To move forward, there are instances when we have to look back to see what worked. Call me nostalgic, but I would like to see an effort underway to move our nation toward strong workforce training and education opportunities, with full employment as the goal. Legislatively speaking, from the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) to the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) to the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Act to the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and now, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), we’ve made great strides to move us in that direction, but we clearly have a ways to go in order to meet the needs of 21st century working families.
Another example, of something that we know really works, is Head Start. We’ve seen great success with Head Start for low-income children, and yet, while the program has expanded since its inception in 1965, we know that in our current economy, we’re still not reaching every child who is eligible for the program — and every child matters.
Be it students leaving high school or displaced workers or those facing re-entry, the fact that we live in and need to prepare to function in a competitive global economy tells me that we have to build a stronger, highly-skilled workforce that will continue to move our nation forward. No one is expendable and as a nation we can’t afford to leave anyone behind without the training, skills, and support necessary to strengthen our talent pool.
I would like to shift gears a bit here. Our nation’s heroes often face tremendous challenges once they return home, many of which prevent them from becoming fully integrated into civilian life. What are some of the key challenges facing veterans in Maryland?
In Prince George’s County, we have roughly 72,000 veterans, with about 26,000 being either homeless, without stable employment, or adequate healthcare. Many are struggling with a myriad of challenges. Yet currently we only have two community-based outpatient clinics or C-BOCs for vets in Prince George’s County, one based in Camp Springs near Joint Base Andrews and the other in Greenbelt, with the latter expected to close in February 2016.
With the growing number of veterans in this area, the 4th congressional district would benefit from having another C-BOC facility that provides employment support and referrals, counseling support and family services, as well as outpatient services, physical therapy, prescriptions, eye care and dental care, at the very least. For veterans that are both jobless and homeless — and without transportation– reduced access to basic, preventive care is just unacceptable for our nation’s heroes.
Your campaign slogan is ‘A New Brand of Leadership.’ Why did you select this as your motto?
Representation means just that. I think that the role of an elected official is to express the interest of the people an individual represents through his or her vote. It’s important that people not only feel that they have a voice in policy, but [that] they are encouraged to use their voice to express their interest and concerns. I want to provide real deliverables to the community that people can wrap their heads around. A great statesman once said, ‘The leadership belongs not to the loudest, not to those who beat the drums or blow the trumpets, but to those who, day in and day out, in all seasons, work for the practical realization of a better world– those who have the stamina to persist and remain dedicated. To those belong the leadership.’
This is the sort of leader that I strive to be, dedicated and consistent in my efforts to try and make each day an opportunity for good.
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