I’ve worked hard to support and improve the best school system in the nation because I believe that every student deserves the opportunity to achieve success. A strong public school system is the foundation of a strong society. I am committed to strengthening our schools, removing barriers to learning, supporting our teachers and finding ways to make higher education more affordable. That's why I am working to deliver historic investments in local public schools, build new facilities, bring down class sizes and reduce overcrowding, and raise teacher pay to ensure every child in Maryland can benefit from a world-class education - all with more accountability to ensure funding goes to the classroom, not bureaucracy.
As the mother of three Howard County Public School graduates and as a graduate of Atholton High School, I know why good schools are important and that a good education opens the door for all children. As a longtime Howard County education activist, former Board of Education Chairperson and former County Council Chairperson, I’ve helped to build a school system that is second to none. Six new schools were opened during my tenure as a school board and county council member. As a stronger voice for you in Annapolis, I will work tirelessly to make sure that the state supports our goals to reach new levels of excellence and equity in instruction, programs, technology and facility planning. Learn more.
Good healthcare is a right not a privilege. Healthcare should be accessible, affordable and of high quality. The State of Maryland is responsible for implementing the Affordable Care Act. Especially in these uncertain times, the state is responsible for ensuring that a quality healthcare system is in place for all Marylanders. I will work with both sides of the aisle to make sure that we have a comprehensive and accountable healthcare system.
I will work tirelessly to make sure that every Maryland resident has access to quality affordable health care. As a Howard County Council Representative, I worked with my colleagues and the County Executive to create and fund a health care program for uninsured Howard County residents called “Healthy Howard.” This is a model that I will advocate for at the state level should the federal government end the Affordable Care Act.
I have worked to cap the cost of insulin, lower the cost of both dental and diabetic care products, and reduce out-of-pocket healthcare costs - to keep more money in your pocket. I've secured sales tax exemptions on diapers, car seats, and babe bottles and I have voted to suspend Maryland's gas tax, while enacting a tax credit for seniors. Learn more.
I believe that Maryland needs to do more to build an environment where business can grow and thrive. A strong economy requires reasonable regulatory policies and an infrastructure that supports a sound business environment including workforce readiness programs, public transportation, good schools and limited tax incentives to stimulate business growth.
As a member of the business community, I know that a strong economy is dependent on a strong business environment. During my time on the County Council and despite difficult economic times, Howard County added more private sector jobs than any other Maryland County and our unemployment rate was the lowest in the state. We leveraged new technology like 3D Maryland which helped entrepreneurs, industry and businesses increase their competitive edge and we supported start-up business accelerators such as Conscious Venture Lab, the Accelerator for the Commercialization of Technology, and Innovation Catalyst. Learn more
Maryland needs a comprehensive long-term transportation plan that is economically and environmentally balanced. The continued growth of the Baltimore/Washington economy and the emergence of new transportation technologies make improved transportation planning a must. Existing state, regional and local bus and rail systems need to be more fully integrated.
New rapid bus transit needs to be added to connect key employment locations with existing MARC and commuter routes A regulatory framework that permits the timely, but safe, introduction of new technologies, such as driverless cars, needs to be developed.
Our quality of life is dependent on our quality of environment. Land preservation, self-sustaining practices, investment in smart energy options and reducing the impact of development are not only sound environmental priorities but fiscally responsible policies, as well.
Clean water and clean air are not options. We need to work harder to develop and employ clean energy, restore our streams and rivers and preserve our open space. When I was on the County Council, Howard County led the way in regional public transportation, recycling, composting and support of renewable energy. As your voice in Annapolis, I will fight for policies that reduce our carbon footprint and leave our environment in better shape for future generations. Learn more.
I support a comprehensive, long term plan to improve storm water management infrastructure throughout the county and to make historic Ellicott City safer from flash flooding. I support the county partnering with FEMA and other federal agencies to take advantage of federal funds to indemnify residential and commercial building owners that are located in a flood zone and have suffered multiple floods.
In historic Ellicott City, while a long term plan is implemented, I support dedicating county, state, and federal resources in a parallel plan to reinforce the success of existing shops and restaurants by keeping the town attractive and vibrant to visitors during inevitable impacts from construction involved with implementing improvements in storm water management systems. Learn more.
Read my plan for helping Ellicott City with new threats from more frequent and intense storms given in testimony on September 16 before the Howard County Council.
Growth and Development
The state delegation has no role in the determination of the rate and pace of growth which is in the hands of the County Executive through the creation of the once in a decade General Plan for Howard County. However, there is a role at the state level in granting the county permission to raise fees on new development. As a state delegate, I will vote to give the county authority to increase fees on new development. As a previous council member, and one who took more votes against new development proposals than any other member at the time, I understand the challenges of managing growth and development in a highly successful county. Learn more.
By Authority: Friends of Courtney Watson, Kevin Doyle, Treasurer
© 2018 Friends of Courtney Watson