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Reflection: District 19 Democrats Candidate Forum

I'm writing this from Earle B. Wood MS in Rockville, where District 19 Democrats - joined by several other sponsors - just finished hosting the first District 19 Delegate Candidate Forum. I'm very pleased with how things went!

Two incumbents are running, so there are four of us going for the one open Delegate seat. Of those four, it was pretty clear that I have the breadth and depth of lifelong experience most relevant to solving the real problems that are confronting us.

Housing came up as an important community issue. I was a Deputy HUD Assistant Secretary who was part of the small team that created various federal housing programs which already have permitted thousands of Marylanders to stay in their homes. Think of the impact I could have in Annapolis helping solve our community's affordable housing problems!

Unemployment came up as an important community issue. I built two successful companies, both in the distance learning field, which created lots of jobs throughout greater Washington; and in my first career - as an economic and workforce development administrator - played a pivotal role in creating a host of proven federal and state economic development and job creation programs ranging from enterprise zones to teen entrepreneurship to urban small business incubators. Think of the impact I could have in Annapolis solving our community's jobs and small business problems!

The academic and job skills achievement gaps came up as important community issues. I'm considered a global authority on using new learning technologies to help low and moderate income people gain the skills they need for the jobs they want. Heck, I've even been invited to advise the Obama administration and Congress on this, and to share my insights within the British House of Commons and the Israeli Knesset. Think of the impact I could have in Annapolis solving our community's job skills and education problems!

There are a lot of people in our community - a community in which I've lived for 30 years - who lie awake with worry night after night, wondering if they'll be able to afford to live here much longer, or if they'll ever get a job they really want, or how they'll ever pay the bills. In my closing statement today, I made the point that we owe it to the people to send someone to Annapolis who could hit the ground running trying to solve their problems, and not someone with no substantive experience in these areas.

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