State Delegate District 20 (three seats)



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DEMOCRAT

 

Fatmata Barrie

• Where you live: White Oak

• Date of birth: July 2, 1972

• Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: Attorney; The Barrie Law Center, Trustpoint International

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): This is my first time running for office.

• Campaign contact information:

 

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

I believe that a new voice is needed to represent my district. I am an educational & community advocate, special education & immigration attorney whose passion has always been about our children for the past 20 years. Although we talk about disparities in education, I have not seen results in addressing the disparities in resources &/or educational services. I also have not heard the voice for children with special needs/learning disabilities.

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

Providing educational resources to District 20 schools, providing funding to expand our schools & make them less crowded & construction of our schools to bring them up to date. Address the achievement gap/opportunity gap to ensure that all children in all schools receive the same level of services, including children with special needs. I plan to take a closer look at how funding is provided to the county & how the funding is allocated in service of the schools — look at how the money is spent and how we prioritize schools and school spending.

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

The Trust Act/Safe Act. I would have organized the community & run an issue-based campaign to get the public more involved in getting the bills passed. I would have pushed to have the issue placed on the ballot. We were able to pass the Dream act & I believe we can do the same with this. I know that most people are supportive of the Act and the protection of our immigrant neighbors. This will benefit all of us in the county because if our neighbors feel safe, so do we.

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

As an attorney & community advocate, I've worked with the community in organizing around issues affecting the District 20 community for over a decade. I have been involved in the Democratic Party as an Area Coordinator. I have worked with elected officials, police & community leaders in service of District 20 & the county. I have successfully negotiated issues of conflict and have also worked in collaboration with different groups for the betterment of our district and county. I have a long history of working with people from all walks of life and that will serve me well in Annapolis.

 

Lorig Charkoudian

• Where you live: Takoma Park

• Date of birth: Feb. 14, 1973

• 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 statewide organization, Community Mediation Maryland. Formerly, adjunct professor, University of Baltimore

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): Ran for Takoma Park City Council, 2011

• Campaign information:

 

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

I have dedicated over two decades to public service in Maryland. I’ve developed programs to build community wealth, provided violence prevention services, and improved the environmental sustainability of our food system. I’ve written legislation for food security and public health, worked with the courts to increase access to justice, and developed programs to reduce recidivism. I want to build on these successes and make even bigger structural changes for a more just and inclusive Maryland.

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

Effectiveness. The D20 Delegation has historically led in the General Assembly, successfully introducing and passing effective, progressive legislation. With turnover in the last few years, voters want to make sure that they are electing representatives who know how to turn the District’s values into effective legislation. Voters can go to my website and review my list of legislative successes, my experience with executive agencies and the Judiciary, and the successful programs I have built. Delegate Sheila Hixson’s endorsement of me is a testament to my abilities. I can carry on the D20 tradition of bringing effective, progressive change to Maryland.

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

I am disappointed that we did not more ambitiously address reducing greenhouse gas emissions from energy this past year, given how important this is to the future of our planet. This was a priority of many environmental groups in Maryland, and two separate bills highlighted important, but different, aspects of this issue. I would like to bring the best pieces of these two bills together in one powerful “unity” renewable energy bill that will commit Maryland to 100% clean renewable energy, grow good green jobs for Marylanders, and provide for a just transition from carbon-based energy.

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

I have worked on every aspect of the legislative process. I have conducted economic cost benefit research which has led to new policy development. I have drafted legislation; been appointed to Commissions to recommend policy changes; drafted amendments; coordinated legislative strategy; worked with legislators and coalitions; testified in front of every committee; and worked with state agencies to implement the policies that came out of new legislation. I have built relationships with legislators of both parties from across the state. I am ready to hit the ground running in Annapolis on behalf of D20 residents.

 

Malik Lendzondzo

• Where you live: Silver Spring

• Date of birth: Nov. 6, 1977

• Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: Data analyst and assessment coordinator for Ideal Academy Public Charter School

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): Maryland Democratic Diversity Leadership Chair for Continental Africa; chair precinct for District 20

• Campaign information:

 

did not respond to additional questions

 

David Moon (incumbent)

• Where you live: Takoma Park

• Date of birth: Jan. 28, 1979

• Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: Occupation: Lawyer, grassroots activist & political consultant. Employer: Demand Progress

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): Maryland House of Delegates, District 20 (2015-present)

• Campaign information:

 

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

I was born and raised in Montgomery County and have been committed to advancing social & economic justice in my own community. Representing Silver Spring & Takoma Park the last four years has been an honor, but I've got unfinished business. I'd like to continue rolling back mass incarceration, highlighting income inequality, and fighting off legislation that benefits the powerful at the expense of others. I also want to jumpstart horizon policies like universal childcare.

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

The Maryland budget is projecting hundreds of millions in deficit for years to come. As a result, our funding situation is a zero-sum game, where benefits we give to some deprive others of needed services. That's why I've been a vocal opponent of giveaways to millionaires and corporations, such as estate tax cuts, yacht tax cuts, casino tax cuts, tax credits for arms dealers, and more. These “trickle-down” policies account for most of our structural deficit and make it impossible to fully fund unmet needs, such as transportation, education, healthcare, environment and more. This dynamic requires a watchdog in Annapolis.

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

Before I took office, the General Assembly approved a tax cut for people who stand to inherit over $5 million from the estates of deceased residents. This was projected to drain the state budget of $150 million a year, and when I first took office, our nonpartisan budget analysts said this tax cut accounted for the entirety of our structural deficit at the time. Meanwhile, we were struggling to find funds for everything from foster youths and mental health, to substance abuse treatment and schools. Obviously, I would not have passed these tax cuts for estates worth millions.

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

I've worked in policy advocacy and electoral politics for many years and in many different roles — but always with an eye toward advancing social and economic justice. As a lawyer and nonprofit professional, I've worked at organizations promoting election reform, civil liberties, women's rights, immigrant rights, and more. As a political activist and blogger, I focused on promoting progressive issues and candidates who represented diverse aspects of the Democratic Party. In my first term in office, I've been able to put these various skills to use legislating and building coalitions to move tough policies. Help me keep it going!

 

Darian Unger

• Where you live: Silver Spring

• Date of birth: Aug. 19, 1973

• Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: Current: environmental engineer and business professor, Howard University. Also, firefighter/EMT, Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service.

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): Democratic candidate for District 20 delegate, 2014. Former chair of Progressive Neighbors.

• Campaign information:

 

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

As a parent, a Howard University professor, and a local volunteer firefighter, I am running to:

• improve the lives of our neighbors

• lead on clean air and renewable energy

• increase education funding

• enact meaningful gun control

• fix our unresponsive Department of Transportation

• make Maryland an inclusive and more fair society

• ensure that everyone has equal opportunity in school, at work, in our legal system, and in housing. 

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

As an MIT-trained environmental engineer with decades of climate policy work, I have a plan for Maryland to lead on renewable energy the way Massachusetts led on health care. We can be the state that pioneers a new environmental policy of carbon pricing and serve as a model for the rest of the country. We can sustain our world and strengthen our community with a safe environment, strong education, and a society that provides equal opportunity to everyone. If climate change and renewable energy are priorities for you, vote for Darian Unger.

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

The House has failed to push back against Trump’s attacks:

• It passed no meaningful environmental legislation in 2018, so climate change continues unabated.

• On immigration, it failed to pass the Trust Act, so unfortunately many of our neighbors fear the police instead of trusting them.

• It failed to protect us from Republican attacks on health care.

• It reduced education funding from 21% of the state budget to only 18%.

We can do better. I would have pushed harder to represent our community. I will pass new environmental legislation that will champion renewable energy while also funding our schools.

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

• As the chair of the Montgomery County ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), I fought for civil rights, economic justice, equal opportunity, and our children’s education.

• As an award-winning professor at Howard University, I teach our next generation of leaders.

• As an MIT-trained environmental engineer, I led renewable energy policy efforts.

• As a community activist, I supported education funding and earned the teachers’ endorsement.

• As transportation committee chair and board president, I fought for safer streets and public transit.

• As chair of Progressive Neighbors, I championed affordable housing.

• As a firefighter and EMT, I help neighbors when they need it most.

 

Jheanelle Wilkins (incumbent)

• Where you live: Silver Spring

• Date of birth: May 29, 1988

• Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: State delegate; senior field manager at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): State delegate, 2017-present. Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee, 2014-17.

• Campaign information:

 

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

I’m running to retain my seat in the House of Delegates and continue to improve the lives of Marylanders. In my current term in the Maryland General Assembly, I have successfully passed legislation that will save lives, improve our education system, and protect our environment. I’m running to continue to make an impact and champion District 20’s most pressing needs and improve our community.

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

Our community is facing a myriad of critical issues that we must address. One of these pressing issues in climate change and the federal repeal of critical environmental protections. In order to stem the tide, I have championed legislation to increase our state’s renewable energy goals and have worked to stop new oil pipelines from being built in our state. We also face a significant healthcare challenge with the rising cost of health insurance premiums. To address this issue, I worked with legislators to create a plan that will re-insure and offset the cost of health insurance for many residents.

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

It is critical that we create a justice system that more effectively balances public safety with measures proven to decrease crime, while advancing programs that create greater opportunity and alternatives to crime. In the 2018 legislative session, I opposed legislation that added mandatory minimums to our state’s justice code. Mandatory minimums are not effective tools for crime reduction. Unfortunately, this legislation passed the Maryland General Assembly. I believe we went in the wrong direction and will continue to advocate for a justice system that is more fair and takes a smart approach to crime.

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

As a current Maryland State Delegate representing District 20, I am proud to work every day to improve the lives of residents in our state. My legislative experience and record of successfully advocating for issues that make our community stronger prepare me to effectively represent constituents in an additional term. I have a strong record of championing issues like our environment, improving schools, and healthcare access. I have successfully passed legislation that creates greater opportunity for residents and make our community stronger. My background as an organizer has also prepared me to build coalition and get results for District 20.

 

George Zokle

• Where you live: Silver Spring

• Date of birth: Aug. 9, 1979

• Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: Attorney, Law Offices of George Zokle.

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): Ran for state delegate in District 20 in 2014.

• Campaign information:

 

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

I'm running for office to change the way government works in Annapolis to achieve Social & Economic Justice, Cultural Awareness, and Environmental Justice. I am a Maryland attorney with a 15-year-record of public service to our state, having served in county-appointed positions for mental health and children's issues, as well as past president of Democratic clubs. I've lobbied Annapolis on numerous bills and fundraised for Maryland Marriage Equality. I'm prepared to serve.

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 issue in this race is Social & Economic Justice, coupled with cultural awareness and environmental justice incentives. These three priorities serve as umbrellas for a number of other issues, like supporting unions, building better schools, fighting discrimination against vulnerable populations and underserved communities, and embracing climate resiliency programs to create a green jobs market while supporting small businesses and our Minority Business Enterprise programs. Social Justice also requires even more restrictions placed on gun sales to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.

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

First, state government intervention is necessary to better address tax duplication issues for municipalities in Maryland, like Takoma Park. Second, our state must better address issues with school construction funding and provide more classroom resources for teachers, access to technology for students, and mental health and wellness programs to prevent bullying.

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

My legal, policy, and community organizing training has prepared me to become an effective state legislator. Even more important, I am a survivor of gun violence as well as sexual abuse and turned my victimization into strength to help others. My LGBTQ activism in the DC area is proof of my ability to effectively fight for women and minorities. I am proud to have earned the endorsements of U.S. Congressman Tim Ryan and local restaurant and small business owners in Silver Spring and Takoma Park, and earned the Moms Demand Action candidate distinction. Please visit georgezokle.com to learn more.

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