Maryland State Education Association
MD/DC AFL CIO
“For the past four years, we’ve worked together for the families we represent, most recently to help them to get the financial help they need, get vaccinations, and get back to work. We’re running again to complete this work and continue our efforts to protect our neighborhoods, our environment, our local schools, and our rights.”
Senator Jim Rosapepe, a champion of working and retired families, has strongly supported efforts to create jobs, protect health insurance, and help senior citizens. He has fought to improve local public schools, boost the University of Maryland, and clean up the Chesapeake Bay. Jim serves as Vice Chair of the Senate Budget and Tax Committee and is a member of the COVID 19 legislative oversight workgroup.
Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk, a fierce champion of equal rights, lives with her family in College Park. She began her public interest work as a public defender and guardian for vulnerable children. Later she served as a prosecutor and in elected office.
“Health care is important to families and I have continued to focus on keeping it affordable and accessible,” Pena-Melnyk said. “Many constituents suffered skyrocketing prescription drug prices and health insurance premiums. I brought $1.2 billion of federal funds to Maryland to reduce those premiums, and they dropped dramatically. I also fought the Pharma lobby to create the first Prescription Drug Affordability Board in the nation. With Covid, racial disparities in health are more evident and we have made progress in ensuring better health outcomes for all Marylanders. I am proud to be part of the strong District 21 team. Please vote to keep us fighting for you and your family.”
As Vice Chair of the Health and Government Operations Committee, and Chair of the Public Health and Minority Health Disparities Subcommittee, Peña-Melnyk is a recognized health policy expert who specializes in tackling health disparities and supporting vulnerable populations. In 2019, she also proudly sponsored the Maryland Lynching Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a first in the nation effort to recognize and move forward from our history of slavery and racism. It passed both chambers with unanimous support.
Delegate Ben Barnes, a professional advocate for civil rights and a practicing lawyer, said “I am proud to be a part of this great Democratic Team. Together, we have worked hard to represent to people of the 21st District these last four years. As chair of the Education Subcommittee, I have worked to eliminate the achievement gap and implement policies that increased oversight and accountability to ensure the money ends up in the classrooms. Though we have accomplished a lot, we know there is more work to do, and that is why we are running together for re-election!”
Ben has sponsored legislation to protect victims of domestic violence, to hold banks and big businesses accountable, and to advance civil rights. Ben serves in House Leadership as Chief Deputy Majority Whip and sits on the Appropriations Committee. He’s also House Chair of the Education Subcommittee where he has steered record funding to our public schools to address the achievement gap and pushed for more accountability of that spending.
“A healthy environment and efforts to reverse climate change are among the most important issues for District 21 constituents,” said Delegate Mary Lehman. She lives in West Laurel with her husband and three of her four children. Her youngest daughter is entering her senior year in the Prince George’s County Public School system. Mary’s previous career as an environmental journalist on Capitol Hill helped prepare her for service on the House Environment & Transportation Committee where she’s fighting for legislation to combat climate change including expanding mass transit, rather than widening the Beltway. Her eight years of service on the Prince George’s County Council also makes hers a leading voice on County issues that come before the legislature.
“I’m working hard on the Environment & Transportation Committee to promote mass transit, fight sea level rise, ban single use plastics, and expand programs and infrastructure to support electric buses and electric vehicle ownership,” she continued. “Housing also comes under my committee so I’m pushing a bill to hold landlords accountable for living conditions by making certain they have a license before they rent. The District 21 Team has a strong synergy and solid relationships with our peers in Annapolis.” .