Bringing Back State Resources
Craig understands the impact the economic downturn has had on District 14 and the entire state. As part of leadership on the influential House Appropriations Committee, which is responsible for overseeing Maryland’s budget, he has worked with his colleagues to balance the budget, nearly eliminate the state’s structural deficit and reduce state spending by more than eight billion dollars since 2007.
Craig also serves as Montgomery County’s representative on the House Appropriations Capital Budget Subcommittee, which provides funding that creates more than 15,000 jobs per year. While on this Subcommittee, he has worked with his District 14 colleagues to bring back money for local school construction and community projects.
In an effort to revitalize Burtonsville Crossing and other commercial space in Burtonsville, the District 14 team sponsored and passed the Burtonsville Revitalization Tax Credit which, if authorized by the County Council, would create tax incentives for improvements to commercial property in the Burtonsville commercial district.
Craig’s grandfather, a second-generation immigrant, was a small business owner in New York. He opened a number of shops that were eventually passed down to his father’s generation. Keeping his family history in mind, Craig continues to advocate on behalf of small businesses. If small businesses succeed, people remain employed, new jobs are created and our tax base stays strong. To ensure they remain competitive, Craig helped sponsor the Maryland Jobs Development Act. This law will track economic development projects throughout the state. It will keep small businesses strong and create local jobs.
However, Craig also knows that we’ve all had to tighten our belts lately and believes it should be no different when it comes to our state’s finances. As Senator, Craig continues to go line-by-line through the budget to identify and eliminate wasteful spending. Craig’s experience on the House budget committee and work as a top aide to the Maryland Comptroller has prepared him to help tackle these tough fiscal issues.
Craig believes that the best way to improve our economy is to have a thriving middle class. He is a longtime advocate for working families. From 2004-2006, as Director of Homecare for SEIU, Craig worked closely with home care providers throughout Maryland helping to provide them the resources they needed to offer the best care possible to our most vulnerable citizens. He is proud to have stood by 5,000 home care providers seeing them win their first wage increase in 20 years.
No one who works full time should struggle to support their family, which is why Craig co-sponsored and voted to raise Maryland’s minimum wage. A higher minimum wage will provide many working families with more opportunities and positively impact the economy by increasing consumer spending.
As a legislator, he has fought for fairness in the workplace, and worked to invest more in our local economy. As a member of the Oversight Committee on Pensions and Special Joint Committee on Pensions, Craig has worked to fix the pension system to ensure its long term stability. Craig will continue to speak up for working families and support projects that engage in fair labor practices.
Senator Karen Montgomery, Delegate Anne Kaiser, Delegate Eric Luedtke, and Craig have worked together over the past 3 years to procure funding for critical initiatives in District 14. These projects include major renovations to the Laytonsville Volunteer Fire Department, the Olney Police Station, the Olney Boys and Girls Club, the West Fairland Park in Colesville, the Muslim Community Center in Silver Spring, Griffith Park in Laytonsville, and the Olney Theatre Center. We were also able to provide funding for the Sandy Spring Slave Museum, the Odd Fellows Lodge in Sandy Spring, and secure a historic grant for the Town of Brookeville. In addition, we protected funding for Our House in Brookeville and the Sandy Spring Museum .
The support that these projects have received from our state government represents a major investment in our community and will help create jobs, educate our children, preserve our cultural heritage, and improve public safety.
All parents dream about a better future for their children. In Montgomery County, many families realize these dreams thanks, in large part, to the dedicated teachers and administrators of the Montgomery County Public Schools. However, there is still much work to be done to ensure every child receives a world-class education.
As a father, a former board member for a special needs school, and a product of the public school system, Craig is keenly aware of the importance of providing a quality education to each child. Over the last 4 years, Craig has worked with his District 14 teammates to assist children with special needs and learning differences. The county delegation, since I came into office, has secured more than $120 million in school construction funding for Montgomery County.
Craig will continue to advocate on behalf of the public school system to ensure they have the resources they need to hire and retain quality teachers, modernize facilities and give every child the opportunity to succeed.
It is our responsibility to preserve our earth and leave future generations with a better environment than that which our generation inherited. In Craig’s first two years in the House, he served on the Transportation and Environment Subcommittee, where he helped protect millions of dollars of funding for the Chesapeake Bay Trust fund and assisted with additional funding to our farming community.
He has fought to preserve vital open space dollars in the Maryland budget and ensure that we remain a model for natural resource conservation. He has a solid environmental voting record that has earned him a 100% rating by the League of Conservation Voters.
As a parent, Craig understands the importance of public safety. Our district is filled with strong communities and Craig wants to make sure it stays that way. No one should ever have to feel unsafe in their own neighborhood. As Vice Chairman of the Public Safety and Administration Subcommittee, Craig is in a unique position to assist in this area within District 14.
Craig has supported legislation to crack down on criminal gangs, domestic violence and Internet predators. He has worked to make sure that our first responders such as police, firefighters and paramedics receive the funding they deserve. He and his District 14 teammates have honored this commitment to first responders by helping to bring back more than $310,000 of state funding for the Olney Police Station, the Sandy Spring Volunteer Fire Department, and the Laytonsville Volunteer Fire Department.
He also sponsored legislation that will bring Next Generation 911 (NG911) systems to Maryland. This will allow the use of modern technologies, such as texting, e-mail, and video to be used to contact 911 during emergencies. Additionally, NG911 will allow for increased response times, faster routing of 911 calls from one call center to another, and improved outcomes for people involved in emergency situations.
Often in Montgomery County we find ourselves being reactive instead of proactive with our transportation infrastructure. Craig takes a proactive approach. He supported the recent transportation package that will bring more than $882 million to Montgomery County to improve current infrastructure, increase mass transit opportunities and help leverage federal funding.
All of the past session’s actions will support a smart growth strategy which includes the Inner-Purple Line, a proposed light-rail line which would connect the region’s core communities near the Capital Beltway, reduce traffic and help curb greenhouse gas emissions. He also strongly supports improving current roads, the Brookeville and Laytonsville Bypass and the Bus Rapid Transit system which would increase access to Metro services.
Every day many residents in District 14 wake up and wonder what they will do if they get sick. More than 1.4 million Marylanders were without health insurance in 2008, forcing them to take on piles of debt for medical expenses, or worse, not being able to seek medical treatment at all. In the last five years, the number of Marylanders without health insurance has been cut in half. Craig understands the value of having access to health care. Craig continues to do everything he can to support plans to allow all Marylanders access to affordable health care through the Maryland Health Care Exchange.