State Delegate District 18 (three seats)



Published:

REPUBLICAN

 

Linda Willard

• Where you live: Chevy Chase

• Date of birth: April 26, 1969

• Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: Attorney. Currently a senior policy adviser with TCH Group, a government relations firm in Washington, D.C. Past: Attorney with Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand; counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): Filed as a Jeb Bush delegate to the Republican National Convention in Congressional District 8. After Bush withdrew, switched to John Kasich.

• Campaign information:

 

1 – Why are you running for this office? (75 words max)

I am running to bring balance to our county’s representation in Annapolis. Montgomery County’s State delegation is comprised solely of 32 Democrats, even though Democrats make up only 60 percent of registered voters. Most races are decided in a closed Democrat primary, denying representation to Independents and Republicans. All voices matter. I am running as a Republican and reaching out to all voters, regardless of party affiliation.

2 – What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it? (100 words max)

Montgomery County is growing faster than any other county in the State, putting a tremendous burden on our schools, transportation system and environment. Currently, the County’s residents contribute substantially more in corporate and personal income taxes to the state budget than the county ever receives back. I will fight for our county to ensure we get a fair return on our investment by: (1) bringing State funds back to our schools that reflect our growing student population; (2) ensuring smart investment in transportation that actually reduces congestion; and (3) advancing policies that create jobs and grow our county’s tax base.

3 – What is one major issue the current House has handled poorly and what would you have done differently? (100 words max)

The Montgomery County Delegation of the House of Delegates has done little to promote economic growth or job creation. They have supported borrowing and spending without paying any heed to expanding our tax base. Governor Larry Hogan won with a platform that focused on jobs and the economy, and he has delivered on his promises, in spite of our delegation. If elected, I will support legislation to put an end to Montgomery County’s liquor monopoly, and I will fight to ensure we create more jobs and opportunities and eliminate red tape and burdensome regulations without increasing taxes.

4 – What experience (work, political or other) has prepared you to hold this office? (100 words max)

As a public policy lawyer, I have drafted federal legislation on transportation policy, environmental protection and infrastructure investment. I also have brought together business interests, environmental groups, government agencies, and citizens’ groups to find innovative solutions. I am proud to have worked as a Senate staffer to protect the Chesapeake Bay, and if elected, I will work with regional and federal partners to ensure full funding for the Bay and fight against drilling off Maryland’s shores. I look forward to bringing together agriculture, business and environmental groups to fight the runoff and air pollution that harm the Bay.

 

DEMOCRAT

 

Al Carr (incumbent)

• Where you live: Kensington

• Date of birth: Nov. 2, 1965

• Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: Full-time legislator. Former sales engineer for Verizon.

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): Appointed to Maryland House of Delegates in December 2007. Elected in 2010 and in 2014. Candidate for delegate in 2006. Elected to Town of Kensington Council in 2002, 2004 and 2006. Appointed mayor pro tem, Town of Kensington, in 2006 and 2007.

• Campaign information:

 

1 – Why are you running for this office? (75 words max)

I have been endorsed for re-election by the Teachers (Apple Ballot), Sierra Club, Senator Van Hollen, Congressman Raskin, Volunteer Firefighters, healthcare workers (SEIU 1199), and NARAL Pro Choice Maryland. It is an honor to represent District 18 in the House of Delegates. We have made progress but much remains to be done. I am running to continue the work of supporting world class schools and improving the quality of life in our communities.

2 – What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it? (100 words max)

Transportation. I am proud to have supported a historic Metro funding agreement. I oppose Hogan’s plan to widen the beltway with private toll lanes. Instead we must improve transit, pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure. I will push to upgrade MARC commuter rail with all-day, two-way service, weekend service and run-through service to Virginia. I support bus improvements like smart signals to move people efficiently and avoid paving green spaces. I will continue my leadership on “don’t block the box” legislation for safe and efficient intersections. I will keep working to make transportation agencies consumer friendly and end predatory toll collection policies.

3 – What is one major issue the current House has handled poorly and what would you have done differently? (100 words max)

I would like to see the Maryland General Assembly take stronger action to improve voting rights, campaign finance laws and government transparency. I have worked with Congressman Jamie Raskin to introduce legislation to reform the process of drawing congressional districts. I am proud to have supported legislation to allow public financing of county offices but we need to expand public financing. I would also improve the disclosure rules for campaign contributions and ban corporate donations as many states have done.

4 – What experience (work, political or other) has prepared you to hold this office? (100 words max)

As your Delegate, I have successfully championed passage of over 30 bills into law. I have earned a reputation as an accessible, friendly and effective representative. My engineering degree and analytical skills make me a good problem solver. 20 years of private sector experience gives me customer service skills and insights into economic development needs. Before serving as a Delegate, I served three terms as a Kensington councilmember and Mayor Pro Tem. I have a deep understanding and appreciation of municipal government which is important because District 18 has 9 municipalities — more than any district in Montgomery County.

 

Ron Franks

• Where you live: Wheaton

• Date of birth: Jan. 2, 1980

• Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: Contractor, U.S. Department of Justice

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): I have not held public office, but I did serve as a legislative aide to a New York City Council member.

• Campaign information:

 

1 – Why are you running for this office? (75 words max)

For the past few years, I have been volunteering in the community by serving on both the Mid-County Citizens Advisory Board ("MCCAB") and the Wheaton Urban District Advisory Committee ("WUDAC").  The main goal of those efforts is to raise issues of concern to the community with local elected officials and agency leaders. Some levels of government were more responsive than others and this election provided the opportunity to step up serve that role myself.

2 – What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it? (100 words max)

The most important issues in this election, for me, are education — specifically school construction/ maintenance funding and affordable housing. For the education piece, I think we need to work to make sure that the findings of the Knott Commission and formulas to be used take in to account the rate of a school systems growth when assessing needs. On affordable housing, I would like to: 1) increase the size and scope of the affordable housing trust and 2) work with the county to develop plans and policies that incentives development of affordable housing.

3 – What is one major issue the current House has handled poorly and what would you have done differently? (100 words max)

The Maryland S.A.F.E. Act. This act should have been passed and signed in to law this term. Since it was not, if elected, it will be the very first bill I sponsor.

4 – What experience (work, political or other) has prepared you to hold this office? (100 words max)

I think my experience from connecting inmates on Rikers Island in NYC with re-entry services has prepared me with the skills to deal with difficult challenges in sub-optimal conditions. Further, I think my experience working for the NYC city council provided me the skills that will prove useful in operating the lever of the government particularly with the budget and appropriations. Additionally, I believe the investigative work I perform in my current position provides the skill set of taking in complex information, discerning what is most relevant and distilling it in manner that can be used to make a case.

 

Mila Johns

• Where you live: Town of Chevy Chase

• Date of birth: Jan. 18, 1985

• Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: I am currently a full-time candidate. Previously, I was a terrorism researcher/analyst at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (http://www.start.umd.edu). I decided to run for office after turning down a position with Customs and Border Protection when Trump was elected.

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): First-time candidate

• Campaign information:

 

1 – Why are you running for this office? (75 words max)

I am running for Delegate to serve as a bulwark against policies emanating from Washington; the state-level is the most effective place to fight back against federal policies that do not reflect the values of our state. I want to ensure that everyone, regardless of income, education, or employment status has access to healthcare. It has been a lifeline for my family and I want to make it available to every Marylander.

2 – What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it? (100 words max)

Healthcare – it’s what inspired my candidacy due to my own experience. Prior to the ACA, I’d been kicked off my insurance for a pre-existing condition. I was fortunate enough to be on Maryland’s Medicaid program when I was pregnant and went into pre-term labor at 6 months. It saved my daughter’s life and made me committed to healthcare as a human right. Thanks to our unique all-payer system, Maryland is much closer to a single-payer system than any other state and I plan to use this groundwork to help create the first state-level single-payer system in the country.

3 – What is one major issue the current House has handled poorly and what would you have done differently? (100 words max)

I believe that the current House of Delegates has failed to push forcefully enough for the creation of a state-wide, single-payer healthcare system in Maryland. As the only state to have a federal waiver since the 1970s that has enabled us to enact our existing all-payer system, I believe those currently in office have failed to be aggressive and assertive enough in their fights to ensure that all Marylanders have health insurance and access to healthcare. I would have – and if elected, will – be a more forceful, outspoken, and tireless advocate for this change.

4 – What experience (work, political or other) has prepared you to hold this office? (100 words max)

A former terrorism analyst, I gave up my position rather than vet Syrian refugees under Trump’s administration. A life-long activist for reproductive justice, I’ve served as a clinic escort for 14 years and am currently in my second term as the Washington Area Clinic Defense Task Force's Training Coordinator. A survivor of domestic violence, I have been a tireless advocate in Annapolis for increasing the protections for those in abusive relationships, including allowing victims of dating violence to obtain protective orders and creating an enforcement mechanism to ensure that those conviction of domestic violence crimes surrender their firearms.

 

Helga Luest

• Where you live: Randolph Hills in Rockville

• Date of birth: Sept. 18, 1968

• Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: Senior manager of communications with a federal government contractor; president & CEO of Witness Justice (2001-14)

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): County committeewoman, 1986-91 (originally won as a write-in candidate)

• Campaign information:

 

1 – Why are you running for this office? (75 words max)

As someone who works with federal agencies, I see how the decisions of the Trump Administration will impact funding streams and programs to states. It has never been more critical to have smart leadership in Annapolis to be the stopgap of these potentially harmful changes. I have the experience, passion, and dedication to be a strong leader for Montgomery County and for Maryland and believe it is essential to have more women in leadership positions.

2 – What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it? (100 words max)

Climate change is a very high priority. Research indicates that life and health will look very differently — even if we make dramatic changes in how we live to reduce waste and pollution. Health, education, economic strength, employment, housing — all will be impacted by rising sea levels, frequent and intensifying storms, new vector-borne diseases, drought and flooding, and increasing temperatures. While we focus on environmental protection, building our preparedness resources and adding a focus to community resilience is essential. My commitment to the environment is more than observational — I’m doing my part to walk the walk with my low carb(on) campaign.

3 – What is one major issue the current House has handled poorly and what would you have done differently? (100 words max)

As a victim advocate, SB122, the Comprehensive Crime Bill of 2018, was of great interest. It passed the Senate, but then stalled in the House of Delegates when add-ons — some that could disproportionately affect minorities — kept piling on. The bill already had provisions for stiffer penalties for some crimes and new possibilities for prosecutors to appeal evidentiary rulings. The crime and violence prevention initiatives were not research-informed, which means their efficacy would be questionable. I would have spent time last summer researching this and talking with advocates to find the most compelling paths to promote safety and justice.

4 – What experience (work, political or other) has prepared you to hold this office? (100 words max)

I first ran for office in N.J. when I was 18, won, and was re-elected twice. I have consistently been engaged with the community as a leader, volunteer, mother, and neighbor. My commitment and advocacy for positive social change has been the cornerstone of my personal and professional growth. I received a Congressional award for my criminal justice and health advocacy. I've lead federal and state programs, drafted legislation, and effectively brought policy to practice at the local level. I'm committed and dedicated to this work and I bring leadership beyond legislation, making a positive difference in every way possible.

 

Leslie Milano

• Where you live: Chevy Chase

• Date of birth: May 25, 1974

• Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: Executive director of public health organization. Previously, co-founder of a human rights organization.

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): Experience running/working on political campaigns and fundraising for local, state and federal candidates

• Campaign information:

1 – Why are you running for this office? (75 words max)

I’m running for four reasons: 1) to use my 20 years of business/negotiating experience to bring more resources back to our district to address problems like school overcrowding, 2) to lead the country on progressive legislation, like gun violence prevention, 3) to lay the groundwork for sustainable economic growth for our district and state, 4) because we need more women at the table, and I have the qualifications to get the job done.

2 – What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it? (100 words max)

Montgomery County’s trajectory for economic growth should be a red flag. We need to prioritize: 1) Smart growth for neighborhood communities, 2) Growing small businesses, and 3) Investing in renewable energy at a statewide level. If we want smaller class sizes, investment in a world-class Metro system, innovative approaches for reducing the number of cars on the road, workforce development, home health that lets seniors age in place, stabilizing and lowering health insurance and prescription drug costs, etc., we need to grow the tax base so that we avoid increasing taxes on working families and retirees. Also: gun violence prevention.

3 – What is one major issue the current House has handled poorly and what would you have done differently? (100 words max)

I would have led the Amazon incentives negotiation differently. We could have prioritized redirecting the $3.5B in “corporate welfare” tax breaks to workforce development and affordable housing around Metro hubs. In that way, we “invest” the same amount of dollars but better prepare ourselves for filling the current 27K job openings and enticing more tech and finance companies to the area with the promise of a highly-skilled, accessible workforce comprised of Marylanders. Otherwise, we need a strong delegation ready to lead and bring money back to our district so that we can address problems like massive overcrowding in schools.

4 – What experience (work, political or other) has prepared you to hold this office? (100 words max)

To be successful, a Delegate needs two separate skill sets: public policy content knowledge and the ability to get things done. I have both, and have been working on both for a very long time. I’m the executive director of a public health organization and have two decades of executive leadership experience, a public policy graduate degree, and years of volunteerism with grassroots issues from homelessness to labor rights to immigration and more. We need a fierce negotiator who can bring fresh innovative solutions, sustainable economic growth, and the ability to create buy-in to successfully pass legislation.

 

Joel Rubin

• Where you live: Chevy Chase

• Date of birth: April 8, 1971

• Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: President of Washington Strategy Group; visiting fellow at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College, Washington, D.C.; former deputy assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): Council member, Town of Chevy Chase (elected in May 2017 to two-year term); candidate in Maryland’s 8th Congressional District Democratic primary (lost in April 2016)

• Campaign information:

 

1 – Why are you running for this office? (75 words max)

I'm running because I'm a fighter. District 18 needs fighters to support our schools, strengthen our economy, protect our environment, and advance our progressive values. As a Chevy Chase Council Member, I led our response to anti-Semitic flyers left at Jewish homes. In the Obama Administration, I fought for a more peaceful American foreign policy. I'm running because Montgomery County is a great place to live and we need fighters to keep it that way.

2 – What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it? (100 words max)

School Funding. MCPS must receive its fair share of state funding to meet the needs of our diverse student population. As a certified elementary school teacher and father of three daughters attending MCPS schools, I understand the struggles that parents and teachers face and am committed to investing in school construction and educational infrastructure. I will fight to pass the lockbox bill to ensure that State revenues from casinos go solely to education. I will also build alliances to change the law so that the level of State funding for MCPS meets our student’s needs, which it currently does not.

3 – What is one major issue the current House has handled poorly and what would you have done differently? (100 words max)

Oversight of State transportation projects. As a supporter of public transportation, I’m concerned that the Hogan Administration has broken its mitigation commitments to communities located adjacent to projects like the Purple Line, and the House of Delegates has done little to address it. For example, my community of Chevy Chase was given short notice about the Capital Crescent Trail’s closure, leading to dangerous walking conditions for B-CC students. And in Lyttonsville, despite promises to the contrary, both access bridges to the community were closed, harming local businesses and residents. We need accountability, and that is what I intend to deliver.

4 – What experience (work, political or other) has prepared you to hold this office? (100 words max)

I’ve been an active leader in local and national government, progressive advocacy, and in the political arena throughout my two decades of public service. As the father of three girls in a multiethnic, multigenerational household, my wife and I live the typical Montgomery County family experience. And as the only candidate who’s both an elected local government official and served in the Obama Administration, I understand how to advance a State legislative agenda that meets our local needs while keeping an eye on Washington. That experience is what we need right now, and that’s what I’ll bring to the job.

 

Emily Shetty

• Where you live: Kensington

• Date of birth: Jan. 11, 1984

• Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: Democratic health care and technology federal government relations strategist for the Stanton Park Group. Former job: senior director for federal legislative affairs at the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): Vice chair of the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee (current); advocacy committee co-chair and member of the board of directors of the Women’s Democratic Club of Montgomery County. Ran for District 18 delegate in 2014.

• Campaign information:

 

1 – Why are you running for this office? (75 words max)

I am running for Delegate because I believe local and state government must be the back-stop to the harmful policies of the Trump Administration. As an attorney who has spent 10 years working to advance progressive policies at the federal, state and local level, I am hoping to bring my policymaking experience to serve as a strong advocate for my community in Annapolis.

2 – What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it? (100 words max)

Healthcare. While the ACA has undoubtedly provided an incredible benefit to many families throughout the state, many who are enrolled in plans through the Maryland Exchange have seen premiums skyrocket. I support establishing a single-payer system to ensure universal access to healthcare. I also support policies that will make prescription drugs more accessible — namely, I would like to see an affirmative disclosure requirement that would require pharmacists to disclose the cash price vs co-pay/co-insurance price for any prescription a patient seeks to fill, as well as the cost of any generic options that they may wish to consider.

3 – What is one major issue the current House has handled poorly and what would you have done differently? (100 words max)

Gerrymandered districts have resulted in power being taken from the voters. However, in the 21 states that have currently enacted redistricting commissions, many of them are currently set up to give the majority party more seats on the commission, which results in control of the process. I support the formation of an independent commission that limits the direct participation of elected officials.

4 – What experience (work, political or other) has prepared you to hold this office? (100 words max)

I am an attorney, and have spent the last decade working to advance progressive policies at the federal, state and local level. Professionally, I fight to ensure access to high quality healthcare for patients with kidney disease, rare diseases and cancer. Locally, I have served on numerous boards of local community groups and am the current Vice Chair of the Montgomery County Democratic Party. This experience has allowed me to advocate for numerous policies locally, while establishing strong relationships with local elected officials.

 

Jared Solomon

• Where you live: Chevy Chase, Rock Creek Forest neighborhood

• Date of birth: April 3, 1985

• Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: Legislative assistant, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), May 2014 to September 2017. Assistant vice president, Bose Washington Partners, starting January 2018.

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): No prior public office held. Political director, Montgomery County Young Democrats (2014-16); Democratic precinct chair (2014-present); member of the Democratic Central Committee Ballot Initiative Review Committee (Spring 2014-Summer 2014)

• Campaign information:

 

1 – Why are you running for this office? (75 words max)

I’ve been an advocate in Maryland since moving to Baltimore to teach. I decided to run because I was frustrated we weren’t making progress at the Federal level and in Maryland, we have a Governor promoting policies I believe are bad for the state, particularly on education, infrastructure, and the environment. I want to show that in Maryland we can care for our most vulnerable, create high-quality schools, protect our environment, all while still prospering.

2 – What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it? (100 words max)

I think the most important issue in this race is education, particularly the quality and accessibility of our programming, the condition of our school buildings, and the equitable distribution of resources. If elected, I would prioritize a new funding formula that increases funding statewide and brings more resources to our county for our school programming and school construction, particularly in the areas where it’s most needed. I will also push for universal child care & early learning opportunities and better career & technical education pathways so students have choices beyond a 4-year degree.

3 – What is one major issue the current House has handled poorly and what would you have done differently? (100 words max)

I believe one issue major issue that has been handled poorly is gerrymandering and the redistricting process. I support creating a nonpartisan committee to draw our congressional & legislative district lines. When the legislature controls the process, it is subject to inherent bias that disenfranchises voters and undermines the public’s faith in fair elections. Voters should pick their elected officials, not the other way around.

4 – What experience (work, political or other) has prepared you to hold this office? (100 words max)

My whole career has been in public service and education — as a high school teacher in Baltimore City, a school system administrator for D.C. Public Schools, and policy advisor in the U.S. Senate. I know how to implement policy and how to write and pass laws improving our community. In Maryland, I’ve worked across the state for progressive policies like the Dream Act, earned paid leave, and gun safety. I helped found Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence and chaired the “Educators for Van Hollen” group. In Annapolis, I will have the knowledge and experience to effectively represent Montgomery County.

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