“Marylanders Speak to Governor Hogan” a Rousing Success…even without the Governor!
October 4, 2017__Even though Governor Hogan declined repeated requests to meet with us in a Town Hall, on October 4, Do The Most Good, Indivisible All In, Indivisible Cabin John, Indivisible Montgomery, Takoma Park Mobilization and Diversity Matters co-sponsored a major forum, “Marylanders Speak to Governor Hogan”. The stellar speakers and enthusiastic audience took on three major areas of concern to Marylanders: Health Care, Education, and the Environment, and attempted to prioritize actions that should be taken by the Governor. After each speaker, the audience voted in real time to set their priorities.
Charly Carter, Executive Director of Maryland Working Families, introduced the outstanding speakers and set the tone by reminding the audience we are all “citizen experts on living.” Our representatives need to hear from us about the “real problems” we face and our priorities for governmental action.
Leni Peston, Executive Director of Consumer Health First, posed this challenge to the Governor: “Governor Hogan, how do you propose to ensure that Marylanders continue to have access to high-quality, comprehensive and affordable health care?” Since he wasn’t there to answer, she described four potential areas for action:
- Preserve Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in MD
- Stabilize Individual Insurance Market
- Ensure Access to Behavioral Health Care Services
- Create a Consumer-Informed Delivery System
The results of the poll put preserving Medicaid and CHIP #1.
Dr. David Hornbeck, co-founder of Strong Schools Maryland, presented alarming data that indicate recent declines in student scores in Maryland and the state’s poor educational standing (23rd – 37th) compared to other states. He noted that 58% of Maryland schools draw from areas of concentrated poverty, and the system is further challenged by wide-spread underfunding. He concluded that the problems faced by educators are complex and there is no single, simple “silver bullet” solution. Therefore, Dr. Hornbeck calls on the Governor to Support the Nine Building Blocks for a World Class Education currently being considered by the Kirwan Commission. He proposed three potential areas for immediate action to the forum:
- Equity in MD’s funding and performance standards across districts to reduce disparities in resources and outcomes
- Postsecondary and workforce readiness – creating real vocational and career pathways
- Support high-quality programs for our youngest children – school readiness is a strong predictor of academic success
Concern for the most vulnerable among us led yielded the #1 priority for high quality programs for our youngest children.
Mike Tidwell, Executive Director of Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN), engaged the audience with a dynamic presentation on environmental issues and climate change. This year’s hurricane season, only about half over, has already set a number of world records for wind speed, rainfall, and pure destructiveness. It is imperative that we reduce the release of green house gases into the atmosphere, and he sees us in a race against time to keep more fossil fuels in the ground (where they belong) while simultaneously developing more clean energy sources. Although Maryland has had some recent legislative successes, such as the state-wide fracking ban, there is much more to do. His recommendations:
- Require 50% of MD electricity come from renewable sources (wind and solar) by 2030 – new legislation to be introduced
- Strengthen MD’s Climate Action Plan
- Community solar for everyone (through community installations)
- Move Maryland beyond dirty coal and trash-burning incinerators
- Stop the Potomac pipeline (transporting “fracked” gas from PA to WV via pipeline under Potomac River and C&O Canal)
Forum participants strongly endorsed establishing new, stricter renewable electricity goals for 2030 as their top priority.
Town Hall with Ben Cardin – August 31, 2017
At his Healthcare Town Hall in Rockville on August 31, Senator Ben Cardin announced that he wanted to applaud “We the People” for saving the Affordable Care Act (ACA). What made the difference, he said, were personal stories and specific examples of how loss of coverage would affect real people. Many “Do The Most Gooders” were among the approximately 150 people in attendance at Gilchrist Hall to accept his praise and get his assessment of where we go from here.
Can the ACA be improved, Cardin asked? His answer: “No major legislation has not needed some revision.” He has offered legislation to address two major areas of the law that need work. First, he is concerned about lack of competition, particularly in the individual markets, and higher premiums exacerbated by the uncertainty the Republicans have caused. Secondly, is the need to bring down the growth rate of healthcare costs, beginning with prescription prices and including innovative care delivery models.
Cardin believes we need careful deliberation to determine what works best for our country, not the Republican’s precipitous and exclusionary process. Whether he eventually supports Medicare-for-all or a single-payer system, Cardin believes we need to establish healthcare as a right, then assure universal coverage and access, while taking care to safeguard quality. With this Congress, we may need to compromise while we keep our eye on the goal.
Washington Post Letter to the Editor – August 25, 2017
Excellent letter in Sunday’s Washington Post by our team lead for environment and science, Olivia Bartlett!
Washington Post Letter to the Editor – August 9, 2017
Check out this letter to the editor in the Washington Post, by DTMG Steering Committee Member Trip Rothschild, in which he calls out Maryland Gov Larry Hogan for his lack of leadership. Read and share!