Last weekend, I attended the Women's March on Washington alongside at least 500,000 fellow marchers, 3.3 million across America, and nearly 5 million internationally. This was truly a life changing experience for many of us.
After the march I stayed up late with my out of town guests talking about next steps. We felt so empowered and optimistic for the future - How do we keep this momentum going? Over the last few days, I have been overwhelmed by constituents with similar questions. People want to get involved and commit their energy to positive change for our communities.
As your representative, I have heard you. I intend to bring your voices into the halls of the State House here in Annapolis and support the issues we marched for.
Worker's Rights: My colleague Delegate Luke Clippinger has sponsored very important earned sick days legislation. I have, once again, co-sponsored the Maryland Working Families Act, which would provide employees earned sick and safe leave, and I will continue to support the efforts and needs of the advocates to get this legislation passed this year. Check out MomsRising's Day of Action! Senator Brian Feldman and I are also Co-Chairing Maryland's Paid Family Leave Workgroup which will issue final recommendations on program design for a paid family leave program to cover all workers in Maryland later this year.
Reproductive Freedom: Facing the Trump Presidency, and the reinstatement of the Global Gag Rule, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has been in the news for his plans to safeguard birth control protections currently afforded to women under the Affordable Care Act. Did you know we already successfully passed very similar legislation last year in Maryland?! With help from Planned Parenthood of Maryland and Planned Parenthood of Metro Washington, I sponsored the Contraceptive Equity Act, widening access to contraception by allowing people to get birth control, Plan B and vasectomies without a co-pay and ending pre-approval requirements for long-acting reversible contraception such as IUDs. Check out Planned Parenthood's Emergency Guide!
Affordable Child Care: I Co-Chair the Joint Committee on Children, Youth, and Families alongside Senator Nancy King. During the interim we worked on child care and early education. We learned that Maryland has the nation's lowest income threshold for parents to qualify for child care subsidies. The relegates low-income families to the cheapest and poorest quality child care in their communities. Senator King and I have crossfiled two child care bills that will begin the process of strengthening our child care subsidy program.
Electing Women: I have felt especially touched by the many women who have reached out to me for advice, for my experiences, or to say thank you. This past week, I was even able to speak to members of the new class from Emerge Maryland, an organization that identifies, trains, and encourages women to run for higher office, about my experiences as a woman in politics.
Whether you marched on Saturday for the first time or have been marching since the 60's, I hope we can keep working together on behalf of these and so many other important issues.
If you have any questions about the issues or bills listed here please reach out to me at Ariana@KellyforDelegate.com. I look forward to hearing from you. If you would like more information about current events and happenings in Annapolis please also follow my Facebook at www.facebook.com/kellyfordelegate or my twitter at www.twitter.com/DelArianaKelly.
All the best,