SOCIAL & ECONOMIC JUSTICE
Times have changed, and not for the good. Many residents in District 20 and throughout Maryland had their voices stolen from them. Our Republican-controlled federal government is complicit in the spread of discrimination against women, immigrants, minorities, and the LGBTQ community when society demands that discrimination must be entirely eliminated. This “majority” chooses to remain silent as innocent children are massacred from gun violence for the sake of deepening the “majority’s” own campaign pocketbooks. We can reverse this trend if District 20 refuses to sit by while this evil spreads within our borders. Change happens when we unite our local community and shift our focus to our schools, our economy, our environment, our diverse population, and our hearts. This spirit of hatred is why George promises to fight for Social & Economic Justice, which serves as an umbrella for bettering education, bringing jobs to District 20, fighting climate change, and investing in transportation. This priority also includes a pledge to make stricter gun control measures a reality. Finding innovative ways to pay for new programs is critical when an establishment state like Maryland gives our Governor too much budgetary power, allows our legislature to look out for their own interests ahead of their constituents, and robs citizens of a true democracy. Together, we must strive to fix these federal and state problems because many of our leaders are doing nothing more than holding District 20 back in an era where “forward” is the only option.
Silver Spring and Takoma Park are two of the most diverse communities our state and country have to offer. Don’t just take our campaign’s word, we invite you to sit in Veterans Plaza and witness our diversity yourself. With many individuals from many different places speaking multiple languages, District 20 has a little bit of everything. Immigrants drive our local population at a time when our federal immigration system has clearly failed us. Therefore, it is our responsibility to create a safer multi-cultural environment for everyone to thrive regardless of background. We can create this environment through cultural competency initiatives which allow individuals from all walks of life to benefit from state services in order to understand how to access health care (including mental health), receive a quality education from Universal Pre-K through College, utilize transit opportunities, and participate in environmental justice to fight climate change.
Perhaps the greatest obstacle we must overcome is protecting the environment in which we live. Whether we are urban-centered or located in suburban neighborhoods, environmental initiatives and climate resilience must pave the way to conquer climate change and create greener alternatives to pollution. Investing in transit options that reduce our carbon footprint, creating solar panel co-ops and green roofing, and preserving local agriculture to allow small businesses to thrive are only a few approaches District 20 can take advantage of in order to seek environmental justice. Recycling isn’t the only answer when trying to protect the environment. Creativity is required when District 20 is faced with the challenges of fewer state and federal resources that threaten our neighborhoods and our Chesapeake Bay. We will accomplish this through educational, cultural, and private/public partnerships that foster a pollution-free atmosphere to achieve environmental justice. This philosophy includes “no fracking” and protecting our shorelines. George will walk this talk if elected to the House of Delegates and serve District 20 constituents according to the environmental issues that matter most to them. Together, we will build a better environment for a greater future.
The following issues below are included in George’s Priorities of Social & Economic Justice, Cultural Awareness, and the Environment. This list will be updated according to the residents in District 20:
Our country is numb because of the lack of progress from our Republican-controlled federal government addressing gun control. Although both sides of the aisle agree on protecting aspects of the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses in the Constitution, only Democrats have proposed limits for the right to bear arms. Republican inaction on gun control strengthens the possibility of future mass shootings. George was the victim of gun violence in Baltimore City nearly 13 years ago. While sitting in the privacy of his neighbor’s home watching a movie, three perpetrators forced their way inside and held George and his friends hostage for over two hours. Fortunately, George and his friends survived. This personal experience and the ongoing tragedies of mass shootings around the country are what drives him to seek meaningful gun control measures in Annapolis. After the home invasion, George’s family urged him to move. Instead, he stayed in the same neighborhood, started a crime watch group, became a writer for the local newsletter, and engaged the Baltimore City police. Maryland can do better with gun control. Together, we will guarantee that: all individuals possessing firearms are properly licensed and registered, individuals who allow guns to fall into the wrong hands are properly punished, and most important, that our schools and institutions are fully protected from gun violence. We shall never allow the 2nd amendment to supersede life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for Marylanders. Join us in the fight against gun violence and advocate with George for reform.
Roe v. Wade must never be overturned and women must always have the right to choose. Women should receive equal pay for equal work. Paid sick leave and affordable childcare must exist so women can become the best versions of themselves. All women should be protected in schools, the workplace, at home, and everywhere else in society. In Annapolis, George will fight for women’s health (including mental health resources) and safety, education, and empower women to become career ready while increasing participation of women in the state’s Minority Business Enterprise. His experience as a litigator and former employee of the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s Office of Child and Youth Protection, as well as deeply personal experiences, have prepared him to defend women’s rights and create safer environments so individuals are protected from predators and learn how to recognize signs of sexual abuse. Maryland can do better with protecting women within our borders. We must always endeavor to End the Backlog and make sure that all law enforcement agencies address untested rape kits just like other states across the country. These kits are critical to achieving Social Justice. Social Justice also recognizes that rape does not have a gender identity. On April 5, 2017, with Montgomery County leadership, the General Assembly passed legislation changing the definition of rape by omitting references to gender. All nonconsensual sexual violations are classified as rape under the bill. While penalties remain the same, words make a tremendous difference. No human being, whether male, female, transgendered, or non-binary, should ever endure the horrors associated with this crime, especially young people. It is the responsibility of our government, our school systems, faith-based communities, and our community organizations to protect women and all vulnerable populations. Inspired by his grandmothers, mother and sister, George has the strength to soldier on and lead the charge in Annapolis to fight for women’s rights, which are human rights. It’s time to march once again and not stop until a new occupant moves into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Montgomery County has 205 schools, 161, 546 students, five “special” schools, and one career/technology center. It ranks 14th for largest school systems in the nation and requires more teachers and resources in order to satisfy growing student population demands. Yet, our county and state governments cannot keep up with fully funding our educational needs. George wants to foster public and private relationships in order to increase education funding. This plan includes supporting a “lockbox” that guarantees casino revenue is properly allocated to our state education needs. He believes that, not only should casino dollars be better directed to our schools, but that casinos operating in Maryland should designate sections within their facilities where 100% of gambling activity proceeds are directly deposited in our state education budget to meet student demands. George’s education plan includes providing Universal Pre-K for all students, introducing mental health and wellness initiatives in our classrooms to prevent bullying and alleviate pressure on our youth, providing cultural awareness programs for our diverse student population, and preparing students for both higher education and the workforce in District 20 and elsewhere. These programs will be paid for through private partnerships, like casino activity and local business involvement, so that our county continues to thrive and overcomes our overcrowded classrooms in order to create a better teacher-student ratio. Finally, George will create safer school environments for our youth. His experience working for the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s Office of Child and Youth Protection is relevant to the recent protests of our county’s efforts to fight child sexual abuse. George will fight for all students and their families so that anyone who desires to volunteer and work within our school system is completely vetted in order to reduce the risk of future abuse.
Our seniors, especially those who have called Silver Spring and Takoma Park home for decades, deserve the right to age in place with comfort. We must invest in greater transit options accessible to seniors, foster community involvement to connect seniors with others, increase health care coverage for medical conditions, and incorporate cultural awareness standards within these initiatives. Most important, we must revisit and amend our tax code so seniors’ savings accounts are not wiped out by unnecessary burdens. If elected, George will advocate for stronger initiatives that benefit our senior population.
George is pictured above with his father George, a retired civil engineer.
The Purple Line. Bus Rapid Transit. Dedicated Bike Lanes. Safer Pedestrian Walkways. These are the projects and challenges many Silver Spring and Takoma Park residents care about most to get to and from work and school on time. George will fight for better traffic patterns, improved road conditions, public transit options, and private partnerships to keep District 20 moving, especially during times of inclement weather. If elected, he will work with the County Council to address local transportation issues while cooperating with our state and region to ensure Metro and other projects receive the necessary funding. George will also think outside of the box to create new sources of revenue to fund these projects.
Protecting Immigrant and Vulnerable Populations
Immigration is the driving force of Montgomery County’s population. In an era when Trump and Congress refuse to address immigrant families, Maryland should do its part to not to separate families while federal action is pending. We must celebrate our diversity and thank hardworking families who contribute to District 20. George believes that our local law enforcement should not be an extension of ICE agents but, rather, should engage community members to include them in important discussions. He will fight for principles in the Trust Act if elected and support DACA recipients. Silver Spring and Takoma Park have greatly benefited from immigrant contributions. Like most Americans, George’s family immigrated to the United States decades ago to find work and a better way of life. He will fight to ensure many families have the same opportunities. He is proud to have the endorsement of one of Silver Spring’s premier restaurant owners, Ada Villatoro of El Golfo, pictured below.
Ada Villtoro, Owner of El Golfo Restaurant in Silver Spring.
Our Local and Regional Economies
When our economy pushes down on our residents, we must empower them to push back. In order to celebrate our diversity, we must do so with our local and regional economies. George has an economic vision that includes empowering small and local businesses, advocating for the amendment of the state procurement code to include LGBT-owned businesses in the Minority Business Enterprise program, creating a regional Professional Reciprocity Commission with Virginia and DC to ease the burdens on licensed professionals moving around the Metro area, and offering constituent services to help mediate development projects in Takoma Park and Silver Spring so smart economic development takes place without eroding the character of our neighborhoods. George has earned the support of many District 20 local businesses, Virginia elected officials, and Maryland officials outside of Montgomery County because of his vision.
Charles County President of the Board of Commissioners, Peter Murphy, endorsed George’s campaign. Peter is also a former Delegate who served on the Ways and Means Committee.
Many residents fear that the pricing of housing in the Metro area is becoming too expensive given forthcoming transportation and development projects. As a renter and someone with law school loans, George shares these concerns as a middle-class District 20 resident. He understands the needs of young professionals and seniors alike who desire to call Silver Spring and Takoma Park their home without becoming priced out due to skyrocketing rents and county property taxes. If elected, George will fight for state policies to support renters, young professionals and families, and seniors in order to make our community more affordable.
Having lost a close relative during the early AIDS crisis in San Francisco, fighting for LGBTQ+ rights is a top priority for George in Annapolis. He wants to make sure that life-saving treatment is available for all Marylanders, especially for underserved communities and transgendered individuals. His vision includes creating a society where Maryland leads the fight to finally end HIV. Increased access to mental health services is imperative for not only the LGBTQ+ community, but for women, minorities, and senior citizens too. Our mental health and opioid crises must be addressed before more lives are lost and George believes this effort starts with our public school system. Montgomery County Public Schools must invest in better counseling to prevent bullying and societal pressures on our youth. George will fight for counseling, wellness programs, and greater social interactions that create safer environments for our students, both LGBTQ+ and student allies. He also will advocate for greater participation among LGBTQ+ seniors, affordable housing options, including LGBT business in our Maryland’s Minority Business Enterprise program, and sheltering homeless LGBTQ+ folks around the state. Having started the Washington, DC area’s first LGBTQ+ Billiards league, George has a track record of community organizing. He is a proud member of our County’s LGBTQ+ Democratic Club and fundraised for Maryland Marriage Equality in 2012 with former Governor Martin O’Malley. His goal is to keep District 20 a welcoming place so every person can become the best version of themselves.
Criminal Justice Reform
An attorney who has practiced law for nearly a decade, George is a fierce advocate for protecting all individuals’ constitutional rights while fighting for rehabilitation efforts. Our overcrowded prison populations should always be examined to determine whether certain convictions should require imprisonment instead of other rehabilitation efforts. Incarcerating individuals for petty offenses must stop. George will work to empower underserved communities through education, help integrate individuals with past convictions into society so they contribute to our workforce and he will promote parenting classes so that families remain united. Additionally, George will address the disparities that exist in our criminal justice system so that all individuals receive fair and equal protection regardless of race, sex, religion, or health conditions.
George is a 2010 graduate of Case Western Reserve University School of Law, where his peers honored him with the Student Leadership Award. He founded the Case Law School Democrats in 2008, served on the Executive Committee of the Journal of International Law, and ranked 11th nationally at the National Moot Court Finals in New York City in 2009. Over the years, he has served as an adjunct coach for the Universiy of Maryland’s Francis King Carey’s Appellate Advocacy Program.
Labor and the Right to Organize
The Trump administration is destroying our American democracy and unraveling workers’ rights at a rapid and catastrophic pace. Hardworking families in Silver Spring. Takoma Park, and across Maryland now have their workplace safety, benefits, right to organize, and collective bargaining ability in serious jeopardy more than ever before. George will fight for all families in the workplace when our federal government fails to do so because he is the product of labor and unions. His great-grandparents immigrated from Southern Italy and Eastern Europe to work in the steel mills of Youngstown, Ohio, where he was born and raised. His friends and relatives served as members of the United Auto Workers and his sister is a member of the Ohio Nurse’s Association in District 3. George’s labor priorities include: (1) fighting for the safety of individuals providing transportation services in our nation’s second busiest transit hub, (2) creating safer environments in hospitals with lifting equipment to help nurses avoid injury (his sister was recently injured on the job), (3) opposing “right to work” laws, (4) advocating for a single-payer universal health care system, (5) supporting Project Labor Agreements that allow our diverse populations to thrive in areas like White Oak and Downtown Silver Spring, and (6) demanding respect from WMATA for our hardworking families. George is a Democrat primarily because of his labor roots. His father, a retired civil engineer, served the State of Ohio fighting for affordable housing. Please vote for George on June 26 so he can follow in his father’s footsteps and uphold hardworking family values for all Marylanders.
George is pictured above with U.S. Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH-13), a long-time champion of the right to organize.
Public Financing of Campaigns and Fair Elections
Montgomery County implemented a public financing option for political candidates this year for the first time. Legislators in Annapolis have been fighting hard to make public financing a top priority. Although Public Financing did not pass this session, George will join the fight next session if elected to the House of Delegates. Public Financing will eliminate anti-Democratic special interest groups influencing state legislators. Because Maryland does not have term limits for state legislators, special interests can dominate and block certain policy efforts. Public Financing will allow hardworking Marylanders from all social and economic backgrounds to have a better shot at sitting at the legislative table. This financing option will also diversify the state legislature, as well as the group of legislators who serve as Committee Chairs. We have enough corruption crossing into District 20 from Washington and we need Public Financing so we can better combat this federal disorder from Annapolis. Finally, if elected, George will advocate for the empowerment of Maryland voters to have a better say in choosing their state elected officials by proposing other means of selecting Delegates and State Senators so that our democracy is strengthened furthermore.