The most important issue at this time is jobs. We need to build the economic base in Maryland and in our district. We must look at our taxes, regulations and Department of Economic Development to see that we are doing everything possible to grow jobs here. Along with this we must retain and improve our number one public education system. We need to insure that our graduates from both high school and college have the skills necessary for the new economy. We need stronger partnerships between our schools and businesses to do this.
This can all be done while practicing sustainability. We must better use and preserve our resources while creating jobs. We must also better plan for an improved transportation system that includes all modes of transportation from walking, to roads to transit. We can do all of these things while protecting the health and welfare of all of our citizens.
We must maintain a strong economic base in Maryland to employ our workers and graduates. We need to direct more of our efforts to supporting and growing existing businesses as well as to attracting new ones to our district and in our state. From a state level, I will support local efforts to provide the assistance and resources to accommodate business and job growth. The tax base provided by these companies and their workers are the backbone of our economy.
We must strive to provide the needed and desired services that Marylander's require in the most efficient manner possible. Recessions such as the one we are experiencing, while difficult, also provide an opportunity to re-evaluate and examine how we have been doing business. It is a time to prioritize and become more efficient.
We need to make every effort not to raise taxes. The burden has become so heavy that many of our residents and retirees have moved across state lines to avoid them. We need to have a competitive balance on taxes just as we do on other issues.
Maryland has the number one ranked public school system in the United States. That is very commendable but we need to strive not only to stay number one but also to continuously improve. The United States has fallen behind the educational achievements of many other countries in important areas of learning, particularly math and science.
We need to keep education as a number one priority along with job creation. We must retain and attract the highest quality teachers available. It is important that we enable teachers to teach and not burden them with political agendas and overly onerous administrative tasks.
Creating a sustainability strategy is no longer a luxury when faced with the reality of heavy dependence on foreign oil, increasing energy prices, global warming and drastic climate change. Environmental sustainability is among my top priorities.
We have made decisions in the name of benefitting our economy at the expense of our environment for too long. Our sustainability planning must be done in a manner that is mutually beneficial to both our economy and environment. I firmly believe this can and should be done. The capability exists today to build “zero energy” communities. Nationally and state wide we need to create incentives to do this.
Planning to reduce carbon emissions is central to our continued prosperity and, possibly, to our survival. As we get started creating an imperative for sustainability we should not only avail ourselves of the best tools and policies but also of the opportunities that exist to link efforts within geographic areas across sectors.
I support the development of a comprehensive long term transportation development plan. This would include, roads, transit, airports and all other transportation related projects. The plan should be developed in partnership with all local governments. Every future State transportation dollar should be directed to support this plan. Local governments should then develop their growth plans with the State plan in mind.