Contacting and Thanking Voters – On line and at their front door

Russians bought at least one Facebook ad that targeted voters in Baltimore during last year’s Presidential election. The ad made reference to the Black Lives Matter movement, the Baltimore Sun reported yesterday.

Under Maryland law, each campaign finance entity responsible for publishing or distributing campaign material through the Internet must keep a sample copy on an electronic medium that can be produced as a facsimile.

Is this ad covered by the existing law? Can we enforce this law against a foreign group? Can we regulate Facebook or does that authority belong to the federal government?

I’ve asked Attorney General Frosh for legal advice.


Mailings, automatic phone calls, and personal contact have little effect on a voter’s decision in the general election.

That’s the conclusion of a study done by two political science professors that a good friend shared with me.

Two days ago, I knocked on the door of an 89-year old man who lives next to the Forest Park Golf Course.

I introduced myself, and he responded, “I know who you are.”

I asked, “How do you know me?”

“I read the newspaper, and I get your newsletter every April.,” he said.

I doubt that my constituent has read the professors’ study.

It’s more likely that he knows what Tip O’Neill said.

“People like to be asked and people like to be thanked.”

My father said that as well.




Thanks for a study and a plan

 “I read the bill.” 

That was the subject line of the email I sent the Lt. Governor’s policy director.

“Uncodified section of HB 297 re: parental involvement is more detailed than our bill draft. Thanks.”  was the text.

House Bill 297 is the Administration’s pre-K bill.

Senator Bill Ferguson and I had a pre-meeting with the staff before a meeting with the advocates, which was followed by a press conference with the Lt. Governor, Senate President, and the Speaker.

At the pre-meeting, we were shown a draft of the bill.

The legislation that the Senator and I had worked on required a study of “the benefits of parental engagement in conjunction with early childhood education.”

I asked that such language be added to the Administration bill.

Today, I read the bill.

HB 297 would require the State Department of Education to develop an outreach plan based on the best practices identified by the study.

 A study and a plan are better than a study.

So I sent my email.

As Tip O’Neill said (but not in an email), “People like to be asked and people like to be thanked.”

At and after the polls

             “In a society that respects differences, that welcomes the minority, we all benefit.”

               During the debate on marriage equality, I said that on the House floor.

Outside Cross Country Elementary School yesterday, I distributed Question 6 literature but had very few conversations that went beyond “I hope you’ll support marriage fairness.”

At lunch time with my family, I ran into Sara Lee Jacobson, the daughter of Rabbi Abe Shusterman, who Bar Mitzvahed me.

He was a leader in interfaith relations and organized a group from Har Sinai to go to Dr. King’s March on Washington.  My father was on the bus.

“Your father taught me about Judaism and its role in protecting minorities, ” I told Sara Lee.  “It’s one of my core beliefs.”

I had more than chills up and down my spine.

The first thing I did in my office this morning after was to heed Tip O’Neill’s advice and thank the people I had asked to volunteer at the polls yesterday.

                 “During a political campaign, you try to touch as many minds and hands as you can, especially on Election Day.

                 “In office, you try to touch people’s lives.

                 “Your work yesterday will have an extraordinary impact on the lives of so many gay and lesbian couples, their families, their friends, and their fellow citizens, who now live in a society that provides more respect for a minority.”


December 9-11 A love of the place and of the game

Today, I am a tourist.

I want to get an idea of what the divided city of Jerusalem was like before the Six Day War.

We drive beside the newly operational light rail system, which parallels the old seam line that divided the modern parts of the City.

My first stop is Ammunition Hill, where a crucial battle was fought. The video ends with incredibly moving footage of soldiers at the Western Wall, singing the Shehecheyanu prayer.

The Jewish people had returned to this holiest of places.

I also wanted to enter the Old City as the soldiers did that historic day – through the Lions gate. But the gate is under repair; scaffolding and plastic sheeting render it impenetrable.

So we retreat and walk around the City’s outer wall – from Lions Gate to Dung Gate, passing closer to the Golden Gate than I ever have and providing views and photos I’ve never seen before.

For the long flight home, two books that bear upon what I’ve seen in Israel and what awaits me at home:

Shimon Peres’ biography of David Ben Gurion quotes the first Prime Minister and founder of the state on its uniqueness:

“Eretz Yisrael must be a process of repairing and purifying our lives, changing our values in the loftiest sense of the term. If we merely bring the life of the ghetto into Eretz Yisrael, then what’s the difference if we live that life here or live it there?”

Chris Matthews’ Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero reminded me why I eagerly await the start of my 30th year as a member of the House of Delegates:

“Tip O’Neill was rich in stories, each shining with a love of the game that bonded him with Kennedy.”

And I might add, with future generations.

  • My Key Issues:

  • Pimlico and The Preakness
  • Our Neighborhoods
  • Pre-Kindergarten
  • Lead Paint Poisoning