September Isn't Only for Back-to-School

September 18, 2017

Summer’s in the Rear View Mirror

With the passage of Labor Day and the first day of school and temperatures beginning to drop, it’s safe to say the summer is long gone. Like many of you, I sent my children back to school, and although they’re in college and graduate school, I still tear up!

Like many of you, I’m heartbroken to witness the chipping away at federal protections of vulnerable communities, like the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  Nationally, more than 800,000 children who are undocumented and in this country through no fault of their own, have been protected and permitted to live and work in our country legally, a policy put in place by the Obama Administration. President Trump recently announced his intention to repeal DACA unless Congress acts.

Here in Maryland, 9,800 young people have voluntarily undergone extensive and continuous background checks by the Department of Homeland Security more than 10,900 times. Not only are these DREAMers among our most vulnerable individuals, but they are also friends of our children, honors students, they work in our communities and pay taxes. In 2012, Marylanders voted to support the DREAM Act, allowing undocumented students the opportunity to pay in-state tuition at Maryland colleges and universities if they attended a Maryland high school and paid taxes (among other things). This law has been critical to Maryland’s economic growth as graduates have gone on to become small business owners, teachers, engineers, nurses and lawyers. In addition to being a mean-spirited bad policy, ending DACA would have a detrimental economic impact on our state and country.

I recently joined thousands of elected officials, faith leaders, and civic leaders from across the nation and signed on to a joint letter affirming our commitment to stand with our DREAMers. They deserve an opportunity to continue to thrive and be given a legitimate path to citizenship. I am cautiously optimistic that recent meetings between the President and Democratic leadership in Congress will pave the way for congressional action affirming DACA.

 

In and around the district, I was thrilled to:  celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Talmudical Academy, enjoy the children in the Orchkids program at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra gala, walk with a fabulous group of volunteers in the Reisterstown Parade, and meet royalty (Miss Maryland Agriculture and Watermelon Queen) at the Maryland State Fair!

In the 2015 session legislative session, I and my district colleagues helped secure $65,000 in state funding for renovations of a house on the property of St. Mark’s on the Hill, a Pikesville church. Last week, I was pleased to attend the dedication of Gilead House, a temporary home for new immigrants, that provides supportive services in addition to shelter.  Speaking of renovations, I attended the 1,000 friends of Pikesville community meeting where we discussed the revitalization of the Pikesville Armory and the exciting potential that exists at this challenging property.  Shortly after the meeting, I drove back to Southern Maryland for a whirlwind visit with my colleagues on the Appropriations Committee. We visited the University of Southern Maryland, the St. Mary’s Detention Center, the MD Archaeological Conservation Lab and the Charlotte Hall Veterans Home. Over the next few weeks I’ll be doing some visiting of my own --  to local elementary and middle schools in addition to site visits with the Baltimore County Delegation and the Joint Committee on Ending Homelessness.

Over the past months, I’ve been talking with many of you about what’s on your mind -- and what’s happening in the community. As the 2018 legislative session draws near, I continuously reflect on the issues most important to you and to me: fighting for and advocating on behalf of working families, students, and seniors. I’m looking forward to spending the remainder of the interim listening and learning from you. And please be sure to let me know if you have legislative ideas!

 

High Holidays

The Jewish New Year is upon us, and as we enter the High Holiday season, my family & I send warm wishes for a Shana Tova (Happy New Year)  to all who celebrate.  

Action Alerts

In the 2017 session, my bill, HB 586 Maryland Farms and Families Act, passed with unanimous support in the House and Senate. This legislation became law, but it is now up to the Governor to make funding it a priority. Approximately 760,300 Maryland residents are food insecure – nearly 1 in 8 households. This bill will increase the purchasing power of residents who use public food assistance programs like SNAP and WIC while increasing revenues for farmers. Click here to sign this community letter urging the Governor to support farmers and thousands of food insecure Marylanders.  

Save The Date:  Blue Water Baltimore Community Tree Planting

I am so excited to partner with environmental advocates, Blue Water Baltimore, and to host not one, but two tree planting events in the district! Mark your calendars for Sunday, October 15th from 1-4 pm at Wellwood International Elementary and Saturday, October 21st from 9am-12pm in Sudbrook Park. Sign up forms and more details to come!

Upcoming Senior Expo

The Baltimore County Department of Aging is hosting their annual Power of Age – formerly Baby Boomer/Senior - Expo on Wednesday, October 4 from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Thursday, October 5 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. The event will be held at the Timonium Fairgrounds in the Cow Palace. There will be more than 300 exhibits and ample community resources including health screenings, an employment fair and assistance with benefits and Medicare Part D. Click here for more information.

The Kirwan Commission

It’s your chance to let the Commission know how you feel about the funding of public schools. They are charged with proposing a new funding formula, following up on the Thornton Commission from many years ago. If you would like more information, please click here.  Consider attending:

October 12, 2017

6:30-8:30 p.m.

Baltimore Polytechnic Institute

1400 W. Cold Spring Lane

Baltimore, MD 21209

 

Campaign 2018 is right around the corner
We welcome your support as we head into 2018 -- Election Year! Please click here to volunteer on the campaign and we’ll put you to work.

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As always, thank you for the honor of serving the 11th district!

Sincerely,


Shelly Hettleman
Delegate