Sarah Elfreth (D) |
Maryland State Senator - District 30
Primary Challenger to candidate Chrissy Holt (D)
Why are you qualified to represent the people in your jurisdiction?
Since launching the campaign over ten months ago, I’ve knocked on nearly 5,000 doors, introducing myself and asking residents a simple question: “What issues matter most to you and your family?” Consistently, from every corner of District 30 and from every voter demographic, residents respond with: invest in strong public schools, protect the Bay, and build our economy while fighting for working families.
I’ve spent my career addressing these key issues; first, as a member of the University System of Maryland Board of Regents and later at Johns Hopkins University, I worked to create a more affordable and equitable higher education system for all Maryland residents. Later, as the Director of Government Affairs for the National Aquarium, I advocated for environmental issues, such the bans on Styrofoam and microplastics, to protect and restore the Bay and learned the state budget process – successfully steering over $10 million dollars in local and state operating and capital funding to the Aquarium’s conservation education and capital improvement projects. And in the last two years I’ve worked on projects for the University of Maryland and at the Aquarium to spur job creation and support the innovation economy here in Maryland.
What are three goals you want to accomplish in the next four years to advance the rights of women and minorities in Maryland?
I will be the advocate for Maryland’s families in the Senate. Maryland can and must do a better job of investing in early childhood education for all families. That means expanding universal pre-kindergarten and making childcare more affordable for all families by fully funding subsidies for low-income families and increasing tax credits for middle income families. I will work in partnership with union apprenticeship programs to build direct pipelines from high school to good-paying, family-sustaining jobs for more Marylanders. And, similar to a successful program in Colorado, I will work to make access to long-term family planning services are affordable for all Marylanders. These aren’t women’s issues or minority issues – these are family issues.
What are the three most important issues on which you want to effect change? What will be your strategy for achieving these changes?
The General Assembly rewrites the State’s education funding formula once every 15 years, and as your Senator I’m committed to ensuring every community has the resources they need. I will work to ensure we invest in universal pre-kindergarten, expand career and technical education in all schools, and pay teachers what they deserve in order to keep experience in our classrooms. The Bay is our greatest natural resource and economic engine – we must double-down on our restoration and protection efforts by investing in oysters, creating clean energy jobs, and protecting forests and critical areas. And I will work to support working families through access to more affordable quality childcare, healthcare, and a higher minimum wage. I will use my long-standing relationships with members of the General Assembly, my proven track record of grassroots community organizing, and the work ethic I’ve put into knocking on doors and listening to the community via this campaign to make sure we work together to achieve these critical goals.
What have you learned about yourself or the political process since you became a candidate or have been an elected official?
More than anything, I’ve learned that campaigns aren’t solely about the candidate. A campaign’s success is in direct proportion to how much time they spend in their community listening to and working on the issues that voters care about most. From the first days of the campaign, we launched the #ThisIsDistrict30 social media campaign to tell the stories of people we meet along the trail. From affordable childcare, to promoting tolerance in our schools, to supporting the arts as a means to promote social justice, my campaign is focused on highlighting and fighting for the stories and people of District 30.
Specifically, how will you keep your constituents informed about the issues facing the county and the state?
Direct, electronic communication – via social media and email – has never been a more effective tool of communication, and I will continue to use these tools to expand constituent services. But just as important as communicating the issues facing our county and state to District 30 residents is seeking residents input on those issues. I’ve knocked on nearly 5,000 doors since launching the campaign to hear directly from voters about the issues that matter most to them and their families – and I plan to continue that practice during my tenure in the Senate. I will also host monthly town hall meetings rotated around District 30 to continually challenge my viewpoints and keep myself grounded to the District.