Speaker Mike Busch (D) |
Maryland State Delegate - District 30a
Incumbent and Primary Challenger to candidates
Aron Axe (D), Alice Cain (D), and Mary Reese (D)
Why are you qualified to represent the people in your jurisdiction?
I’ve proudly served the citizens of District 30, representing the values of our community as a delegate for Annapolis and as Speaker of the House. I work each and every day to ensure that every person in our community and in our State is heard and that their values are represented in the work of the State legislature. I believe it is important to work to bring people together - regardless of background - to make a better future for Annapolis. It has been the proudest accomplishment of my life to represent my hometown.
What are three goals you want to accomplish in the next four years to advance the rights of women and minorities in Maryland?
I have prided myself on being an inclusive leader in the House of Delegates, naming one of the most diverse leadership teams in the history of the legislature. This has helped me learn and hear a wide variety of perspectives in crafting legislation which has been invaluable for me and the work product of the House.
We have passed a number of laws to work on improving equity in our state, including equal pay requirements, strengthening sexual harassment laws in state government and the private sector, and expanding educational opportunities for undocumented students. Next term, I want to continue this work by:
1. Closing the achievement gap in education. Maryland cannot reach its full potential until we eliminate the achievement gaps based on race, gender, income and immigrant status. I look forward to leading our state’s efforts next term to increase investments in career technology education, early childhood and STEM programs focused on getting more women and minorities involved in these fields. One of the things that was most startled me from the Kirwan Commission initial report is that the poorest students in our State are not getting the resources they need. This is my top priority for next term.
2. Making health insurance and prescription drugs more affordable. This term, we affirmed Maryland’s commitment to providing women access to equal healthcare by requiring the Governor to fund Planned Parenthood programs when the federal government threatened their funding. We also passed the Contraception Equity Act to expand birth control options for men and women.
Persistent health disparities in Maryland are only made worse by the skyrocketing cost of healthcare. African Americans are twice as likely to not be able to afford to visit a doctor. While we took steps this year to stabilize the health insurance market, the continued assaults by the federal government on the Affordable Care Act will require more work in the future. We have more work to do to lower drug costs and reduce the remaining 6% uninsured to 0.
3. Reforming the criminal justice system. This term, we passed the first police reform bill in nearly 40 years and implemented the Justice Reinvestment Act, to give nonviolent offenders a second chance. We have more work to do with the juvenile justice system, to give kids other avenues toward a future of success.
What are the three most important issues on which you want to effect change? What will be your strategy for achieving these changes?
1. Opioid Crisis – I started the House Opioid Workgroup in 2017 and since then, the workgroup has been responsible for nation-leading legislation to meet this crisis head on. Next term I look forward to continuing the success of that workgroup by coordinating health departments with local crisis team networks, increasing information sharing capabilities and supporting the expansion of treatment centers like Arundel Lodge.
2. Guns – African Americans in Maryland were 3 times more likely to die by gun in 2016 than whites. This year, we took guns away from domestic abusers, passed a “red flag” law to allow police to take guns away from those who pose a danger to themselves or others and banned bump stocks. Next term, we will continue to look for ways to get illegal guns off the streets and improve our background check process.
3. Health care – This year, we fended off the Trump Administration’s attempt to undermine Maryland’s health care system in the short term but still have more work to do. We need to find ways to incentivize Marylanders who still have not purchased health insurance to do so. That will help bring down the cost of insurance for everyone. We also need to look for ways to lower the rising cost of healthcare itself. Expensive prescription drugs are a major driver of the cost of healthcare. Using newly public prescription drug data, we can find a way to lower costs.
What have you learned about yourself or the political process since you became a candidate or have been an elected official?
I started my career as a teacher and a coach. Many of those core principles translate into my work as a delegate: giving back to the community, listening to other people’s perspectives and ensuring that people have the tools they need to succeed. I ran for office after the parents of my students and athletes asked me to. Every four years, I stand before my community as a candidate for delegate. Each year, I stand before my colleagues in the House as a candidate for Speaker. Those are humbling experiences but I have learned that the most important thing is the work that we do together. That record speaks for itself - much better than anything I can say. Together we have done great things for Annapolis and Maryland – I want to keep us on that path forward.
Specifically, how will you keep your constituents informed about the issues facing the county and the state?
I have a robust constituent outreach program. I send regular email blasts – providing updates throughout the year and the legislative sessions. I regularly attend community meetings and Annapolis events, as well as hold several tele-town halls throughout the year. I also regularly update my Facebook page to keep Annapolitans informed.