medicare that power so seniors have lower out-of-pockets costs and our hard-earned tax dollars are more effectively spent.
The Chesapeake Bay is one of America’s unequaled natural wonders. I believe that being the Representative from Maryland's 1st Congressional District is defined by being the most ardent supporter, defender and advocate for the Bay.
Whether you come to the Bay to crab, dine at a local restaurant, hunt, or explore its natural beauty, we all recognize that the fate of our state and our region rests on the health of the Bay. When we invest in the Bay, not only do we protect and restore the environment, but we protect the jobs of the watermen who are on their boats at 4 a.m. finding the day’s fresh catch. When we invest in environmental restoration, we keep pollutants out of the Bay and we increase the number of tourists who stay in our local hotels. Protecting the Bay means strengthening our local economy and our district, and protecting jobs that generations of Marylanders depend on.
We and our forebears have been blessed with the opportunity to enjoy and make a living on the Bay - and I will work tirelessly to ensure that our children and grandchildren have that same opportunity.
We have a mighty obligation to honor the sacrifices and service of our veterans and elderly. 16 million Americans served in World War II. 2.7 million served in the Vietnam War. Over 100,000 Americans were wounded in the Korean War, and almost 1 million have been wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. We would not be here without our senior citizens. They have raised children and grandchildren, fought wars, and paid a lifetime of taxes. They have built our social fabric and, as all generations eventually do, deeded control of it to the next generations.
So to truly support them means more than wearing a flag pin on your suit or a sticker on your car. It doesn’t mean proposing cuts—as Speaker Paul Ryan suggested—to Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare to offset the tax reform bill. It doesn’t mean returning to a time when the elderly and infirm lacked the money to afford food and necessary healthcare.
Instead, it means continuing to demand responsiveness, transparency, and accountability from our Department of Veterans Affairs. It means strengthening Social Security and Medicare to ensure sufficient care for those who need our help. It means strengthening Meals on Wheels, not leaving it to wither.
Our veterans and our elderly fought for us. It’s time we fight for them. I’ll be on the frontlines to make sure we do.
The opioids epidemic comes up every day when I am meeting with folks from the district. Our district’s drug-related deaths trend nearly 50% higher than the national average. Opioids don’t care whether you are a Democrat, Independent, or a Republican, and neither should any leader who wants to reverse the epidemic. We must join together—regardless of our differences—to face this challenge.
Rather than pay lip service to the epidemic, we need to invest smartly in prevention, treatment, and recovery systems. This will require political energy, courage, and will. While we need more funding, funding alone will not solve this problem. Nor will any single step. Instead, we need a comprehensive plan that includes federal, state, and local resources. We need buy-in from healthcare professionals, insurers, and communities themselves.
Future generations will judge our leaders by their response to the opioids epidemic.
The Framers almost had it right: all people are created equal. Representatives and senators earn the same salary, no matter their gender. A female president would earn the same salary as a male one. So why are women too often paid less than the men working beside them doing the same job?
I am not satisfied with the status quo, and I don’t think most people are. As a country, we can only make progress if we stand together. We can only stand together if we are all on equal footing. America is at its best when our laws protect everyone equally and ensure everyone has equal opportunity. From equal pay to healthcare and beyond, I will be your strongest advocate. Not just for you. But for all of us.
There is no question about it: before last year, the tax system was not perfect. We needed to make the tax code easier for regular folks to understand and to encourage companies to hire American workers. We needed to ensure that if anyone came out on top, it was the middle-class. The tax bill that was rammed through with no hearings failed to do this.
We must create a tax system designed not to help the richest, the well-heeled, and the winners of the financial genetic lottery. Instead, we must design a system that looks out for regular folks and helps the middle-class and those seeking to enter it. A tax system that does not pad the pocket of private jet owners, but instead supports school teachers who buy supplies for their students. A system that does not give tax breaks to hedge fund managers, but instead supports working parents, small business owners, and burgeoning entrepreneurs. A system that does not encourage businesses to hire overseas, but instead rewards us for investing in ourselves and our communities.
We can and MUST do better. And as your Congressman, I will never be afraid to say so.