Shorter days and colder weather mean that we’re getting closer to January 13th – Opening Day of the Maryland General Assembly. The “interim” -- as the time between Sine Die (end of session) and the beginning of the next one is called -- has flown by. It’s hard to believe that it’s been just over a year since I was elected!
I’ve been using this interim time to talk with constituents and advocates about the issues that matter to them. There are so many amazing community organizations that many of you are involved with: Valleybrook, Pikesville-Greenspring Coordinating Council, Reisterstown-Owings Mills-Glyndon Association, Timonium Community Council, and the Greater Towson Council of Community Associations. These are just some of the groups I try to visit with regularly and the active volunteers in these groups know what’s happening on the ground -- in the schools, on the streets, in the open spaces, etc. and help keep me informed. They provide an invaluable service to our community urging neighbors to connect with one another in order to be vigilant about community safety, building bridges between the communities and local schools, keeping folks informed about prospective development, cleaning up streets and local watershed areas, etc. I, and my staff, attend these meetings to hear directly from residents about what’s happening in the community and how I can be helpful. If you'd like me to know about a community group you're involved with, please contact me!
These are just a few of the community matters I’ve been involved in:
I’m also working on legislation for the upcoming session: how to expand opportunities for citizens to vote, how best to expand access and affordability to higher education, and how to encourage service among young people are a few of the issues.
I’m very honored to have been appointed by the Speaker of the House to serve on a few ad hoc committees: the Commission to Review the Use of Assessments and Testing in Maryland Public Schools will begin its work this week, with the goal of examining the purpose of assessments and the amount of time students spend taking tests and teachers spend administering them. And, the Joint Committee to Prevent Homelessness has held a few hearings and will be crafting legislative proposals for the General Assembly to consider.
You may have heard that Mandee Heinl, my former legislative aide, recently left to work closer to home. Mandee was a welcome presence in Annapolis for many of you and her wealth of Annapolis experience was invaluable to me my first session. I hope you will join me in welcoming Maureen Evans Arthurs who is new to the Annapolis world but not to the world of policy and advocacy. Once you meet her, I know you will agree that Maureen is a wonderful addition to my team!
As recent events in Paris, Beirut and Kenya remind us, these are precarious times. I hope you have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by friends and family. I’m looking forward to having my kids home for the holiday and treasure the (too few) days we have together as a family. I have much to be thankful for – your tremendous support over this past year and the honor of representing the 11th district in the House of Delegates – top among them. Please let us know if we can be of assistance in any way.
Delegate Shelly Hettleman
P.S. Please "like" my Facebook page, where you will find regular postings and follow me on twitter @shellyhettleman.