In The News 2016 | Media

  • Home
  • In The News 2016 | Media

7 On Your Side: Md. state senator upset over return policy

December 28, 2016
by Kimberly Suiters
View the Full Article (and Watch the Video!) Here

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (ABC7) — Montgomery County State Senator Cheryl Kagan is upset over a return policy that allows retailers to gather personal data from consumers.

Senator Kagan will introduce legislation in Maryland to limit license scanning of consumer data. Nine other states currently have similar laws.
Some consumers are split on whether they are willing to give up private data to return items to stores.

Seven On Your Side investigator Kimberly Suiters has more on this story.


November 7, 2016
by Mitti Hicks
My Community Media

cwbuexlxeaecjhqThe Corporate Volunteer Council (CVC) of Montgomery County held their 2016 annual luncheon and awards ceremony on Friday to recognize local businesses for their successful volunteer programs.

The CVC educates local businesses on how to partner with and support non-profits in need by helping them create successful volunteer and charitable programs.

In this extra video, Maryland State Senator Cheryl Kagan explains the importance of local businesses volunteering with nonprofits:

“Through them, seniors are being helped, the homeless are being helped, the hungry; they’re making a difference,” said Maryland State Senator Cheryl Kagan. “It makes employees feel great about their employers, inspires loyalty within their organizations and makes a worthy charitable difference.”

Joining the local businesses and non-profits at the luncheon were state and local-elected officials.

“Many times, we’re quick to criticize,” said Montgomery County Councilmember Sidney Katz. “When we do the right things, someone should also thank.  We don’t do that enough, so this is an opportunity for us to say thank you.”

 Vote Like A Girl: Cheryl Kagan

October 28, 2016
by Lauren Landau
Jewish Women International Magazine

Q: Why do you vote like a girl?

A: I vote because I think my voice and my opinions matter. I think that women tend to care about people more than profits. While we are conscious of the present, I think we tend to be future-oriented in terms of the next generation and the impact of top quality schools, a clean environment and peace and justice. I think we’re really conscious of those issues and when we do our homework, that’s how we vote.

Q: We know that only a fraction of eligible voters actually make it out to the voting booths. Do you find that troubling? Why should people—and women in particular—participate in the electoral process?

A: My favorite campaign button says “vote or you’ve got nobody to blame but yourself.” So many Americans complain about this, that and the other. They have a distrust and disinterest in many political things, and yet while they’re unhappy and gripe about it, they don’t always vote.

When I get letters, phone calls, or emails from constituents or interest groups, and I look them up in our voter database and find that they have not voted, I don’t care if they’re of the other party. I don’t care if they have supported my opponent. I want to see that they are engaged in the most basic job that every American has, and that is to cast a ballot in the primary and the general election, all the time. And if they don’t, they just lose credibility with me.

Q: So you do your homework. What do you tell those people? Do you give them a guilt trip?

A: Senators in Maryland get to pick notaries public and we get to choose from those who apply. We also have scholarship money for students who are doing either college or graduate work. One of the things that I look for [among the people who apply] is are they registered, and do they vote? At this point, virtually everyone can be registered through Motor Voter so you’re already on the books. In Maryland you can vote by mail, you can early vote or you can vote on Election Day —so there’s no good excuse [for not voting].  Laziness, cynicism or disinterest doesn’t qualify.

We used to turn down as a notary anybody who wasn’t registered to vote and I give kind of a mini lecture to anyone who is a Kagan senatorial scholar. It is your job [I tell them] as a senatorial scholar to be a role model. Role models are community leaders and community leaders influence their friends and neighbors. Part of your job is to be informed, to vote and to talk to your friends and neighbors about whom you are supporting and why. It is a responsibility. I don’t care if you vote against me every single time. That’s fine. But you have to vote.

Q: And that’s what we’re about here at JWI. Whether you’re a Republican, a Democrat, Libertarian, or Independent, just get out there and vote!

A: I totally agree, and I’m wearing my “H” pin because I’m with her, and I am really hoping that we’re about to elect our first woman president, not just because of her gender, but because of her talent, passion, experience, and the respect with which she is held around the country and around the world. So I am hopeful and optimistic and working hard.

Q: I’m sure Secretary Clinton appreciates that. You mentioned some of the reasons why people might not vote or might not be registered to vote. But it isn’t just a disinterest in voting. What are some of the hurdles that people face and how can we help alleviate some of those issues?

A: America is increasingly diverse. I sponsored the “Informed Voter” bill, which we got enacted with “Language Access,” because those who don’t yet speak English fluently may have trouble understanding government and candidates’ platforms. By making our government fully accessible, regardless of which language you speak, we can help people engage more. In other states, but thankfully not in Maryland, there are voter ID laws and other barriers to voting. The biggest barrier to voting in Maryland is being a citizen, and then coming out [to vote]. Once you’re a citizen, in my view, there is just no excuse not to vote, not to cast your opinion, not to be heard.

Q: What are some of the issues that feel particularly relevant or pressing in 2016 that this election could significantly impact?

A: Maryland has no elections at the state level in a presidential year. We have the off years, so the governor, the general assembly, our legislature, our county councils and other [elected positions] are not on the ballot this year—and neither am I. So we’re all looking at Washington and at Congress. Because we are in Maryland, we are right next door, and are very aware of and affected by—as we all are—national decisions. Certainly the leader of the free world is going to be making international decisions about war and peace; about trade; about where we do or don’t intervene abroad; about refugees. Immigration obviously has been a huge issue, but [there are also] budget priorities and [the need for] support for our children and for moving forward, for the environment and climate change.

I am a partisan Democrat, but I also believe in bipartisanship. So many Republicans, though, are climate change deniers. The scientific data is not debatable, and yet, depending on who gets in office, we are either going to take action to protect our Earth for future generations or we’re not. We’re either going to work with other countries on treaties, and enforce them and comply with them, or we’re not. Obviously issues like women’s reproductive choice are at stake, depending on who runs Congress. So there are hundreds of issues and I am fervently hoping that we’re going to have a dynamic, thoughtful, progressive new U.S. Senator from Maryland; a terrific new congressman from my district, Jamie Raskin, a Senate colleague of mine; and Hillary Clinton, an effective leader, in the White House.

Please vote! It’s vitally important, and make sure you are prepared. Don’t just vote based on gender or race or religion. Do your homework and figure out who is supporting issues that are of concern to you.

 Democratic Vets Mull Convention Changes

By  Danica Roem
The Montgomery Sentinel

The role and scope of women participating in the Democratic National Convention changed considerably from the time state Sen. Cheryl Kagan (D-17) first attended in 1980.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D) capped that change as the dean of the Senate women formally nominated Hillary Clinton to be the Democratic nominee, the first woman to lead a major party presidential ticket.

Moco Sentinel Prez picture

President Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER

“Every convention is different and every convention is exciting and truly a privilege to experience and be a part of history,” said Kagan last week during a phone call from Philadelphia.

Kagan, who said she attended her ninth DNC last week, also saw how disunity affected the party up close when she volunteered for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy’s (D-Mass.) campaign during his unsuccessful run for president against incumbent Jimmy Carter in 1980.

“I had started off at headquarters photocopying checks,” she said.

It wasn’t the first time she supported a candidate who lost, backing Clinton’s first run for the presidency in 2008.

During that campaign, Kagan knocked on doors during the winter cold in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and eventually traveled to Denver as delegate for Clinton.

However, by the time then-Sen. Barack Obama offered his acceptance speech at Mile High Stadium, she backed the man who would eventually become the country’s first African American president.

“We live in a democracy. After the election results come in, there are winners and losers. And at some point, we have to unify in order to achieve our policy goals.”

According to Leggett, people who protested in favor of former presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.), who called for all delegates to back Clinton last week from the floor of the convention, are a small but vocal minority within the party.

“I think the Sanders people are coming around. I think you have a core, which is a very small minority that will never come around,” said Leggett. “What you see is a very intense core of people, who are very small by numbers, who are continuing their fight. And that’s their right and we just deal with it.”

Kagan took her policy advocacy to the San Francisco convention in 1984 as a staffer for the abortion rights advocacy group NARAL Pro-Choice America.

She also supported the Rep. Geraldine Ferraro’s (D-N.Y.) vice presidential nomination, making her the first woman nominated by a major party for that position.

Past turned out to be prologue for Kagan as she compared 1984 to 2016.

“And once again, we are facing threats to our health choices,” she said. “And that’s not the only issue to be clear.”

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett, attending his fifth DNC, said civil rights have been a big part of Democratic politics since the 1960s, particularly regarding racial equity.

“The only difference now is some of these issues are not concluded or resolved and we’ve had to go back to revisit them more intensely than we anticipated,” said Leggett. “It’s not a new issue, it just resurfaced.”

He specifically mentioned recently passed voting laws in states like North Carolina.

Last week, the federal Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a state law banning same-day voter registration and extended early voting.

“(It’s) just a blatant attempt to reduce minority votes and those who would normally vote Democratic,” said Leggett.

Kagan said other issues Democrats should focus on included campaign finance reform, civil rights and protecting marriage equality for LGBTQ people.

She said if any issue should unify the Democratic Party this year, it is the Supreme Court.

“The impact of the Supreme Court on the election cannot be overstated,” she said.

Meanwhile, she said the Democratic Party “has evolved as our society has evolved,” said Kagan, noting there is “a much more visible presence of the gay and lesbian community” at the convention.

On Thursday, Human Rights Campaign spokesperson Sarah McBride became the first transgender person to address a major party’s national convention.

“As more people have come out, there’s a greater focus on civil rights for the gay and lesbian community,” said Kagan. “So we’re seeing more speakers. The speakers are talking more about these issues.”

On the first night of the convention, Kagan watched some of the biggest names among women in the Democratic Party address the audience, including First Lady Michelle Obama, Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).

Featured speakers also included women such as Anastasia Somoza, who advocated for people with disabilities, and military widow Cheryl Lankford, who said she lost tens of thousands of dollars to Trump University.

“A lot of people who were the most effective presenters on the stage last night were women,” said Kagan, later adding, “I think it inspires women to get involved in politics.”

That’s because those speakers offer women “someone who looks like them and speak like them and has life experiences like theirs.”

Kagan said the late Texas Gov. Ann Richards (D) inspired her the most and she talked to Richards’ daughter Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, at the convention.

“She was plain spoken, direct, opinionated, passionate, insightful, affective and funny,” said Kagan about the former Texas governor. “And using humor to make a point while never deviating from her fundamental values was powerful.”


Maryland Faces Possible Lack of Female Lawmakers in Congress

July 25, 2016
CBS Baltimore

WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 26: U.S Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) steps into an elevator after she announced that she would vote against Judge John Roberts for chief justice of the Supreme Court Sept. 26, 2005 during the opening day of debate in the Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 13-5 to recommend Roberts' confirmation as chief justice. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

US. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland has been among leading states in electing women to political offices for decades, but the state could have its first all-male congressional delegation in more than 40 years unless at least one of two Republicans or a third-party candidate wins in November in the heavily Democratic state.

Republican Marjorie Holt became Maryland’s first elected congresswoman, serving seven terms from 1973 to 1987. Democrat Gladys Spellman served three terms from 1975 to 1981. They were followed by Republicans Helen Bentley, who served five terms from 1985 to 1995, and Connie Morella, who served eight terms from 1987 to 2003.

And Sen. Barbara Mikulski, a Democrat, is the longest-serving woman in the history of the U.S. Congress. She first served in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1977, before becoming the first woman to win a Senate seat on her own in 1986, without following a husband or father who had held the seat.

But Mikulski’s retirement next year after serving five, six-year terms could leave Maryland without a woman in the 10-member delegation. Her retirement prompted Maryland’s only other female member of Congress, Rep. Donna Edwards, to run for the rarely open Senate seat in a Democratic primary against Rep. Chris Van Hollen, a race Edwards lost in April.

State Sen. Cheryl Kagan, one of 12 women in the 47-member Maryland Senate, said while she would have liked to have supported a minority woman in that primary, she believed Van Hollen was clearly the stronger candidate. She also noted that voters had female candidates to choose from in the 8th Congressional District primary race, but she believes the best candidate in that race happened to be a man as well.

“This time, the male candidates were stronger, were more experienced, were more respected and ran great campaigns, but Maryland should be looking around for talented women to move up,” Kagan, a Montgomery County Democrat, said.

Edwards, who is black, highlighted her race and gender during the campaign in a polarizing battle. The White House and prominent national Democrats supported Van Hollen, but Edwards’ supporters said her opportunity to become only the second black female U.S. senator in history should not be denied.

Republican Kathy Szeliga is running against Van Hollen, but she is running in a statewide race where Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-1 in a presidential election year in which voter turnout is expected to be high. Szeliga, who is the Maryland House of Delegates minority whip, said she doesn’t think people should vote for her simply because she’s a woman, noting she’s also a small business owner. But she said women’s views are essential to good government.

“I just don’t think that Maryland should go back to the time when they didn’t have women representing them,” Szeliga said. “We have a proud tradition.”

The only other female running for a congressional seat for a major party is Republican Amie Hoeber, who is challenging Rep. John Delaney in Maryland’s 6th Congressional District. Maryland has eight U.S. House seats.

Maryland has never elected a female governor. However, the state Legislature has the nation’s eighth-highest percentage of female lawmakers. Out of 188 total seats in Maryland’s House and Senate, women hold 59 of them, or 31.4 percent.

Nationally, although women comprise half the population, they serve as mayors of just 19 percent of all cities and represent just a quarter of all state lawmakers. Just 12 percent of governors are women, and they hold just one in five seats in Congress.

Follow @CBSBaltimore on Twitter and like WJZ-TV | CBS Baltimore on Facebook

Drawing Attention to our Outdated 911 Emergency System: 

Last night, the HBO show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver highlighted our nation’s crisis with our 911 system and call centers.  According to an FCC report in 2014 that Oliver cites, improving location accuracy could save over 10,000 lives each year.  However, as 70-80% of calls come from cell phones, the location information dispatchers get varies widely based on wireless service provider.
I introduced two bills this past session (SB 424 and SB 686) to modernize our 911 system to “Next Generation” technology and increase crisis preparedness by assessing each call center.  The Senate Finance Committee did not approve either bill this year, but as the video demonstrates, our 911 system is in dire need of reform.  I plan to introduce legislation again next year to address these concerns.
The FCC has mandated that wireless carriers improve accuracy by 2021, but that won’t make much of a difference if many 911 call centers are underfunded and severely understaffed.  Staffing problems continue to plague 911 emergency call centers, which means that when people dial 911, the first thing they hear could be an automated response or busy signal.  This is what happened when Rockville resident, Carl Henn, was struck by lightning.  His passing inspired my legislation.
Please take a moment to watch the clip below. WARNING: The video includes adult humor and some profanity and could be offensive to some viewers.

NBC 4 Washington
By Chris Gordon
Click here to watch the full video.

Chris Van Hollen and Donna Edwards

Montgomery County Sentinel/ MOCO VOX

April 25, 2016
As you know, Maryland’s all-important Primary Election Day is tomorrow.  In addition to nominating a candidate for President ( #ImWithHer as the most common sense, experienced leader), we will be choosing our next U.S. Senator, and in 2 districts, a new Member of Congress!
Worthy Successor to Sen. Barbara Mikulski
Barbara Mikulski has diligently worked on behalf of Marylanders since 1987.  With her retirement, we will be electing a new U.S. Senator and have two incumbent Members of Congress from which to choose.
I hope you have noted in repeated missives from me that I have strongly endorsed Chris Van Hollen.  In endorsing Chris, the Baltimore Sun wrote:
Rep. Chris Van Hollen Jr. is by far the most qualified candidate to carry on the Mikulski tradition. [He has] demonstrated the same kind of leadership skills and devotion to progressive causes whether in the halls of the state Senate in Annapolis or in Congress.” 
In Annapolis, Chris was a key leader on issues like the environment, gun control, women’s rights, and civil rights.  In Congress, he has become one of the prime Democratic experts on budget and fiscal issues.  In addition, Chris is known for being a dogged advocate for his constituents and a leader on behalf of federal employees. The contrast in track record of effectiveness versus his opponent’s lack of accomplishment could not be more stark.  Please join me in voting to make Chris our next U.S. Senator!  
Succeeding Chris Van Hollen in the House
I suspect that your mailbox, like mine, has been full of campaign literature from the many talented Democrats seeking the nomination for the U.S. Congress.  I have known and worked with many of the candidates over the years.  In my opinion, two progressive and effective legislators, Sen. Jamie Raskin and Del. Kumar Barve, are most worthy of your consideration and your vote.  Jamie, my Senate colleague and friend, has been the go-to floor leader on issues ranging from marriage equality to drunk driving.  Respected by both Democrats and Republicans, he is the rare Senator who actually persuades votes to switch with his speeches during floor debates.  Kumar, my District 17 colleague and longtime friend, broke ground as the first Indian-American elected to the legislature.  The former House Majority Leader, he is now the adroit chair of the committee that oversees environment and transportation issues.
Whether or not you agree with all of my recommendations…
PLEASE be sure to VOTE tomorrow!
You can find your voting location and answers to other FAQ’s here.
After you vote, you can follow my work on Election Day and beyond via FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.  I look forward to seeing you in the community this summer and fall!
Cheryl C. Kagan
State Senator, District 17
Rockville & Gaithersburg
PS: Please feel free to forward this to friends or neighbors.  Voter turnout is vital in this year of hotly-contested elections!

Montgomery County Public Schools
April 19, 2016

MoCo Exec IKE LEGGETT Lowers Proposed Property Tax Increase

Posted on April 6, 2016
105.9 FM WMAL

FLASHBACK: MARCH 14TH: Leggett Proposes Property Tax Increase In Bid to Increase Education Spending.  In his recommended $5.27 billion fiscal year 2017 operating budget, Leggett called for a property tax increase of 3.94 cents per $100 of assessed value, a new rate that would go into effect July 1 and that would cost the average county homeowner about $27 more per month. The average home value in Montgomery County is about $460,000. The 8.6 percent tax increase surpasses the maximum rate allowed under the county’s charter, meaning it could require support from all nine members of the County Council for final approval.

BREAKING NEWS: LEGGETT TO COUNCIL: REDUCE PROPOSED PROPERTY TAX INCREASE. County Executive Ike Leggett today amended his 2017 budget to the County Council to reduce his proposed property tax increase by 46 percent following the announcement by Governor Hogan that he will allow to become law a Maryland General Assembly bill that extends the repayment schedule for counties to comply with the US Supreme Court’s Wynne decision.
“My initial proposed operating budget includes $50 million to cover Wynne case costs,” said Leggett. “I promised our State Delegation that if they passed legislation that would extend the back payments to the State I would reduce my property tax increase request. They have delivered, I have amended my proposed budget to reflect the savings from that legislation, and I recommend to the Council that reduction. The timing of credits to the affected taxpayers will not be delayed.
“I want to thank the sponsors of the bill, Senators Rich Madaleno and Cheryl Kagan, and all the other members of our State delegation who worked hard to ensure passage of this legislation.”

The legislation, Senate Bill 766, saves Montgomery County $33 million for the upcoming year, reducing the Wynne costs to $17 million. Reducing the property tax increase from 3.9 cents per $100 assessed valuation to 2.1 cents – a 46 percent reduction — brings the County Executive’s proposed average monthly property tax increase down from $27 to $18.67.