January 1, 2018
Friends & Neighbors:
Another year ends, and a new one begins. I hope you and your family had a wonderful holiday season, and are looking forward to a peaceful, healthy, and happy 2018.
Although I ran to be a State Delegate and represent District 46 in the General Assembly, being an elected official representing Baltimore City is about much more than passing bills in Annapolis — it also involves being a problem-solver and advocate for my constituents and institutions. The past year was a challenging one for our City (and country), and it was that much more important that we have active elected officials doing all we can to promote the interests of the people of Baltimore City residents.
The 2017 legislative session revolved around several issues, including beginning to protect Marylanders from the effects of the new government in Washington, finding additional funding for our City Schools, passing legislation to provide MTA needed flexibility in spending, and negotiating the beginning of much-needed support for Baltimore Police with $2 million to install technology in squad cars as well as oversight to require more training.
Summer began with record turnout at my 2017 Community Picnic in the Park – I’m looking forward to some warm days again as we live through frigid temperatures this week! As I visited numerous community meetings in the spring and summer, education and crime were the two issues top of mind for many people, as they are for me. In July, my fellow legislators and I released our first plan aimed at reducing crime in the short term and long term in Baltimore City – Baltimore PROSPERS. We followed up with a letter to Governor Hogan in the fall again asking for more state resources and collaboration.
In the fall, I was delighted to start off the school year (after publishing an op-ed in the Sun about when the school year should start!) at the opening of the Francis Scott Key Elem/Middle School Library, which was one of the very first capital projects I worked to secure funding for. The groundbreaking for a new football/multi-purpose field at Baybrook Park in Brooklyn happened soon thereafter. I then continued meetings with people around the district – holding Community Conversations in Brooklyn, Cherry Hill, Patterson Park, and Riverside.
A personal highlight for me – after months of doorknocking while expecting – was delivering a healthy baby girl (one day after my Women’s Breakfast fundraiser!), Elizabeth (Eliza) Jane Hansel on November 9, 2017. This fall and winter, Eliza has covered the district with me – attending some of my roundtable discussions, meetings, house parties, and holiday community events.
In the upcoming 2018 session, I look forward to leading on gun violence prevention efforts, building healthy and green neighborhoods with “complete streets,” championing evidence-based literacy efforts, and continuing efforts to prohibit styrofoam from plaguing our waterways and neighborhoods. And I hope you will come down to Annapolis to see me and to advocate on issues that matter to you!
2017 may have been a tough year, but there were wonderful and joyful moments. We are a resilient and hopeful people and City, and I know that our best days are ahead of us. We can end the violence. We can build a first-class public education system. We can have better transit, good-paying jobs, and clean, green neighborhoods. We can build a better Baltimore – if we work together. I won’t give up and I know you won’t either. I’m looking forward to continuing my efforts in 2018 on behalf of you and your families.