LSPC BLOG

  • Lower Shore Progressive Caucus creates coalition of local officials and organizations across the Eastern Shore to urge delegates to vote for CEJA

    Dear Lower Shore Delegates,

    It has been brought to our attention that the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act is heading to a vote in the House of Delegates. That is why the following Eastern Shore organizations that make up large sums of your constituency are writing to you asking that you vote in favor of the bill. This bill address two major issues currently affecting the Eastern Shore: climate change and bringing good-paying jobs to our region. There is no debate; science has overwhelmingly shown that climate change is real and poses a serious threat to our way of life.  We are already seeing the effects of this crisis now with stronger storms, more days with extreme heat, and our communities are already facing tidal flooding in Dorchester, Somerset, Ocean City, and other places across our region. The time to address this growing issue is now, and this is the bill that will help transform our energy systems away from fossil fuels to cleaner and more affordable forms of energy.      

    It is also important to note that this is not just an environmental bill.  This bill will save Maryland roughly $240 million dollars in federal tax credits in just one year.  It will also triple offshore wind investment and bring other forms of green energy projects to our region creating thousands of good-paying jobs both on the Shore and across the state.  

    Voting against this bill is signaling both the Shore and the rest of the state that our delegation isn't serious about addressing climate change or bring good-paying jobs back to our region. We, as voters across the Shore, strongly urge you to vote YES to the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act.

    Regards,

    Jared Schablein

    Chair, Lower Shore Progressive Caucus

    Kitty Maynard

    Admin leader, Kent and Queen Anne’s Indivisible

    Susan Byer and Toby Perkins

    Co-Chairs, Indivisible Worcester

    Susan Olsen

    Chair, Indivisible Dorchester

    Denice Lombard

    Chair, Talbot Rising

    Josh Hastings

    Wicomico Councilman District 4 and Citizen

    Jacob Day

    Mayor of Salisbury

    Gains Hawkins

    Chair, Wicomico Democratic Club

  • LSPC has its second "birthday"

    On February 3, 2019, the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus turned two years old.  When we first began, there were some in the community who laughed and said we would be lucky to last two months.  

    Since our inception, I am proud to say that today there are 6 elected progressives on the Lower Shore, both within the Democratic Party and at the county level.  We have also successfully helped get several pieces of legislation passed in the General Assembly and successfully moved some of our legislators to support certain bills like paid sick leave.   

    In my twenty years of life, it has been my proudest achievement to serve as chair of this great organization.  It has helped shaped me as a person, introduced me to many great friends, and brought me closer to the community I have lived in and loved my whole life.   I know that political organizing is a long and hard road filled with ups and downs and filled with major victories and crushing defeats. But the future of the Eastern Shore of Maryland rests in our hands, and I am more confident than ever that our future is bright and that we will continue to build a movement that protects our values and way of life and works to create better opportunities for generations of Shore residents long after we are gone.  

    To all our members and volunteers, I thank you for all your hard work and sacrifices to advance the progressive movement on the Shore.  If you are not a member, yet agree with a lot of what we do or want to help better our region, I personally invite you to join us and become involved.  Together we can build a better Eastern Shore for all.

  • Green energy means economic growth and health for the Shore

    As I traveled through Southern Germany today (3.9.19) I was taken away by how many wind turbines and other forms of green energy I saw in the countryside. Not only has Germany’s investment in green energy started to address the growing crisis that is climate change, but it has also created good-paying jobs and economic development in rural areas.

    With this in mind, I am calling on all Lower Shore delegates and senators to put politics aside and support the Clean Energy Jobs Act to help bring that same investment and growth to our region.

    The Lower Eastern Shore stands to see the most immediate impact from rising sea levels caused by climate change. It is already happening in Dorchester and Somerset counties and poses a serious threat to our coastal communities and way of life. Also having the state invest in more green energy opens the Shore up to having more green energy projects come to our area, creating jobs and economic growth. Now more than ever, we need our delegation to have vision and lead on this issue. 

    Call your reps to voice your support for the Clean Energy Jobs Act.

    Senate

    Mary Beth Carozza – 38 – Somerset, Worcester, Wicomico                        410-841-3645 | 301-858-3645

    Adelaide C. Eckardt – 37 – Caroline, Dorchester, Talbot, Wicomico             410-841-3590 | 301-858-3590 

    House

    Christopher T. Adams – 37B – Caroline, Dorchester, Talbot, Wicomico        410-841-3343 | 301-858-3343 

    Carl Anderton, Jr. – 38B – Wicomico                                                       410-841-3431 | 301-858-3431 

    Wayne A. Hartman – 38C – Wicomico, Worcester                                     410-841-3356 | 301-858-3356

    Johnny Mautz – 37B – Caroline, Dorchester, Talbot, Wicomico                   410-841-3429 | 301-858-3429

    Charles J. Otto – 38A – Somerset, Worcester                                           410-841-3433 | 301-858-3433

    Sheree Sample-Hughes – 37A – Dorchester, Wicomico                              410-841-3427 | 301-858-3427

  • Reparations

    There has been a lot of discussion in the political world about reparations recently.   Many opponents of the idea point out that “They didn’t own slaves” or “Slavery was a long time ago.”   The problem with these statements is that it fails to understand the major effects of enslavement and other forms of systemic oppression that have drastically affected the African American community in America for generations.  Slavery in America started in 1619 when a Dutch ship brought 20 African slaves ashore in the British colony of Jamestown, Virginia, and lasted until the passing of the 13th amendment in 1865.  These 246 years not only put the African American community through the most inhumane and brutal conditions imaginable but also created multiple generations of people who worked for free.  Not only were there physical and mental wounds left by this practice, but it also left those who did live to gain freedom at a disadvantage because no wealth was gained from their labor. Meanwhile, white plantation owners--and white families in general--were gaining wealth and passing it down from generation to generation.

    Enslavement wasn’t the only thing that put artificial barriers up and kept African Americans at a disadvantage.  Following the end of slavery, violence and discrimination towards African Americans continued. Towards the end of the Civil War, General William T. Sherman issued Special Field Order Number 15, which granted each freed family 40 acres of land on the islands and the coastal region of Georgia.  This order would give freed families land and the opportunity to build wealth and build a life after the horrors of slavery based on the premise that owning land is the key to economic independence and autonomy.  However, after the death of Abraham Lincoln,  one of the first acts of Reconstruction under President Andrew Johnson was to order all land under federal control to be returned to its previous owners in the summer of 1865. This left millions of freedmen and women with a choice that they could either sign labor contracts with planters and become sharecroppers or be evicted from the land they were originally given. Those who refused or resisted were eventually forced out by army troops.  It wasn’t just after the Civil War either; after the Reconstruction era and around 1877, Jim Crow laws were put into effect in the South. These laws mandated the segregation of public schools, public places, and public transportation; the segregation of restrooms, restaurants, and drinking fountains for whites and blacks and were in effect until 1965. That is almost a 100 hundred year period.

    One of the most impactful policies on the economic growth of African American communities is Redlining. Recent studies show racial discrimination in mortgage lending in the 1930s shaped the demographic and wealth patterns of American communities today and 3 out of 4 neighborhoods “redlined” on government maps 80 years ago continue to struggle economically. During the New Deal, the federal government created a program to give loans to help refinance African American homes. However, the program was filled with racial discrimination that openly encouraged developers to institute racist policies that prevented minorities from buying houses and saw 98% of home loans go to white families.  This program allowed white families to buy property and build wealth. This new wealth attracted new businesses to white communities increasing their property values more and by the time redlining and other discriminatory practices were made illegal, most minority communities didn’t have the money or economic resources to move out of the “Red areas” and were then stuck in poverty.

    On top of dealing with the effects of past discriminatory practices, today there are still many more forms of systemic racism that drastically affect the African American community today including mass incarceration where African Americans make up 13% of the total population yet represent 40% of the prison population.  It has gotten to the point where “if a black person and a white person each commit a crime, the black person has a better chance of being arrested. It’s also true that once arrested, black people are convicted more often than white people. And for many years, laws assigned much harsher sentences for using or possessing crack, for example, compared to cocaine. Finally, when black people are convicted, they are about 20% more likely to be sentenced to jail time, and typically see sentences 20% longer than those for whites who were convicted of similar crimes. And as we know, a felony conviction means, in many states, that you lose your right to vote. Right now in America, more than 7.4% of the adult African American population is disenfranchised (compared to 1.8% of the non-African American population).” (Source: https://www.benjerry.com/home/whats-new/2016/systemic-racism-is-real)

    Even today wealth is disproportionally held by white families. Current statistics show that white families hold 90% of the national wealth, Latino families hold 2.3%, and African American families hold 2.6%. To put that into a clearer perspective, for every $100 white families earn in income, black families earn just $57.30.  African Americans are also more likely to face higher suspension rates in school and over the past 60 years have had unemployment rates twice that of whites. A National Bureau of Economic Research study found that job applicants with white-sounding names get called back approximately 50% more of the time than applicants with black-sounding names, even when they have identical resumes. This seems to be a widespread problem: even guests with distinctively black names get less positive reviews from property owners on Airbnb.

    So although it is true that we didn’t directly take part in the enslavement of past racist policies towards African Americans, it is important to understand the privilege we have from having white skin.  Equally important is understanding that the best way to continue to overcome the wounds of the past is to have a serious conversation about implementing reparations and a national apology about the horrors of slavery and decades of systematic racism in our government. Reparations would show dignity and respect to a community that had to face decades of unthinkable discrimination and hardship re-enforce by a system of oppression. Also, perhaps more than anything else, reparations are an active effort to interrupt and reverse the continuous pattern of economic, educational, social, and political legacies of enslavement that still exist in our society today.

  • Why Progressives must focus on local elections in 2019

    Whether you have been on social media or watching any form of news, you have probably seen that a majority of the conversation is about the 2020 election. While it is important to find a good candidate to take on President Donald Trump and reverse several of his destructive policies, there are important events happening in small towns and cities across the Lower Shore in 2019 that are being overlooked. The 2019 Municipal elections are where we will be electing many of our town council representatives and mayors, depending on the area you live in. From cities like Salisbury to small towns like Brookview in Dorchester County, these elections are the simplest way to have a major impact in order to build the best possible future for our region.  

     

    One major reason you should be involved is it’s necessary to keep you informed about what is going on right outside your door. It doesn’t matter if you live in a city like Salisbury or a small town like Pittsville, there are many things going on in your community that you might not think about on a regular basis. By becoming involved in local politics in your town, you not only get a chance to meet your neighbors, but you acquire an understanding of the issues facing your area.  Knowing the needs of your community helps you to become an active member in finding solutions to those issues, therefore improving both the community and your personal life. The old saying is true that if you want to change the world you should start locally!

     

    Another major reason you should be involved is it gives the Progressive Movement on the Shore a unique opportunity to build a bench for future races. In 2018, we were able to get some progressives elected into office. However, we still have a long way to go in order to build a government on the Shore that works for the many.  One of the biggest problems we faced in 2018 was our candidates didn’t have name recognition and that played a role in some of the close defeats we had. By having progressives start at the local level, candidates gain the experience and the name recognition needed to run for higher offices on the county or state level in the future.  This will not only help our movement in the future but also improves our local governments now, providing an opportunity to have a greater impact in our communities sooner rather than later.

     

    Finally, local governments have the biggest direct effect on our lives. In our political system local governments are in charge of many services like parks and recreation services, police and fire departments, housing services, emergency medical services, municipal courts, transportation services (including public transportation), and public works (streets, sewers, snow removal, signage, and more). For years people really haven’t paid attention to their local governments across the Shore and it has had a pretty serious effect on events in our community.  A perfect example is when Pittsville Town Commission President Denver Moore hired his daughter Carla Moore as town bookkeeper.   She went on to embezzle more than $170,000 from the town and was sentenced to jail time for her actions.  This isn’t the only time local governments on the Shore have done shady things behind the backs of the public.  If you have been paying attention to the local news you have probably heard about the tragic death of Anton Black. Despite knowing of Thomas Webster IV past use of excessive force and protests from the president of the Central Delaware NAACP chapter warning the town of his history of violence, the town council still decided to hire Webster and put him in a position of power in the community.  This decision is a clear failure on the part of elected officials of the Greensboro town council and a tragic reminder of the need to make sure we elect local leaders who listen to the public and don’t put people with questionable pasts in positions of power within our community.

     

    Even though most towns haven’t had a major negative news story like Pittsville or Greensboro, there are still other major issues with our local Governments across the Lower Shore. Other than the great work being done Mayor Jake Day in Salisbury, many towns on the Lower Shore struggle to find enough people to fully run their town governments.  This forces towns to fill their seats with folks who don’t know what they are doing. This lack of experience means that even when full, a majority of the major issues facing our local communities are often not addressed. This is one of the biggest reasons why Progressives should focus on local races in 2019. Not only can we get progressive leaders elected, but we can look to address the corruption and ineffectiveness that plagues our smaller communities. Paying attention to local elections and looking at elected leaders who will actually put forth ideas backed up by hard work to improve our towns and cities will help all citizens build a brighter future for our region--brick by brick.  

  • Andy Harris needs to represent all of District 1: why his vote on the Farm Bill was wrong

    Dear Governor Hogan,

    Since your re-election, one of the major issues that you have sought to address is Gerrymandering in the State of Maryland, even going as far as to create a commission to redraw the 6th congressional district.  In order to fully and fairly committed to non-partisan redistricting, it is crucial you speak out and get serious about ending Gerrymandering in District one. A majority of the district is the Eastern Shore, yet year after year our representative in Congress doesn’t live anywhere near the Shore or understand our way of life.  That severely limits the Eastern Shore’s power and ability to represent itself in order to better meet the needs at the Federal level.  This is illustrated as our current Representative Andy Harris from Cockeysville in Baltimore County voted against the Farm Bill despite the Shore’s economy being overwhelmingly based on farming. This isn’t the only time Representative Harris has voted against the interests of the Shore in Congress.  His commitment to anti-immigration policies and inability to compromise left crab houses across the Shore without visa workers during the busy season. Despite having a record of voting against the needs of the majority of his district, Dr. Harris has felt no impact from these decisions because he lives nowhere near the significantly impacted areas and has little skin in the game when it comes to making sure the Eastern Shore gets what it needs to thrive.  That leads into the second major issue with how District One is currently drawn. The City of Cockeysville is over three and a half hours away from areas like Crisfield and has completely different ways of life and needs within the community than the Shore. Having a representative from Cockeysville doesn’t accurately portray the needs and views of the majority of the district and creates a district in which Dr. Harris cannot be held accountable for decisions that hurt our region due to how unfairly the map is drawn.     

    One of the biggest campaign promises you made in 2014 and again in 2018 is “Giving an open ear and a seat at the table” to the Eastern Shore.  In order to fully do that, you must do the right thing in the situation--not the easy thing--and fairly redraw Maryland’s Congressional District One so the Shore can have a representative that will vote for our interests and has vested interests when it comes to the success or failure of the Shore.  I am fully aware of the political blowback you may receive from your party for drawing a district that cuts out the only incumbent Republican Congressperson in the state, but it is important to remember by fairly redrawing District One, the odds are that another Republican will be elected to that seat.  However, this Republican will actually represent and have a stake in our region giving us the representation we need. All eyes are watching you, Governor Hogan; please do the right thing and give the Shore the voice it desperately needs.

     

    Signed,

    Jared Schablein

    Pittsville (Wicomico County)

  • State Senator Mary Beth Carozza is wrong on FF15

    In an interview this week with 47 ABC, Senator Mary Beth Carozza said raising the minimum wage would be harmful for job creation on the Shore. After carefully listening to her interview and viewing her and her colleague's arguments on social media, here are the flaws with her argument against the Fight For 15:

    Myth 1Raising the minimum wage will just result in all minimum wage jobs becoming automated.

    Automation is going to happen whether the minimum wage is 15 or there is no minimum wage. The labor market is constantly changing due to improvements in technology, which is a good thing. While it is true some jobs are going to be replaced by automation, eventually, new jobs will spring up from the advancement in technology. For example, fixing the machines or programming.

    Myth 2: Raising the wage will just result in higher prices.

    A $15/hour minimum is unlikely to result in higher prices because most businesses directly affected by it are in intense competition for consumers and will take the raise out of profits rather than raise their prices. When prices go up people substitute cheaper versions of the product to save money. For example, if Pepsi goes up in price and Coke doesn’t, many people will switch to drinking Coke to save money.

    Myth 3Raising the wage would result in massive job loss.

    They say this every time there is a proposed wage increase or workers right bill. The truth is A $15/hour minimum won’t result in major job losses because it would put money in the pockets of millions of low-wage workers who will spend it, thereby giving working families and the overall economy a boost and creating jobs. But because the higher minimum will also attract more workers into the job market, employers will have more choice of who to hire, and thereby have more reliable employees which result in lower turnover costs and higher productivity.

    In 1996 when the minimum wage was raised, businesses predicted millions of job losses. The result was we had more job gains over the next four years than in any comparable period in American history.

    The truth of the matter is that a $15 / hour minimum wage will boost Maryland’s economy by $2.6 billion annually and help business owners have more customers and lower turnover in employees, both key ingredients in helping businesses thrive.

  • Top 5 reasons we should support rank choice voting

    January 9th marked the beginning of another legislative session here in Maryland and while a lot of focus is on healthcare, the economy, and the environment, there are bills currently being proposed in both Montgomery County and Baltimore City which would allow county governments the opportunity to implement rank choice voting.  Rank choice voting (aka Instant Runoff Elections) is an electoral system in which voters rank candidates by preference on their ballots. If a candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, he or she is declared the winner. If no candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, the candidate with the fewest first-preference votes is eliminated. First-preference votes cast for the failed candidate are eliminated, lifting the second-preference choices indicated on those ballots. A new tally is conducted to determine whether any candidate has won a majority of the adjusted votes. The process is repeated until a candidate wins an outright majority.

    There are five reasons we should push our Delegation to put in a similar bill to allow the counties of the Lower Eastern Shore to do the same:

    1. Restores Majority Rule. Ranked-choice voting ensures that candidates with the most votes and broadest support win, so voters get what they want. A candidate who is opposed by a majority of voters can never win a ranked-choice voting election.


    2. Eliminates Vote Splitting. Ranked-choice voting gives you the freedom to vote for the candidate you like the best without worrying that you will help to elect the candidate you like the least. You never have to vote for the "lesser of two evils" when there is another candidate you really like.


    3. More Voice for Voters. Your voice matters more with a ranked ballot. You never feel like your vote is “wasted.” If your favorite candidate can't win, your vote counts for the candidate you ranked second.


    4. More Choice for Voters. Ranked-choice voting levels the playing field for all candidates and encourages candidates to take their case directly to you with a focus on the issues.


    5. Reduces Incentives for Negative Campaigning. Candidates are encouraged to seek second choice rankings from voters whose favorite candidate is somebody else. You are less likely to rank a candidate who has issued personal attacks against your favorite candidate as your second choice.

    If you liked this article and want to know how you can help bring rank choice voting to the Lower Shore, you can click the google document below and send that letter to your county council member requesting our state delegation take action.  You can also contact your delegate and ask them to take initiative on the issue as well.

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1QY_MjaixCHha0-INeThDSW-NeQgHpLno0D12UXeehj4/edit?usp=sharing

     

    Look up your state officials here:

    http://www.mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frmmain.aspx?pid=legisrpage&tab=subject6&poptype=find&popid=ted officials

    Look up Wicomico County Council Members:

    http://gisweb.wicomicocounty.org/viewer/Index.html?configBase=http://gisweb.wicomicocounty.org/Geocortex/Essentials/REST/sites/CouncilmanicAug16/viewers/wicomico/virtualdirectory/Resources/Config/Default

    Look up Worcester County Commissioners:

    http://www.co.worcester.md.us/departments/commissioners

    Look up Somerset County Commissioners:

    http://www.somersetmd.us/commissioners.html

    Look up Dorchester County Council Members:

    http://www.dorchestercountymd.com/local-government/council-members/

  • 5 Reasons we shouldn't get involved in the 2020 presidential elections right now

    1. I know we all want to get rid of Donald Trump. I do as well. But the first debate isn’t till June or July of next year, and the primary in Maryland isn’t until April 28, 2020. There are several big events coming up before that we need to focus on.

    2. 2020 is being used as a way to divide people and we have already seen it. 2019 is a time where we need to be united and focused on the Legislative session that starts in 14 days and the local elections that will be taking place across the Shore and state through 2019. (These are important races happening right in your town/city and are often overlooked.)

    3. Our Delegation on the Lower Shore is banking on you arguing on 2020 and not focusing on what they are doing/ what is going on in Annapolis. Honestly, our delegation has been able to vote poorly for a very long time because the community isn’t keeping up with what they are doing. Also, a majority of our delegation won’t support a lot of things we want to do unless we are organizing the community to pressure them to do it.

    4. Let’s be honest, we aren’t ready for 2020 here on the Lower Shore right now. 2018 was a start where we were able to gain some local seats. But, every statewide race beside Sample-Hughes’ District was a loss. We need to use 2019 to build not argue or we could very much see the same thing happen in 2020 and 2022.

    5. A lot of people just want to see Donald Trump lose in 2020 right now. Ripping the other primary field apart right now will turn more people off towards your preferred candidate than get them to jump on board.

    There is plenty of time during the primary to convince people to join your side, and you can't do that if you have already pushed them away in early 2019.

    Jared Schablein

    Chair of the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus

  • University of Maryland must cut ties with ICE

    When I finished my time at a small community college on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, there was only one school to which I applied. That school was the University Of Maryland because it was one of the premier institutions of higher education in the country. However, that wasn’t the only reason I chose Maryland. The second reason I wanted to attend Maryland was that it embraced forward-thinking and inclusive practices. I was disgusted and appalled to find out I may have been wrong when I discovered our University had contracts with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, better known as ICE.

     

    ICE was created in 2003 during the height of the post-9/11 panic which lead the federal government to pass reactionary laws, which undermined the constitutional rights and increased domestic surveillance of mainly minority communities. ICE itself was one of these reactionary new policies as it was created and based on the idea that immigrants were a threat to our homeland security.  This assertion was proven false by several studies and reports from agencies and research centers across the nation and globe. However, since its creation, ICE has a track record of undermining constitutional rights and violating the human rights and dignity of both undocumented immigrants and the United States citizens. Extremist politicians and ICE try to label undocumented immigrants as violent criminals in order to create fear, but the majority of undocumented immigrants are products of our broken immigration system. In fact, they are valuable and important contributors to their communities and the American way of life.  An overwhelming majority of these undocumented immigrants have families, jobs, seek or have received an education, pay taxes, and contribute to American society every day.

    The University of Maryland College Park should immediately end its contracts with ICE and embrace the Fearless Idea of fighting for a better immigration system that allows undocumented individuals to come out of the shadows and become full citizens of our great country.   

     

    Jared Schablein is is a sophomore government and politics major. He can be reached at [email protected]