My platform comprises the following key components:
- Improve education system and revise state funding formulas
- I am going to focus on two key topics: operating budget and capital budget from the State.
- Howard County is growing at the second highest rate in Maryland. However, both the operating budget and capital budget funding formulas do not take this population growth into their consideration.
- For the operating budget, the state uses previous year’s enrollment number for the next year’s budget. Once the budget is approved in May, we will be already short of tens of millions of dollars in August for the next new school year, because our real student enrollment is 1000 more than budgeted. We need use a projected student population for this calculation.
- For the capital budget, take new school construction as an example. When we plan to build a new school, we can only use the current capacity for the new school capacity from the current state funding formula. It takes at least 10 years to think of a new school and eventually build it. At that time, due to high growth of student population, the schools will be already overcrowded by 50%. We need plan for the student population growth while budgeting for new schools.
- Another very important regulation for the county is to keep APFO adequate. Infrastructure, education funds (including deferred maintenance), roads, affordable housing, senior care, etc., all of them should come into the county planning.
- Build better infrastructure and protect the environment
- We see not well-regulated developments which squeeze available resources for the county. I will present solutions from the state level to address that. We should find a balanced growth with consideration of jobs, schools, roads, hospitals, fire stations, and other infrastructure needs. I have pledged to “No Developer Money” campaign and we should restore the power back to the people over developers.
- I have been living in Maryland for almost 20 years and I have not seen any changes for major roads like 95, 495,270, 29, 70. The traffic jam is a big problem for all Marylanders. Because of the traffic, many people in Howard County will not seek better job opportunities in other neighboring counties. Because of the traffic, many people develop anxiety and mental health pressure. Because of the traffic, we are wasting energy and cause more pollutions.
- I would request the state to conduct a state-wide, cross-county, cross-state collaborations to address such an infrastructure need analytically, create mobility, reduce energy consumption and pollution.
- Strengthen community safety and enhance public health
- Without safety, community could not be called a community. Adequate, efficient and effective community safety measures should be always in place.
- Address workforce challenges and create more jobs
I will bring forward policies that benefit middle-class families and those trying to rise out of poverty, while these two groups have often been neglected in the legislative process. I will also strive to find common grounds for diverse opinions, and to create a shared vision for all Marylanders.