Voting, Voices, & Virtual Celebrations May 20, 2020

May 19, 2020
Dear Friend:
Some Maryland counties have begun Stage One of the Roadmap to Recovery, which shifts from a “Stay-at-Home” order to a “Safer at Home” public health advisory. To be clear–Montgomery County’s Stay-at-Home order is still in place, because we have the second-highest number of confirmed Coronavirus cases in the State.
Hearing Your Hardships
Governor Hogan’s dismissive and inaccurate comments regarding our broken Unemployment Insurance system do not match the facts. Based on the frantic calls and e-mails from my constituents, I know that it is NOT “completely fixed and functioning very well.” During a joint 9-hour hearing with the Budget & Taxation and Finance Committees, my colleagues and I heard testimony from hundreds of Marylanders.
It is heartbreaking to hear from those who have worked their whole lives and are jobless through no fault of their own. My staff and I are here to help District 17 residents struggling to receive assistance. We can get you into the queue, but please note that the Department of Labor is woefully behind on responses.
Inspiring Others to Vote
By now, I hope you have received your mail-in ballot. With the Primary Election just two weeks away, I am inviting our students to design posters encouraging participation in Maryland’s first Vote-by-Mail election. Winning entries will be shared on my Senatorial Facebook page. Submit your design by May 27th to be considered.
Ensuring Effective Elections
Last week, my Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee held a hearing regarding the upcoming Primary Election. In light of the mishaps that riddled last month’s 7th District Special Congressional Election, I wrote a letter to the State Board of Elections that formally outlined what I believe still needs to be addressed.
When you vote– please follow the directions carefully; be sure to sign the oath on the back of your envelope; and submit your ballot early (either via mail or in a ballot drop-off box) to ensure that your vote will be counted!

Revamping Rockville’s Hometown Holidays

The City of Rockville will be hosting its 32nd annual Hometown Holidays event by “Festing in Place” from May 23-25th. This virtual celebration includes a Taste of Rockville alternative plan; online concerts; and even a special Hometown Holidays playlist on Spotify!

Supporting Small Businesses
Our small business and nonprofit communities are among those hardest hit by the pandemic. I am proud to be a founding member of the bipartisan Small Business Caucus, which meets weekly to discuss ways to improve our State’s economy.
And don’t forget Takeout Tuesday! I hope you’ll visit one of our locally-owned restaurants in Rockville or Gaithersburg; snapped a picture; and tweeted or posted with #TakeoutTuesday (or any day of the week!) to show your support. These places desperately need our business to remain open!
You can find more resources and stay up-to-date on the latest COVID-19 news onmy website. If you’re having trouble with State Unemployment Insurance, we have created a new resource to help you! 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.: We lost a giant over the weekend. Odessa M. Shannon was the first African-American woman elected to the Montgomery County Board of Education, and she was the first woman to hold the post of Special Assistant to the Montgomery County Executive. Thank you, Odessa, for your warmth, courage, and commitment to Montgomery County and the important issues we have faced over the decades. Rest in Peace.