ISSUES: JON'S PLATFORM
Under the Maryland tax code, modest-income families are saddled with the greatest burden. Taking steps to change the tax code to lessen the burden on these families is important and necessary. This year I passed legislation that reduces the amount of taxes modest families are required to pay upon the death of their loved ones. I will continue to advocate changes to the tax code where necessary to ensure that working families receive the most relief possible.
Maryland is a national leader implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as the ACA or "Obamacare." Most notably through the development of the Maryland Health Connector, the state’s new health insurance exchange, reforms are cutting costs and improving access to health care across the state. Opportunities for positive change abound. Retaining a pragmatic and community-focused approach offers the best way forward to achieve current goals. For more information, please click here.
SPOTLIGHT ON COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTERS
Across Maryland, community health centers are at the front lines of the fight to combat costly and preventable health problems. And as administration officials continue to create space for additional attention to preventive care through their emphasis on patient-centered health care delivery models, community health centers can and should continue to work collaboratively with government as a crucially important stakeholder with insights and buy-in. All stakeholders, including doctors, hospitals, community health centers and all other healthcare providers must have a prominent voice in the discussion in order to create the most efficient and highest quality health care delivery systems in the country while ensuring the growth and sustainability of Maryland’s doctors and medical industry. For more information, please click here
TOWARDS A COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH STRATEGY
Ensuring that environmental quality be considered a public health issue is a critical development in the public health space. Government can and should play a role in supporting improved environments, especially for children, who are especially vulnerable to the hazards of poor environments. Similarly, making the connection between violence and public health is necessary in order to cultivate truly healthy environments in our communities. I am committed to working with my colleagues at the state, federal and local levels to support safer, greener and healthier Communities across our state. However, many good ideas for making Maryland healthier, safer and greener do not come from government, but rather from concerned citizens and active foundations that work closely with these issues on a daily basis. I am also committed to taking the ideas of these concerned citizens and foundations and collaboratively turning them into viable strategies for Maryland’s environmental future.
Linked is a list of some of the great environmental health work currently taking place in Maryland and a few of my previous environmental health accomplishments. I encourage all Marylanders, whether citizens or foundations, to continue working hard for Maryland’s environmental health, and to use my office as a springboard for ideas to improve the State of Maryland. For more information, please click here.
Recent years have shown us that the balance of power on both the state and federal level may rest on the outcome of our local elections. Before Maryland falls victim to problems with voter fraud and election irregularities that so many states have experienced, we must reevaluate and overhaul our state's electoral process - to do otherwise leaves the integrity of our democracy at stake. I support the creation of an audited electronic voting system, an electronic poll book system, and an early voting program.
Maryland's finite environmental resources are both extraordinary and fragile. We must take action immediately to create a sustainable world and to preserve the natural environment now and forever. Reducing our dependence on oil, and fostering the development of alternate sources of energy are my primary goals. This development would simultaneously improve the environment and benefit the economy. I will continue to sponsor legislation that provides tax credits for solar power, hybrid technologies, and bio-solid renewable fuel sources.
Education is a priority for me, and for all of us. It is the key to reducing crime, achieving higher paying jobs, minimizing unemployment, and producing a productive and satisfied workforce. I am proud that Maryland has one of the best-educated workforces per capita in the United States, but there is still room for improvement. My vision for improving education in Maryland includes increasing parental involvement and individualized student attention and reducing class sizes. Through our partnership with Johns Hopkins University and other institutes that pledged to approve educational opportunities, we can reduce the achievement gap and create summer learning programs for at-risk students.
I agree that stem cell research is an important tool for helping Maryland to be a leader in the field of biomedical research and helping Marylanders confront disabling conditions.
In this difficult fiscal environment, I will carefully consider the costs and benefits of stem cell research as I work with the state to find ways for us to play a role in supporting this research.
IMPROVING MARYLAND's BUSINESS CLIMATE
Marylanders have weathered this recession with resilience, but the state has lost more than 160,000 jobs and putting people to work must remain a top priority. As such, we must focus on making it easier for small businesses to thrive throughout the state. Small businesses drive Maryland’s economic growth; they constitute 98% of total businesses in the State. We must make Maryland a great place to do business, but we need not do so at the expense of the clean environment and quality of life that makes it the greatest place to live. Instead, let’s promote our educated workforce and leadership in research and innovation, and enact commonsense regulatory reforms. For more information, please click here.
SUPPORTING VETERANS AND THEIR FAMILIES
I am committed to helping ensure that the transition from military to civilian life is as smooth as possible for our men and women in uniform. I also continue to look for ways to keep talented veterans in the state and have spearheaded legislation to that end. Working with and listening to the concerns of veterans, their spouses and families is the necessary first step in developing and pursuing common sense policies that can improve conditions for our veterans while simultaneously promoting economic growth. For more information, please click here.