Education is still critical to the success every human being. While it being called the “great equalizer” is questionable, self actualization can’t be realized without education. In light of an economic climate of limited resources and budget cuts, my interest in creative methods for funding youth educational advancement has not wavered. Programs that begin at the grade school level and continuing to college preparatory levels have been and will continue to be my focus area. Limited funding lends itself to the need for creativity and unorthodox methods for financing educational outlets such as: summer learning programs, before/after school tutoring, remedial programs, college bound efforts vs. vocational completion, and followup programs to access and curtail high dropout rates. Our region including the Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC offers limitless collegiate educational institutions known throughout the world for excellence. My crusade for higher education in regardless of economic circumstance will continue to be unfaltering.
Councilmember Smith's Radio Interview - Lunch and Learn 2014: http://bit.ly/1QxfIeP
Lunch and Learn 2014 Highlights on site at Washington Adventist University: http://bit.ly/1qAyNRq
Health care availability in the United States should be mandatory...not a privilege. As a nation, we have the finest educational institutions, research facilities, hospitals, and manufacturing resources to ensure the best health care practitioners as well as pharmaceutical development & distribution. I stand behind the promise of what being an American means and that promise is a “can do” attitude. I believe we can do this, and I am committed to health care reform. I commit each elected official to health care reform as well. In my very own Ward 5 I meet with leaders from Washington Adventist Hospital and Washington Adventist University regularly and through them I see day-to-day living examples of our nation’s health care, educational excellence, and all the possibilities. I will continue to endeavor to make health care possible for every constituent in the city of Takoma Park and the state of Maryland.
My Healthcare Enterprise Zone Resolution: http://bit.ly/1kd8Xof
Civic responsibility rests on the shoulders of every person in our great nation. By definition “civic” means of or relating to a city or town. I am contacted daily with requests to improve, to change, to influence, or to provide something to our community. What this means to me is that people do want to be involved. I am invested in mobilizing civic involvement because, without the involvement of each person in our communities, cities, counties, states, and ultimately our great nation, how can direction and priorities become established for change? I will continue to take steps toward paving the path for everyone's participation.
My latest idea is to have tenant associations in multi-family buildings in Takoma Park host candidate for Mayor and City Council Forums. These forums will provide residents & voters the opportunity to get to know candidates for our city government and what they stand for. Mark your calendars as the following link are the most recent dates for the forums taking place for this year's 2015 election: http://bit.ly/1LrNxu9. Listen to the Essex House forum here: http://bit.ly/1Mh5JfE
YOUR PARTICIPATION IS REQUESTED
Governments, universities, nonprofit organizations, and corporations endeavor the challenges associated with budget planning, revenue generation, expenditures, taxes, and debt. Adding further complication to these challenges are people. With the world getting smaller, and more complicated at the same time, the “people” factor is where much of my personal concern lies. While its seems economic growth, improving profitability, and full employment are just a notion, I stand firmly in my belief that fiscal prosperity is attainable. The seriousness of fiscal prosperity is why I am bringing this idea to forefront of who I am as an elected official. When I review the statistics associated with unemployment, poverty, people lacking health care, and crime rates - the numbers are staggering. In a state that has a median income that is the highest in the nation and in a country whose educational and financial systems are second to none, solving our fiscal challenges is doable and imminent. For every Takoma Park constituent and Marylander, this will remain at the top of my list of priorities. I will continue to vote for economic initiatives in the city Takoma Park, support youth employment programs, advocate for grant funding associated with local non-profits, and continue to be a proponent for affordable housing.
Sustainability, renewable, and organic when referenced to maintaining a “green planet” to me are not just words. I continue to be very involved in projects and initiatives in Takoma Park that are meant to keep America “green”. My personal health, the health of Takoma Park residents, as well as all Marylanders, is paramount. Moreover, the longevity of our planet is at stake when talking about the subject of a "green". When we participate in recycling efforts, clean water & air activities, carpools, energy preservation, hunger & malnutrition abatement, organic food selection, and the use of environmentally friendly agricultural products we are in fact ensuring a green community. Being involved directly with Smart Growth America, as opportunities continue to present themselves with respect to keeping a community green, I will continue to partner with governments, public & private sector organizations, and universities, to further these efforts. I feel it is my responsibility to rally humanitarian, civic, and commercial activities in support of green communities across the United States.
Each year the Maryland Municipal League hosts an annual convention, and this year as part of my attendance I participated with Maryland's former Governer Glendening in a panel discussion on "The Fiscal Benefits of Smarter Planning and Development". The panel included 2 more additional members who were the former Mayor of Meridian, Mississippi and the currently Mayor of Berlin, MD. The panel was held by the Smart Growth America Organization which is led by Governer Glendening and it is the only national organization dedicated to researching, advocating for, and leading coalitions to bring smart growth practices to communities nationwide. A smart growth community is a healthy community with strong local businesses, schools, shopping, various transportation options, and jobs that pay adequately. I was recently appointed to the be a committee member of this invitation only organization and it is comprised of only 220 elected and appointed officials including: Governors, business owners, bicycle activists, parents, and organizations across the country. The organization’s efforts toward ensuring smart growth include: Coalition Building, Policy Development, and Research.
My discussion/presentation topic was: “Smart Growth America in Takoma Park”, the execution of the $2.3M Flower Avenue Green Street re-development initiative in Takoma Park’s Ward 5. A summary of my presentation was featured in the November issue of the Municipal Maryland magazine.
My presentation at Maryland Municipal League's summer conference highlights my advocacy for green communities. See a portion of the PowerPoint here: http://bit.ly/1W4syI7
My legislation to ban plastic bags in Takoma Park passed unanimously. Here is a WJLA news story on this historic piece of legislation - bit.ly/NoMoreBags