A Gaithersburg City Council Member Answers Her Mayor’s Endorsement of Gov. Hogan

Gaithersburg City Councilwoman Laurie-Anne Sayles

As a lifelong Democrat, I am supporting Ben Jealous for governor. Ben Jealous offers a vision for Maryland in which our teachers are valued and our public schools are fully funded. Ben Jealous offers a plan to unleash our state’s untapped entrepreneurial energy and grow our small businesses, and his Medicare-for-all plan will ensure that affordable health care becomes a reality for all Marylanders.

Ben Jealous stands for the values and principles Marylanders hold dear. Like me, Ben Jealous believes in protecting and empowering the vulnerable: immigrants, working families, women, LGBTQ, and communities of color. Ben Jealous’ inclusive vision of government will ensure equitable access to opportunity for all who seek it.

While Mayor Jud Ashman (D) points to Hogan’s support for “women’s rights, marriage equality, and reasonable gun legislation” as indications of Hogan’s bipartisan approach to governing, it is clear to anyone paying attention that Mr. Hogan has not led the way on any of these issues.

Rather, Hogan has cut funding to public schools to the tune of $100 million, while at the same time funneling $20 million of our tax dollars to subsidize private schools. What’s more, Hogan has demonstrated an inexplicable disdain for our state’s most pressing environmental concerns, vetoing legislation that would boost clean renewable energy and promote green jobs. And since Hogan has taken office, insurance premiums under the Affordable Care Act for Marylanders have skyrocketed an alarming 120 percent, while Mr. Hogan has sabotaged Democrats’ efforts to lower prescription drug costs for our working families.

Mr. Hogan and his Republican counterparts are adept at touting their party’s business-friendly policies; however, the facts tell a different story. Hogan is the first governor in decades to lose a Fortune 500 company — Discovery Communications — to a rival state. What’s more, during his tenure, Facebook, Nestle, Apple and Boeing all have chosen to invest in Virginia instead of Maryland! In fact, under the Hogan administration, Maryland has earned the dubious distinction of being the only state in the country with a negative economic outlook, according to the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank. And all of this as Maryland workers suffer from the lowest job growth in the region.

While Hogan has done an admittedly masterful job of distancing himself from some of the ugly rhetoric of President Trump, he has nonetheless perfected the president’s penchant for “spin.” Hogan takes undeserved credit for initiatives that he opposed until it was clear his veto would be overridden – dedicated funding for Metro, the fracking ban, free community college, paid sick leave, and the ballot initiative for an education lockbox. There is a distinct difference between intentionally working across the aisle and being dragged kicking and screaming. Do not be fooled. Rather than articulating his own vision for Maryland, Hogan attacks Ben Jealous for having one.

This campaign is about the future of our state, and how we will rise to meet the challenges before us. Should Hogan win a second term, he would oversee redistricting after the 2020 Census, and he would appoint conservative judges to our state’s judiciary who would chip away at the rights we value. Hogan is an unapologetic conservative dressed in centrist clothing.

Make no mistake: This is the most important election of our lifetime. In this period of divisive rhetoric, and waning confidence in our institutions, we need principled leaders. We need leaders like Ben Jealous, who will unify and strengthen our communities. Gov. Hogan is often described as “Not that Bad.” “Not that bad” has never been good enough for Maryland, and certainly is not now.

I am a Democrat and I vote my values. That’s why I hope you’ll join me in voting for Ben Jealous for Maryland governor and the rest of our Democratic candidates on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018.

— Laurie-Anne Sayles

The writer is a member of the Gaithersburg City Council.

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