It’s hard to believe that it’s been just over a year since the Primary Election! It has been a very busy year and now that we’re a few months past the legislative session, I wanted to take this chance to fill you in on what we have been up to.
I was wrong in thinking that life would slow down post-Annapolis. I’ve attended many community association meetings, met with dozens of constituents, taken tours of several institutions of higher education around Baltimore County, and met with issue advocates. We also had the tremendous privilege and responsibility of awarding more than $35,000 in academic scholarships to many wonderful students in the district who are planning to attend a Maryland community college, a four year institution or graduate school.
Higher education is an issue I’ve been spending time on. There are few better predictors of an individual’s ability to earn a living than education. The cost of higher education has been climbing for years and making sure that everyone has access to college or advanced learning has become a priority for me (and is an issue within the Appropriations’ Committee jurisdiction). I’ve been picking the brains of higher education experts to learn about barriers to higher education and how best to create financially viable models for student access.
It’s difficult to discuss higher education without focusing on how well prepared students are to succeed there -- which is heavily influenced by the quality of K-12 education they obtain. I have recently been appointed to the Commission to Review Maryland’s Use of Assessments and Testing in Public Schools, so I will have the opportunity to review these measures of accountability and determine whether the quantity and quality of these tools is appropriate.
The Maryland General Assembly passed The Hunger-Free Schools Act of 2015 which allows our state to take advantage of and implement the system of “community eligibility” and provide all students access to free breakfast and lunch in school, through a federal program, without an application process. You may have heard recently that some jurisdictions are implementing this policy and we're learning more about the program and looking into whether it could benefit Baltimore County students.
During the uprising in Baltimore City, I was very involved in helping my colleagues from Sandtown-Winchester and the Eastern side of the city get food to residents who were isolated because of store closures. I posted calls for volunteers on my Facebook page and many of you responded generously -- with your time, funds, and effort. I and my City colleagues are so appreciative of everything that 11th district residents did to help our neighbors. This was regionalism in action! The Maryland Food Bank (MFB) was instrumental in this effort and we unloaded thousands of pounds of food that were delivered to isolated areas.
In a desire to give back to the MFB and to continue the spirit of regionalism, please join me and my Baltimore City and Baltimore County legislator colleagues, as well as other volunteers, THIS SATURDAY JULY 11th, for a community service project at the Maryland Food Bank from 12:00pm-3:00pm. Volunteers must be 12 years or older. The Maryland Food Bank has been leading the movement to end hunger throughout Maryland and for more than 35 years has partnered with communities across the state to distribute food to individuals and families in need.
I post lots of information on Facebook, so please make sure to “like” my facebook page if you haven’t already -- facebook.com/shellyhettlemanfordelegate. And I even tweet occasionally -- @shellyhettleman, so please follow me.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me if I can help in any way,
Delegate Shelly Hettleman
Lowe House Office Building, Room 311
Annapolis, Maryland 21401
I look forward to hearing from you.