Important Issues for our District

Maryland’s 8th Congressional District encompasses the range of modern urban cities, fascinating historical attractions, and beautiful farms. With a diverse population of accomplished people working a variety of occupations, I would be proud to represent this district in the United States Congress in 2018.
 
About Summer Spring
As a parent and proud Maryland citizen, Summer Spring sees the need for proper stewardship of Maryland. She believes in policies that reflect the ideals of constituents in Montgomery, Carroll, and Frederick Counties and supports legislation that provides real and actionable solutions to our problems.

“I am looking forward to listening and understanding more about what constituents in Maryland’s 8th Congressional District need and to learn from them”

An engineering graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Summer Spring believes that Marylanders face hard spending choices with an ever increasing cost of childcare and higher- education. 20% of median income should not be spent on childcare. Maryland’s youth and parents should be thinking about which track of education to embark on, not how they’re going to afford it.

Summer Spring was 1 of only a handful of women in her engineering graduating class. There are very few women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) at most universities, and this is especially true for ivy leagues schools like her alma mater. To encourage women to pursue careers in STEM, Summer has led workshops, training, and participated in mentoring other women in computer-science. She believes that from a preschool age, America needs a better support system that sustains public and youth engagement with STEM and prepares historically underrepresented groups for a our future workforce.

She supports comprehensive immigration reform by supporting greencards for DACA recipients, making improvements to the H1B Visa program to reflect the 21st century, and introducing new types of visas that give temporary legal protections and status to illegal immigrants.

Summer Spring believes we need to enable growth immediately in public transportation and fossil fuels alternatives such as electric vehicles and solar energy. Public investment is vital to solve the most crucial issue of our time- Climate Change. The impacts of these investments are two-fold. Anyone who has ever had to make the commute from Maryland to DC also knows that investing in new public transit infrastructure will have a direct impact on day to day life in Maryland.

“Faster, more reliable transportation will drastically improve quality of life for commuters ( both students and workers), increase tourism and improve the economy in the rural parts of the 8th district, and attract businesses and jobs.”

Summer Spring is owner and president of a management consulting firm based in DC. Her firm specializes in helping organizations understand and solve challenges around business process automation, cybersecurity, and risk. She is the proud mother of two beautiful girls and can’t remember the last time she slept more than four hours a night.

I believe in Maryland's 8th Congressional District.
Maryland’s 8th Congressional District encompasses bustling urban centers, priceless historical attractions, and beautiful and productive farms. Such diversity is made possible by the hard-working people that live here. I would be proud to represent this district in the United States Congress in 2018.

“One of the things I love most about Maryland is its wonderful diversity in people and resources. I’m so grateful that I raise my daughters here. District 8 should be represented by someone who appreciates these many differences and will listen to constituents’ ideas and concerns.”

Maryland’s 8th Congressional District has a long history of outstanding farms and agriculture. From the first farms in Carroll County founded in the 1700s, agriculture remains a primary industry of Maryland and America. New taxes and tariffs recently imposed are one of the many struggles that Maryland farms now face.

To combat the effects of climate change, I’d call for increased investment in our farms, forests and natural resources. I would advocate for policies that support water conservation, green renewable energy, new organic farming techniques that reduce carbon emissions, and vocational and agricultural education that continues to expand STEM efficiencies into farming and ranching.

Along with nearly every district in the State, Maryland’s 8th District is facing an epidemic of heroin-related and prescription opioid-related intoxication deaths. I, like many Americans, have known families facing multiple addictions and deaths due to the opioid crisis. I believe that we need to go beyond management of the epidemic and invest in first-use prevention efforts.
Americans with access to quality public transportation (fast and convenient rail and bus transport) enjoy better health outcomes. These outcomes include reduced pollution emissions, better physical fitness, and improved mental health. Research shows that public transportation increases access to medical care, food options, and education choices. In addition, it contributes significantly to reducing financial stress in lower-income households. A 2016 study, found that residents of the 8th district of Maryland viewed transportation issues as the most critical problem facing the region. I would support funding for more efficient high-speed public transit options. It would improve the lives of our residents drastically.

I believe in addressing the cycle of poverty head-on.
Americans who experience poverty as children are more likely to be poor as adults. Unless there is a sufficient intervention, intergenerational poverty will continue.To address one aspect of this cycle, we need to pursue legislation that tackles car, life, and health insurance to ensure that the American insurance industry does not continue to exacerbate the vicious cycle of poverty. Proposed policies would make it illegal to discriminate against someone based on where they live and illegal to discriminate against someone for losses where they are not at fault.

Education continues to be a bipartisan concern, but recent education policies are not working! The United States ranks in the middle of the pack of other industrialized nations in STEM education. Our workforce should be competitive in Science, Engineering, and Technology.  State and Federal support must continue to grow for teachers, education infrastructure, and youth engagement. Educators should have the same flexibilities we give entrepreneurs to find solutions that prepare every kid for successful higher-education and a modern workforce.

“Our teachers should not be working second or third jobs to pay for school supplies. And our students should have funding to learn more about their interests from coding to art.”

We can no longer ignore that opioid abuse continues to grow throughout the United States. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, people on Medicaid are more likely to be prescribed opioids, at higher doses, and for longer durations—increasing their risk for addiction and its associated consequences. The solution needs to go beyond management and into first-use prevention by looking at common factors observed in areas affected by opioid abuse and doing something mitigate those. These factors include lack of access to education, inadequate public recreational resources and lack of community facilities and programs to divert energies into healthier outlets. We need to engage both Democrats and Republicans for a comprehensive solution to this problem immediately.

I believe in protecting our environment.
America needs to adopt the Carbon Leadership Council’s $40/ton tax. It is a commonsense approach to reduce our dependence on carbon while the industry adjusts. A carbon dividend plan, supported by economists, is the most effective and efficient way to reduce emissions. Proceeds from this tax would return to the pockets of Americans- through direct deposit savings and retirement plans. As companies curtail their pollution, everyday Americans will benefit.

Maryland needs to invest immediately and unequivocally in public transportation and fossil fuels alternatives to tackle the most crucial issue of our time- Climate Change.

“We need to be honest that the coal industry is harmful and no longer sustainable- coal jobs are not coming back.”

We need to advocate for training, and where needed, payments to folks affected by job losses as we move away from fossil fuel . We need to invest in finding long-term solutions for those who have lost their jobs in the coal industry and continue to support jobs in new industries such as solar power, wind, and public transit.

I believe in immigration reform.
Democrats need to urgently propose an immigration solution that reflects modern realities, is bipartisan and can pass Congress.

I’d support:

  • Raising the minimum salary for H1B visas to $100,000 per year.  H1B visas are for highly-skilled work (Doctors in medicine and higher degrees in STEM, for example). The minimum salary to hire someone on an H1B is $60K/year. $60K/year!  That might have made sense in the 1990s, but not now.   A minimum-salary increase would help ensure that those visas aren’t abused by companies that are looking for cheaper labor.  The higher salary-threshold would encourage companies to
    • Train and hire domestic talent, thus boosting local economies where they are located.
    • Pay globally competitive salaries to the highly-skilled laborers so that we continue to attract and retain the world’s best and brightest.
    • Stop being revolving doors for visa seekers who leave grossly under-paying positions once they achieve citizenship.
  • Adoption of the Z visa and Y visa proposals introduced by Harry Reid in 2007. They would provide legal status to carefully-vetted illegal immigrants (as long as they paid a fine and back taxes) and 2-year legal status for guest workers.
  • Greencards for dreamers.
    • Their parents will need to wait until their dreamers are citizens before applying for permanent legal status, but they’ll be protected from deportation until then. We will keep immediate families together. There would also be a positive financial impact to America’s economy.  According to the American Action Forum, DACA recipients have a net positive fiscal impact of $3.4 billion each year and contribute nearly $42 billion to annual GDP. We cannot afford to eliminate these benefits to our economy. I do not condone illegal immigration, not least because it flouts our laws and disheartens the millions of would-be legal immigrants who abide by every letter of our stringent immigration process. Unfettered illegal immigration is untenable and ultimately adverse to any country’s success.  Dreamers, however, are already one of us; they are Americans in spirit. They have no other country to call home and return to. The majority of them are hard-working and WANT to be contributing tax-paying members of our society.  Studies show that they will improve our economy. Helping Dreamers achieve citizenship, is both a common-sense move and necessary.

We need reform that allows for merit-based access to legalization to protect those who are vital to our economy and culture.

I believe in a modern Congress
Every day, I help organizations solve challenges around business process automation, cybersecurity, and risk. I’d like to use my skills for you in  Congress.  We need a 21st century Congress.  One that appreciates the importance of cybersecurity and fully leverages technology to better meet and document our constituents’ needs.
I believe in affordable insurance and childcare.
Health insurance is what everyone’s been talking about. However the broad spectrum of insurance needs to be tackled. The current setup perpetuates an imprisoning cycle of crime and poverty. For example, car insurance companies regularly charge MORE if customers live in a ‘high risk’ neighborhood – code for “poorer” neighborhoods where residents statistically are going to be victims of property crime at some point. Being victims of crime and living in high risk neighborhoods makes car insurance unaffordable to lower-income safe drivers. So, they’re forced to drive without insurance, and they dig deeper into trouble because now they are compelled to break the law and take real risks. I’d propose that we:

  1. Make it illegal to discriminate against someone based on where they live or hike rates for losses where someone’s not at fault.
  2. For health insurance, allow people to deduct all health care expenses from their taxes if they make less than $60000 per year . The current allowance for health care deductions isn’t practical and essentially asks people to go broke or, in some cases, die. This isn’t a choice that Marylanders should have to make.

I believe in reducing homelessness.
Roughly 7,250 Marylanders were experiencing homelessness last year. In the last 10 years, more than 1,500 homeless persons have died in Maryland, and  Homelessness continues to grow.  To make matters worse for desperate Marylanders, the cost of living in Maryland has risen dramatically. In just the last two  years, Maryland’s cost of living has increased from the 11th highest to 8th in the United States.*  

One of my goals is to prevent homelessness and ensure that our homeless population finds stability.

I would support

  • Livable wages
  • Funding for low-barrier shelter options
  • Available, affordable, and adequate housing
  • Funding for supportive services like:
    • Short-term emergency grants to landlords to prevent eviction
    • Shelters for victims of domestic violence
    • Counseling
    • Job training and grants for people who experience unavoidable sudden income loss.
    • Addiction and Mental Health Services
(*  http://dhcd.maryland.gov/HomelessServices/Documents/2017AnnualReport.pdf  )

I believe in revitalization, not gentrification.
I’ll work to make sure that you won’t be priced out of your home.  Recent building projects and investments in neighborhoods and new businesses have resulted in monstrous property taxes and rents across Maryland.  For example, Silver Spring ranks 2nd in the entire country in terms of how many residents are forced to leave due to ballooning home prices relative to their numbers in the population.* Skyrocketing home values and rents have resulted in a growing homelessness problem and resident displacement.

A swelling population, lack of affordable housing and zoning that does not account for gentrification, exacerbates the issue.

  • I’d work to ensure that zoning is not influenced by big-money and continues to account for renters and homeowners who can’t afford increased monthly payments or higher property taxes.
  • I would like to introduce a ceiling on property taxes for long-term residents.

I want to ensure that you, your family and friends can continue to live in the neighborhoods where you grew up. It is our deeply-rooted communities that truly makes Maryland’s 8th congressional district special.

(* https://www.trulia.com/blog/trends/priced-out-migration)

I believe in accessible, affordable, quality education.
We need to fully fund education and prepare our workforce to globally compete in this technology-centric era by

  • Encouraging the study of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
  • Increasing public school funding including teacher’s salaries. Public school funding has not matched the growth of communities and our rising costs of living in Maryland. As a result, our students suffer. Teachers and schools don’t have funds for basic education tools and experiences. Maryland’s teachers are taking second jobs just to buy classroom materials for their students. It’s folly to hope for the best from our students when we don’t empower their teachers.
  • Repurposing underutilized school buildings and equipment.  These can be reutilized as community-based solutions for adult education classes and community centers. A good education not only improves our children’s lives, it betters EVERYONE’s’ by improving our economy through value-added industries.

I believe in government transparency.
Knowledge is power and the power should be in the hands of the people. I’d work to fix our:

  • partisan gerrymandering system which unfairly benefits one party and prevents equal voting ground.
  • corrupt campaign finance system.
  • voting system that makes it far too difficult for far too many citizens to exercise their constitutional right to vote.
  • campaign and government rules that allow for conflicts of interest and pay-to-play.

I believe in supporting our military and veterans.
The people who serve this great country in the military are heroes because they jeopardize everything ( family relationships, mental soundness, physical health, the pursuit of wealth, and their very lives) to ensure that other Americans will be safe.

It is a travesty that those who risked so much don’t have the funds or proper medical care to survive their older years.  When they have given up so much for us, it is our indisputable duty to make sure they have everything that they need to survive once they return from deployment.  I’d advocate for:

  • Special government-subsidized health insurance that allows veterans to seek care at even the best private care facilities. This should relieve the pressure on VA hospitals who are sometimes too overwhelmed with patients.
  • A livable pension that accounts for inflation AND rising costs of living wherever the veteran lives.
  • Free job training and continued counseling after veterans come home.
  • Anti-homelessness program to provide shelter and food for vets that are unable to maintain or find a job or stay with family.

I believe in keeping our promises regarding social services: Medicare, Medicaid, and SSN
The American people have invested in Medicare and Medicaid but the reality is that the program needs to be drastically restructured in order to survive benefit the demographics that it was originally created to server.

According to Medicare trustees,  absent reform, Medicare’s Hospital Insurance [HI] Trust Fund will be insolvent by 2029 or sooner.  I’d advocate for

  • policy changes that benefit low-income children, the blind and disabled, the elderly, and pregnant women.
  • lowering drug costs.
  • dissolving the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB),

I believe in eradicating big money in politics.
The votes of the American people are forfeited when pitted against big money. The truths that should be shared with the American people are drowned out by the ceaseless barrage of messaging and supporting “research” which are funded by mammoth corporations.  Our liberty is under seige. Our voices are drowned out, and our votes are rendered meaningless because the people that we choose to represent us are forced to raise millions in order to win and in so doing become indebted to those that are not their constituents.  The problem lies with us. With the passing of several Acts, we permitted loyalties to be bought and sold. Now, we find ourselves nearly powerless to effect change or prevent laws because of the dearth of uncompromised representation in our government. One of my primary goals will be to help heal our great democracy by working to remove big money from our political system.  I  am committed to campaign finance transparency and will strongly advocate for campaign finance reform.

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