We are fortunate to live in a state that has world class medical systems, with the likes of Johns Hopkins and The University of Maryland Medical Systems; however quality medical care isn't always accessible to every Marylander. We need to expand access to quality healthcare, which means building more medical centers, training more medical professionals and paraprofessionals, and ensuring that medical care is affordable and accessible for every Marylander.
Increasing access to healthcare also means educating the public about urgent care facilities. Just letting the public know that there is an alternative to ERs for broken bones, stitches, and simple infections, that can be treated quickly, effectively, and at less cost than going to an ER.
We also need to make sure that urgent care centers are open when people actually need them, including weekends and nights.
Supporting healthcare also means encouraging more doctors, RNs, and NPs, to live and/or work in Frederick. This could be done in a variety of ways, including incentives to study medicine or healthcare and looking at ways to make sure that healthcare facilities are properly staffed to help prevent burnout.
We also need to makes sure that access to medical care is equitable. We need to make sure that fair and private access to medical care for trans people is readily available, and that increased training and awareness is made available for care providers to ensure that everyone can receive appropriate care. We also need to protect access to birth control and abortion care services.
I have a child with special needs, who has an IEP. This gives me a unique insight into the difficulties parents with special needs children face in the public school system. Currently students who are in reading foundations in middle school must give up their elective to get the extra reading help they need. This means that students who have difficulties with reading can not experience art, music, or language classes. I believe this practice is discriminatory. We know students who participate in art do better in language arts, students who participate in music do better in math, and participation in arts, music, and sports help increase graduation rates. All students deserve a chance to experience the benefits that come from studying the arts.
Education has also had an over focus on standardized testing. We use testing to grade our teachers without any regard to challenges that teachers or students may have. Testing should be used to check the overall health of an education system and see where sectors of the population may be being left behind, not to punish teachers.
We also need to increase the teaching of critical thinking skills. I have heard from educators, parents, and the public in general, about the growing deficiency of critical thinking. I am hearing from employers about their employees not being able to figure out simple tasks without explicit instructions. Part of this comes from the over reliance on technology, and part of this has come from the over focus on testing, which leaves innovation and real life critical thinking skills behind.
The country and state are more divided then ever. I strongly believe that when we sit down face to face with our neighbors we can find out what we have in common and work together to make our state better. Hosting regular town halls, in person or over zoom, can give an opportunity to hear directly from constituents about what we as Marylanders need. I believe in an open door policy, and will do everything within reason to make myself available to my constituents.
I also believe that openness must extend to representatives on the other side of the aisle. Sitting down with other law makers that I may have differing opinions from is a must. Keeping a line of communication open will allow for more opportunities to work together for the betterment of District 4.
Social media and the internet have made it easier than ever to isolate ourselves and to filter our information to focus on what we already believe. We need to find ways to increase our social resiliency, which includes being able to identify false information, increasing critical thinking in schools, and hold media platforms accountable for promoting false information for profit.
We need to make sure that there are good paying jobs right here in District 4. This means making sure we have a good education system to attract businesses, and that residents in District 4 have the training they need to be part of technological workforce of tomorrow.
We need to tackle rising inflation to ensure that people can afford groceries and everyday items. This should include enforcing price gouging laws, to ensure that rising prices are connected to an increase in cost and not just going to line the pockets of the CEOs and investors.
We need to make sure our infrastructure is set up to support business and commuters. This means making sure our roads and internet can handle the increasing traffic. Both the information and traditional highway need to be in top working order.
We need to create green jobs to help make sure that there are good paying jobs locally, while also helping the environment.
We need to do more to ensure that small farms and farmers get the same advantages as big corporate farms. Small farms are more environmentally friendly and better for the community at large.
I will also prioritize programs and grants that will help with upfront costs to going green, which will save constituents money in the long run.
I am in favor of continuing or initiating programs that help fund research at our educational institutions that will focus on innovations in green technology.