Sunday, September 19, 2010

Montgomery Needs O’Malley

By Eric Luedtke.

I spent my summer knocking on thousands of doors across District 14, asking for votes and listening to what voters had on their minds. Here and there, voters brought up the big issues that get media coverage: marriage equality, abortion, the economy, the schools. But the overwhelming majority of people I spoke with were concerned about things happening to much closer to home.

In Tanterra and Peachwood, I heard from residents who were tired of having grass growing out of their streets and of swerving to avoid massive potholes. In Spencerville, Olney, and Damascus, I heard from parents who were concerned about cuts at the libraries and the elimination of summer reading programs. In Burtonsville and Silver Spring, residents wanted to know how we were going to bring more bioscience jobs to the east county.

The uniting factor in all of these issues is money. A significant part of the county’s funding comes from the state of Maryland. They help us build roads and transit, fund our schools, and support entrepreneurship and small businesses. It’s certainly not as much as we need, or deserve, but without those dollars the budget crisis affecting our county services would be much, much worse.

Martin O’Malley has fought, and fought hard, to balance the state budget while preserving as much funding as possible for communities across the state. He inherited a budget in crisis, made the tough choices, and still did what was right for Montgomery County families. $2.4 billion for our public schools. Almost $50 million this year alone for Montgomery College. An enormously long list of capital project funding and grants from the Gaithersburg Library expansion to an activity center for the Jewish Foundation for Group Homes. He secured $8.5 million in local highway funds and nearly $100 million from the federal government in transportation recovery funds.

By contrast, Bob Ehrlich’s four years led a massive budget deficit and exhibited an almost complete ignorance of the issues that Montgomery County cares about. If elected again, it’s virtually guaranteed that Ehrlich would slash support for our public schools and defund the transit projects we need. Four more years of Ehrlich would be an unparalleled disaster for our county.

These are tough times, and this is going to be a tough election. Montgomery County needs to see clearly what’s at stake. In Martin O’Malley, we have a leader who stands up for our families and communities. In Bob Ehrlich, we didn’t. Montgomery needs O’Malley, and all of us who care about the quality of life here need to work hard to get him re-elected.

Eric Luedtke, Democratic Nominee for the House of Delegates, District 14