This week we began a week-long special session in Annapolis to fulfill our constitutional obligation to reapportion Maryland’s congressional districts to reflect the results of the 2020 national census. While convened in Annapolis, the General Assembly is also acting to override the Governor’s vetoes of crucial and urgent legislation, including laws that depoliticizing the parole process and several bills strengthening our state’s response to COVID. On a very personal note, I am very proud to report that the Transit Safety and the Investment Act, which I have previously written to you about, was also sustained by an override of Governor Hogan’s veto. I am so very proud to have led the effort to restore the Transit Safety and Investment Act in the Senate and I am certain this law will make a real difference in our lives by truly making full and comprehensive investments in our state’s transportation infrastructure.
In our other work, the month of November kept me busy planning for the upcoming 2022 legislative session and keeping in-touch with our communities and neighbors at the doors. After nearly two terms as a state legislator, I squarely believe a key element of successful legislating and oversight is done in the period of recess and preparation before the start of sessions, and this brief and unusual session reminds me of this fact. Representing you is a great honor and I take our preparation work seriously and make it a part of our work and routine. We are a month away from the annual start of the Maryland General Assembly session, the impending transition to the full-time work of the General Assembly full-time in Annapolis is wrestling in the back of my mind and our staff is putting its final touches on our legislative and oversight package.
I remain keenly aware that while life is seemingly returning to what it looked and felt like before COVID, we have a duty to remain guarded of new activity and must act to remediate the craters and gaps left by its disruption in our economy and health. You will notice this theme as you peruse the highlights my recent activities—I seek to learn and listen as you speak to our community’s needs.
Finally, I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers as we celebrate our holidays this season! I am ever grateful for your support and friendship.
Please encouraging Baltimore City High School Seniors to apply for the Maryland General Assembly Page Program! The 2022 program is virtual and will be a dynamic opportunity for our young people to represent their school and our City while learning in a hands on way about our democratic process and the work of the General Assembly.
In my role as chair of Baltimore City’s Senate Delegation, the Delegation we held a roundtable discussion on the state’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) with Melody Simmons, a journalist with the Baltimore Business Journal, moderating the event. We were also joined by other important leaders, including:
- Faith Leach, Deputy Mayor, Baltimore City
- Angela Whitaker, Director, Baltimore City Community Action Partnership
- Danielle Meister, Senior Policy Officer, Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development
- Matt Hill, Attorney, Public Justice Center
As Senator Washington noted, “Our residents are really suffering- they’re suffering from this crisis… The thought and the fear of having nowhere to go… is really terrifying.” Our delegation is actively seeking to follow the work to protect our vulnerable neighbors with legislative oversight to of the government funds appropriated to avoid a dramatic increase in evictions as a result of COVID’s affects to our economy. The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development received $401 million in federal ERAP funds, and it can anticipate receiving an additional $352 million. Senator Mary Washington noted that statewide, 27,000 applications were received for rental assistance and only 9,800 have been processed.
It remains a steadfast priority for our Delegation to ensure that our government efficiently and proficiently distribute these funds to secure housing for our vulnerable neighbors. We will continue tracking this activity for the foreseeable future, especially as a part of the legislative session.
I do my best to visit a few of our district’s schools each month to keep a pulse of ongoing activities in the district and be informed about trends in education. I was delighted to spend time this month at the Baltimore Design School and truly was blessed by the insight, concerns, and courage our young shared with me. Additionally, our Senate Delegation hosted an Education Roundtable with WBAL-TV 11’s Ashley Hinson moderating the session. Two highlights of the discussion was the Baltimore City Public Schools’ return to in person learning and its ARP Spending Plan.
I spoke with the Baltimore Positive Podcast, hosted by Nestor Aparicio and former Baltimore County Executive Don Mohler, to highlight our work addressing crime and supporting the positive activities happening in our district for our seniors and young people. I truly appreciate Nestor’s effort to connect our community in substantive dialog and the County Executive’s depth of experience and vast perspective as we converse about these important public matters.
I joined Aaron Dante for his podcast, No Pix After Dark, which seeks out to build a community using discussions in human experience, storytelling and conversation. His efforts is to learn from our common experiences by conversing with folks as a way “of simply telling a memorable tale, sharing a passion or project, or explaining an experience that changed a life”. Aaron has a natural knack of pulling out the best in people – and their stories. Our conversation was very engaging and sincere. I hope you find something useful from our conversation and learn a bit more why, and how, I do the work to represent our community.
I was deeply honored to travel to Santa Fe last weekend as a part of the Council of State Governments to receive its 20 Under 40 Leadership Award to state legislators. It is a significant recognition and award to just 20 of America’s young state legislators who are recognized from among our colleagues of all state legislators. This is a proud moment for me as I hope is reflects my dedication and commitment to you and our communities. Thank you for electing me to serve you!
I recently wrote an op-ed in the Baltimore Sun questioning the decision to end the Hopkins Medicare Advantage program. Our seniors made an investment in our community and their investment should be matched. As I noted, “They have not only given their time to Hopkins, but to our communities, strengthening health care and education for people who come from all over the world. So, I have been pondering this question: Would the leadership of this powerful institution and the largest employer in the State of Maryland please consider rescinding this decision?
The seniors negatively affected by this decision were abruptly notified their medical coverage would be interrupted by cost and service by Hopkins Health Advantage Inc., a Maryland health insurer affiliated with Johns Hopkins Medicine. I suspect that cost will force many seniors affected by this decision to choose other health plans that will not offer them the same quality service as the Hopkins Medicare Advantage program.”
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