Delegate Kathleen Dumais

Democrat, Maryland House of Delegates District 15

Kathleen Dumais Interview

Gazette.Net, August 16, 2010

Q. What are your top three priorities for the next four years if elected?

1. Education: We need to continue to fund and improve our K-12 public schools to maintain our top national ranking. Further, we need to continue to support and invest in our state’s post secondary colleges and universities. 2. Transportation: We must work to fund road and transit projects to reduce congestion. 3. Affordable Health Care for All: As a practicing family law attorney, I am very familiar with the outrageous cost of health insurance and health care for families. We need to work with the health insurance industry so that affordable programs are available for Maryland families. Q. Some have suggested that Montgomery does not have a strong enough voice in Annapolis, as evidenced by the poor rate of return to the county from tax collections. Does Montgomery get its fair share of the state pie? Montgomery County does have a strong voice in Annapolis. As the House Parliamentarian, I serve as a member of the Speaker’s Senior Leadership Team with three other senior members of the Montgomery County Delegation. Therefore, we have strong voices at the table. We are receiving our fair share but, as with anything, we can always improve. But, here are real numbers documenting our hard work with the current administration: we received $30.2 million in school construction funds for FY2011; we received a total of $157.2 million in school construction funds over the past four years – an increase of 74% or $67 million over the previous administration; we will receive $695.6 million in operating funds for our K-12 public schools in FY2011; we received $2.4 billion for our K-12 public schools over the past four years – an increase of 57% or $868 million over the previous administration; we will receive $9.8 million in FY2011 in funding for police aid in Montgomery County; and, we will receive $1.3 million in highway user revenue in FY2011 for Montgomery County. These are just a few. Q. It seems like the country may be creeping out of this painful recession. Maryland has been relatively less affected by the weak economy. Looking ahead, how should the state attract and retain businesses? In order to continue to attract and retain businesses, the most important thing we can do is maintain our excellent K-12 public school. This is important for a myriad of reasons (1) an excellent school system attracts businesses; (2) an educated workforce will attract businesses. We also need to create jobs – which means we need to provide a business friendly climate by continuing and increasing the Biotech Tax Credit; supporting stem cell research; continuing and increasing the new tax credit to promote construction investment and jobs passed by the legislature this year; and other such programs to encourage business development and growth. Q. Although Maryland is certainly a blue state, there seems to be growing tension over illegal immigration, particularly in the wake of the Arizona law. How should Maryland address illegal immigration at the state level? The short answer is that we should not address illegal immigration at the state level. Immigration law is solely the responsibility of the Federal government. Our country is founded on principles of freedom and due process. The Arizona law and other similar proposals fly in the face of these principles. The State should not be charged with searching out and holding individuals solely on the basis of their immigration status. Q. What did you think of the attorney general’s opinion on same sex marriage? I read the attorney general’s opinion in its entirety shortly after it was released. I thought it was well founded and researched. It was based on clear precedent regarding interstate commerce and the enforceability of interstate compacts and laws. Q. Is the Great Seneca Science Corridor an appropriate use for the land between Rockville and Gaithersburg? Yes. Particularly in this down economy, investing in growth in the Great Seneca Science Corridor is exactly what we should be doing to create jobs and inspire economic development. From a planning perspective, this area has been designed very well – it is a SMART growth community. Q. If you could choose any mode and route of transportation, what would you like to see for the Corridor Cities Transitway? I would like to see the Corridor Cities Transitway as a Light Rail Transit system. The CCT will be an essential transit system linking communities from Shady Grove to Clarksburg. It will create jobs, get cars off the road, and greatly improve our technology corridor. As for the route, I am certainly interested in the alternative alignments that would avoid crossing the length of Belward Farm and may lessen the likely increased congestion at Great Seneca Highway and Muddy Branch Road. I look forward to reviewing the final recommendations/study by the Maryland Transit Authority. Q. Has the county adequately protected the Agricultural Reserve? The County has done an excellent job protecting the Agricultural Reserve and is to be commended for its efforts. I will continue to do whatever is necessary to continue to protect this wonderful area.

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