Some people think that the heat and humidity of a Maryland summer slows things down a bit. That definitely did not happen for me or my staff! We have been very hard at work on behalf of the people of Rockville and Gaithersburg. Today, I am writing with an overview.
Leasing District Space
In July, we finalized an agreement with the Nonprofit Village in Rockville to lease a “hot desk,” or part-time, flexible office space. As a legislative District Office, we believe it to be the first of its kind for a Maryland legislator. But, it is clearly part of a growing (less expensive!) alternative to leasing full-time commercial meeting space.
We are using this location for meetings with constituents while working in the district, and for small conferences and group meetings. Please call our Annapolis office to schedule time with me in Rockville (301/858-3134).
For the fall semester, I am thrilled that my office was able to help 45 deserving college students with funding through our Senatorial Scholarship. With guidance from my volunteer Senatorial Scholarship Committee, we awarded over $65,000 in need- and merit-based tuition assistance to college and graduate students who live in my Rockville and Gaithersburg legislative district.
I am grateful to my diligent Scholarship Committee, whose members read and ranked each application, interviewed the finalists, and helped determine how the available funds would be allocated. Special privilege was given to students at Montgomery College and the Universities at Shady Grove, and to those who voted (if eligible) and were engaged in our community as volunteers. Scholarships went to students just out of high school — as well as to those preparing for new careers later in life.
I had the pleasure of sitting in on the interviews. In a word? Wow. We heard students’ amazing stories, including one who survived the genocide in Rwanda as a very young girl, lived in a refugee camp, and then resettled in Rockville. She was bubbly, alive, and optimistic. A young man spent his summer interning at a large local employer and, as a 17-year-old, was writing an app that he hopes will become the next new “hot” thing in social media. We met a woman who had raised five children and wanted to return to school to get her degree. They were each inspiring in their hopes for the future.
Gaithersburg and Rockville have so many talented students that the decision-making process was difficult. Thank you to committee members Oscar Alvarenga, Eric Britton, Hon. Cathy Drzyzgula, Janet Kelly, Jay Kenney, Ana-Astrid Molina, Colleen Reed, Stacey Paver Simon, and Amour Toura-Gaba for their thorough and fair evaluation of the applications. Thanks too to my team of Mitchelle Stephenson, Brad Bachman, Eric Britton, and Alex Opryszko, who helped organize reams of paper and a lengthy process.
Do you know someone who should be considered for a Senatorial Scholarship? Please note that the deadline for the Spring 2016 term is in mid-October. Thoughtful, well-written essays should accompany the completed paperwork! To apply, please visit www.CherylKagan.org/scholarships.
Preparing for the 2016 Legislative Session:
In January, the Maryland General Assembly will reconvene for the 2016 Legislative Session. In preparation for the second year of my four-year term, I have been visiting businesses, non-profits, schools, Eagle Scout Courts of Honor, graduations, municipal governments, state agencies and meeting one-on-one with constituents.
Last month, I was honored to join the Maryland delegation at the legislative summit of the National Conference of State Legislators in Seattle (NCSL). There, I attended briefings and learned of initiatives that have worked in other states. I expect to have a legislative portfolio that will continue to improve the quality of life for residents of Rockville, Gaithersburg, and the rest of the state.
Like you, I was relieved to hear the good news of Governor Larry Hogan’s remarkably positive response to his cancer treatments. The Governor was added to our prayer list at Har Shalom, my synagogue, as well as many other places of worship around our state. Since then, I have corresponded with Governor Hogan, who is very appreciative of all the warm wishes and thoughtful prayers from people of all faiths and political parties.
Finally, you can keep up with news, Senatorial scholarship applications, upcoming events, and legislative developments by visiting www.CherylKagan.org. It’s easy to stay in touch with me via Facebook at State Senator Cheryl C. Kagan, on Twitter at @CherylKagan, and on Instagram at @CherylCKagan.
Cheryl C. Kagan
State Senator, District 17
Rockville & Gaithersburg
PS: Municipal elections will be held this year in both Gaithersburg and Rockville. If you are not yet registered to vote, you have until September 4 in Rockville and September 8 in Gaithersburg. City Council and Mayoral elections take place on Tuesday November 3. It is your government and your responsibility — I hope you will get out there and VOTE!