Elections, I-270, Nonprofits, Schools, & More! – July 17, 2020

July 17, 2020
Dear Friend:
COVID infection rates and hospitalizations across the State are increasing. To help avoid a second wave, please cover your face and avoid large groups of people whenever possible. NOTE: In case you missed my tweet, a new Gaithersburg Coronavirus testing site should be opening next week at Lake Forest Mall! It will be available for several months; watch for more details on my website and in next week’s missive. Thanks to Rockville’s Del. Palakovich Carr and Councilmember Katz for their leadership on this important initiative.
Critiquing the Governor’s Disastrous Election Decision
Directly following Gov. Hogan’s ill-advised Executive Order to hold a primarily in-person election despite the pandemic, I wrote a piece detailing my concerns in Maryland Matters. My Committee Chair, Sen. Pinsky, was published in the Baltimore Sun, criticizing the Governor’s misjudgment. County Executives from the seven largest jurisdictions penned a letter urging the Governor to make significant changes. If you are concerned about the prospects of actually going to the polls, I encourage you to request a mail-in ballot as soon as possible on the State Board of Elections’ website.

Supporting Nonprofits with New State Funds
On Wednesday, $50 million will be available to nonprofit organizations to alleviate the catastrophic financial impact of COVID-19. The State has created four categories of funding from which to choose. Money will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, so be sure to apply right away! To learn more, visit the Maryland Nonprofit Recovery Initiative webpage.

Extending the Moratorium on Evictions
District 17’s own Del. Barve and my friend and nonprofit colleague Del. Stein wrote a letter to Governor Hogan urging him to extend the current prohibition on evictions until January 31, 2021. As Marylanders struggle to get their unemployment benefits, rent payments are still due. The Aspen Institute estimates that as many as 330,000 residents are at risk of eviction by the end of the year. As a member of the bipartisan Senate Small Business Caucus, I am also concerned about threatened evictions of our small businesses and the devastating impact that would have on our economy.
Are you committed to defeating Donald Trump in November? Would you like to make a difference in your own neighborhood? Do you have some time to ensure that Maryland (and other states!) “vote blue” for President and Congress?
I’m recruiting dedicated Democrats to fill vacancies as Precinct Chairs and Vice Chairs. If you’re interested, please email me with a note and a brief bio or resume. We’ll circle back with more information to see if there’s a “fit.” It won’t be very time-consuming, but with each of us doing our part, we will be victorious in November!
Reviewing the I-270 Report
Last Friday, the Maryland Department of Transportation released a 350-page Environmental Impact Study on the I-270/I-495 corridor; the complete technical report is an astounding 18,000 pages! The document identifies several key issues, including the likelihood that the State will need to spend between $500 million and $1 billion on a project that Gov. Hogan promised would have “no net cost.” Mass transit alternatives were not considered, nor were environmental justice disparities and updates to old stormwater systems.
We have significant transportation challenges in this region. The solutions we choose must work toward the betterment of our commuters; the health of our residents; and the well-being of our neighborhoods.

Please consider following me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for photos and posts. If you have any questions or comments, send me an email!

Cheryl C. Kagan
State Senator, District 17
(Gaithersburg & Rockville)
PS: Montgomery County Public Schools released its preliminary plan, which starts with virtual learning and transitions to in-person teaching several weeks later. You can review the proposal and offer comments online.