BUILDING BETTER COMMUNITIES
Growing up in District 25, I have been able to see some of our communities take a sharp turn for the worst. Forestville, District Heights, Suitland, Morningside, and Capitol Heights are now more distressed than they were when I was younger. Largo, Kettering, Mitchellville, and Clinton has started to see some of the same issues that once only plagued the inner beltway creep into their communities. It is time to put a stop to the destruction of our communities and build them back up to its rightful place in America. To do this I will focus on the following issues.
Effective Recidivism Reform
Our criminal justice system is packed with repeat offenders. Statistics show that 53% of first time offenders return to prison. Because of this our prison system is overpopulated creating a hazardous breeding ground for harder criminals to reenter into society. I will push for the following programs:
Creation of a Deputy Secretary of Public Safety & Correctional Services Responsible for Re-entry, Establish Re-entry Intake Centers in state, Establish Re-entry Courts, Annual Cost Benefit Analysis of Correctional System, Including Recidivism and Re-entry Efforts, Redemption Laws: Returning Honor to Those Who Make Good Choices, Challenge Grants To Retain Staff and Expand Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counseling Programs and Treatment Across the System, First Step for First Night: Providing Transitional Housing to Ex-Offenders, Protecting Children of Incarcerated By Fostering Connections, Bringing E-learning and Secure Mobile Technology to Facilities, Convening Innovation Summits of Faith-based and NGO Providers to Help Coordinate Non-Profits Efforts Statewide
Road and Transit Improvements
When we invest in our roads and communities we create environments of sustainability.
I support funding for critical road and transit improvements which are needed to relieve congestion and enhance capacity to foster future economic development. Additionally, I support the review of dedicated funding sources for transportation improvements and restoration of the Transportation Trust Fund.
I pledge to work with other state and local officials to ensure Prince George’s County receives its fair share of any STATEfunding.
Municipal Highway User Revenues Reinstatement and Protection from Future Diversions: For over 40 years, the state’s largest annual local aid contribution to municipalities was Highway User Revenues (HURs) that were distributed to cities and towns to assist with local road maintenance. This funding is also the only state shared revenue enjoyed by almost all incorporated municipalities. When last fully funded in 2008, this program made up 80% of total state shared revenues for municipal governments. Budget cuts since then, instituted by the state to balance its general fund budget, have decimated HURs in some years by as much as 96%. Where once cities and towns received over $45 million in HURs, this annual aid to municipalities recently shrunk to as little as $1.6 million in Fiscal Year 2011. Current year funding for this program is $6.5 million.
District 25 is home to 2 municipalities District Heights and Morningside. I support fully funding the Highway User Revenues to help our local municipalities.
Ending the Sale of Drug Paraphernalia
Today, you can go in to every gas station and corner store in the inner beltway which are owned by individuals who live outside of our communities and find bongs and glass and plastic pipes used specifically for drug use. This disregard for decency in our community is a complete lack of respect for our children and residents. This problem is not consistent throughout the entire state, only in communities of color. To combat this issue I will endorse a bill to end the sale of drug paraphernalia in these stores whose main source of revenue does not come from that of loose Tabaco sales.
I will use the DC Omnibus Public Safety Emergency Amendment Act of 2006 as the baseline to bringing the needed change. DC’s law considers metal, wooden, acrylic, glass, stone, plastic or ceramic pipes or tubes (with or without roses or screens) drug paraphernalia and therefore illegal to sell in retail establishments.