Democracy, Dining, & Donating May 5, 2020

May 5, 2020

Dear Friend:

Despite the concerns of health experts, many states have begun to reopen. As the weather improves, it’s tempting to get back out… but please practice social distancing and stay home as much as possible!

Supporting our Local Nonprofits TODAY
Giving Tuesday is a virtual event usually held in the fall. Today’s #GivingTuesdayNow will bolster the nonprofit sector that is so devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the local nonprofits I support (and recommend for your consideration) are Interfaith WorksManna Food Warehouse, the Conflict Resolution Center of Montgomery County (CRCMC), Community Reach, among many others. Please consider a donation of any amount as the Coronavirus takes its toll on nonprofit resources.

Addressing Nonprofit Inequity
Have you heard about the shocking developments at the federal level regarding unemployment insurance? The U.S. Department of Labor issued troubling requirements that all reimbursers (primarily nonprofits and local governments) immediately pay 100% of what’s owed before receiving any state or federal aid. Even when cash flow is especially tight, nonprofits (unlike businesses) would be essentially required to make an interest-free loan to the State Unemployment Trust Fund with the hope that they will receive a full refund. This is draconian and completely unreasonable. I sent a letter to the Governor to address the inequity; Senators Brian Feldman, Katie Fry Hester, Jim Rosapepe, and Mary Washington signed on in support. The letter gained attention from Maryland Matters, which wrote a piece about our advocacy. I am determined to address this issue and encourage you to contact our congressional delegation to ensure that they are aware of these distressing regulations. You can find their contact information at

Safeguarding Democracy 
Last Tuesday, Maryland held the 7th Congressional District Special Election– the first vote-by-mail conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Congratulations to former Congressman Kweisi Mfume on his victory and return to Congress. Although I agree with the Governor’s decision to use vote-by-mail for the June 2nd Primary, there are many unanswered questions on implementation. Maryland Matters published my piece in which I express my concerns and suggest how the State Board of Elections can protect voter privacy; ensure election integrity; and give voters a chance to fix errors rather than tossing out ballots.

Knowing Tenant Rights
If you or a family member have questions or concerns regarding a rental agreement, contact your local Office of Landlord-Tenant Affairs (Montgomery County/Rockville/Gaithersburg). Landlords are prohibited from evicting tenants during the Coronavirus pandemic. The Montgomery County Department of Housing and Community Affairs has created a COVID-19 page with helpful tips. The Montgomery County Renters Alliance is another helpful resource with information on what is expected of you at this time.

Supporting Local Restaurants!
For the month of May, and using the MoCo Eats list as your restaurant guide, please consider ordering takeout from a local business in Rockville or Gaithersburg! Now more than ever, these locally owned restaurants need our support. Share a picture of your meal with the hashtag #TakeoutTuesday. 
You can find more resources and stay up-to-date on the latest COVID-19 news onmy website. Follow me onFacebook,Twitter, andInstagram for photos and posts. Even during this Global Pandemic, my team and I are teleworking to serve you. Send us your questions or comments via email.
Cheryl C. Kagan
State Senator, District 17
(Gaithersburg & Rockville)
P.S.: A few days ago, I brought home this sweet kitten. My new roomie makes me smile during these stressful times.