I hope you and your loved ones are enjoying the summer and catching-up from the time we missed interacting last year. I’m especially glad to be back in-person doing what I love: connecting with our communities and seeking solutions for the complex problems affecting our neighborhoods. I deeply enjoy visiting our district’s in-person community meetings and events to listen with our neighbors and keep in touch with your concerns.
While the legislative session is adjourned until January, I use this time to learn about our community’s needs and press ahead on the issues affecting our well-being and future. I am organizing our legislative plans for the next year, the 2022 General Assembly Session, and researching issues that are likely to come before my committee, the Budget & Taxation committee. The committee preparation will take on a new dynamic as I will be preparing for my new role as vice-chair of the Capital Budget Subcommittee. I am very excited for the opportunity to use this responsibility as a benefit for all Marylanders, especially the working people of our state.
Finally, I hope this month’s newsletter updates you on our recent work and highlights the strategic activities we are taking to make a real difference in our communities.
IN MEMORIAM – Bishop Douglas I. Miles
This week Baltimore loss one of its mighty leaders with the passing of Bishop Douglas I. Miles. Bishop Miles’ work and life championed the best of who we are, and whom we should be as children of a loving God. Maryland is better because of his leadership. Bishop Miles gave all he had to all he could. As Afro Managing Editor Rev. Dorothy S. Boulware described in her deeply touching tribute to Bishop Miles: “He could have pursued many avenues of study and discovery, but the greatest draw for him was to see the lives of those he served become enriched and sustained by the grace of the God who’d drawn him to his life’s work.”
Thank you for your unending love and service, Bishop!
Listening & Learning in Our Communities
I recently joined the Cedonia community for their monthly community association meeting to provide a legislative update from the 2021 legislative session and highlighted our hard work and investment in the 45th District. We accomplished a great deal in Annapolis this session, in spite of the challenging circumstances, and as you can see in the photo above by the number of folks gathered in-person, our communities remain committed to their success and growth.
I also spent time with former Senator Nathan Irby, who began representing the 45th District in 1982. We enjoyed a great conversation about Baltimore’s history, its politics, and future. I grow with each of our conversations and I am proud to build on his legacy. The Sun Rises In the East!!!
Update: Making Transit Safety and Investment a True Priority in Maryland
Our state’s investment in public transportation is crucial to its economic growth and long-term success. I am proud of the bold steps we made with SB199, The Transportation Safety and Investment Act to codify a modern investment in transit and I am dedicated to it realization. We joined with public transit advocates, environmentalists, and state business leaders to advance our public transit and transportation system with substantive changes that sustain and advance the system’s operation, long-term functionality, growth and use. We took a bipartisan approach to crafting this legislation and brought uncommon partners together for a solid and sound solution to a crucial problem. Business and environmental leaders agree—our state’s prudent and proactive investment in transit acts to grow our economy, jobs, and wages.
I’m especially honored that transit is earning the bipartisan recognition it deserves. Yesterday, the Maryland League of Conservation Voters’ recognized me as their Legislator of the Year in acknowledgment of our leadership as lead Senate sponsor of the Transit Safety and Investment Act. “The Transportation Safety and Investment Act was inarguably the most significant environmental win of the 2021 legislative session,” said Maryland LCV Executive Director Kim Coble. “Senator McCray’s skillful and passionate floor leadership brought the bill across the finish line with strong, bipartisan majority support.”
Right here in Maryland we are making strides to sustain our environment and creating a place that we take pride in leaving for our children. I am very proud that a major bill I sponsored, the Transit Safety and Investment Act, was passed out of the General Assembly with bi-partisan support. Step-by-step we continue to make progress on climate change, and I look forward to continuing to work to shape policy that protects our state’s natural resources — and all Marylanders.
Most importantly, we shall not be deterred by Gov. Hogan’s veto of the legislation; overriding the veto and truly making a comprehensive investment in transit is priority of all of Maryland. As I noted to the Baltimore Sun: “This is a setback for Maryland’s infrastructure, Maryland’s economy, and, most importantly, for the Marylanders who rely on the MTA to get to school, to work, to the pharmacy, and other places they need to go.”
As I said to Fox45 when discussing Gov. Hogan’s veto, “There was a more than $2 billion backlog of maintenance infrastructure for our light rail, our MTA subway and MARC train and we have to get in front of this or we will be in the same situation we’re in when we see some of our bridges are in unfair condition and the crumbling of our infrastructure.”
When the 21st Century Schools Program Plan was being developed, I prayed that East and Northeast Baltimore would stand to benefit. My prayers were answered! A few weeks ago, Harford Heights Elementary School, the third 21st Century School in the 45th Legislative District, had its grand reopening. I was honored to be on-hand for the momentous occasion. When the 2021 – 2022 School Year commences this Fall, I know our children will enter the building inspired and in awe of their new school, especially after the majority of the past year taking classes via Zoom.
As I reflect on the future of our City, it doesn’t escape me of the strides we are making right now that invests in a brighter future for the next generation. In fact, in many aspects, Baltimore City has set the precedent in Maryland – and across America – with opening a dozen and half of newly constructed school buildings over the last several years. …
On July14, I joined the Family Recovery Program, Inc. (FRP) in East Baltimore to celebrate their work helping our neighbors address their recovery from substance abuse. It was a very special moment for FRP to thank its contributors and honor its clients and supporters. There were over 20 awardees and Dr. Gainers stood to present each one with a beautiful plaque or certificate for their dedication and commitment to the organization and the clients’ success. Thank you, Dr. Gainers and the Family Recovery Program, Inc. for your significant contributions to our communities!
The minimum wage increase was a fantastic way to start 2021! And now, more companies and organizations are acting to meet the increase sooner than later. On January 1, 2021, Maryland’s minimum wage increased to $11.75 per hour from $11.00 for companies with 15 or more employees. This is a result of legislation, SB280 and HB166, passed in 2019. Because of our work in 2019 to raise Maryland’s minimum wage, Under Armor and the Johns Hopkins Institutions are acting to raise their minimum wages right now rather than awaiting the requirement in 2025.
I was delighted to join with Senator Antonio Hayes and the Baltimore Urban League in discussing the work of the Baltimore City Senate Delegation in the 2021 session. These presentations are imperative for keeping our communities informed of changes to law and public policy. I hope you or a neighbor find the information helpful. You can link to the video above to hear the conversation or click here…
I recently joined Oldline Government Affairs to discuss my passion for public service, my journey as an electrician and small business owner, exclaim why breakfast is the most important meal of the day and share my abiding belief that “Life is not about how well you do, it’s about how many people you can get across the finish line with you.” You can link to the video above to hear the conversation or click here…
Reminder* COVID Vaccination Information
If you or a loved one is looking for an appointment, vaccination interest form for older adults is available at the Baltimore City Health Department’s website at coronavirus.baltimorecity.gov/covax. Those older adults without access to the internet can also call the Maryland Access Point hotline at 410-396-2273.
Local area hospitals and medical providers listed on coronavirus.maryland.gov, under Find a Vaccine, have created interest forms for vaccinations when they become available, and residents in eligible Priority Groups are encouraged to visit those websites and sign up. Baltimore-area retailers and pharmacists such as Giant, Safeway, and Rite Aid locations have appointments too.
One Last Thing…
As we move closer to 2022, can you consider making a contribution of $5, $10, 0r $25 to our campaign? It’s crucial that we have the resources to keep our work and momentum going.
Listening. Learning. Leading.
Cory V. McCray
Senator, 45th Legislative District