Thursday, December 06, 2007

Dana Beyer's Statement of Intent

December 4, 2007

Dear Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee members:

It is with deep and profound sadness, coupled with respect and humility, that I am seeking the recommendation of the MCDCC to fill the vacancy left as a result of the untimely passing of the Honorable Jane E. Lawton. When I ran for Delegate last year, I hoped to serve alongside Jane and Ana, and now it is a devastating blow that we have to fill the vacancy she left behind. While no one can ever replace her, it would be a privilege to be given the opportunity to continue the important work she started.

I’ve lived in Montgomery County for seventeen years, since my retirement from clinical practice, raised my two sons who still live with me in Chevy Chase, and supported the community through my advocacy work. This is a beautiful county, one of the most desirable communities in the country, and I would be honored to represent its residents in Annapolis.

I will be a strong voice on women’s issues, following up on the state level the work I’ve done for Councilmember Trachtenberg this past year on the County Council. I’ve worked to build a Family Justice Center in Rockville, bringing together all the services under one roof needed by victims of domestic violence and their children, and to increase the number of nurses trained to deliver services to rape victims in the County. I’ve also supported comprehensive reproductive services by working with local hospitals, a new Teen Pregnancy Initiative in the Hispanic community, and the expansion of the Mobile Crisis team to round-the-clock service.

My passion is health care and my medical background fills a much needed void. On the county level most recently I assisted in working to ban trans fats, and hope to do the same on the state level if I am given that opportunity. In addition, I helped in educating the members of the Council about a public health model for the county and am awaiting word about a health policy fellowship with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that would create a federally qualified health center in Langley Park. Such a center would expand much needed women's health services.

I have done research on certain pollutants detrimentally affecting humans and wildlife, and if chosen to serve will work to increase funding to reduce our exposure to such pollutants. I have helped increase funding for direct services, including case management, for behavioral health for children and adults, as well as encouraging the development of a brain health program for the elderly. I have networked with non-profits providing services to autistic children and adults, including transition into the workforce, as well as services to the disabled, homeless, mentally ill and addicted. I am fully aware on a daily basis just how critical state funding for services is in our county and I will passionately advocate for an increase in the flow of capital which is desperately needed for our growing county.

If I were given the honor to represent District 18 in Annapolis, I would introduce legislation that mandates outpatient follow-up, planning and treatment of all patients released from state hospitals, in addition to those released from prison with mental health problems. This would be a follow-up to the work I did with the Criminal Justice Behavioral Health Initiative. I hope to introduce legislation which will prevent the use of conscience clauses by providers of health care who choose to discriminate against patients because of their own religious beliefs, following up on my work over the past three years in support of comprehensive sex-education in MCPS.

In D18 I am a strong supporter of the Purple Line and express buses, as well as additional Ride-On service. I believe we need to create an environment in the county where public transportation is safe, reliable and efficient, tying the city and suburbs together in a web available to young and old. I support the expansion of bike lanes and an improvement in pedestrian safety, including the project to build a second Metro entrance on Georgia Ave. in Forest Glen.

I was not a supporter of the ICC, being seriously concerned by the threat to the environment and public health, and recognizing that the road would do nothing to alleviate traffic down county. At this time I would work assiduously to obtain more funding for rebuilding our infrastructure, maintaining and increasing regional support for Metro.

As a public school graduate myself, as well as a parent of children who were educated in the Montgomery County public schools, I am dedicated to maintaining MCPS as the best system in the state, showcasing it as a model for the other counties, working to increase state funding for capital and operating budgets under Thornton including the GCEI, and protecting teacher pensions. I work with the Hispanic community to develop and fund early child development services, and have participated in building support for universal pre-K and school breakfasts. I would also follow up on my work with the nutritionists at MCPS this past year, by introducing Jane’s legislation to allow the school system to purchase locally grown produce.

I’m proud of the campaign I ran in the district last year, honored by the strong public endorsement reflected in the 5000+ votes that I received. The voters that I bring into the process will stay invested in the working of the legislature, following the news and working for results important to the whole delegation. The day after the election, I didn’t miss a beat, canvassing for Governor O’Malley and Senator Cardin. That evening I received a call from Councilmember Trachtenberg, and I have loved every minute of working for her ever since. During this year I have learned the ins and outs of the budget process, taxes, zoning text amendments and growth policy. But, most importantly, I was able to use my expertise to educate the Council members to help pass two major bills unanimously, legislation which will improve the health and welfare of our County’s residents. I will take those skills, experiences and professional judgment to Annapolis to bring the same passion to those issues which most impact the lives of our residents. It does make a difference to have professional diversity in a legislature, because it affects the focus, agenda and willingness to expend capital, political and otherwise, when you have people who are impassioned and knowledgeable about their areas of expertise.

Since the campaign and my work with the County Council, I have earned the respect of my colleagues throughout all levels of government and politics. I have worked tirelessly to respond to the constituents of the County, to improve direct services in health and mental health to those most in need. It has been an incredible experience, one which I could not have managed without the support of my friends and colleagues.

Finally, I would hope that my presence in Annapolis would assist in reducing the bias and prejudice that exists regarding the transgender community. I would attempt to befriend others in the legislature who might otherwise be hostile to such diversity within their ranks and thereby break down another stereotype about a group of people who want to live the same full and productive life as everyone else.

Thank you for taking the time to consider my candidacy.