Patrick is a fierce advocate for civil rights and a progressive voice for hard-working families. Throughout his career, Patrick has been a relentless, pragmatic voice on issues like healthcare, housing access, employment discrimination, non-discrimination policies, prison and detention policy, voter protection, and supporting immigrants. In the House of Delegates, Patrick will continue to be a tireless champion for the hardworking people of the 22nd District.
The global pandemic that stopped us all in our tracks has been an enormous shock to our system, and will be a defining moment for years to come. This generation of political leaders will be judged by history based on how we respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We have seen disparities exacerbated and poorer health outcomes across the spectrum. The strain on institutions like schools and child care centers showed how truly essential caring for our children is to the operation of the rest of the economy. And while there have been interventions, more is needed.
We know that people in our community have had difficulty accessing food, paying for rent, paying for utilities, accessing the internet, keeping their jobs, paying for PPE, managing kids while doing virtual school, and an endless list of other stressful and financially burdensome impacts. We need more and urgent government responses to the pandemic that affects us all.
- Temporary relief programs have been a lifeline for families in need during the pandemic, and the need for these community programs extends far beyond pandemic recovery.
- Every child should get a free breakfast and lunch in schools every day, unconditionally.
- Unemployment benefits should be permanently increased, along with increases in wages.
- The Child Tax Credit should be made permanent – it has single-handedly lifted millions of children out of poverty since the pandemic began.
- Emergency relief should be available to everyone, regardless of immigration status. Some pandemic relief programs have been written to exclude undocumented immigrants from eligibility, leaving some of those with the most need without anywhere to turn.
- Local governments have been awarded hundreds of millions of dollars under the American Rescue Plan Act to help recovery efforts. But those funds aren’t being delivered to those who need it fast enough. We need local governments leading the way on distributing pandemic relief funds.
We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reinvest in our communities and support those who need it most, and to use the global pandemic as an opportunity to reassess our community support systems. But we need dedicated leadership from our elected officials at all levels to get there – people committed to not just recovering from the pandemic but to building better community support systems to help make the recovery permanent for everyone.
We must do more to prioritize future generations in policymaking. For far too long, our kids have been forgotten. We’ve seen local school facilities with visible mold growth, flooding, restrooms without stall doors, rodent problems, lack of ventilation, and more. Classrooms are overcrowded, teachers are leaving our school system, and the bus driver shortage makes some students reliably late to class – sometimes by hours.
Every Prince George’s County child deserves a world-class education – healthy and safe school facilities with plenty of space for recreation, health resources for families in need, and teachers who are paid commensurate with the importance of their job. This begins with fully funding our historically under-resourced public schools. We need meaningful change from our state legislature, such as:
- Our state and local leaders must work to fully implement the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future in Prince George’s County and fund the Accountability and Implementation Board to ensure purposeful and uniform oversight.
- Prince George’s County schools have been underfunded for decades. To break the logjam, we should embrace new options that expand funding opportunities, like the public-private partnership (P3) financing program that has allowed us to begin building 6 new middle schools in Prince George’s County, including Hyattsville Middle School and Kenmoor Middle School.
- As we finally work through the backlog of school construction needs, PGCPS needs a workable plan for swing space, so our kids aren’t subject to busing to communities an hour or more away.
It is also critical that we execute education policy and funding through an equity lens to build community-based school systems that provide meaningful support for students and families, connecting those in need with government and nonprofit support programs, helping students navigate mental health challenges, and funding innovative programs at the local level to provide direct supports where needed, like tutoring, aftercare, and mentorship.
A truly effective and representative government demands more than skilled policymaking. It requires the kind of ethical public service that reflects our collective values and deepens our democracy. As a nation and often as a local community, we are more anxious, apprehensive, and divided than ever before. We have seen clearly how distrust of our leaders’ fuels divestment from public interest, negatively impacting our ability to prosper and reducing opportunity for everyone.
- Our government is defined by the civic responsibility of voting, and we should be removing barriers to ensuring we have full and easy access to the voting booth. This means ensuring there are adequate polling resources to ensure efficiency and short voting lines, improving vote by mail procedures, expand voter registration, and declaring a state holiday on Election Day.
- Our dysfunctional School Board needs reform – they are mired in turmoil and conflict, with nearly half the Board found to have violated ethics laws but the very politicians who are found to have broken the law are blocking enforcement.
- Politicians should not be subject to the influence of rich developers whose interests are profits, not people. But too often we see our local elected officials take donations from corporations and vote to support developers over the objections of legal counsel and residents. Patrick won’t take donations from developers or corporations and will support banning corporations and developers from making political contributions in Maryland.
- State House and Senate vacancies should be filled by special election, rather than the current practice of political back-scratching for vacancy appointments that are made by political insiders.
In the General Assembly, Patrick will support measures that protect electoral integrity, increase resident engagement in our government and reduce the oversized influence of money in policymaking.
21st Century Infrastructure
Access to affordable housing is personally important to Patrick. By the time he finished his formal education, he had moved twenty-three times. Patrick has lived in houses with holes in the floor and represented himself in landlord-tenant court to represent in a dispute where the landlord refused to fix the heat in the dead of winter. Patrick understands, through firsthand experience, the importance of affordable, stable, habitable housing, and how it feels to be on the brink of financial collapse.
New development should be environmentally sustainable, include accessible parks and green space, and plans for the future that create and protect affordable housing options to keep our communities intact.
- This includes policies and investments that expand renewable energy infrastructure, promote zero-waste behaviors in our homes and buildings, and reduce the waste we send to landfills.
- We must be more thoughtful on development policy – to plan and prepare for the impacts of population increases with more resources for schools, local emergency services, government outreach programs, affordable housing, traffic impacts, health and environment, and noise mitigation.
- More reliable and accessible transit options are also necessary to combat the disparities that were present before, but amplified by, the pandemic. Workers and families need reliable connections to city centers, jobs, and childcare.
- And, the residents of District 22 must be protected from the potentially devastating effects of gentrification – protecting residents from displacement, ensuring that adequate affordable housing options are available, and maintaining a cost of living that allows families to save and thrive.
Justice for Working Families
While many of our residents have shifted to permanent or part-time remote work, others face unsafe and potentially life-threatening conditions as we begin a return to in-person work. Twenty-seven percent of the people employed in District 22 work in fields that may have required them to report as essential workers during 2020.
As families across Prince George’s County and the U.S. continue to struggle through the impacts of COVID-19, we are failing to provide the resources and support necessary for a full economic and emotional recovery. This includes:
- A renewed focus on paid family and sick leave;
- Increasing the minimum wage, and making it a real living wage;
- Affordable access to and increased investment in childcare centers and increased wages for those who work in them;
- Expanded and school-based mental health services;
- Additional resources and access to capital to help small businesses that employ so much of our workforce.
As a passionate union leader and advocate for many years, Patrick knows that our ability to safely negotiate with employers is especially crucial as more people return to work in person, and others navigate expectations for remote work. And he will continue to be a vocal advocate for protecting our unions and their ability to support a livable wage, comprehensive health insurance plans, sick and family leave, and safe and sanitary working conditions.
Prince George’s County’s economic and social well-being has always been strengthened by the cultural diversity present across our communities. We must continue to support modern and common-sense systems that raise up our immigrant populations with community-based resources and programs, and provide pathways to citizenship.
On the day after Trump issued his Sanctuary City Executive Order, Patrick introduced legislation on the Hyattsville City Council to make Hyattsville a Sanctuary City, working closely with the local immigrant-rights advocacy organization CASA, the Hyattsville City Attorney, and the Police Chief to ensure policy both reflected our values and had no negative impact on the city police department’s ability to enforce criminal laws in Hyattsville.
In the General Assembly, Patrick will continue his work to protect our neighbors through:
- Prohibiting jurisdictions from flagging for DHS that undocumented residents are present through agreements with license plate reader companies who automatically share that information directly with DHS for immigration enforcement;
- Stopping MVA officials from sharing/searching databases for ICE;
- Banning participation in the 287g program, an agreement between local law enforcement and ICE that deputizes local officers to act as immigration enforcement agents;
- Continuing to ensure state programs are available to residents, regardless of immigration status, including increased funding for free legal services and social support non-profit organizations.