Chrissy Holt (D) |
Maryland State Senator - District 30
Primary Challenger to candidate Sarah Elfreth (D)
Why are you qualified to represent the people in your jurisdiction?
I have been advocating on the state and federal level for over 20 years for improved health care and know how the system works and how to build coalitions to pass legislation. Every person in District 30 needs health care and I will support or introduce legislation to make it more affordable for all. To pass legislation I will bring a lifetime of hard earned business experience along with my skills as a core team member of Internet startup CareerBuilder. In my current job with Disney Institute at The Walt Disney Company, I help businesses improve their employee engagement for better job satisfaction and customer experiences to create economic success. The advocacy, leadership, and business experiences in addition to raising a family in the Annapolis area directly prepare me to pivot into public office. I bring a perspective from the working class into our state government where I will examine and fix its weaknesses that run counter to our values and social justice, drive efficiencies and innovation, and to create economic prosperity, health, and a thriving environment for people in all economic brackets.
What are three goals you want to accomplish in the next four years to advance the rights of women and minorities in Maryland?
1. I will use all my business and advocacy skills to fight for a New and Improved Medicare for All, and against huge subsidies that enrich healthcare executives. As a mom who fought for healthcare for her son who has hemophilia, I know that the burden of caring for chronically ill children and older parents most often falls on women, especially minority women, and therefore, impacts our career prospects and our future earnings. Improving health care for everyone will increase the health, wellbeing and economic status of women, minorities, and all members of our communities.
2. I will fight to increase the minimum wage to $15 dollars per hour because many women wage earners cannot make a living at one job and need to work two or more jobs to make ends meet, or they have to choose between medicine and health care coverage or food and other basic necessities. This kind of grinding existence is a recipe for poor health so by increasing the minimum wage we can improve lives and decrease health costs.
3. Only 39 percent of Anne Arundel County residents over age 25 have a bachelor’s degree, and this is because higher education, even at state schools, is prohibitively expensive. Most parents are not earning enough to pay mortgages, health care, retirement saving and excessive tuitions. Although I was lucky enough to have the resources to be able to earn a Master’s Degree from the London School of Economics, the tuition in early 1990s was significantly lower than today. Teachers today are expected to cover $120,000/year for a bachelor’s degree only to make barely $45,000/year. The numbers don’t make sense. We, the people, got underrepresented and lost in the strategy for overall economic outlook. We stopped demanding better outcomes like lower tuitions for ourselves and our children. I believe that people’s success in life and in the work world should not depend on their ability to pay for college. I plan to help members of all communities, including women and underprivileged people, improve their lives by pioneering the introduction of high school programs that train students, promote apprentice programs, allow them to earn an associate’s degree while they are still in high school, and enter them into a pipeline to land good technology jobs. Other great programs like the Pathways to Technology Schools are not paid for by the state but by industries like IBM because businesses need a qualified workforce. I will lend my business savvy to bring these programs to all communities in District 30 and the rest of our state; everyone deserves a chance, including women and underprivileged residents, to thrive in life by landing good paying jobs in the technology economy.
What are the three most important issues on which you want to effect change? What will be your strategy for achieving these changes?
Healthy People are created by a health care system that focuses on medical outcomes for all citizens and continue to send tax payer dollars to unaffordable insurance policies. We will develop a health care model that doesn’t drain our pocketbooks to pay corporate executives and lobbyists but rather provides preventative care and for acute conditions like cancer, alcoholism, opioid addiction, hemophilia and other chronic diseases for an affordable cost -- as a person in long term recovery I know that access to health care changes lives. We must change the conversation from health insurance to providing health care.
Healthy Communities includes great schools, gun safety, social justice, good jobs with living wages, paid sick leave and early childhood care. I have supported these bills in the past and intend to partner with other progressive legislators to introduce legislation that will make real improvement on all of these issues.
Healthy Environment means protecting our rivers and the Chesapeake Bay from polluted runoff from agriculture and stormwater by increasing the size of required agriculture and stormwater practices to capture the more frequent and intense rainfalls that now occur. I will push our state to be green and off of fossil fuels by increasing the renewable portfolio standard, which will support a thriving green economy and help combat climate change.
What have you learned about yourself or the political process since you became a candidate or have been an elected official?
Since I launched my campaign on February 7, 2018, I learned that campaigns take an enormous amount of time, energy and discipline, especially apparent when you are working full time like I am. If you have a dedicated and organized team that believes in your goals, like I do, then you have more than enough to keep you going when you are tired or discouraged. I’ve learned that all people, regardless of party or platform, who have put themselves and their ideas on the line to run for office, and by proxy have exposed their families to scrutiny and sometimes ridicule, deserve the utmost respect. I have always been able to advocate for health care issues with federal and state legislators who fundamentally disagree with me, and to keep our conversations educational and civil -- and now I have even more respect for all they did to win their seat at the table. I recommend that the MD General Assembly web page provide a candidate tab for all candidates from every party as a central location for links and voter education. There is a tremendous amount of redundancy with groups and expenses required “to reach voters.” If voters had one place that MD advertised, it would save money and time for candidates. Further, early endorsements do a disservice to the electoral process. Candidates that are endorsed before the candidate filing deadline are not fully vetted against the field and therefore it is dishonest to the voters. Voters should know that before following endorsements when leadership did not do their due diligence.
Specifically, how will you keep your constituents informed about the issues facing the county and the state?
I will use all the media platforms I am using now for our campaign, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, emails, online community forums and newspaper articles to solicit and communicate ideas and to learn about issues. If elected I will host coordinated town hall community meetings to listen and to discuss the issues directly with my constituents, and I will regularly attend community association meetings to hear from them first hand. I plan to send end of session letters to constituents highlighting legislation I sponsored and helped to pass, and I will also be available for individual appointments year round in my Annapolis Office. Public service is a public trust.