Hrant Jamgochian: Why You Should Vote For Me
We asked local candidates in contested primary elections to write a sub-750 word essay describing why residents should vote for them on June 24. Next is Hrant Jamgochian, running for one of three District 16 House of Delegates seats in the Democratic primary. Below is Jamgochian's unedited response: My name is Hrant Jamgochian -- the "hard to pronounce, easy to support" candidate for the Maryland House of Delegates in District 16. After spending the last two decades of my professional career as a nonprofit advocate defending the most vulnerable members of society, I decided to run for District 16 Delegate to continue the fight to advance our shared progressive values. I plan to use my extensive public policy experience, health care expertise and personal experience to help ensure our success. And since you have three votes for Delegate, I hope that you will consider one of those votes in support of my candidacy. I bring nearly 20 years of public policy experience at the state and national levels, with the long track record of success. I also received my Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from the Catholic University Columbus School of Law and my Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Global Health Law at the Georgetown University Law Center. Currently, I serve as the Executive Director for Dialysis Patient Citizens, where I am responsible for directing and overseeing all day-to-day operations of the organization. As a result, I serve as the primary spokesperson for the organization and lead advocate, working closely with the Obama Administration to protect consumers during implementation of the Affordable Care Act. I previously served as the Director of Health Policy for United Way Worldwide, where I was the lead expert on federal and state health policy for the world's largest charity. I also served as the Director of Congressional and State Relations for the American Pharmacists Association, where I spearheaded advocacy efforts to improve patient access as well as protect patient safety. I also worked at the American Psychological Association, where I led our grassroots efforts to pass mental health parity legislation in more than a dozen states as well as at the federal level. I am a firm believer that health, education and income are all interconnected. For example, children do not learn if they are hungry. That is why I serve on the Board of Nourish Now, to help eliminate food waste and hunger in Montgomery County. It is also why I am running on a platform to improve the health, education and financial stability of our community. I want to ensure that everyone has access to high quality, affordable health care; spending most of my professional career fighting to increase patient access. As your Delegate, I want to close insurance loopholes in the Affordable Care Act and help fix our health exchange. We also need to do more to help our seniors "age-in-place" and provide high quality, long-term care to those who may need it. As a member of the "sandwich generation," I currently care for my 98-year-old grandmother who suffers from Alzheimer's, while also raising a beautiful 9-month-old baby boy. I also want to make sure that all children receive a good education, along with the support they need to achieve their full potential. To help address our growing achievement gap, I will continue to advocate for universal early education to ensure that all of our children have a good start. I will also work hard to address our overcrowded classrooms, by making sure Montgomery County secures its fair share of school construction funding from the state. We also need to make it a priority to make higher education more affordable. I have heard from far too many friends and neighbors who have told their children that despite all of their hard work they cannot afford to go to the college of their choice. Finally, I want to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to earn a good living. Far too many families are now choosing between unemployment and underemployment. We need to get more people back to work and in good paying jobs. That means eliminating excessive red tape to make it easier to do business in Maryland. I also support the creation of a state bank, to help free up capital during the current credit crunch, while also helping to keep more money in Maryland instead of shipping bank profits out-of-state. At the same time, we must address our traffic gridlock and decaying infrastructure if we want to attract and retain good jobs in our community. I hope you will join me in helping to create healthier, more robust and thriving communities in Maryland by casting one of your three votes for Delegate in support of my candidacy.