"What could a governor do if he’s willing to actually build coalitions and fight for our families, healthcare, schools, economy, transportation, and a fair justice system?" A progressive governor -- Ben Jealous -- could accomplish what Maryland’s resilient but underserved people want and deserve, says Anne Arundel activist Michelle Williams.
/By Michelle Williams/ It’s been nearly two years of really bad news at the federal level, and too often I’ve felt ground down by actions at the federal level that I have no power to influence yet deeply affect me and my community nonetheless. But time and again, from the airports to county councils to legislative lobby nights, I’ve seen how resilient Maryland’s residents have been and how committed we are to defending all of our residents’ rights to security and opportunity. Despite attacks and threats to the very fabric of our society, our tent is getting bigger. That tent must be supported by our leader--our governor. Larry Hogan is not that leader, but I think Ben Jealous is.
Let’s consider what a progressive governor like Ben Jealous would actually mean for Maryland. What could a governor do if he’s willing to actually build coalitions and fight for our families, healthcare, schools, economy, transportation, and a fair justice system?
Ben Jealous was the first candidate for governor in Maryland to speak out on the misdirection of casino revenue that Hogan’s administration promised to use towards Maryland public school education--and failed that promise until he was overwhelmed by public pressure. Ben’s commitment to raising school staff salaries across the state and restoring Maryland’s public education system earned him an endorsement from the Maryland State Education Association (MSEA), the largest teachers’ union in the state.
Need more evidence? Ben Jealous has been building coalitions across communities and identities his entire career. Years before he led the NAACP to pass the DREAM Act, marriage equality, and abolition of the death penalty in Maryland, he partnered with NAACP groups and pro-life groups (you heard me) to end the juvenile death penalty in the US through his role as human rights director at Amnesty International. His campaign is endorsed by the NAACP, as well as CASA in Action, and of course Progressive Maryland; you can see his answers to key Progressive Maryland issues in our posted questionnaire.
Need even more evidence? Ben Jealous already has a plan to bring Medicare for All as a reality to Maryland. By making Medicare for All a cornerstone of his campaign, he will fight to both protect and expand the gains we’ve made under the Affordable Care Act.
Ben Jealous is the leader of an intersectional movement to empower all Marylanders, and that is the kind of leader we need in Maryland. Not for nothing is his motto “if you’re comfortable in your coalition, your coalition is too small,” and that’s the vision for Maryland’s future that I will be voting for come June 26.
Michelle Williams is a canvass leader with Take Action Anne Arundel County, Progressive Maryland's chapter there.