Mary Reese (D) |
Maryland State Delegate - District 30a
Primary Challenger to Incumbent Speaker Mike Busch (D) and Candidates Aron Axe (D) and Alice Cain (D)
Why are you qualified to represent the people in your jurisdiction?
I grew up in Maryland, graduated from the United States Naval Academy and served honorably as a woman in the military. As a Naval Officer I worked with men and women of diverse backgrounds and talents to accomplish important missions. I built coalitions and relationships to solve complex problems despite tight budget constraints, bureaucratic red tape and difficult personalities. I have started and run a small publishing business, I sit on the board of the Wild Rose Shores community association and have been working hard for our district as an appointed representative by Senator Astle to have the FAA fix the low and concentrated flight paths into BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport currently implemented over our district.
What are three goals you want to accomplish in the next four years to advance the rights of women and minorities in Maryland?
I am concerned with environmental justice for women and minorities who are working and living in conditions that expose them to toxic and unhealthy chemicals and pollution. I will initiate and sponsor legislation to regulate chemical exposure in work environments and in trades often occupied by women such as cleaning. I believe cumulative sources of pollution must be considered by the Maryland Department of the Environment as part of their permitting process for locating sources of pollution near lower income and impoverished communities.
I am concerned with the ongoing and planned expansion of BWI Thurgood Marshall airport and the considerable human trafficking that is already fueled by Maryland’s central location along Interstate 95. Victims currently arrive from all over the country and the world into BWI which acts as a breeding ground for trafficking activity because travelers on short business trips or visiting our casinos are more likely to engage in illicit sexual activity. I have been working on airport noise and growth issues for our district and will continue to use the connections and relationships I have developed to limit the growth of BWI and work with agencies skilled in decreasing human trafficking to help solve this problem in Maryland.
I will work hard to support legislation providing protection for women immigrants and undocumented immigrants who may be victims of sexual abuse, domestic violence and exploitation. Maryland can be a model state for providing protection and opportunity for immigrants who want to work, raise their family and live in peace and freedom. As a veteran, I raised my right hand to defend the rights detailed in our Constitution to protect the opportunity and security that our country offers to all who call her home. I want to continue to defend those values as a delegate.
What are the three most important issues on which you want to effect change? What will be your strategy for achieving these changes?
I will work for better environmental policy to support preservation of green space, green ways, established forest, tree canopy and continued storm water mitigation efforts. I am devoted to securing funding for our public education and ensuring our educational funding formula is legislated carefully and correctly to ensure our district receives the funding we need. I will support initiatives to create supportive living conditions, including adequate and dependable bus routes and mass transit connectivity to help our district residents get to good jobs. I am a pragmatic worker and coalition builder and will continue to work in those ways to earn support of committee leaders and other district representatives to achieve these improvements in our district.
What have you learned about yourself or the political process since you became a candidate or have been an elected official?
As women, we often find ourselves lacking in skills of self-promotion despite years of experience and know-how. It was a step outside of my comfort zone to solicit myself to complete strangers and I wasn’t prepared for the kindness and acceptance I received, even when knocking on someone’s door to discuss political views. I have long abhorred the amount of money and influence that fuels our political system and I was disheartened, but not completely surprised, when I was told by special interest groups that they will give endorsements based on a candidate’s viability determined by the money they have raised to the detriment of their actual understanding or experience with the special interest at stake. I believe money is a broken metric by which we have allowed political candidates and incumbents to gain and hold political office for far too long. We need serious campaign finance reform and in my own campaign I have pledged to not take money from corporate interests, PAC’s, developers or their attorneys.
Specifically, how will you keep your constituents informed about the issues facing the county and the state?
Regular email newsletters are one of the best ways to keep constituents informed on issues, current work and recent outcomes.In addition to written communication, I will maintain an open-door policy for all constituents.I will attend community meetings, town hall and other similar events to continue to hear what issues people are talking about.Rather than wait for issues to be brought to my attention, I tend to listen to what people are saying and try to bring solutions through means they may have never thought to pursue.I will provide transparent and responsive constituent service.