District 18 Democrats Talk Gambling, Education at Town Hall
The four District 18 representatives in the Maryland state legislature came to Kensington Monday night for a town hall meeting.
The District 18 Democrats from the Maryland State Senate and House of Delegates talked about marriage equality, gambling, the Dream Act, and education at a legislative town hall meeting in Kensington Monday night.
Approximately 40 people came to Kensington Park Library to get their questions answered by State Sen. Rich Madaleno, Del. Al Carr, Del. Ana Sol Gutiérrez, and Del. Jeffrey Waldstreicher.
Each official took a few minutes at the beginning of the meeting to explain their work on key issues before opening the floor to a question-and-answer session.
Madaleno, one of the state senators tasked with coming up with a plan on gaming in Maryland, outlined what he saw as the three main questions that the task force will try to address. First, whether to open a sixth site in Maryland, in Prince George’s County. Second, whether to allow access to table games, which traditionally provide less revenue but more employment opportunities, he said. Third, whether the state should continue purchasing slot machines and leasing them to operators.
Any expansion of gambling in Maryland would trigger a referendum on the November ballot.
Several constituents asked about how much money from gambling profits was going into education funds. Madaleno explained it as a “shell game”; while most of the taxes on gambling goes toward education, the state is taking money out of general funds to supplement the cost of the machines.
Waldstreicher added that there has been some recent discussion “underneath the radar screen” about removing the prohibition on subsidizing alcohol, food, and rooms at casinos--a common practice in places like Las Vegas.
Education was another important topic of discussion at the meeting. Gutiérrez spoke of her support for the Dream Act, and Madaleno talked about efforts to keep college tuition costs down in Maryland. With few natural resources in Maryland, developing opportunities for human resources is key for creating jobs, he said.
Barbara Hueter, a Wheaton resident who sits on the Mid-County Citizens Advisory Board, came to listen to the discussion about education. Hueter, a teacher in the Montgomery County Public Schools system, said that she is particularly pleased with the maintenance of effort and full funding for the Thornton Plan.
Corey Cook, another Wheaton resident who attended, said that although as a libertarian he does not agree with many of the representatives’ political views, he stays actively involved in communicating with them.