First, let me wish you a happy new year! If you view 2023 as a book with 365 blank pages, Sunday was the first blank page of that book and you have 362 more pages to craft a story to exceed your expectations!
Second, let me thank you all who, for the past eight years, have given me the opportunity to serve you in both the House of Delegates and the Senate. I also want to thank those who used to be a part of District 12 for giving me an opportunity to serve you as well. I am looking forward to working on behalf of the new communities in District 44. I have been to many of these new communities, and I'm planning future visits to other communities in our district.
Are you familiar with the term servant-leader? The concept was coined by Robert K. Greenleaf in his 1970 essay entitled "The Servant as Leader". In that essay, Mr. Greenleaf wrote: “The servant-leader is servant first.... It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead." This concept of servant-leadership is how I have worked and will continue to work for our communities. That is why I am excited to represent and serve this district for the next four years.
I will be sworn in on Wednesday January 11th to begin my first full term in the Maryland Senate, and I could not be more excited! During the session, I intend to use the District Dispatch as well as social media to communicate what legislative issues I am working on as well as legislative issues that I believe you may be interested in knowing more about. I am committed to passing legislation to strengthen our communities and the people who reside within them.
I have already prefiled a few bills, which include a bill that is intended to improve school safety by modifying the definition of a school zone and requiring speed cameras to be placed closer to our schools to protect our students from speeding motorists. This session I will introduce legislation to create a technology board that protects the privacy of residents by providing oversight over law enforcement procurement and use of surveillance technology. I will also introduce legislation intended to establish a state version of the Voting Rights Act and the Community Reinvestment Act.
If you are ever curious about legislation I am working on you may visit my legislative webpage to check on the status of legislation I am sponsoring as well as legislation I am co-sponsoring.
Additionally, I continue to work on implementing the Baltimore County West Redevelopment Authority to bring resources and investments into the community it deserves and desires.
With the assistance of the Lieutenant Governor Boyd Rutherford, Governor Hogan included a proposed $1 million dollars in his FY 2024 Capital Budget for seed money for the Baltimore County West Redevelopment Authority! I plan to continue meeting with partners and finding resources to make this initiative a reality for the community.
Your Senator's 2023 Legislative Team
Fortunately, I will not be doing this work all by myself. We have a wonderful team of people who are joining my core team because they care about the same kinds of issues we all care about, and they want to serve our communities. It takes a team to get it done. I have a wonderful team that helps me serve you. So, I want to take the opportunity to introduce this team to you. The core of this team has been Eugene "Gene" Clark, my Chief of Staff, and Denise McDougal, my senior Legislative Aide.
Gene has helped run my office since I first entered the General Assembly in 2015. Gene is an alumni of the University of Maryland College Park and Morgan State University with a BA and EdD respectively and he is an Air Force veteran.
Denise first volunteered for the office in 2016 or 2017 though the University of Maryland's Legacy Leadership Institute. After completing this program, she joined our team and has worked helping respond to and resolve constituent matters as best we can. During the pandemic, she was key in helping resolve a number of constituent unemployment payment issues.
We are excited because we were able to secure additional staff for this upcoming session and interns to help our office service our district. In addition to our core staff, this session we also have welcomed Turrel David, and Sophia Blackwell to the staff; and legislative interns Sierra Mehlbrech and Jalen Morant, as well as Legal intern Sadina Zaccari.
Turrel David joined the team last month as a Communications Aide helping us with its communication outreach and strategies as well as to assist with producing projects like the District Dispatch. Turrel graduated from UMBC with a BA in Media and Communication Studies, a BA in American Studies, and a minor in Entrepreneurship Innovation.
Sophia Blackwell will be joining us as a Legislative Aide. Sophia is UMBC Media and Communication Studies major. Sophia will be working with Denise to address constituent concerns and other matters.
Additionally, we have two undergraduate interns joining us this session. Sierra Mehlbrech and Jalen Morant will be working with us as Legislative Interns to learn about the legislative process as well as to assist my office forward my legislative agenda. Sierra is a senior Political Science major at UMBC as well as an Africana Studies minor. Jalen is a senior Criminal Justice major at Stevenson University.
Finally, Sadina Zaccari will be joining the team as a Legal Intern supporting my office to advance my legislative agenda through research and writing. Sadina is a dual degree candidate, seeking a Juris Doctor degree from University of Baltimore School of Law and a Master of Emergency & Disaster Management degree from Georgetown University.
Our team looks forward to serving you in the upcoming term. We will continue to provide the best service to you and do our best to address the issues that face our communities. If anything comes up, please feel free to email me at [email protected] for legislative and constituent matters. For other non-legislative and constituent matters, you may email me at [email protected].
East-West Corridor Feasibility Study Final Report Published!
The East-West Corridor Feasibility Study Final Report Completed. An east-west transit project had strong support from the public. Overall, Alternatives 4 and 6 had the most support and Alternatives 1 and 7 had the least support. Alternative 6 had significantly less support among pop-up in-person commenters, who were mostly transit riders. After analyzing the results of the measures of effectiveness, the project team noted the following key takeaways for West Baltimore County:
- CMS/SSA contributes significant ridership and future job access.
- Travel times for bus rapid and light rail transit are similar before entering tunnels from CMS/SSA.
- Travel time is significantly longer to serve both Ellicott City and CMS/SSA (Alternative 1).
Additionally, there was a stronger preference to serve Westview and the Catonsville commercial area than Woodlawn, especially given the rise in telework for CMS/SSA employees. To learn more about what was written in the report, you may read it here. Following release of the final plan, the next phase is projected to include the development of detailed engineering feasibility studies for each corridor.
The RTP identifies 30 transit corridors that together would create a strong transit network in Central Maryland. The transit corridors are places that show a strong demand for transit and connect people across the region. The East-West Corridor Study is a part of the Central Maryland Regional Transit Plan (the “RTP”) currently under consideration. It provides 25-year plan for improving public transportation in Central Maryland. Click here to find out more about the overall Corridor Study process.
Otis Collins: Community Leader & Dedication to Public Service
Our district is made of numerous communities with several people who serve their immediate community in a variety of ways. These community members are the glue that help keep our communities together. Mr. Otis Collins is one such community leader. I met Mr. Collins back when I first ran for office, and although I did not represent his community at the time, he and I periodically touched bases to check in on one another. With redistricting, Mr. Collins is now a part of District 44 and we wanted to take the time to introduce the community to why we appreciate him and his good work.
Mr. Collins served as the President and Board member of the Prince George’s County Housing Development Corporation and he served on the Town Council for Bladensburg Maryland. He currently serves and has been the leader of the Halethorpe Civic League for over 25 years. Mr. Collins has led the Halethorpe Civic League’s efforts to have the former Halethorpe Colored School, recognized as a National Historic Landmark. The Halethorpe Colored school, located at 1900 Northeast Avenue Baltimore Maryland 21227, opened in 1924. According to Mr. Collins, he lobbied the Baltimore County Council for the recognition of the school with Baltimore County Council Bill Number 6-20 and it was added to the Preliminary Landmarks List on September 12, 2019 and then added to the Final Landmarks List on April 25, 2020. He said it took “a good four years to lobby and to get the support necessary to get legislation passed authorizing the school to be identified as a county landmark as well as a historic landmark.”
However, Mr. Collins is not finished, he noted that he believes “there are a few things in terms of national recognition we probably have to do with the National Historic Society that we haven’t began to do yet. It’s something that must be done and we just have not engaged in that yet.” There are 395 Baltimore County Landmarks and 17 Baltimore County Historic Districts. Additionally, Maryland has 77 National Historic Landmarks and Baltimore County is home to 26 of those National Historic Landmarks.
In addition to his work with the Halethorpe Civic League, Mr. Collins serves on the Wilkens Police and Community Relations Organization, People for Change Coalition, Baltimore County Ethics Commission, and the Kittrell College National Alumni Association.
Mr. Collins believes we must use mutual respect and kindness in order to solve the many issues facing Marylanders. "We must be kind to one another, we can set the tone for the entire country if we are kind." He continued, "Maryland is a beautiful great state; it has great diversity, but we are not always kind to one another. If we can open our hearts and our minds to be kinder to each other as human beings not as Democrats and Republicans; not as blacks or whites, we would do a lot better in the State of Maryland."
Thank you Mr. Collins for your service.
Community Members Welcomes a New Chick-Fil-A at Security Square Mall
We noted our efforts to bring resources to the community with the establishment of the Baltimore County West Redevelopment Authority and while this new business is just outside of District 44, it is well within the footprint of the Redevelopment Authority we are working to establish. So we believed it was wonderful news to share as the community continues its efforts to reimagine Security. Last month, entrepreneur William Barge opened a new Chick-fil-A restaurant at 6975 Security Boulevard, Windsor Mill MD 21244.
According to Mr. Barge, saw the vacant location as a great real estate opportunity because local residents are accustomed to a restaurant operating at the location. The newly opened Chick-fil-A restaurant on Security Boulevard is Mr. Barge's second Chick-fil-A restaurant. William Barge owns another Chick-fil-A restaurant in Catonsville at Ingleside and Baltimore National Pike. Recruiting, training employees and scheduling staff to work at the new Chick-fil-A restaurant was one of the biggest challenges Mr. Barge encountered during his entrepreneurial journey to open his second Chick-fil-A restaurant. Chick-fil-A Security Square has a team of 115 dedicated employees.
Based upon his successful launch of two Chick-fil-A restaurants in Baltimore County, Mr. Barge eagerly shared helpful advice to entrepreneurs who are interested in opening a new restaurant business in Maryland. He recommends “the franchise business model instead of starting your own restaurant company because when you launch a franchise, the public is already familiar with your restaurant." He continued “Customers are immediately attracted to your restaurant because they already know who you are. They already know the food products you provide. For this launch of our second Chick-fil-A restaurant, we received a lot of support from fellow franchisees. We had some of our fellow Chick-fil-A local franchise owners come over to our new location to celebrate this Chick-fil-A launch together with us. As a franchisee, you become a part of a supportive business community."
Mr. Barge is excited to continue leading his team of workers who are deeply committed to using high customer service standards in order to serve Chick-fil-A food to the people and businesses of Maryland. The new Chick-fil-A Security Square restaurant will be open Monday through Saturday 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM.
MDOT SHA Rehabilitation of 10 Bridges at I-95/I-695 Interchange to Begin
The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) has begun a $39.8 million project to rehabilitate bridge decks and parapets on 10 bridges at the I-95 interchange with I-695 in the Arbutus area of southwestern Baltimore County. The project will improve interstate highway safety and ride quality at the interchange.
10 bridges Baltimore County along I-695
MDOT SHA crews will install latex-modified concrete overlays on the bridge decks and replace existing concrete parapets (side barriers) and bridge deck overhangs. Work also will include full-depth paving; repair of structural steel; replacement of bridge drain inlets, joints, concrete curbs and slope protection; upgrading traffic barriers; and other drainage upgrades. MDOT SHA will perform the rehabilitation work on the following bridges (see map above):
- I-95 Ramp C (I-695 Outer Loop to I-95 North), crossing I-695.
- I-695 Ramp C (I-695 Outer Loop to I-95 North) crossing I-95 Ramp G (I-95 South to I-695 Outer Loop).
- I-95 North crossing I-695 Ramp C (I-695 Outer Loop to I-95 North) and Ramp G (I-95 South to I-695 Outer Loop).
- I-95 South crossing Ramp I (I-95 North to I-695 Inner Loop).
- I-95 South crossing I-695.
- I-95 South crossing over Ramp C (I-695 Outer Loop to I-95 North).
- I-95 Ramp G (I-95 South to I-695 Outer Loop) crossing I-695.
- I-95 North crossing I-695.
- I-95 North and Ramp H (Ramp from I-95 North to I-695 Outer Loop) crossing Sulphur Spring Road.
- I-95 South and Ramp D (I-695 Outer Loop to I-95 South), crossing Sulphur Spring Road.
Work requiring temporary lane and ramp closures will take effect overnights, between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. the next day, Sunday evenings to Friday mornings. Crews will use digital message boards, signs and barrels to direct and detour drivers safely through the work zone.
MDOT SHA contractor Wagman Heavy Civil Inc. of York, Pa, is performing the work, which is anticipated to be complete in summer 2025. More information can be found here. If you have questions about this project or other state-maintained roads in Baltimore County may call the MDOT SHA District 4 Office – Construction Division at 410-229-2300 or toll-free at 1-866-998-0367.
January Calendar of Public Meetings and Events
Wednesday January 4, 2023
WebEx Virtual Zoning Hearings - 1235 Ten Oaks Avenue: 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Case Number: 2022-0259-SPH
Location: Northside of Ten Oaks Avenue, west of centerline of Brian Road
13th Election District
Legal Owners: Bryan Martin
Tuesday January 10, 2023
Greenwood Campus, Building E (Formerly ESS Building). 6901 Charles Street, Room 114. Towson, MD 21204
WebEx Virtual Zoning Hearings - 1001 Ingleside Avenue: 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Case Number: 2022-0275-SPHA
Location: Southeast side of Craftswood Road, west of Ingleside Avenue
1st Election District
Legal Owners: Five Collins Terrace, LLLP
Tuesday January 17, 2023
WebEx Virtual Development Review Committee (DRC) - Milford Mill Shopping Center: 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Property Location: 3600 Milford Mill Road; Tracking Number: DRC-2022-00121 Request: Pursuant to BCC Section 32-4-106 (b)(8) for a minor development that does not exceed three lots.
Meeting Location: Baltimore County Public Schools, Building E (Formerly ESS Building), Greenwood Campus. 6901 Charles Street, Room 114. Towson, MD 21204
Friday January 20, 2023
Randallstown Baltimore County Public Library Narcan Training: Community Outreach and Harm Reduction (BCPL): 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
The Baltimore County Department of Health is offering free, on-the-spot opioid overdose response training on recognizing, preventing and responding to an opioid overdose using intranasal naloxone. Attendees receive a completion certificate, a prescription for naloxone and a kit containing the medication. This is a 10- to 15-minute drop-in training; no registration required.
Monday January 23, 2023
Randallstown Baltimore County Public Library Small Business Counseling (BCPL): 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Bring your questions to an individual one-hour appointment with an adviser from the Small Business Resource Center. The adviser can assist with business plan development, marketing, loan preparation and minority business enterprise. Appointment times are 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon or 1 p.m. Registration required. Contact branch to register.
Tuesday January 24, 2023
Greenwood Campus, Building E (Formerly ESS Building). 6901 Charles Street, Room 114. Towson, MD 21204
Governor's Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs 2023 T.I.P.S. (Training & Insights for Procurement Success)Webinars Series: Build Revenue In Your Backyard: Position To Win Federal Contracts: 10 am (Advance registration is required).
The federal government needs the services and products you provide. Federal defense and civilian agencies have a mandate to increase business with small businesses right now through 2023. Attend this session and get insider insight on how to open the door to federal contracts with practical tactics you can immediately employ and start seeing results.
Thursday January 26, 2023
Governor's Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs 2023 T.I.P.S. (Training & Insights for Procurement Success)Webinars Series: State Procurement 101 (Advance registration is required).
Spending Maryland taxpayer dollars requires an open and transparent procurement process. Vendors who know how the customer buys and understands their policies and procedures can compete with greater confidence. This class includes insights on how to determine what agency is buying your products or services, identifies purchasing thresholds and commonly-used contracting vehicles, and explores techniques to mine public data.
What's Going on in Your State Executive and Judicial Branches
When the General Assembly passes legislation, it is up to the Governor and his cabinet to implement the law. Some of these laws are implemented via policy and thru regulations. Whenever regulations are introduced you can find them in the Maryland Register. The Maryland Register is published biweekly. The latest publication of the Register can be found here.
Law is also brought to life by the decisions our Courts make. You ever wonder what groundbreaking decisions our courts are making? Well, wonder no longer. You can find such decisions published in its Amicus Curiarum. The most recent edition can be read here.
Seeking Employment With State Government?
Are you currently seeking employment? If you are searching for a new job, Maryland is hiring. Check out Maryland's job openings here.
Very truly yours,
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