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Posted 22 November 2017

CCDCC MLAW

Each year the Maryland Legislative Agenda for Women (MLAW) get together to prepare for the coming General Assembly Session. The main purpose of the conference is to learn about what legislation will be before the General Assembly for the upcoming session and decide which they would like to support. While there are many bills that look very promising in 2018, MLAW is only so big and can only do so much. Over the next month, their members will be researching the different options, then voting on only six or seven. Then the group will work throughout the 2018 session to ensure the passage of those bill. While you may not be a member of MLAW to vote on the bills, nevertheless, these bills will have an impact in your life and community. You can read about the proposed legislation here.

CCDCC MLAW

Another goal of the MLAW conference is to get their members ready to advocate. This year, the panel discussion focused on methods of effective advocacy whether as a group or an individual. While Maryland was the first in the nation of supporting women in legislation just a few decades ago, we have slipped to tenth place now. In fact, there are the same number of women legislators today as there were in 1995. Here’s a summary of some of the tips and tools shared with the members of MLAW to encourage their success in engaging in government.

CCDCC MLAW
  • The first thing to remember is that you can’t do everything yourself. While you feel strongly about many issues and pieces of legislation, you have to pick what is most important to you and focus your energies there. Trust that your peers and fellow activists will move on other issues while you work on yours. Likewise, you can’t force a movement alone. There are things that happen within a society that create a moment for change. The best thing you can do is be prepared for when that moment comes along.
  • Learn how to take a break. It’s so much better to turn off the news for a few days to breathe then come back refreshed and ready, than to burn out and have to give up. You don’t have to say yes to every request or every event. Learn where your limits are and then learn how to work within them.
  • Whether you reach out to your legislator in person, by phone, or by email – make it personal. Talk to your legislators about your life. How does this bill or that law effect you personally and how can they work to make it better.
  • The best way to influence national issues is to influence local representatives. Whether policy or politics, if you don’t like what is happening in on the national stage, speak to the people who represent you. Similarly, if you are personally interested in a large issue, getting involved locally prepares you to get appointed in a larger position. You have to insert yourself into the “pipeline” to make the contacts you need to make, and build the understanding you need to have in order to be more effective.
  • If you like an organization and what they do, the best way to support them is to become a member. When measuring the effectiveness of any organization, membership numbers play a huge role. The larger an organization, the more influence they have.
  • And lastly, stay informed. Even if you don’t have the time or resources to get involved in any other way, stay up to date on the issues that matter most to you and talk about them with the people in your life.
CCDCC MLAW

 

Central Committee Elects New Member, Prepares for 2018

CCDCCPosted 17 November 2017

Discussion at the Calvert County Central Committee meeting last night began with recent events. All members were pleased with the picnic last month. Turnout was great, as was atmosphere. Everyone had a great time and speakers got people excited to Get Out The Vote in 2018. With so many food contributions, left-overs abounded and were packaged up and shipped over to ECHO House and Safe Harbor. Also exciting: the recent elections in Virginia and New Jersey. Calvert Democrats are looking forward to building on that momentum and seeing a similar result here in Calvert in 2018.

The 2018 Goldstein dinner date has been set for March 22nd, so mark your calendars today. We’ll be holding the Dinner at the Rod n’ Reel, cocktails and hors d'œuvres upstairs from 5:30 to 6:30pm. Dinner will be served at 7pm. We’re gearing up for a great event that you won’t want to miss!

The Calvert County Democratic Central Committee is pleased to announce the addition of Mr. Joe Thole as an Associate Member. Mr. Thole is retired IBEW employee as an IT Professional at the international headquarters and has been volunteering in the CCDCC office for several months. Both his expertise and his dedication to Democratic values will be a welcome addition to our team!

Here’s how you can help: Candidates need places to post signs to get their names out there before the 2018 election. Signage is a very important method of getting voters familiar with their choices. So if you own property or know someone who does, and you’re willing to display candidate signs, please get in touch with us or directly with the candidates! We need everyone’s support if we’re going to Get Out The Vote in 2018.

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House Republicans Passed Tax Overhaul

CCDCC HousePosted 17 November 2017

In a party-line vote on Thursday, the House Republicans passed a Tax Reform bill which is leaving a lot of poor and middle-class tax-payers with a larger share of the burden in order to afford corporate tax breaks. The Bill passed without any Democratic support and with 13 Republican nays, nearly all 13 from states with high taxes: California, New York, and New Jersey. The House bill eliminates local income and sales tax reductions and limits property tax deductions to only $10,000.

The plan also raises the bottom rate from 10% to 12%, limits deductible mortgage interest, repeals personal deductions, deductions for medical expenses, student loan interest, moving expenses, and more. While Republican leadership has claimed that this bill would reduce the tax burden of an average family of four by just over $1,000/year, even members who voted for the bill were questioning that math. According to one member, the fear that they were “over-promising and under-delivering” resonated even up to one day before the vote.

There is currently a plan in the Senate that, while similar in broad strokes, is still quite different in the details from the House bill. Going into yesterday’s House vote, Leadership was warning lawmakers not to discredit the Senate bill, a move that has led lawmakers to believe the plan is to adopt more of the Senate bill.

The Senate version permanently reduces the corporate tax rate, while sunsetting household and individual cuts. The gap between the bill’s treatment of individuals and corporations has left moderates in both chambers cautious. It also repeals the ACA’s individual mandate, adding even more volatility to the healthcare market.

The long-term effects of this tax reform is the most troubling aspect. The Joint Committee on Taxation – a nonpartisan panel of economists, accountants, and attorneys – explained that half the benefit of the bill will go to the top 1% and that over 22% of Americans would see tax increases after 5 years. The majority of those increases would affect middle class ($40,000 - $75,000) and upper-upper-middle class ($200,000 - $400,000). After ten years, taxes will increase across the board. And the cost of providing those corporate tax breaks will be nearly $1.4 trillion added to the deficit over ten years according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.

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MD Dem Chair Files Public Information Request on Gov. Task Force

CCDCC Paid Sick LeavePosted 16 November 2017

Kathleen Matthews, the Maryland Democratic Party Chair, filed a Public Information Act (PIA) request on Thursday, November 16 regarding the Governor’s paid sick leave task force. Since the Governor has refused to comply with the open meeting complaint filed against the task force last month, there has been growing concern over the transparency of the paid sick leave task force.

When Governor Hogan vetoed Paid Sick Leave, he also signed an executive order which instituted a task force, headed by Maryland Labor Secretary Kelly Schultz and several members of his administration. The Governor announced the task force was designed to examine all aspects of sick leave in Maryland. Since its formation, there have been no public meetings and no opportunities for public engagement at any level.

After the conclusion of the 2017 General Assembly, Governor Hogan vetoed HB1 / SB 230 – the Sick Leave Bill. This bill would require businesses employing more than 15 workers to provide paid sick leave for hours worked. Under the law, workers would accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to 56 hours per year. It passed both the Maryland Senate and House with a veto-proof majority, but since the veto came after the close of Session, working families in Maryland had to wait until the 2018 General Assembly to see Congress override the veto.

Working Matters, a coalition of more than 150 organizations advocating for paid sick days, has several avenues to reach out to legislators and the Governor on this issue. Currently, 40 percent of Maryland private sector employees do not accrue sick leave, and about 700,000 Maryland employees would be able to accrue sick leave under this bill.

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Concentrated Poverty and Maryland Schools

Posted 09 November 2017CCDCC Strong Schools Maryland

The definition: The US Census Bureau defines concentrated poverty as a census tract where 40% of people live below the poverty line. For school districts, this is most often measured by the number of students who qualify for free or reduced-price meals.

The situation in Maryland: 58% of Maryland's schools serve a population of concentrated poverty. 44% of Maryland's students are living in poverty. The percentage of students eligible for free or reduced-price meals has doubled since the last time education funding was studied in 2002.

Strong School Maryland's goals: SSM is working to ensure that the Kirwan Commission produces a strong report that lays out the path to creating a good education system. SSM supports the 9 Building Blocks for a World Class Education System and wants to make sure the Commission is adapting each building block to solutions that work in the context of Maryland. This month, Strong Schools Maryland will look at part of the solution to addressing concentrated poverty.

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Women’s Club Talk Local Gov’t, Education, and Winning Elections

CCDCC Holly BuddPosted on 10 November 2017

There was a lot of business to handle at this meeting of the Calvert County Democratic Women’s Club. Several changes to meetings have been proposed for the upcoming year. First, the executive committee has changed the meeting times so that there is a 6 to 7pm “social dinner hour” and the business meeting will at 7pm. The first meeting to be effected will be January 2018. Also, the dues will be $25 at that time. Emphasis was placed on the goal of 2018: To Get Democrats Elected! Each meeting will focus on that goal, so if you have suggestions of speakers or agendas to help in that goal, please get in touch with Inez Claggett

Helenmary Ball delivered a legislative update which included information on Open Houses on Calvert 2040, upcoming MLAW conference and Women’s Legislative Briefing, and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, details of which were recently released.

 

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Cheri Delavergne went into much more depth regarding current volunteer board and commission vacancies. She spoke with The Club about her desire to Get Active, and the difficulties of finding the time in her already busy life. Cheri found that with all the openings for volunteer boards and commissions within county government, she could find a topic which interested her at a time that she could make work. The County Government relies on input from citizen volunteer advisors, and we need more Democrats to get involved at this level. There are many vacancies right now, each with a different schedule. Find one that can work in your schedule and Get Active in Calvert County!

During the discussion of “Strong Schools Maryland,” presented by Inez Claggett and Dona Ostenso, news of the Virginia election going to Democratic candidate Ralph Northam broke and was met with thunderous celebration! After a year of bad news, this win provided welcome relief to all in attendance. 

 

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To complete out the Strong Schools Maryland report, Dona discussed the nine priorities for which the Maryland State Education Association is currently lobbying. Inez Clagett then address the astounding rate of poverty within Maryland schools. To build on that idea, Inez Claggett addressed the issue of concentrated poverty within Maryland school districts overall, and within Calvert County specifically. She urged members to write to the Kirwan Commission and insist that they incorporate the 9 Building Blocks for a World Class Educational System and provided all in attendance with stamped envelopes to facilitate that goal. If you could spare a moment to write a letter, contact Inez Claggett for a name, address and letter template.

 

CCDCC MSEA     CCDCC     CCDCC Holly Budd     CCDCC Kathy Smith

 

Our next meeting will be on Tuesday, December 5th at 6:30pm at Adam's Taphouse in Prince Frederick. The speaker will be a leader from a local gun sense organization. Don't miss it!

MSEA's 9 Policy Objective Priorities

CCDCC MSEAPosted 09 November 2017

As the Kirwan Commissions is closing in on its report to the General Assembly, the Maryland State Education Association (MSEA) has some recommendation for consideration. While MSEA is pleased with some of the priority areas currently being discussed by the commission, such as universal pre-k for four-year-olds and an expansion in career technology education, the organization has highlighted nine other priority areas which would contribute to Maryland educational success:

1. Raise salaries for certified professionals in every district and on every step level of the pay scale to close the gap between Maryland's average teacher salary and Massachusetts's average teacher salary by the end of the Kirwan phase-in.

2. Enact a regionally-indexed living wage law for school employees that sets a family-supporting minimum salary.

3. Reduce the statewide students-to-teacher ratio from 14.6 to 12.5 )average of three comparable states) by the end of the Kirwan phase-in by increasing instructional staff to give teachers more planning, training, and collaboration time; ensure students have access to quality non-core subject instruction; and implement locally-developed career lattices that allow teachers to move up in the profession without moving out of the classroom.

4. Increase para-educators, especially to lessen the burden on special educators and elementary teachers.

5. Increase mental health staff - including psychologists, school counselors, and social workers - to create industry-standard student-to-staff ratios.  

6. All funding for staffing increases should be made available to schools in order of poverty concentration, with the highest-poverty schools receiving funding for additional staff first.

7. Build community schools into the new funding formula in a way that significantly increases the number of high-poverty schools utilizing the model. The formula should feature a sliding scale of aid based on the number of schools with high percentages of low-income students.

8. Expand the use of prevention and intervention supports, such as restorative practices, Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), and trauma-informed instruction through increased staff and ongoing job-embedded professional development for all educators that is linked to new local discipline policies.

9. Adopt statewide social and emotional learning standards for all students, with a gradual phase-in of necessary professional development. changes to educator preparation programs, curriculum and learning materials, and teacher-developed assessment tools. 

It is the position of the Maryland State Education Association that if the Kirwan commission makes these policy considerations priorities in their report, Maryland would see dramatic improvements in the education of our next generation.

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Fun at Paint Party 2017

Posted 07 November 2017

CCDCC Paint Party

 

What great fun and great turn out at the 2017 Paint Party in Prince Frederick last weekend! Some painters were experienced and some were just trying it out, but all had a blast. 

 

 CCDCC Paint Party       CCDCC Paint Party       CCDCC paint Party

 

Painting with the Powell's provided the painters all the necessary supplies and some instruction, and then everyone had the opportunity to create a painting all their own.

 

CCDCC Paint Party   CCDCC Paint Party   CCDCC Paint Party

 

Sorry you missed out? Let us know and we'll host it again!

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Calvert Democrats at Halloween in the Garden

Posted 30 October 2017

Calvert Democrats and Candidate for Commissioner, Holly Budd, were at Anne Marie Gardens on October 28th as they hosted their 18th Annual Halloween in the Garden. Volunteers were there to hand out candy to the kids and talk about the local Democratic Party to the parents. A big thank you goes out to everyone who donated bags of candy for the event. There was plenty, and the varieties were very popular with the costume-clad youth.

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Also very popular was the literature at the booth. Lots of parents were interested in the events and actions of local democrats. Flyers and info sheets flew off the table and plenty of people expressed an interest in getting engaged. Be sure you know when our next meetings are and invite your neighbors. From the conversations we had at Halloween in the Garden, they want to know!

Dem Club Speaks with Gubernatorial Candidate

CCDCC

Posted 27 October 2017

Senator Rich Madaleno, one of several candidates seeking Maryland's Democratic nomination for Governor in 2018, joined the latest meeting of the Calvert Democratic Club. Senator Madaleno shared his vision for improving education, growing our economy and providing better supports for our seniors. The Senator also touched on issues more local to Calvert, speaking about Cove Point's LNG plant and the health of the Bay. 

It's going to take a big effort to unseat Larry Hogan, but with candidates like Senator Madaleno, it's a job worth taking on!

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