Near midnight on election night, I held my twelve year old daughter as she bawled. Her heart was broken by the election results. She has been a regular volunteer on the Hillary Clinton campaign, traveling to Pennsylvania to help knock on doors and make phone calls. She was crushed by Hillary's defeat, and scared for what the future would bring. As a mother it was my job to be strong and reassure her that it will be OK.
And that is what I did. Even though, I too was deeply concerned and disappointed.
The next day I awoke knowing that in addition to my job as a mother, I also have an important role here as an elected official representing Montgomery County. I am writing to reassure you- my constituents- that after this election I have a strengthened commitment to do everything within my power to advance and protect our shared values.
75% of Montgomery County voters joined me in supporting Hillary Clinton, and another 6% supported third party or write-in candidates. Only 19% of Montgomery County voters supported Donald Trump.
I know many of you are still processing this defeat and what it means for the future of our nation. How will we treat immigrants? People with disabilities? Religious minorities? Will there become a new normal in social acceptance for disrespecting- even sexually assaulting- women? And denying science, basic economics and diplomacy? What will happen with health care reform? Will people lose coverage? And if so, how will we as Marylanders help them? Will we roll back the progress we have made in LGBT rights and women's rights? Will we ever see common sense gun safety reform? How will we be able to tackle climate change now?
Equally important- how will we teach our children and grandchildren to treat people with respect and dignity, to not to bully others, and to listen to different perspectives thoughtfully when our President does not model this behavior.
We can't answer these questions yet. But I can assure you that I will be doing everything I can to continue to build an America that is (in Hillary's words yesterday) "hopeful, inclusive, and big-hearted."
Today, I make a pledge to you. I will fight to:
- Protect our immigrant and minority communities from hatred, intolerance, and discrimination.
- Stand up to violence, xenophobia, and bullying- and stand up for equal opportunity.
- Advocate aggressively for economic policies that will help the middle class, working class, and the neediest among us.
- Tirelessly challenge rape culture and indifference to sexual harassment and assault wherever it surfaces.
- Work across the divisions in our country whenever possible through education, listening, mutual respect, dialogue and problem solving.
- Where the Federal Government fails us I will attempt to use Maryland law to fill in the gaps. Maryland should be a leader among states in effective government for everyone across policy areas from health care to environmental policy to criminal justice reform and budget priorities.
If you are worried about our future, or concerned for the world we are building for your children and grandchildren, you are not alone. But together we will build a future that reflects our shared values. To quote the Clinton campaign's "Fight Song"- I've still got a lot of fight left in me! And I know you do too.