August 30, 2022

By now, I am sure you have heard of Joe Biden's $500 billion giveaway of his student loan forgiveness plan. I believe it is wrong for this administration to transfer personal debt onto the taxpayers. This act is clearly a Biden Administration election-year gimmick that the courts will most likely strike down. However, it does highlight the problem of the cost of higher education.

Unfortunately, because of the high cost of higher education in our university systems, Marylanders carry more student debt than any other state in the nation.

One of the solutions to lower college costs is to introduce competition and options. Allowing regional community colleges to offer select bachelor's degree programs in select fields is an idea worth considering. This model has worked well in states like Florida and makes sense for taxpayers who have already invested a great deal of their tax money into the infrastructure of their local community colleges. In addition, students benefit since the community colleges of Maryland already offer classes at much more affordable tuition than the current in-state rates at universities.

To make this a reality, we must pass legislation allowing regional community colleges to be accredited.

Delegate Mark Fisher originally had this idea and drafted legislation to do this for CSM back in 2016. The bill had bipartisan support from every member of the Southern Maryland Delegation but failed. The idea was perhaps before its time, but now that student debt is at the forefront of the country's kitchen table discussion, I believe it is time we start the conversation. Delegate Fisher and I will bring a bill forward this year that will do just that.

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August 22, 2022

I have exciting news! Perseverance has paid off, and common sense has prevailed.
On Saturday, I was delighted to hear that after months of communication, the College of Southern Maryland decided to reverse its discriminatory treatment of non-vaccinated students. As a result of the reversal, CSM's new admission policy becomes effective immediately.

I thank the CSM board of trustees and President Murphy for objectively reviewing the policy and agreeing to eliminate the COVID-19 vaccine mandate. During the last few months, I have had dozens of students and their family members reach out to our office about how this policy prohibited them from furthering their education. I am so happy the policy has been reversed, and hopefully, it is not too late for many of those students to sign up for fall classes.

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August 12, 2022

I am pleased that the CDC has finally revised its COVID guidance. The CDC says that due to breakthrough infections and natural immunity, there is no reason to treat vaccinated and unvaccinated people differently. 

The new COVID guidance from the CDC is about a year late as it has been self-apparent to anyone who wants to look at COVID data objectively and without political influence. In addition, the revised guidance finally acknowledges the absurdity of the discrimination against unvaccinated people over the past year. 

After reading the revised guidance late last night, I first thought of the CSM vaccination mandate policy. I want to let constituents know that I will be drafting a letter to CSM's Board of Trustees to ask that they immediately reverse their vaccine policy in light of the CDC revised guidelines. I will post the letter on my Facebook page later today.  

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July 20, 2022

While many state primary races are still undecided and coming down to an absentee ballot count on Thursday, we had a great night last night.  Conservative Republicans I endorsed went 3-0 in our local primaries.  I want to congratulate Mike Alderson for Commissioner, Debbie Burch for Clerk of the Court, and Dorothy Andrews for School Board on their primary wins last night.

We also went 6-0 on the state races We were involved with, highlighted by an upset win in Harford County of freshmen Delegate Lauren Airkan over a 20-year incumbent.

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June 30, 2022

Make sure you fill up your gas tank today!

Gas Tax Increase

Like you, I have watched the price rise every time I fill the tank.  This past session, I offered legislation to stop this automatic tax increase from going into effect.  But unfortunately, Democrats unilaterally voted down the bill.  As a result, the gas tax will go up by 18% per gallon on Friday.  This will bring the total state gas tax to 43 cents per gallon and 61 cents per gallon if you account for the federal tax!   

With a $7 billion surplus in state coffers right now, it would seem that the time is right to loosen the tight fist clenched on your hard-earned money and suspend the gas tax increase.  As inflation continues to rise and the cost of groceries and other necessities climbing, many of us are continuing to urge the Legislature to do the right thing and reconvene so that we can vote on this small measure to help the citizens of Maryland.  If you would like to watch the floor debate of this amendment, you can find it here:

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June 08, 2022

How would you feel if the government treated food purchases like it does k-12 education?  After all, food is a critical need for all humans.

Here is a hypothetical idea to help envision the issue:

Let's set up about 30 government grocery stores in each county.  Then assign the residents a store they can go to purchase groceries based on their home address.  You will not be allowed to go to a different store for equity purposes.  You can only go to your assigned store.  You also have no say over what groceries are sold in this store.   All merchandise sold in this government store will be decided by a government board run by the state.  If you want or need different items, you must lobby the state legislature or the local grocery store board.

Oh, by the way, none of the employees at this government store will ever be rewarded based on work ethic, creativity, or ingenuity.  They will only be awarded based on their seniority. 

Can you envision such a government grocery store system?  Would this be something you want over the free market choices we have now?

The above scenario scares me to death, and I do not believe Americans would be willing to accept shopping for groceries this way.  Unfortunately, however, we accept this measure of government control every day when we send our children to school. 

Children attend schools assigned to them based on their home address.  Parents have a minimal amount of input into the policies of those schools or the curriculum that is taught.  Suppose your public school is underperforming; too bad for you.  Your child is offered no other options unless you can afford to send them to private school or homeschool.  If you don't like it, you are told to lobby your state legislature or local school board.

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May 24, 2022

I want to thank CSM President Dr. Murphy for her kind and timely reply last Thursday to my letter requesting that CSM change its mandated vaccine policy for student enrollment.

Yesterday, I sent a reply letter back to CSM and their Board of Trustees, reiterating the position of many constituents who have contacted me regarding this issue.

As students graduate high school next week, college plans are a top priority for many parents. The mandated vaccine requirement at CSM is a big issue for many in our area, especially with much of our citizens' tax dollars going to fund the institution of CSM. The children of those same taxpayers should not be forced to decide between their personal and private health choices and pursuing their educational and career goals. I am hopeful that CSM will lead by example and reverse its student admission policy as soon as possible.

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