State Candidates

State Governor Candidates

State Senator Candidates

State Delegate Candidates


State Governor Candidates


Charles Lollar

Charles Lollar

Candidate for State Governor

Website: http://www.lollar4governor.com

Bio:
Charles Lollar is a Republican candidate for Governor of Maryland.

Charles Lollar brings many qualities to his candidacy: a devoted husband and father of four daughters, a Major in the Marine Corps, a business executive, and a concerned and committed citizen for his community and Maryland.

Charles was born in Toppenish, Washington. His father, a tax consultant, instilled in him a strong work ethic. His mother, a librarian, taught him compassion and caring for others.

Work combined with a sense of self-reliance and determination began at a young age for Charles with delivering newspapers before going to school. He worked his way through both high school and college by bagging groceries, stocking shelves, and selling items door-to-door.

After graduating from McEachern High School in Powder Springs, Georgia, Charles earned an AA degree from Emory University, a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from Kennesaw University, and an MBA from Regent University.

Charles proudly served in the United States Marine Corps. After enlisting, he attended Officer Candidate School. Tours of active duty included Kosovo and medals and decorations earned include Kosovo Campaign Medica, Navy Unit Commendation, Combat Action Ribbon, and Joint Meritorious Unit Award. Presently, Charles is a Major in the Marine Corps Reserves.

Charles’s professional career began at UPS and includes General Manager for Cintas Corporation.

Commitment to community is a priority for Charles. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Maryland Taxpayers Association, The Harbour League, Conservative Victory PAC and Second Genesis. He served on the Executive Board of Directors for the Maryland Chamber of Commerce.

Charles is a graduate of Leadership Maryland and Leadership Prince George’s County. Charles served as the Chairman of the Maryland Taxpayers Commission, fighting to protect the interests of Maryland taxpayers and was the Maryland State Director of Americans for Prosperity.

Charles and his wife, Rosha, have been married for twenty years and reside in Charles County. They are the proud parents of four daughters, ranging in age from 14 to 19 years old. Charles and his family are active members of Trinity Christian Center.

Question 1: Rent Stabilization
Rents across Montgomery County and other regions are skyrocketing. Landlords in some areas, are seeking annual increases of over 8 percent each year forcing renters to move from their homes. In Montgomery County alone more than 30% of residents live in rental housing. Many are long-term residents, seniors and working families. Do you support state-wide legislation that would stabilize rent increases similar to those programs in Washington D.C., or Takoma Park, MD, by establishing a reasonable annual cap based on the Consumer Price Index, or some other measure?

Answer: Yes. I would support a measure that matched the market changes and fluctuations each year.

a) Annual lease renewals often come with the stipulation that should a renter decide to renew for a short term, either a few months or on a month-to-month basis, their rent increase can be as high as 40%. Would you support a state law which forbids treating short-term lease rent increases from being treated differently from annual lease renewals?

Answer: No. There needs to be other considerations such as the renter’s history and cost to the owner of the property.

b) Like renters, businesses are often faced with skyrocketing rents that force good businesses to close their doors, or move elsewhere. In many cases, there are no other businesses to replace those departing commercial space and storefronts leaving them empty for months and, in some cases, years at a time, reducing overall economic activity and stifling community economic development. Do you support commercial rent stabilization, or some form of tax incentives and/or penalties for landlords who either price out businesses or fail to rent out commercial spaces over a reasonable period of time due to excessive rent demands?

Answer: Yes. In the form of tax incentives only.

Question 2: Just-Cause Eviction Law
Renters throughout the state of Maryland can be told with as little as 60 days notice that their lease will not be renewed and that they must leave their rental homes. No explanation has to be provided. The result keeps renters in a constant state of uncertainty and in fear of losing their homes, possibly as a result of demanding promised services or maintenance, or organizing tenants or any other reason the landlord may have. Just-cause eviction law requires landlords to automatically renew a lease under substantially the same terms, with the exception of a reasonable and fair rent increase absent just-cause, e.g., failure to pay rent, criminal activity, taking the apartment off the market or other substantial breaches of a lease. Do you support just-cause eviction legislation?

Answer: Maybe. This depends on the situation that both the owner and renter find themselves in.

a) Do you support strengthening Maryland’s anti-retaliation law to remove a cap on damages and arbitrary restrictions on tenants bringing retaliation claims? RPCode:8208.1

Answer:
N/A

Question 3: Forced Renters Insurance
Recently, an increasing number of landlords have been demanding that tenants purchase renters insurance and name the landlord as a beneficiary of the liability protection in the event of a suit. Failure to do so, say the renewal notices, will constitute a substantial breach of lease and grounds for eviction. The Renters Alliance encourages renters to purchase renters insurance, but believes that it must be the renter’s choice. Furthermore, we oppose the practice of forcing renters to name the landlord, property managers and building staff as beneficiaries of renter’s insurance policies. Would you support legislation making such practices illegal?

Answer: No. It depends on the situation of the Landlord and the renter.

Question 4: Landlord Status
Are you a landlord? Do you rent out apartments or space in your home to tenants?

Answer: No.

Question 5: Campaign support
Do you accept campaign contributions from real estate, developer or landlord interested groups, associations or individuals.

Answer: N/A

Question 6: Renter Education and Advocacy Fund
For decades, well-financed landlord and other interested industry organizations have been able to lobby state and local legislatures, take legal action against tenants and defend against tenants seeking promised services, code-required maintenance and quality living environments. To ensure that tenants have a voice and can reasonably act to secure their homes, would you support the creation of a state fund established by placing a per unit fee on landlords with six units or more to support education, outreach and legal defense through nonprofit advocates and other community organizations?

Answer: No. I would support the equal free speech of both landlords and residents. I will avoid the political games that have been played by all elected officials in Maryland.

Question 7: Personal and Professional Support for Renters Rights

Describe any actions you have personally undertaken in your career to protect tenants’ rights, rent regulation, or the preservation of affordable housing.

Answer: I am absolutely in favor of rights being protected and is what I will base my entire administration on.

Question 8: Tenant Organizing
Do you support the right of tenants to organize in order to address concerns about quality, repair, safety and cost of their rental homes, and promised services?

Answer: YES!! This is a necessity for all Marylanders.

If yes, would you support legislation protecting renters’ ability to distribute literature, protect the posting of literature in common areas against premature or unreasonable removal, protect renters’ rights to organize and meet with other tenants independently and/or with the assistance of outside organizers in common areas of rental properties?

Answer: Yes.

Question 9: Expanding and Protecting Below Market Rate Rental Housing
What steps would you take to increase the availability of below market rate, affordable rental housing and ensure that there is no loss of existing lower income rental housing, for example due to the building of the Purple Line?

Answer: No. This situation creates a bigger problem for renters where Landlords are rewarded at an unfair rate for participating.

Question 10: Ending Deceptive Business Practices by Landlords
In some rental communities, landlords promise, deceptively, to make repairs, provide services or building improvements, charge unfair and undeclared fees and other questionable and deceptive business practices.

Do you support expanding the Consumer Protection Act to prohibit all landlord deceptive and unfair practices and provide renters with a legal remedy?

Answer: No. Renters should have the ability to organize when facing such threats and be able to sue when promises are not kept.


State Senator Candidates


Dana Beyer

Dana Beyer

Candidate for State Senator

Website: http://www.danabeyer.com

Question 1: Rent Stabilization
Rents across Montgomery County and other regions are skyrocketing. Landlords in some areas, are seeking annual increases of over 8 percent each year forcing renters to move from their homes. In Montgomery County alone more than 30% of residents live in rental housing. Many are long-term residents, seniors and working families. Do you support state-wide legislation that would stabilize rent increases similar to those programs in Washington D.C., or Takoma Park, MD, by establishing a reasonable annual cap based on the Consumer Price Index, or some other measure?

Answer: Yes. Our laissez-faire approach over the past four decades has brought us to a crisis. Witness the fortuitous formation of this critical Alliance. I support a re-introduction this session of Delegate Hixson’s bill.

a) Annual lease renewals often come with the stipulation that should a renter decide to renew for a short term, either a few months or on a month-to-month basis, their rent increase can be as high as 40%. Would you support a state law which forbids treating short-term lease rent increases from being treated differently from annual lease renewals?

Answer: Yes. This is plainly price gouging.

b) Like renters, businesses are often faced with skyrocketing rents that force good businesses to close their doors, or move elsewhere. In many cases, there are no other businesses to replace those departing commercial space and storefronts leaving them empty for months and, in some cases, years at a time, reducing overall economic activity and stifling community economic development. Do you support commercial rent stabilization, or some form of tax incentives and/or penalties for landlords who either price out businesses or fail to rent out commercial spaces over a reasonable period of time due to excessive rent demands?

Answer: Yes. Such landlord behavior is at times a tool to force the development of new projects that suit them rather than their tenants. The playing field needs to be leveled.

Question 2: Just-Cause Eviction Law
Renters throughout the state of Maryland can be told with as little as 60 days notice that their lease will not be renewed and that they must leave their rental homes. No explanation has to be provided. The result keeps renters in a constant state of uncertainty and in fear of losing their homes, possibly as a result of demanding promised services or maintenance, or organizing tenants or any other reason the landlord may have. Just-cause eviction law requires landlords to automatically renew a lease under substantially the same terms, with the exception of a reasonable and fair rent increase absent just-cause, e.g., failure to pay rent, criminal activity, taking the apartment off the market or other substantial breaches of a lease. Do you support just-cause eviction legislation?

Answer: Yes. Our focus on home ownership and political marginalization of renters over the past decades has led to egregious behavior on the part of landlords who feel immune from basic ethics and public pressure. The renting class needs to be empowered. I direct you once again to Delegate Hixson’s bill from 2013, HB 315.

a) Do you support strengthening Maryland’s anti-retaliation law to remove a cap on damages and arbitrary restrictions on tenants bringing retaliation claims? RPCode:8208.1

Answer:
Yes.

Question 3: Forced Renters Insurance
Recently, an increasing number of landlords have been demanding that tenants purchase renters insurance and name the landlord as a beneficiary of the liability protection in the event of a suit. Failure to do so, say the renewal notices, will constitute a substantial breach of lease and grounds for eviction. The Renters Alliance encourages renters to purchase renters insurance, but believes that it must be the renter’s choice. Furthermore, we oppose the practice of forcing renters to name the landlord, property managers and building staff as beneficiaries of renter’s insurance policies. Would you support legislation making such practices illegal?

Answer: Yes. Another gross breach of ethics.

Question 4: Landlord Status
Are you a landlord? Do you rent out apartments or space in your home to tenants?

Answer: No.

Question 5: Campaign support
Do you accept campaign contributions from real estate, developer or landlord interested groups, associations or individuals.

Answer: No.

Question 6: Renter Education and Advocacy Fund
For decades, well-financed landlord and other interested industry organizations have been able to lobby state and local legislatures, take legal action against tenants and defend against tenants seeking promised services, code-required maintenance and quality living environments. To ensure that tenants have a voice and can reasonably act to secure their homes, would you support the creation of a state fund established by placing a per unit fee on landlords with six units or more to support education, outreach and legal defense through nonprofit advocates and other community organizations?

Answer: Yes. Brilliant idea, Matt! The influence of money in Annapolis is getting worse, not better, and this is a creative means to bring a little parity to play.

Question 7: Personal and Professional Support for Renters Rights

Describe any actions you have personally undertaken in your career to protect tenants’ rights, rent regulation, or the preservation of affordable housing.

Answer: Personal support for Director Losak in his efforts to make the MCRA a political powerhouse.

Staffing Councilmember Trachtenberg last decade in pushing for increased # of MPDUs, as well as initiating the HIF which has had significant salutary results.

Question 8: Tenant Organizing
Do you support the right of tenants to organize in order to address concerns about quality, repair, safety and cost of their rental homes, and promised services?

Answer: Yes. A basic right of American freedom of association.

If yes, would you support legislation protecting renters’ ability to distribute literature, protect the posting of literature in common areas against premature or unreasonable removal, protect renters’ rights to organize and meet with other tenants independently and/or with the assistance of outside organizers in common areas of rental properties?

Answer: Yes.

Question 9: Expanding and Protecting Below Market Rate Rental Housing
What steps would you take to increase the availability of below market rate, affordable rental housing and ensure that there is no loss of existing lower income rental housing, for example due to the building of the Purple Line?

Answer: I would stay alert and work with local electeds and activists, as recently occurred in Long Branch, to defend the community. One purpose of the Purple Line is to provide public transit access for those members of the communities along the Line who need access to more efficiently get to work. Forcing them out of their homes, besides being unethical, would negate a major purpose of the project.

Question 10: Ending Deceptive Business Practices by Landlords
In some rental communities, landlords promise, deceptively, to make repairs, provide services or building improvements, charge unfair and undeclared fees and other questionable and deceptive business practices.

Do you support expanding the Consumer Protection Act to prohibit all landlord deceptive and unfair practices and provide renters with a legal remedy?

Answer: Yes. I will support this if it is decided to be the most effective way to empower renters. It might require an amendment, but even if more difficult in the short term that could be more helpful in the long run as a foundational support mechanism.

Though not mentioned, I support passage of the HOME Act, introduced last year by Senator Raskin and due to be introduced again this session. This bill will prevent discrimination based on source of income.


Roger Manno

Roger Manno

Candidate for State Senator

Website: http://www.rogermanno.com

Bio:
In the Legislature

Senator Roger Manno was sworn-in to the Maryland State Senate on January 12th, 2011, after previously serving four years in the Maryland House of Delegates.

Roger is a member of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, serves as one of four Senators on the Health and Human Services Subcommittee, and is a member of the Pension Subcommittee. He is the only freshman Senator on the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, the only attorney, and the first Senator from the 19th District to ever serve on the important committee.

Roger also serves on the Joint Committee on Health Care Delivery and Financing, the Joint Committee on Federal Relations, the Joint Committee on Pensions, the State Advisory Council on Hereditary and Congenital Disorders, the Maryland Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Commission, and is the Senate Chairman of both the Maryland Task Force to Study Financial Matters Relation to Long-Term Care Facilities, and the Maryland Youth Advisory Council.

In 2009, Roger was appointed to serve on the Working Group of State Legislators for Health Reform. Convened by President Obama’s White House, the Working Group played an active role in advising the White House during the development and implementation of the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” — the largest expansion of health care since the implementation of Medicare — and the group continues to serve as an advisory panel to facilitate implementation of the pending health care Exchanges. Outside of the legislature, Roger serves on the national steering committee of the Leadership Conference for Guaranteed Health Care, and the board of B’nai B’rith International (Chesapeake Bay Region).

Throughout his tenure in the legislature, Roger has earned Maryland’s highest honors, including: Labor Legislator of the Year (2008 and 2012), Hero of Working Families, Champion of Working Families, Maryland Consumer Rights Hall of Fame, numerous certificates of appreciation and honorable mentions, and he has the unique distinction of holding the No. 1 “Lifetime Environmental Rating” in the Senate by both the Maryland League of Conservation Voters and by Environment Maryland. In 2012, Roger received the Adrian Theophilus Westney Religious Freedom Award by the Columbia Union Conference, for his steadfast work advancing religious freedom in the State of Maryland. Lastly, Roger named an honorary member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union (IBEW Local 26, AFL-CIO) for his tireless work advancing skilled-labor opportunities in Maryland. Notably, he is only the third person to have been made an honorary member, and has the unique distinction of being the onl
y elected official in the union’s 120-year history to be receive such an honor.

He has successfully authored numerous important laws, including: the “Genetic Non-Discrimination Act”, addressing health care discrimination in obtaining insurance; the “Apprenticeship Opportunities Act”, addressing skilled labor workforce development opportunities; the landmark “Shift Breaks” bill, guaranteeing adequate rest breaks for retail employees; the “Retaliatory Evictions” reform bill (SB 620), strengthening protections for home renters; the “Phosphorus Penalties” bill (SB 751), strengthening environmental penalties for violations of the 2007 ban; the “Security Clearance Tax Credit” bill, a $2 million annual tax credit for workers and businesses seeking high-security federal contracts; the “Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission labor contract” bill (MC 814-08 / HB 946); the “Homeowners’ Tax Fairness In Eminent Domain Proceedings Act”; the “Maryland Organic Transition Investment Opportunities Act”; expansion of the “Maryland Antitrust Act”; hundreds of t
housands of dollars in funding for the Homecreast House senior assisted living facility, the Silver Spring Jewish Center, the Cardinal McCarrick Center; and State Budget amendments to advance pensions, health care, and social services.

In addition, Roger authored many other important initiatives, including the “Medicare Prescription Drug Donut Hole Tax Assistance Act,” which led to the nation’s first state subsidy program for senior citizens in the Medicare “donut hole”; the “Workplace Religious Freedom Act,” the “Oil Sands Responsibility Act,” the “Small Business Health Insurance Stimulus Act,” the “Loan Assistance Repayment Program for Medical Professionals” bill, the “Heroes Housing Initiative,” among many others. A staunch advocate for the rights of special needs children, the elderly, and differently-abled individuals, Roger created and funded the $250,000+ (Senator) “Roger Manno Scholarship Fund for Students with Pervasive Developmental Disorders and Other Special Needs.”

Career

Prior to his election to the legislature, Roger served as a Legislative Director and Legislative Counsel/Senior Counsel in the United States Congress. In that capacity Roger drafted numerous legislative initiatives, including: legislation ensuring thorough health care screenings for all U.S. troops; several post-9/11 Homeland Security bills and amendments strengthening security and civil rights; alternative U.S. Budgets sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus; and was an organizer of issue forums for the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference. Additionally, as a staff member handling International Relations issues and Foreign Operations Appropriations, in 2005 Roger traveled to Israel with a congressional staff delegation during Israel’s “Disengagement” from Israel’s West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Immediately following the attacks on September 11, 2001, Roger served as a key staff member on the House of Representatives Homeland Security Task Force (
Democratic Caucus), drafting Homeland Security amendments and alternatives to The Patriot Act. While his work dealt with a broad range of Homeland Security issues, his specific contributions were in the area of Domestic Law Enforcement.

Prior to law school Roger worked in public schools with academically, emotionally, and socially challenged special-needs students.

In 2004, Roger was appointed to Montgomery County’s Criminal Justice Coordinating Commission by the Montgomery County Executive, and was reappointed. Commissioner Manno helped oversee the county criminal justice and law enforcement agencies, and advised the County Executive on criminal justice policy.

Education

Roger earned his law degree from Franklin Pierce Law Center (University of New Hampshire) and was the Chair of the Democratic Law Caucus. In addition, Roger earned a Masters in Intellectual Property Law, an area of the law dealing with prescription drug patents and obtaining affordable prescription drugs.

He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Hunter College with a degree in Political Science / Black & Puerto Rican Studies, and was an active member of the Hunter Senate. During college, Roger served as an intern in the White House (Clinton Administration), the New York State Supreme Court, and the New York State Senate.

2006 and 2010 Elections

Roger’s election to the Senate came after defeating incumbent Michael G. Lenett (D) by 54.2%-45.8% in the Primary Election before defeating Don Irvine (R) by 68.02%-31.76% in the General Election. Of the 1,167 state senate seats at stake nationally in 2010, Roger was one of only 12 Democrats to defeat an incumbent Democrat state senator, and one of only 16 candidates of any party to defeat an incumbent state senator. In 2006 Roger finished first in the eight-person Primary Election for the House of Delegates with the highest vote total of any candidate running for either the House or the Senate.

Family Life

Roger is married to his childhood sweetheart, Marjorie. Roger’s parents, Bea and John reside in New York City, and Roger’s sister, Shana, lives in Israel. Roger, Marjorie, and their two cats, Chester and Ms. LuLu, live in the Silver Spring area bordering Olney and Sandy Spring. They are members of Temple Emanuel in Kensington, Maryland.

Question 1: Rent Stabilization
Rents across Montgomery County and other regions are skyrocketing. Landlords in some areas, are seeking annual increases of over 8 percent each year forcing renters to move from their homes. In Montgomery County alone more than 30% of residents live in rental housing. Many are long-term residents, seniors and working families. Do you support state-wide legislation that would stabilize rent increases similar to those programs in Washington D.C., or Takoma Park, MD, by establishing a reasonable annual cap based on the Consumer Price Index, or some other measure?

Answer: Yes. Having grown up in New York City, I was raised in a moderate income, subsidized housing development. I also understand the importance of rent stabilization (or “control”) programs, as these have long been policies in New York City and elsewhere. In Maryland, this is largely a county issue, but I support a statewide solution to stabilize rent increases, among other measures to keep rental housing affordable for working and retired people.

a) Annual lease renewals often come with the stipulation that should a renter decide to renew for a short term, either a few months or on a month-to-month basis, their rent increase can be as high as 40%. Would you support a state law which forbids treating short-term lease rent increases from being treated differently from annual lease renewals?

Answer: Yes.

b) Like renters, businesses are often faced with skyrocketing rents that force good businesses to close their doors, or move elsewhere. In many cases, there are no other businesses to replace those departing commercial space and storefronts leaving them empty for months and, in some cases, years at a time, reducing overall economic activity and stifling community economic development. Do you support commercial rent stabilization, or some form of tax incentives and/or penalties for landlords who either price out businesses or fail to rent out commercial spaces over a reasonable period of time due to excessive rent demands?

Answer: Yes.

Question 2: Just-Cause Eviction Law
Renters throughout the state of Maryland can be told with as little as 60 days notice that their lease will not be renewed and that they must leave their rental homes. No explanation has to be provided. The result keeps renters in a constant state of uncertainty and in fear of losing their homes, possibly as a result of demanding promised services or maintenance, or organizing tenants or any other reason the landlord may have. Just-cause eviction law requires landlords to automatically renew a lease under substantially the same terms, with the exception of a reasonable and fair rent increase absent just-cause, e.g., failure to pay rent, criminal activity, taking the apartment off the market or other substantial breaches of a lease. Do you support just-cause eviction legislation?

Answer: Yes. I have cosponsored and supported several versions of this and related legislation throughout my tenure in the legislature.

a) Do you support strengthening Maryland’s anti-retaliation law to remove a cap on damages and arbitrary restrictions on tenants bringing retaliation claims? RPCode:8208.1

Answer:
Yes. I authored the Retaliatory Eviction bill in 2011 (SB620, “Real Property – Retaliatory Actions – Landlords and Mobile Home Park Owners”), which is now state law. Removing the cap on damages should be addressed. This issue of anti-retaliation can either be addressed at the state or local level.

Question 3: Forced Renters Insurance
Recently, an increasing number of landlords have been demanding that tenants purchase renters insurance and name the landlord as a beneficiary of the liability protection in the event of a suit. Failure to do so, say the renewal notices, will constitute a substantial breach of lease and grounds for eviction. The Renters Alliance encourages renters to purchase renters insurance, but believes that it must be the renter’s choice. Furthermore, we oppose the practice of forcing renters to name the landlord, property managers and building staff as beneficiaries of renter’s insurance policies. Would you support legislation making such practices illegal?

Answer: Yes. This is largely a county issue.

Question 4: Landlord Status
Are you a landlord? Do you rent out apartments or space in your home to tenants?

Answer: No.

Question 5: Campaign support
Do you accept campaign contributions from real estate, developer or landlord interested groups, associations or individuals.

Answer: Yes. On a case-by-case basis, I generally accept donations from realtors, renters and homeowners, but generally not from developers. I do accept all donations from AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades unions, have twice been named their Legislator of the Year, and am an honorary member of their largest local union – the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 26.

a) If yes, from who and how much have you received from each?

Answer: Please see Board of Elections campaign finance website.

Question 6: Renter Education and Advocacy Fund
For decades, well-financed landlord and other interested industry organizations have been able to lobby state and local legislatures, take legal action against tenants and defend against tenants seeking promised services, code-required maintenance and quality living environments. To ensure that tenants have a voice and can reasonably act to secure their homes, would you support the creation of a state fund established by placing a per unit fee on landlords with six units or more to support education, outreach and legal defense through nonprofit advocates and other community organizations?

Answer: Yes. This could be addressed at either the state or local level. In either case, my concern, however, would be that these fees would be passed on to renters. That would need to be addressed.

Question 7: Personal and Professional Support for Renters Rights

Describe any actions you have personally undertaken in your career to protect tenants’ rights, rent regulation, or the preservation of affordable housing.

Answer: My record and efforts in supporting renters is extensive. As mentioned, recently I authored the Retaliatory Eviction bill in 2011 (SB620, “Real Property – Retaliatory Actions – Landlords and Mobile Home Park Owners”), which is now state law. Previously, during my term in the House of Delegates (2007-2011), I served as Vice-Chair of the County Affairs Committee, in which I was a strong advocate for advancing tenant issues and legislation, including MC 816-08, Delegate Mizeur’s Just Cause Eviction bill.

Question 8: Tenant Organizing
Do you support the right of tenants to organize in order to address concerns about quality, repair, safety and cost of their rental homes, and promised services?

Answer: Yes.

If yes, would you support legislation protecting renters’ ability to distribute literature, protect the posting of literature in common areas against premature or unreasonable removal, protect renters’ rights to organize and meet with other tenants independently and/or with the assistance of outside organizers in common areas of rental properties?

Answer: Yes.

Question 9: Expanding and Protecting Below Market Rate Rental Housing
What steps would you take to increase the availability of below market rate, affordable rental housing and ensure that there is no loss of existing lower income rental housing, for example due to the building of the Purple Line?

Answer: Yes. This is largely a county issue – but I strongly support the county’s MPDU programs, among other measures to preserve and expand affordable housing. I oppose the county’s position in opposition to rent stabilization.

Question 10: Ending Deceptive Business Practices by Landlords
In some rental communities, landlords promise, deceptively, to make repairs, provide services or building improvements, charge unfair and undeclared fees and other questionable and deceptive business practices.

Do you support expanding the Consumer Protection Act to prohibit all landlord deceptive and unfair practices and provide renters with a legal remedy?

Answer: Yes.


State Delegate Candidates


Paul Bardack

Paul Bardack

Candidate for State Delegate

Website: http://www.paulbardack.org

Bio:
I have lived in Montgomery County for thirty years, and in Legislative District 19 most of that time. Here, my wife Eti and I raised three children to adulthood, each of whom attended the Hebrew Day Institute and then went on to attend middle and high school within Julius West Middle School, John F. Kennedy High School, Rockville High School, and Richard Montgomery High School.

I’ve enjoyed success within two careers: my current one within the online education field, and my prior one in the anti-poverty field.

In my online education career, I was an award-winning builder of Booz Allen Hamilton’s global digital learning business. I was the first Chief Executive Officer of the extraordinarily popular MyJewishLearning.com educational website, and deputy director of the Defense Department’s Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative. I also served as director of George Mason University’s Center for Online Workforce Development, the nation’s leading think tank conceiving new ways to use technology to train low and moderate income workers for tomorrow’s jobs.

I am Chair Emeritus of the United States Distance Learning Association, and am known worldwide as one of America’s leading experts on online job training. I have been asked to speak on the future of online job training within such venues as the British House of Commons, the Israeli Knesset, the United States Senate, the United States House of Representatives, and the National Press Club. My advice on online education and training policy has been sought out by senior members of the Obama Administration, Congress, state officials, leaders of Fortune 1000 companies, and the national media.

In my earlier anti-poverty workforce and economic development career, I was Deputy HUD Assistant Secretary, the federal government’s top economic development post. I was also senior development policy aide to the New Jersey Governor and manager of Cleveland’s economic development agency. I served as vice president of The National Mentoring Partnership, where I raised tens of millions of dollars for inner city youth mentoring programs. Additionally, I have been legislative counsel to Congressman Roberto Garcia (D-NY), and proud aide to Montgomery County Councilmember Duchy Trachtenberg.

I hold a law degree from the American University Washington College of Law, where I was an editor of the law review, and an undergraduate degree from Yale University. A long-time member of the Bar of the District of Columbia, I have been active for many years in numerous community efforts, including the ultimately successful effort to bring Major League Baseball back to Washington, DC. I served on the Board of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, chaired the Board of the Hebrew Day Institute, headed the Jewish Study Center, and was President of my synagogue, Tifereth Israel Congregation. And I am proud to note that my first job was as a member of UFCW Local 1500 in Staten Island, New York.

Question 1: Rent Stabilization
Rents across Montgomery County and other regions are skyrocketing. Landlords in some areas, are seeking annual increases of over 8 percent each year forcing renters to move from their homes. In Montgomery County alone more than 30% of residents live in rental housing. Many are long-term residents, seniors and working families. Do you support state-wide legislation that would stabilize rent increases similar to those programs in Washington D.C., or Takoma Park, MD, by establishing a reasonable annual cap based on the Consumer Price Index, or some other measure?

Answer: Yes. I am a former Deputy HUD Assistant Secretary and I am running for Delegate in large part to apply my experience as a top federal housing official, responsible for the creation of several successful, proven HUD housing programs, to the very real housing needs of the people of Maryland. And it is not just the poorest among us who are hurt when rental costs increase without regulation; many more affluent Marylanders, having down sized in their senior years, are also finding they can no longer afford the rents on the apartments in which they had hoped to live throughout their retirement. Check out my website, then, and that of my opponents. You will see that I am the only candidate for D19 Delegate who has come forward with an extensive housing platform which includes enactment of a statewide rent stabilization measure, as well as creation of a new State of Maryland rental subsidy program.

a) Annual lease renewals often come with the stipulation that should a renter decide to renew for a short term, either a few months or on a month-to-month basis, their rent increase can be as high as 40%. Would you support a state law which forbids treating short-term lease rent increases from being treated differently from annual lease renewals?

Answer: Yes. First, I support providing a cap on short-term lease rent increases. Second, my rental subsidy proposal, alone among all those running for D19 Delegate, would empower low and moderate income renters to stay in their apartments when confronting rent increases, in a way that balances tenant and landlord needs by treating rental housing as a quasi-utility: one regulated to protect consumers, but free to garner significant profits for owners.

b) Like renters, businesses are often faced with skyrocketing rents that force good businesses to close their doors, or move elsewhere. In many cases, there are no other businesses to replace those departing commercial space and storefronts leaving them empty for months and, in some cases, years at a time, reducing overall economic activity and stifling community economic development. Do you support commercial rent stabilization, or some form of tax incentives and/or penalties for landlords who either price out businesses or fail to rent out commercial spaces over a reasonable period of time due to excessive rent demands?

Answer: Yes. A recent survey of Montgomery County’s business community indicated that one of their gravest concerns is the increasingly pervasive phenomenon of boarded up storefronts and underutilized commercial space. As the creator of the American Enterprise Zone program some thirty-five years ago, I am the only D19 Delegate candidate to propose creation of a new type of enterprise zone for our state, one which focuses on providing new tax and other financial incentives to commercial landlords and tenants to get these commercial units back to productive use and to restore economic vitality back to our neighborhoods.

Question 2: Just-Cause Eviction Law
Renters throughout the state of Maryland can be told with as little as 60 days notice that their lease will not be renewed and that they must leave their rental homes. No explanation has to be provided. The result keeps renters in a constant state of uncertainty and in fear of losing their homes, possibly as a result of demanding promised services or maintenance, or organizing tenants or any other reason the landlord may have. Just-cause eviction law requires landlords to automatically renew a lease under substantially the same terms, with the exception of a reasonable and fair rent increase absent just-cause, e.g., failure to pay rent, criminal activity, taking the apartment off the market or other substantial breaches of a lease. Do you support just-cause eviction legislation?

Answer: Yes.

a) Do you support strengthening Maryland’s anti-retaliation law to remove a cap on damages and arbitrary restrictions on tenants bringing retaliation claims? RPCode:8208.1

Answer:
Yes.

Question 3: Forced Renters Insurance
Recently, an increasing number of landlords have been demanding that tenants purchase renters insurance and name the landlord as a beneficiary of the liability protection in the event of a suit. Failure to do so, say the renewal notices, will constitute a substantial breach of lease and grounds for eviction. The Renters Alliance encourages renters to purchase renters insurance, but believes that it must be the renter’s choice. Furthermore, we oppose the practice of forcing renters to name the landlord, property managers and building staff as beneficiaries of renter’s insurance policies. Would you support legislation making such practices illegal?

Answer: Yes.
Question 4: Landlord Status
Are you a landlord? Do you rent out apartments or space in your home to tenants?

Answer: I am not a landlord.

Question 5: Campaign support
Do you accept campaign contributions from real estate, developer or landlord interested groups, associations or individuals.

Answer: I have not sought out nor received such donations.

Question 6: Renter Education and Advocacy Fund
For decades, well-financed landlord and other interested industry organizations have been able to lobby state and local legislatures, take legal action against tenants and defend against tenants seeking promised services, code-required maintenance and quality living environments. To ensure that tenants have a voice and can reasonably act to secure their homes, would you support the creation of a state fund established by placing a per unit fee on landlords with six units or more to support education, outreach and legal defense through nonprofit advocates and other community organizations?

Answer: In theory the idea is appealing, but I would take a bolder approach: creation of a specialized renters’ advocate legal office either within the office of the Attorney General or within the Department of Housing and Community Development. The approach suggested is flawed: the threshold of six units is too few and will harm landlords of smaller projects who are already facing difficult economic times and who provide a significant portion of our state’s rental housing; and because well financed landlords would be the sole funders of the proposed effort it is unlikely it would ever be enacted in Annapolis or, if it were, that it would remain in effect for very long. Placing my proposed renters’ advocate legal office within state government would give it greater endurance and authority than the approach suggested in question 6.

Question 7: Personal and Professional Support for Renters Rights

Describe any actions you have personally undertaken in your career to protect tenants’ rights, rent regulation, or the preservation of affordable housing.

Answer: I crafted federal housing laws as a staff member of the House of Representatives housing subcommittee, crafted new federal housing programs and revised regulations of existing housing programs as Deputy HUD Assistant Secretary, and worked on county rental housing matters as staff to Montgomery County Councilmember Duchy Trachtenberg.

Question 8: Tenant Organizing
Do you support the right of tenants to organize in order to address concerns about quality, repair, safety and cost of their rental homes, and promised services?

Answer: Yes.

If yes, would you support legislation protecting renters’ ability to distribute literature, protect the posting of literature in common areas against premature or unreasonable removal, protect renters’ rights to organize and meet with other tenants independently and/or with the assistance of outside organizers in common areas of rental properties?

Answer: Yes.

Question 9: Expanding and Protecting Below Market Rate Rental Housing
What steps would you take to increase the availability of below market rate, affordable rental housing and ensure that there is no loss of existing lower income rental housing, for example due to the building of the Purple Line?

Answer: Because the Purple Line should not serve as an excuse to displace current residents, I would work for creation of a dedicated state rent subsidy program targeted to those impacted by its construction.

Question 10: Ending Deceptive Business Practices by Landlords
In some rental communities, landlords promise, deceptively, to make repairs, provide services or building improvements, charge unfair and undeclared fees and other questionable and deceptive business practices.

Do you support expanding the Consumer Protection Act to prohibit all landlord deceptive and unfair practices and provide renters with a legal remedy?

Answer: Yes.


Melodye Berry

Candidate for State Delegate

Website: http://www.melodyeformaryland.com

Question 1: Rent Stabilization
Rents across Montgomery County and other regions are skyrocketing. Landlords in some areas, are seeking annual increases of over 8 percent each year forcing renters to move from their homes. In Montgomery County alone more than 30% of residents live in rental housing. Many are long-term residents, seniors and working families. Do you support state-wide legislation that would stabilize rent increases similar to those programs in Washington D.C., or Takoma Park, MD, by establishing a reasonable annual cap based on the Consumer Price Index, or some other measure?

Answer: Yes.

a) Annual lease renewals often come with the stipulation that should a renter decide to renew for a short term, either a few months or on a month-to-month basis, their rent increase can be as high as 40%. Would you support a state law which forbids treating short-term lease rent increases from being treated differently from annual lease renewals?

Answer: Yes. I would support a maximum allowable increase as well as establishing guidelines to limit short-term lease penalties.

b) Like renters, businesses are often faced with skyrocketing rents that force good businesses to close their doors, or move elsewhere. In many cases, there are no other businesses to replace those departing commercial space and storefronts leaving them empty for months and, in some cases, years at a time, reducing overall economic activity and stifling community economic development. Do you support commercial rent stabilization, or some form of tax incentives and/or penalties for landlords who either price out businesses or fail to rent out commercial spaces over a reasonable period of time due to excessive rent demands?

Answer: Yes. I support stabilization but penalties would have to be just.

Question 2: Just-Cause Eviction Law
Renters throughout the state of Maryland can be told with as little as 60 days notice that their lease will not be renewed and that they must leave their rental homes. No explanation has to be provided. The result keeps renters in a constant state of uncertainty and in fear of losing their homes, possibly as a result of demanding promised services or maintenance, or organizing tenants or any other reason the landlord may have. Just-cause eviction law requires landlords to automatically renew a lease under substantially the same terms, with the exception of a reasonable and fair rent increase absent just-cause, e.g., failure to pay rent, criminal activity, taking the apartment off the market or other substantial breaches of a lease. Do you support just-cause eviction legislation?

Answer: Yes.

a) Do you support strengthening Maryland’s anti-retaliation law to remove a cap on damages and arbitrary restrictions on tenants bringing retaliation claims? RPCode:8208.1

Answer:
I am not familiar with this code however I support stiff penalties specific to anti-retaliation included in just-cause legislation.

Question 3: Forced Renters Insurance
Recently, an increasing number of landlords have been demanding that tenants purchase renters insurance and name the landlord as a beneficiary of the liability protection in the event of a suit. Failure to do so, say the renewal notices, will constitute a substantial breach of lease and grounds for eviction. The Renters Alliance encourages renters to purchase renters insurance, but believes that it must be the renter’s choice. Furthermore, we oppose the practice of forcing renters to name the landlord, property managers and building staff as beneficiaries of renter’s insurance policies. Would you support legislation making such practices illegal?

Answer: Yes. A beneficiary should always be at the discretion of the policy owner and should never be determined under duress. I would support this mandate in a lease agreement be made illegal. It is a good idea to have renters insurance to protect the property of the renter. If the property owner is the designated beneficiary, the renter has no assurance that their property would be subject to repair or replacement as is the primary intent of renters insurance. I would however suggest that the wording in leases to recommend insurance and thus property owners could not be held liable for losses unless they, by action or inaction are deemed responsible for the cause of the damages.

Question 4: Landlord Status
Are you a landlord? Do you rent out apartments or space in your home to tenants?

Answer: No. I have been in the past and the lease had no such mandate or discussion.

Question 5: Campaign support
Do you accept campaign contributions from real estate, developer or landlord interested groups, associations or individuals.

Answer: No. I have not but I am not opposed to their contributions. I will always be clear of my positions, including my support of legislation to outlaw consumer injustices.

Question 6: Renter Education and Advocacy Fund
For decades, well-financed landlord and other interested industry organizations have been able to lobby state and local legislatures, take legal action against tenants and defend against tenants seeking promised services, code-required maintenance and quality living environments. To ensure that tenants have a voice and can reasonably act to secure their homes, would you support the creation of a state fund established by placing a per unit fee on landlords with six units or more to support education, outreach and legal defense through nonprofit advocates and other community organizations?

Answer: Yes. I support the establishment of the fund but I would prefer to populate the fund from licensing fees and penalties paid by Rental Law violators. A per unit fee would surely be passed on to the tenant. I would not want to cause rent increases to cover landlord fees or to justify larger increases.

Question 7: Personal and Professional Support for Renters Rights

Describe any actions you have personally undertaken in your career to protect tenants’ rights, rent regulation, or the preservation of affordable housing.

Answer: As a resident of HOC housing for many years, I was chair of the residents advisory board, represented Montgomery County residents on the Eastern Region Tenants Organization and represented tenant rights on the HOC hearing board. I also worked for the Coalition for the Homeless as an organizer for the Annapolis Lobby. As a family support worker for Healthy Families Montgomery and as a volunteer group leader and mentor for La Leche League International, I educated families about housing affordability and available community resources as a part of long and short-term self sufficiency planning.

Question 8: Tenant Organizing
Do you support the right of tenants to organize in order to address concerns about quality, repair, safety and cost of their rental homes, and promised services?

Answer: Yes. As a renter, I was very active in lobbying for tenant rights. Organized representation gives a discernible voice to large numbers of people.

If yes, would you support legislation protecting renters’ ability to distribute literature, protect the posting of literature in common areas against premature or unreasonable removal, protect renters’ rights to organize and meet with other tenants independently and/or with the assistance of outside organizers in common areas of rental properties?

Answer: Yes.

Question 9: Expanding and Protecting Below Market Rate Rental Housing
What steps would you take to increase the availability of below market rate, affordable rental housing and ensure that there is no loss of existing lower income rental housing, for example due to the building of the Purple Line?

Answer: I would work with stake holders to avoid losses and/or to get one for one replacement of affordable units. In addition, I think that it is equally as important to increase the minimum wage and assist residents with obtaining jobs with living wages. Higher pay means that renters get more choices and landlords are more likely to maintain the rental properties.

Question 10: Ending Deceptive Business Practices by Landlords
In some rental communities, landlords promise, deceptively, to make repairs, provide services or building improvements, charge unfair and undeclared fees and other questionable and deceptive business practices.

Do you support expanding the Consumer Protection Act to prohibit all landlord deceptive and unfair practices and provide renters with a legal remedy?

Answer: Yes.


Justin W. Chappell

Justin Chappell

Candidate for State Delegate

Website: http://www.justinchappell.org

Bio:
Justin’s family first moved to Silver Spring in 1947, living at Summit Hill apartments when it opened in 1964.

As a gay man with a disability from a racially diverse family, Justin Chappell knows words matter. Words are powerful. Justin also knows actions speak louder than words.

Justin’s priorities are based on 15 years of experience with real results working on both economic, education, and environmental issues at the local, state, and federal level.

Justin fights for our most vulnerable citizens, bringing together experience serving as a civic association president, working for AFSCME MD and U.S. Senator Tom Harkin, owning a small business helping local non-profits, and currently serving as vice-chair of a national organization helping youth transition from school to work.

As a civic association leader and case manager for low-income families, Justin Chappell learned the importance of direct service, and is committed to great constituent service.

Justin’s mission is to end the revolving door of poverty and inequality; to end the revolving door of crime; to ensure education excellence for all; and, to end our forced reliance on dirty energy and unreliable utilities.

Every single day Justin works with low income families at a Silver Spring non-profit to help them develop step-by-step plans to achieve their goals. Justin reviews their resources and expenses, as well as tactics that have and have not been effective toward achieving their goal. As a legislator, Justin Chappell’s priorities are great constituent service, championing the voiceless and marginalized in society, and using his experience as a professional community organizer and problem solver to pass legislation that really works to benefit our entire community.

This election is about priorities, experience with real results, and real solutions to create opportunity for all. Justin believes experience matters, that issues are more than a bumper sticker.

Question 1: Rent Stabilization
Rents across Montgomery County and other regions are skyrocketing. Landlords in some areas, are seeking annual increases of over 8 percent each year forcing renters to move from their homes. In Montgomery County alone more than 30% of residents live in rental housing. Many are long-term residents, seniors and working families. Do you support state-wide legislation that would stabilize rent increases similar to those programs in Washington D.C., or Takoma Park, MD, by establishing a reasonable annual cap based on the Consumer Price Index, or some other measure?

Answer: Yes. I’ve personally helped families transition from homelessness and nursing homes to affordable housing. We need affordable transit oriented housing.

We must oppose price gouging, while helping responsible landlords keep their expenses low.

a) Annual lease renewals often come with the stipulation that should a renter decide to renew for a short term, either a few months or on a month-to-month basis, their rent increase can be as high as 40%. Would you support a state law which forbids treating short-term lease rent increases from being treated differently from annual lease renewals?

Answer: Yes. Short-term lease and annual lease renewals should both be treated fairly and subject to responsible rent stabilization and caps just like rent stabilization programs in Takoma Park, MD and Washington D.C.

b) Like renters, businesses are often faced with skyrocketing rents that force good businesses to close their doors, or move elsewhere. In many cases, there are no other businesses to replace those departing commercial space and storefronts leaving them empty for months and, in some cases, years at a time, reducing overall economic activity and stifling community economic development. Do you support commercial rent stabilization, or some form of tax incentives and/or penalties for landlords who either price out businesses or fail to rent out commercial spaces over a reasonable period of time due to excessive rent demands?

Answer: Yes. District 20’s office vacancy rate is too high, and poorly maintained commercial properties simply unacceptable. Justin supports tax incentives and reasonable rent stabilization to keep both residential and commercial rent affordable.

Question 2: Just-Cause Eviction Law
Renters throughout the state of Maryland can be told with as little as 60 days notice that their lease will not be renewed and that they must leave their rental homes. No explanation has to be provided. The result keeps renters in a constant state of uncertainty and in fear of losing their homes, possibly as a result of demanding promised services or maintenance, or organizing tenants or any other reason the landlord may have. Just-cause eviction law requires landlords to automatically renew a lease under substantially the same terms, with the exception of a reasonable and fair rent increase absent just-cause, e.g., failure to pay rent, criminal activity, taking the apartment off the market or other substantial breaches of a lease. Do you support just-cause eviction legislation?

Answer: Yes. I joined with the Montgomery County Renters Alliance and our allies this year asking legislators to pass a Just Cause Eviction Law, and have supported this law for many years as a case manager for low-income families.

a) Do you support strengthening Maryland’s anti-retaliation law to remove a cap on damages and arbitrary restrictions on tenants bringing retaliation claims? RPCode:8208.1

Answer:
Yes. I support removing the cap on damages, and the requirement that a tenant be current on rent to pursue retaliation claims.

Question 3: Forced Renters Insurance
Recently, an increasing number of landlords have been demanding that tenants purchase renters insurance and name the landlord as a beneficiary of the liability protection in the event of a suit. Failure to do so, say the renewal notices, will constitute a substantial breach of lease and grounds for eviction. The Renters Alliance encourages renters to purchase renters insurance, but believes that it must be the renter’s choice. Furthermore, we oppose the practice of forcing renters to name the landlord, property managers and building staff as beneficiaries of renter’s insurance policies. Would you support legislation making such practices illegal?

Answer: Yes. Landlords should be responsible for insurance policies protecting their financial interest, not their tenants.

Question 4: Landlord Status
Are you a landlord? Do you rent out apartments or space in your home to tenants?

Answer: No.

Question 5: Campaign support
Do you accept campaign contributions from real estate, developer or landlord interested groups, associations or individuals.

Answer: I do not accept corporate campaign donations. Individuals who donate to my campaign know my progressive values and experience, and know my priorities will not be influenced by financial contributions.

Question 6: Renter Education and Advocacy Fund
For decades, well-financed landlord and other interested industry organizations have been able to lobby state and local legislatures, take legal action against tenants and defend against tenants seeking promised services, code-required maintenance and quality living environments. To ensure that tenants have a voice and can reasonably act to secure their homes, would you support the creation of a state fund established by placing a per unit fee on landlords with six units or more to support education, outreach and legal defense through nonprofit advocates and other community organizations?

Answer: Yes.

Question 7: Personal and Professional Support for Renters Rights

Describe any actions you have personally undertaken in your career to protect tenants’ rights, rent regulation, or the preservation of affordable housing.

Answer: Justin has worked on a local, state, and federal level to protect tenants’ rights and the preservation of affordable housing. This includes serving as a case manager for low-income Montgomery County families and joining the Montgomery County Renters Alliance to educate legislators in Annapolis.

Question 8: Tenant Organizing
Do you support the right of tenants to organize in order to address concerns about quality, repair, safety and cost of their rental homes, and promised services?

Answer: Yes. Justin worked for AFSCME Maryland helping to organize staff throughout the University of Maryland System. He knows the power of organizing, and as a case manager for low income families Justin is committed to the right of tenants to organize.

If yes, would you support legislation protecting renters’ ability to distribute literature, protect the posting of literature in common areas against premature or unreasonable removal, protect renters’ rights to organize and meet with other tenants independently and/or with the assistance of outside organizers in common areas of rental properties?

Answer: Yes. Tenants cannot organize without the ability to effectively communicate with each other.

Question 9: Expanding and Protecting Below Market Rate Rental Housing
What steps would you take to increase the availability of below market rate, affordable rental housing and ensure that there is no loss of existing lower income rental housing, for example due to the building of the Purple Line?

Answer: Yes. As a civic association president I’ve reviewed numerous projects to make sure it does not impact affordable housing. As a state legislator I will work with the County Council to ensure there is no loss of affordable housing due to construction of the Purple Line, White Oak Master Plan, and other proposals.

Question 10: Ending Deceptive Business Practices by Landlords
In some rental communities, landlords promise, deceptively, to make repairs, provide services or building improvements, charge unfair and undeclared fees and other questionable and deceptive business practices.

Do you support expanding the Consumer Protection Act to prohibit all landlord deceptive and unfair practices and provide renters with a legal remedy?

Answer: Yes.


Jordan P. Cooper

Jordan Cooper

Candidate for State Delegate

Website: http://www.CooperForMaryland.com

Bio:
Annapolis Experience

Jordan P. Cooper is the only challenger candidate running for Delegate in District 16 who has extensive on-the-ground legislative experience in Annapolis. Jordan first worked in the Maryland General Assembly 10 years ago in 2003 as a Student Page. More recently, he worked full-time for two years as a Legislative Aide for Delegate Keith E. Haynes in the House of Delegates. During this time, Jordan gained professional experience solving problems and providing answers to constituents in need of assistance. Jordan learned how to negotiate the bill-to-law process by helping usher bills through the House of Delegates. During the time he served in Annapolis, from 2008-2010, he worked across the hall from Delegate Susan Lee who currently represents District 16, the same building as Delegate Bill Frick of District 16, and across the street from Senator Brian Frosh of District 16. Jordan knows HOW Annapolis works, knows WHO works in Annapolis, and Jordan knows, more than any other challenger candidate, WHAT works in Annapolis. He will use this knowledge to the advantage of the constituents of District 16 and ensure that no time is wasted bringing a freshman Delegate up to speed; Jordan is ready to Hit the Ground Running from Day 1.

Healthcare Experience

Jordan has a wide array of experience in healthcare that is unmatched by any other challenger candidate. Jordan has worked on health policy issues in the Maryland General Assembly while working for the Vice-Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Resources. Jordan has written language that has since been incorporated into final federal regulations pertaining to Medicare and Health Care Reform. Jordan has a Master’s degree in Health Policy from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Moreover, he has experience working in a variety of settings with a variety of stakeholders in such a way that he is able to appreciate the many perspectives that will be brought to the table during discussions about how Marylanders can get better value from their healthcare, control costs, improve quality, and finally have security with their healthcare. Unlike any other candidate for Delegate in District 16, Jordan has worked in both inpatient and outpatient clinical environments, in Maryland and Federal legislative bodies (Jordan has experience working for the U.S. Congress), in the non-profit advocacy setting, in the private sector consulting business, and has formal academic training on the very issues that he wishes to work on as YOUR Delegate.

A Lifetime of Community Service

Jordan has invested over half of his life thus far in public service through volunteerism; few if any of the other challengers can make such a claim of consistent dedication to the improvement of the community.
Educated and Raised in District 16

Jordan attended Kindergarten through 12th grade in Montgomery County Public Schools here in the 16th District. Jordan has volunteered, worked at, and studied in many major institutions throughout District 16. He knows our District, its schools, our Legislature, who we are, and how to put the community first.

Question 1: Rent Stabilization
Rents across Montgomery County and other regions are skyrocketing. Landlords in some areas, are seeking annual increases of over 8 percent each year forcing renters to move from their homes. In Montgomery County alone more than 30% of residents live in rental housing. Many are long-term residents, seniors and working families. Do you support state-wide legislation that would stabilize rent increases similar to those programs in Washington D.C., or Takoma Park, MD, by establishing a reasonable annual cap based on the Consumer Price Index, or some other measure?

Answer: Yes. I support statewide legislation that would stabilize rent increases similar to those programs in Washington D.C., or Takoma Park, MD, by establishing a reasonable annual cap based on the Consumer Price Index. It is unacceptable that commercial or residential tenants be subjected to exorbitant annual rent increases.

a) Annual lease renewals often come with the stipulation that should a renter decide to renew for a short term, either a few months or on a month-to-month basis, their rent increase can be as high as 40%. Would you support a state law which forbids treating short-term lease rent increases from being treated differently from annual lease renewals?

Answer: Yes. I support fair play and strong communities. Our residents and businesses both create added vibrancy in our community and rent increases ought to be reasonable.

b) Like renters, businesses are often faced with skyrocketing rents that force good businesses to close their doors, or move elsewhere. In many cases, there are no other businesses to replace those departing commercial space and storefronts leaving them empty for months and, in some cases, years at a time, reducing overall economic activity and stifling community economic development. Do you support commercial rent stabilization, or some form of tax incentives and/or penalties for landlords who either price out businesses or fail to rent out commercial spaces over a reasonable period of time due to excessive rent demands?

Answer: Yes. I have spoken to many business owners who have been in business for decades and have been forced to close their doors owing to rent that has, in some cases, increased exponentially within the past decade alone. Our economy is built upon the small businesses that add so much value to our community.

Question 2: Just-Cause Eviction Law
Renters throughout the state of Maryland can be told with as little as 60 days notice that their lease will not be renewed and that they must leave their rental homes. No explanation has to be provided. The result keeps renters in a constant state of uncertainty and in fear of losing their homes, possibly as a result of demanding promised services or maintenance, or organizing tenants or any other reason the landlord may have. Just-cause eviction law requires landlords to automatically renew a lease under substantially the same terms, with the exception of a reasonable and fair rent increase absent just-cause, e.g., failure to pay rent, criminal activity, taking the apartment off the market or other substantial breaches of a lease. Do you support just-cause eviction legislation?

Answer: Yes. As a multi-year renter myself, I understand how difficult moving on short notice can be. Landlords must understand that the success of their business and the success of our community are intertwined.

a) Do you support strengthening Maryland’s anti-retaliation law to remove a cap on damages and arbitrary restrictions on tenants bringing retaliation claims? RPCode:8208.1

Answer:
I would require more information before I could answer this question. I would be interested in learning the history of this bill in the legislature and the problems that have arisen through the existence of the current cap on damages.

Question 3: Forced Renters Insurance
Recently, an increasing number of landlords have been demanding that tenants purchase renters insurance and name the landlord as a beneficiary of the liability protection in the event of a suit. Failure to do so, say the renewal notices, will constitute a substantial breach of lease and grounds for eviction. The Renters Alliance encourages renters to purchase renters insurance, but believes that it must be the renter’s choice. Furthermore, we oppose the practice of forcing renters to name the landlord, property managers and building staff as beneficiaries of renter’s insurance policies. Would you support legislation making such practices illegal?

Answer: Yes. I concur with MCRA’s analysis of the situation concerning renters insurance.

Question 4: Landlord Status
Are you a landlord? Do you rent out apartments or space in your home to tenants?

Answer: No. I do not own property.

Question 5: Campaign support
Do you accept campaign contributions from real estate, developer or landlord interested groups, associations or individuals.

Answer: No. I have not received contributions from developers to date.

Question 6: Renter Education and Advocacy Fund
For decades, well-financed landlord and other interested industry organizations have been able to lobby state and local legislatures, take legal action against tenants and defend against tenants seeking promised services, code-required maintenance and quality living environments. To ensure that tenants have a voice and can reasonably act to secure their homes, would you support the creation of a state fund established by placing a per unit fee on landlords with six units or more to support education, outreach and legal defense through nonprofit advocates and other community organizations?

Answer: I would need to learn more about the impact of such a fee on affordable housing and the stances of various stakeholders on the issue.

Question 7: Personal and Professional Support for Renters Rights

Describe any actions you have personally undertaken in your career to protect tenants’ rights, rent regulation, or the preservation of affordable housing.

Answer: In 2009, while working for Delegate Keith E. Haynes (D-44), I worked intensively on a historical housing bill to provide tax credits to developers of historical properties in exchange for requiring that 30 percent of the units would be classified as affordable housing units.

I have additionally been a renter for the majority of the past six years.

Question 8: Tenant Organizing
Do you support the right of tenants to organize in order to address concerns about quality, repair, safety and cost of their rental homes, and promised services?

Answer: Yes. Organizing and collective bargaining are options that I have supported for organized labor and would support to protect the rights of a substantial and increasing population of renters in Montgomery County.

If yes, would you support legislation protecting renters’ ability to distribute literature, protect the posting of literature in common areas against premature or unreasonable removal, protect renters’ rights to organize and meet with other tenants independently and/or with the assistance of outside organizers in common areas of rental properties?

Answer: I would support such legislation.

Question 9: Expanding and Protecting Below Market Rate Rental Housing
What steps would you take to increase the availability of below market rate, affordable rental housing and ensure that there is no loss of existing lower income rental housing, for example due to the building of the Purple Line?

Answer: Yes. I would support the expansion of Montgomery County’s Moderately Priced Dwelling Units legislation across the State. I also have testified in favor of mixed use commercial/residential zoning and transit oriented development.

Question 10: Ending Deceptive Business Practices by Landlords
In some rental communities, landlords promise, deceptively, to make repairs, provide services or building improvements, charge unfair and undeclared fees and other questionable and deceptive business practices.

Do you support expanding the Consumer Protection Act to prohibit all landlord deceptive and unfair practices and provide renters with a legal remedy?

Answer: Yes. Promises ought to be kept, and I would be fully supportive of laws designed to that effect. As tenants are responsible for paying their rent in a timely fashion and for respecting the property in an undamaged fashion, so are landlords responsible for maintaining the property when repairs and services are needed. Each party must be held to their contractual obligations.


D'Juan Hopewell

D’Juan Hopewell

Candidate for State Delegate

Website: http://www.hopewellformaryland.com

Question 1: Rent Stabilization
Rents across Montgomery County and other regions are skyrocketing. Landlords in some areas, are seeking annual increases of over 8 percent each year forcing renters to move from their homes. In Montgomery County alone more than 30% of residents live in rental housing. Many are long-term residents, seniors and working families. Do you support state-wide legislation that would stabilize rent increases similar to those programs in Washington D.C., or Takoma Park, MD, by establishing a reasonable annual cap based on the Consumer Price Index, or some other measure?

Answer: Yes.

a) Annual lease renewals often come with the stipulation that should a renter decide to renew for a short term, either a few months or on a month-to-month basis, their rent increase can be as high as 40%. Would you support a state law which forbids treating short-term lease rent increases from being treated differently from annual lease renewals?

Answer: No. For smaller buildings, I support legislation preventing outrageous disparities between short and long-term leases. I might be open to your proposal for the larger complexes only (for renewals).

b) Like renters, businesses are often faced with skyrocketing rents that force good businesses to close their doors, or move elsewhere. In many cases, there are no other businesses to replace those departing commercial space and storefronts leaving them empty for months and, in some cases, years at a time, reducing overall economic activity and stifling community economic development. Do you support commercial rent stabilization, or some form of tax incentives and/or penalties for landlords who either price out businesses or fail to rent out commercial spaces over a reasonable period of time due to excessive rent demands?

Answer: Yes. Stable businesses contribute to stable communities and as such we must consider the needs of these “renters” also.

Question 2: Just-Cause Eviction Law
Renters throughout the state of Maryland can be told with as little as 60 days notice that their lease will not be renewed and that they must leave their rental homes. No explanation has to be provided. The result keeps renters in a constant state of uncertainty and in fear of losing their homes, possibly as a result of demanding promised services or maintenance, or organizing tenants or any other reason the landlord may have. Just-cause eviction law requires landlords to automatically renew a lease under substantially the same terms, with the exception of a reasonable and fair rent increase absent just-cause, e.g., failure to pay rent, criminal activity, taking the apartment off the market or other substantial breaches of a lease. Do you support just-cause eviction legislation?

Answer: Yes.

a) Do you support strengthening Maryland’s anti-retaliation law to remove a cap on damages and arbitrary restrictions on tenants bringing retaliation claims? RPCode:8208.1

Answer:
Yes. To the degree landlords can pursue tenants, tenants should be able to pursue landlords.

Question 3: Forced Renters Insurance
Recently, an increasing number of landlords have been demanding that tenants purchase renters insurance and name the landlord as a beneficiary of the liability protection in the event of a suit. Failure to do so, say the renewal notices, will constitute a substantial breach of lease and grounds for eviction. The Renters Alliance encourages renters to purchase renters insurance, but believes that it must be the renter’s choice. Furthermore, we oppose the practice of forcing renters to name the landlord, property managers and building staff as beneficiaries of renter’s insurance policies. Would you support legislation making such practices illegal?

Answer: Yes.

Question 4: Landlord Status
Are you a landlord? Do you rent out apartments or space in your home to tenants?

Answer: No.

Question 5: Campaign support
Do you accept campaign contributions from real estate, developer or landlord interested groups, associations or individuals.

Answer: Yes. I’m open to receiving contributions to property owners who are responsible, so long as they understand that all donors give at their own risk: they are funding my convictions only.

a) If yes, from who and how much have you received from each?

Answer:
$0- I’ve received funds from none at this point.

Question 6: Renter Education and Advocacy Fund
For decades, well-financed landlord and other interested industry organizations have been able to lobby state and local legislatures, take legal action against tenants and defend against tenants seeking promised services, code-required maintenance and quality living environments. To ensure that tenants have a voice and can reasonably act to secure their homes, would you support the creation of a state fund established by placing a per unit fee on landlords with six units or more to support education, outreach and legal defense through nonprofit advocates and other community organizations?

Answer: No. I support creating the fund but not through per unit fees on landlords- they would simply pass costs to renters. This should come from slots revenues.

Question 7: Personal and Professional Support for Renters Rights

Describe any actions you have personally undertaken in your career to protect tenants’ rights, rent regulation, or the preservation of affordable housing.

Answer: I worked in loss mitigation with HUD. We found that more than we initially believed, foreclosures were greatly impacting renters.

Question 8: Tenant Organizing
Do you support the right of tenants to organize in order to address concerns about quality, repair, safety and cost of their rental homes, and promised services?

Answer: Yes.

If yes, would you support legislation protecting renters’ ability to distribute literature, protect the posting of literature in common areas against premature or unreasonable removal, protect renters’ rights to organize and meet with other tenants independently and/or with the assistance of outside organizers in common areas of rental properties?

Answer: Yes.

Question 9: Expanding and Protecting Below Market Rate Rental Housing
What steps would you take to increase the availability of below market rate, affordable rental housing and ensure that there is no loss of existing lower income rental housing, for example due to the building of the Purple Line?

Answer: I support the creation of a public financing entity for the sole purpose of producing affordable housing, just as North Dakota has successfully done.

Question 10: Ending Deceptive Business Practices by Landlords
In some rental communities, landlords promise, deceptively, to make repairs, provide services or building improvements, charge unfair and undeclared fees and other questionable and deceptive business practices.

Do you support expanding the Consumer Protection Act to prohibit all landlord deceptive and unfair practices and provide renters with a legal remedy?

Answer: Yes.


Marc Korman

Marc Korman

Candidate for State Delegate

Website: http://www.marckorman.com

Bio:
Marc Korman was born and raised in Montgomery County. Marc attended Montgomery County Public Schools and graduated from Richard Montgomery High School. He attended college at the University of Southern California and returned to Montgomery County while working on Capitol Hill. On Capitol Hill, Marc worked for two Democratic Members of Congress on an array of policy issues including transportation, healthcare, and the environment.

Marc earned his Master’s degree in Government from Johns Hopkins University. He went on to receive his law degree from the University of Maryland where he was awarded the Public Service Award. He currently practices law at a firm in Washington, DC and has been a co-recipient of the firm’s Pro Bono Award.

Since 2007, Marc has represented District 16 on the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee, the governing body of the local Democratic Party. In that position, he has worked to ensure that District 16 has the best, most active group of Democratic volunteers in the state and helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for County Democrats. He has also been an active member of the Democratic Party’s Issues Committee, supporting reforms to Maryland’s election laws to make it easier to register to vote and promote early voting. Marc previously served as president of the Montgomery County Young Democrats and National Committeeman for the Young Democrats of Maryland. He has been an active member of the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Democratic Breakfast Club and the District 16 Democratic Club.

Marc is the current chairman of the Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board, which advises the Montgomery County Executive and County Council on local issues including land use, transportation, education, public safety, and budgetary matters. Previously, he chaired the Citizens Advisory Board’s Public Safety and Quality of Life Committee. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Bethesda Urban Partnership, a non-profit organization which markets and manages downtown Bethesda. He has also volunteered with the Action Committee for Transit to promote the Purple Line and other transit solutions to traffic, the Montgomery County Parks Department to build and maintain the County’s terrific network of trails, and other local organizations. He is in the 2013 Leadership Montgomery class.

Marc lives with his wife Rebecca and son Harrison in Bethesda. When he is not out knocking on your door or greeting you at a Metro station, you can find him swimming with his son, going to the movies with his wife, or watching baseball.

Question 1: Rent Stabilization
Rents across Montgomery County and other regions are skyrocketing. Landlords in some areas, are seeking annual increases of over 8 percent each year forcing renters to move from their homes. In Montgomery County alone more than 30% of residents live in rental housing. Many are long-term residents, seniors and working families. Do you support state-wide legislation that would stabilize rent increases similar to those programs in Washington D.C., or Takoma Park, MD, by establishing a reasonable annual cap based on the Consumer Price Index, or some other measure?

Answer: Yes. High rental rates are concerning and impact our ability to attract new workers/residents. The current guidelines are not enough. We must identify creative solutions to stabilize and reduce rents.

a) Annual lease renewals often come with the stipulation that should a renter decide to renew for a short term, either a few months or on a month-to-month basis, their rent increase can be as high as 40%. Would you support a state law which forbids treating short-term lease rent increases from being treated differently from annual lease renewals?

Answer: Yes. It is important for the rental market to have consistency and transparency. I support a law to forbid treating short-term lease rent increases from being treated differently from annual renewals.

b) Like renters, businesses are often faced with skyrocketing rents that force good businesses to close their doors, or move elsewhere. In many cases, there are no other businesses to replace those departing commercial space and storefronts leaving them empty for months and, in some cases, years at a time, reducing overall economic activity and stifling community economic development. Do you support commercial rent stabilization, or some form of tax incentives and/or penalties for landlords who either price out businesses or fail to rent out commercial spaces over a reasonable period of time due to excessive rent demands?

Answer: Yes. Businesses oftentimes cannot afford excessive rents. I support appropriate tax incentives and want to make sure we have a diverse array of small businesses in retail and commercial operations.

Question 2: Just-Cause Eviction Law
Renters throughout the state of Maryland can be told with as little as 60 days notice that their lease will not be renewed and that they must leave their rental homes. No explanation has to be provided. The result keeps renters in a constant state of uncertainty and in fear of losing their homes, possibly as a result of demanding promised services or maintenance, or organizing tenants or any other reason the landlord may have. Just-cause eviction law requires landlords to automatically renew a lease under substantially the same terms, with the exception of a reasonable and fair rent increase absent just-cause, e.g., failure to pay rent, criminal activity, taking the apartment off the market or other substantial breaches of a lease. Do you support just-cause eviction legislation?

Answer: Yes. Renters deserve dignity and security. I support the just-cause eviction law requirements that were included in Delegate Hixson’s HB315.

a) Do you support strengthening Maryland’s anti-retaliation law to remove a cap on damages and arbitrary restrictions on tenants bringing retaliation claims? RPCode:8208.1

Answer:
Yes. I would support a review of the law to either adjust or eliminate the current cap on damages of three months’ rent, reasonable attorney fees, and court costs.

Question 3: Forced Renters Insurance
Recently, an increasing number of landlords have been demanding that tenants purchase renters insurance and name the landlord as a beneficiary of the liability protection in the event of a suit. Failure to do so, say the renewal notices, will constitute a substantial breach of lease and grounds for eviction. The Renters Alliance encourages renters to purchase renters insurance, but believes that it must be the renter’s choice. Furthermore, we oppose the practice of forcing renters to name the landlord, property managers and building staff as beneficiaries of renter’s insurance policies. Would you support legislation making such practices illegal?

Answer: Yes. Eliminating this practice was also part of HB315. It should not be a required lease term. I agree that renters should have a choice in obtaining insurance and naming beneficiaries.

Question 4: Landlord Status
Are you a landlord? Do you rent out apartments or space in your home to tenants?

Answer: No.

Question 5: Campaign support
Do you accept campaign contributions from real estate, developer or landlord interested groups, associations or individuals.

Answer: Yes. I have accepted contributions from a few companies involved in real estate. I receive contributions from many stakeholders with their understanding that I think through issues and make fair decisions.

a) If yes, from who and how much have you received from each?

Answer:
I’ve taken contributions from Chevy Chase Land Co. ($300) and Bethesda Center, LLC ($250, part of the Bernstein Companies). Both are working on important transit oriented developments in our county.

Question 6: Renter Education and Advocacy Fund
For decades, well-financed landlord and other interested industry organizations have been able to lobby state and local legislatures, take legal action against tenants and defend against tenants seeking promised services, code-required maintenance and quality living environments. To ensure that tenants have a voice and can reasonably act to secure their homes, would you support the creation of a state fund established by placing a per unit fee on landlords with six units or more to support education, outreach and legal defense through nonprofit advocates and other community organizations?

Answer: Yes. I would support a legislative proposal consistent with this suggestion. Your organization can be a model for advocacy and education on renters issues across the State of Maryland.

Question 7: Personal and Professional Support for Renters Rights

Describe any actions you have personally undertaken in your career to protect tenants’ rights, rent regulation, or the preservation of affordable housing.

Answer: Some of my pro bono legal work has been for the DC Bar Landlord-Tenant program, representing tenants. I have secured favorable settlements for clients and am proud to assist them.

Question 8: Tenant Organizing
Do you support the right of tenants to organize in order to address concerns about quality, repair, safety and cost of their rental homes, and promised services?

Answer: Yes, tenants should have the rights to organize in order to ensure that their rights are protected.

If yes, would you support legislation protecting renters’ ability to distribute literature, protect the posting of literature in common areas against premature or unreasonable removal, protect renters’ rights to organize and meet with other tenants independently and/or with the assistance of outside organizers in common areas of rental properties?

Answer: Yes, these practices are essential to ensuring fair and equitable treatment of renters in Montgomery County and District 16.

Question 9: Expanding and Protecting Below Market Rate Rental Housing
What steps would you take to increase the availability of below market rate, affordable rental housing and ensure that there is no loss of existing lower income rental housing, for example due to the building of the Purple Line?

Answer: Yes. Montgomery County must be attractive to renters. Policymakers must use creativity to ensure that housing exists for lower-income residents through tax incentives, increased supply, and a greater mix of options.

Question 10: Ending Deceptive Business Practices by Landlords
In some rental communities, landlords promise, deceptively, to make repairs, provide services or building improvements, charge unfair and undeclared fees and other questionable and deceptive business practices.

Do you support expanding the Consumer Protection Act to prohibit all landlord deceptive and unfair practices and provide renters with a legal remedy?

Answer: Yes, renters should be able to sign a lease with the confidence that there are safeguards that ensure the protection of their basic rights.


Andrew Platt

Andrew Platt

Candidate for State Delegate

Website: http://www.andrewplatt.org/

Bio:
Andrew Platt is running for Delegate to bring common sense solutions to Annapolis. Born in Rockville and raised in a working class neighborhood in Gaithersburg, Andrew is the son of a mailman and learned at a young age the importance of hard work and playing by the rules. At a time when government seems broken and divisive, and politicians care more about keeping their job than fighting for yours, we need bold and innovative leaders like Andrew in elected office.

The product of Montgomery County Public Schools and the first in his family to graduate from college, Andrew understands that access to a good public education from pre-K through college is a right, not a privilege granted to only a special few. That’s why he’ll fight for new and innovative education policies that make sure all of our children are able to achieve their full intellectual potential.

After working his way through college, Andrew went to work for Donna Brazile, the Vice Chair of Voter Registration and Participation for the Democratic National Committee. Andrew then got a job on Capitol Hill working for the House Democratic Caucus, the legislative and communications hub for House Democrats. As a staffer for the Caucus, Andrew worked to help advance legislation to create jobs, grow our middle class, and protect Social Security and Medicare from drastic cuts. While working full-time on Capitol Hill, Andrew went to graduate school at night and received his Master’s degree.

Now Andrew is running for Delegate to heighten the political conversation in Maryland and bring big ideas and concrete solutions to Annapolis. Andrew’s campaign won’t be platitudes and talking points. It’s going to be an ongoing conversation with folks like you – talking about how we can make government work better to improve our schools, grow our middle class, and make sure that Maryland’s economy gets going again.

For too long, our faith in public institutions has been eroding. It’s time we reverse that trend by making sure government is looking out for all of its citizens – leveling the playing field and giving everyone a fair shot at the American Dream.

It isn’t going to be easy – change never is. With your continued support, we’re going to build a people-powered campaign that will harness the power of collective action. Together, we can restore faith in the ability of our government and elected officials to do good work.

Question 1: Rent Stabilization
Rents across Montgomery County and other regions are skyrocketing. Landlords in some areas, are seeking annual increases of over 8 percent each year forcing renters to move from their homes. In Montgomery County alone more than 30% of residents live in rental housing. Many are long-term residents, seniors and working families. Do you support state-wide legislation that would stabilize rent increases similar to those programs in Washington D.C., or Takoma Park, MD, by establishing a reasonable annual cap based on the Consumer Price Index, or some other measure?

Answer: Yes. I support this policy. Rent stabilization is critical to making sure that working families aren’t forced to move year-to-year.

a) Annual lease renewals often come with the stipulation that should a renter decide to renew for a short term, either a few months or on a month-to-month basis, their rent increase can be as high as 40%. Would you support a state law which forbids treating short-term lease rent increases from being treated differently from annual lease renewals?

Answer: Yes. Landlords shouldn’t be able to squeeze renters just because there’s a change from a long-term lease to a short-term lease. Such a practice takes advantage of the basic rights of renters.

b) Like renters, businesses are often faced with skyrocketing rents that force good businesses to close their doors, or move elsewhere. In many cases, there are no other businesses to replace those departing commercial space and storefronts leaving them empty for months and, in some cases, years at a time, reducing overall economic activity and stifling community economic development. Do you support commercial rent stabilization, or some form of tax incentives and/or penalties for landlords who either price out businesses or fail to rent out commercial spaces over a reasonable period of time due to excessive rent demands?

Answer: Yes. This is a particular problem in the eastern part of Gaithersburg, where many small businesses are being priced out of the spaces they’ve been renting for years.

Question 2: Just-Cause Eviction Law
Renters throughout the state of Maryland can be told with as little as 60 days notice that their lease will not be renewed and that they must leave their rental homes. No explanation has to be provided. The result keeps renters in a constant state of uncertainty and in fear of losing their homes, possibly as a result of demanding promised services or maintenance, or organizing tenants or any other reason the landlord may have. Just-cause eviction law requires landlords to automatically renew a lease under substantially the same terms, with the exception of a reasonable and fair rent increase absent just-cause, e.g., failure to pay rent, criminal activity, taking the apartment off the market or other substantial breaches of a lease. Do you support just-cause eviction legislation?

Answer: Yes. Landlords shouldn’t be able to create a life of uncertainty and anxiety for their tenants.

a) Do you support strengthening Maryland’s anti-retaliation law to remove a cap on damages and arbitrary restrictions on tenants bringing retaliation claims? RPCode:8208.1

Answer:
Yes.

Question 3: Forced Renters Insurance
Recently, an increasing number of landlords have been demanding that tenants purchase renters insurance and name the landlord as a beneficiary of the liability protection in the event of a suit. Failure to do so, say the renewal notices, will constitute a substantial breach of lease and grounds for eviction. The Renters Alliance encourages renters to purchase renters insurance, but believes that it must be the renter’s choice. Furthermore, we oppose the practice of forcing renters to name the landlord, property managers and building staff as beneficiaries of renter’s insurance policies. Would you support legislation making such practices illegal?

Answer: Yes. This practice is just another way that landlords are trying to rig the market against tenants.

Question 4: Landlord Status
Are you a landlord? Do you rent out apartments or space in your home to tenants?

Answer: No

Question 5: Campaign support
Do you accept campaign contributions from real estate, developer or landlord interested groups, associations or individuals.

Answer: No

Question 6: Renter Education and Advocacy Fund
For decades, well-financed landlord and other interested industry organizations have been able to lobby state and local legislatures, take legal action against tenants and defend against tenants seeking promised services, code-required maintenance and quality living environments. To ensure that tenants have a voice and can reasonably act to secure their homes, would you support the creation of a state fund established by placing a per unit fee on landlords with six units or more to support education, outreach and legal defense through nonprofit advocates and other community organizations?

Answer: Yes. Public policy ought to work for the many, not the special few who have the resources to twist legislation against those who need help. This fund would help reverse that trend.

Question 7: Personal and Professional Support for Renters Rights

Describe any actions you have personally undertaken in your career to protect tenants’ rights, rent regulation, or the preservation of affordable housing.

Answer: I have attended many affordable housing events to demonstrate my support to increase the supply of affordable housing in Montgomery County and in Maryland. I have attended the Affordable Housing Conference of Montgomery County to strengthen my understanding of the issues surrounding affordable housing.

Question 8: Tenant Organizing
Do you support the right of tenants to organize in order to address concerns about quality, repair, safety and cost of their rental homes, and promised services?

Answer: Yes.

If yes, would you support legislation protecting renters’ ability to distribute literature, protect the posting of literature in common areas against premature or unreasonable removal, protect renters’ rights to organize and meet with other tenants independently and/or with the assistance of outside organizers in common areas of rental properties?

Answer: Yes. It’s a fundamental right of renters to have the ability to organize for their economic well-being.

Question 9: Expanding and Protecting Below Market Rate Rental Housing
What steps would you take to increase the availability of below market rate, affordable rental housing and ensure that there is no loss of existing lower income rental housing, for example due to the building of the Purple Line?

Answer: The construction of the Purple Line should not be allowed to decrease the supply of affordable housing in the regions impacted by building the line. If it does happen, there ought to be a law introduced so that for every affordable housing unit removed due to the construction of the Purple Line, there ought to be two units of affordable housing built in a similar location.

Question 10: Ending Deceptive Business Practices by Landlords
In some rental communities, landlords promise, deceptively, to make repairs, provide services or building improvements, charge unfair and undeclared fees and other questionable and deceptive business practices.

Do you support expanding the Consumer Protection Act to prohibit all landlord deceptive and unfair practices and provide renters with a legal remedy?

Answer: Yes. I support expanding the Consumer Protection Act, but that isn’t enough. We need more progressives in the House who are willing to propose a Tenants Bill of Rights, which would be a comprehensive set of policies to protect tenants from bad landlords, exorbitant rent increases, unjust evictions, and other harmful policies.


Jonathan Shurberg

Jonathan Shurberg

Candidate for State Delegate

Website: https://www.facebook.com/VoteJonathan20

Question 1: Rent Stabilization
Rents across Montgomery County and other regions are skyrocketing. Landlords in some areas, are seeking annual increases of over 8 percent each year forcing renters to move from their homes. In Montgomery County alone more than 30% of residents live in rental housing. Many are long-term residents, seniors and working families. Do you support state-wide legislation that would stabilize rent increases similar to those programs in Washington D.C., or Takoma Park, MD, by establishing a reasonable annual cap based on the Consumer Price Index, or some other measure?

Answer: Yes. I support the provisions of HB 315, Delegate Sheila Hixon’s 2013 bill that would provide, among other things, a 5% cap on annual rent increases.

a) Annual lease renewals often come with the stipulation that should a renter decide to renew for a short term, either a few months or on a month-to-month basis, their rent increase can be as high as 40%. Would you support a state law which forbids treating short-term lease rent increases from being treated differently from annual lease renewals?

Answer: Yes. I support providing a cap on short-term lease rent increases. Such a law should recognize the interests of tenants seeking such leases and the reasonable needs of landlords.

b) Like renters, businesses are often faced with skyrocketing rents that force good businesses to close their doors, or move elsewhere. In many cases, there are no other businesses to replace those departing commercial space and storefronts leaving them empty for months and, in some cases, years at a time, reducing overall economic activity and stifling community economic development. Do you support commercial rent stabilization, or some form of tax incentives and/or penalties for landlords who either price out businesses or fail to rent out commercial spaces over a reasonable period of time due to excessive rent demands?

Answer: Yes. Too often, commercial landlords see profit in allowing properties to remain vacant or underutilized rather than accept a reasonable rent. Incentives should maximize commercial activity to the greatest degree possible.

Question 2: Just-Cause Eviction Law
Renters throughout the state of Maryland can be told with as little as 60 days notice that their lease will not be renewed and that they must leave their rental homes. No explanation has to be provided. The result keeps renters in a constant state of uncertainty and in fear of losing their homes, possibly as a result of demanding promised services or maintenance, or organizing tenants or any other reason the landlord may have. Just-cause eviction law requires landlords to automatically renew a lease under substantially the same terms, with the exception of a reasonable and fair rent increase absent just-cause, e.g., failure to pay rent, criminal activity, taking the apartment off the market or other substantial breaches of a lease. Do you support just-cause eviction legislation?

Answer: I support the provisions of HB 315, Delegate Sheila Hixon’s 2013 bill that would provide, among other things, a ban on evictions other than for just cause.

a) Do you support strengthening Maryland’s anti-retaliation law to remove a cap on damages and arbitrary restrictions on tenants bringing retaliation claims? RPCode:8208.1

Answer:
I support removing (1) the cap on damages, and (2) the requirement that a tenant be current on rent to qualify under this section.

Question 3: Forced Renters Insurance
Recently, an increasing number of landlords have been demanding that tenants purchase renters insurance and name the landlord as a beneficiary of the liability protection in the event of a suit. Failure to do so, say the renewal notices, will constitute a substantial breach of lease and grounds for eviction. The Renters Alliance encourages renters to purchase renters insurance, but believes that it must be the renter’s choice. Furthermore, we oppose the practice of forcing renters to name the landlord, property managers and building staff as beneficiaries of renter’s insurance policies. Would you support legislation making such practices illegal?

Answer: Yes. I support removing (1) the cap on damages, and (2) the requirement that a tenant be current on rent to qualify under this section.

Question 4: Landlord Status
Are you a landlord? Do you rent out apartments or space in your home to tenants?

Answer: No, I am not a landlord.

Question 5: Campaign support
Do you accept campaign contributions from real estate, developer or landlord interested groups, associations or individuals.

Answer: I do not anticipate seeking or receiving such donations.

Question 6: Renter Education and Advocacy Fund
For decades, well-financed landlord and other interested industry organizations have been able to lobby state and local legislatures, take legal action against tenants and defend against tenants seeking promised services, code-required maintenance and quality living environments. To ensure that tenants have a voice and can reasonably act to secure their homes, would you support the creation of a state fund established by placing a per unit fee on landlords with six units or more to support education, outreach and legal defense through nonprofit advocates and other community organizations?

Answer: Yes. Such a fund would go a long way to create fairness for renters. Economic disparities have long caused legislative and legal outcomes to inequitably favor the party with greater means.

Question 7: Personal and Professional Support for Renters Rights

Describe any actions you have personally undertaken in your career to protect tenants’ rights, rent regulation, or the preservation of affordable housing.

Answer: I have represented numerous tenants in legal cases, as well as advocating for affordable housing and tenant rights at both the state and county level.

Question 8: Tenant Organizing
Do you support the right of tenants to organize in order to address concerns about quality, repair, safety and cost of their rental homes, and promised services?

Answer: Yes.

If yes, would you support legislation protecting renters’ ability to distribute literature, protect the posting of literature in common areas against premature or unreasonable removal, protect renters’ rights to organize and meet with other tenants independently and/or with the assistance of outside organizers in common areas of rental properties?

Answer: Yes. Such rights are essential to providing a more level playing field for tenants in their dealings with landlords.

Question 9: Expanding and Protecting Below Market Rate Rental Housing
What steps would you take to increase the availability of below market rate, affordable rental housing and ensure that there is no loss of existing lower income rental housing, for example due to the building of the Purple Line?

Answer: The Purple Line should not serve as an excuse to displace current residents and provide higher rents for developers. Continuity of community is more important than profit.

Question 10: Ending Deceptive Business Practices by Landlords
In some rental communities, landlords promise, deceptively, to make repairs, provide services or building improvements, charge unfair and undeclared fees and other questionable and deceptive business practices.

Do you support expanding the Consumer Protection Act to prohibit all landlord deceptive and unfair practices and provide renters with a legal remedy?

Answer: Yes. Such an amendment would require altering the definitions provisions of the statute. I believe that such changes would be highly beneficial to renters and other consumers.


Will Smith

Will Smith

Candidate for State Delegate

Website: http://smithformaryland.com

Bio:
I was born and raised in Silver Spring. While neither of my parents went to college, they taught me the importance of a good education. I was the first person in my family to earn a college degree, graduating from The College of William & Mary. I continued on, gaining my masters from Johns Hopkins University and my law degree from William & Mary.

Born at the tail end of the Jim Crow era, my parents were young adults during the height of the civil rights movement. Their struggle and sacrifice opened the doors of opportunity for me and generations to come and it is their example that taught me the importance of giving back to others. That’s why I enrolled in Americorps, where I worked as a community engagement leader for IMPACT Silver Spring. The desire to give back is also why I sought and received a commission as an officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve in the years following 9/11. Giving back to the community that has given so much to me is why I founded the Youth Achieve Scholarship Fund, raising money to help well-qualified students with a demonstrated need pay for college.

Professionally, I have also never stopped finding ways to give back. After working at the ACLU and at a civil rights law firm where I handled employment discrimination cases, I was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve in his administration, as a Director at the Department of Homeland Security, organizing briefings and producing policy recommendations on homeland security for top administration officials, including Cabinet Members.

I currently work at a public policy firm and serve on several boards, including: IMPACT Silver Spring, GapBuster Learning Center, The Barrie School, The Gandhi Brigade, and the NAACP Montgomery County Chapter. I have also continued my government service as a member of Montgomery County’s Nighttime Economy Task Force where I serve as chair of the Public Safety Committee. I have also served as Chair of Montgomery County’s Victim Services Advisory Board and Chair of the Community Development Block Grant Board.

In 2010, I coordinated the successful reelection effort of the District 20 legislators. I am now running for the seat being vacated by Delegate Heather Mizeur, who is running for Governor. I’m running to join the District 20 team because I believe the Maryland House of Delegates needs more problem solvers, leaders who know how to tackle the problems facing every family. With a lifelong stake in the success of our community, I understand how state government can work in our best interest. I care deeply about this community and its future, and believe my policy priorities will keep District 20 on a smart and progressive path forward.

Question 1: Rent Stabilization
Rents across Montgomery County and other regions are skyrocketing. Landlords in some areas, are seeking annual increases of over 8 percent each year forcing renters to move from their homes. In Montgomery County alone more than 30% of residents live in rental housing. Many are long-term residents, seniors and working families. Do you support state-wide legislation that would stabilize rent increases similar to those programs in Washington D.C., or Takoma Park, MD, by establishing a reasonable annual cap based on the Consumer Price Index, or some other measure?

Answer: Yes. While local jurisdictions in Maryland have the ability to enact stabilization laws, many fail to do so and the results can be debilitating for our most financially vulnerable neighbors. Municipalities like Takoma Park have lead the way and have enacted legislation that only allows landlords to increase rent by a percentage equal to the current year’s increase in the Consumer Price Index-All Urban Consumers (CPI-U). Montgomery County has also made some tremendous strides forward, and while the County has no statutory prohibition on rent increases, the County does issue annual guidance that tags rate increases to the Consumer Price Index for the previous year for the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area (for 2013 that rate was 4%).

As your Delegate, I would support legislation that would establish a responsible annual cap on rent increases.

a) Annual lease renewals often come with the stipulation that should a renter decide to renew for a short term, either a few months or on a month-to-month basis, their rent increase can be as high as 40%. Would you support a state law which forbids treating short-term lease rent increases from being treated differently from annual lease renewals?

Answer: Yes. Responsible, qualified tenants should not be penalized for short term leases. I support legislation forbidding the treatment of short-term lease rent increases differently than annual renewals.

b) Like renters, businesses are often faced with skyrocketing rents that force good businesses to close their doors, or move elsewhere. In many cases, there are no other businesses to replace those departing commercial space and storefronts leaving them empty for months and, in some cases, years at a time, reducing overall economic activity and stifling community economic development. Do you support commercial rent stabilization, or some form of tax incentives and/or penalties for landlords who either price out businesses or fail to rent out commercial spaces over a reasonable period of time due to excessive rent demands?

Answer: Yes. Business, and especially small businesses, make up the fabric and character of District 20. According to the United States Small Business Administration, 97.5% of all employers in Maryland are small businesses. These employers range from the “Mom and Pop” restaurants and shops like Kefa Café and Zeds that make our favorite dishes to high-tech startups developing the newest app. Much like the tax and stabilization incentives that were used to spur business development in downtown Silver Spring, I full support incentivizing stabilization through tax relief and or some form of commercial rent stabilization.

Question 2: Just-Cause Eviction Law
Renters throughout the state of Maryland can be told with as little as 60 days notice that their lease will not be renewed and that they must leave their rental homes. No explanation has to be provided. The result keeps renters in a constant state of uncertainty and in fear of losing their homes, possibly as a result of demanding promised services or maintenance, or organizing tenants or any other reason the landlord may have. Just-cause eviction law requires landlords to automatically renew a lease under substantially the same terms, with the exception of a reasonable and fair rent increase absent just-cause, e.g., failure to pay rent, criminal activity, taking the apartment off the market or other substantial breaches of a lease. Do you support just-cause eviction legislation?

Answer: Renters are deserve a sense of stability and predictability and I fully support just-cause eviction legislation such as the requirements established in Chairwoman Hixson’s HB315.

a) Do you support strengthening Maryland’s anti-retaliation law to remove a cap on damages and arbitrary restrictions on tenants bringing retaliation claims? RPCode:8208.1

Answer:
Yes. I support efforts to strengthen Maryland’s anti-retaliation law and would support the r adjustment of the current cap on damages.

Question 3: Forced Renters Insurance
Recently, an increasing number of landlords have been demanding that tenants purchase renters insurance and name the landlord as a beneficiary of the liability protection in the event of a suit. Failure to do so, say the renewal notices, will constitute a substantial breach of lease and grounds for eviction. The Renters Alliance encourages renters to purchase renters insurance, but believes that it must be the renter’s choice. Furthermore, we oppose the practice of forcing renters to name the landlord, property managers and building staff as beneficiaries of renter’s insurance policies. Would you support legislation making such practices illegal?

Answer: Yes. I support the elimination of this practice and would fight for legislation that gives the tenant the ability choose the beneficiary of their insurance policy.

Question 4: Landlord Status
Are you a landlord? Do you rent out apartments or space in your home to tenants?

Answer: No.

Question 5: Campaign support
Do you accept campaign contributions from real estate, developer or landlord interested groups, associations or individuals.

Answer: Yes. Though I have not received donations from those involved in real estate, if and when I do, it will be with the full understanding that my decision making process is fair and impartial.

Question 6: Renter Education and Advocacy Fund
For decades, well-financed landlord and other interested industry organizations have been able to lobby state and local legislatures, take legal action against tenants and defend against tenants seeking promised services, code-required maintenance and quality living environments. To ensure that tenants have a voice and can reasonably act to secure their homes, would you support the creation of a state fund established by placing a per unit fee on landlords with six units or more to support education, outreach and legal defense through nonprofit advocates and other community organizations?

Answer: I would support the drafting of such legislation. This is an innovative idea capable of arming renters with the education and resources they need to combat unfair practices.

Question 7: Personal and Professional Support for Renters Rights

Describe any actions you have personally undertaken in your career to protect tenants’ rights, rent regulation, or the preservation of affordable housing.

Answer: I have provided legal advice to several individuals facing land lord tenant issues through my pro bono work in Montgomery County and hope to continue doing so in the near future.

Question 8: Tenant Organizing
Do you support the right of tenants to organize in order to address concerns about quality, repair, safety and cost of their rental homes, and promised services?

Answer: Yes. I support the right of tenants to freely associate and organize in effort to ensure their rights and liberties are protected.

If yes, would you support legislation protecting renters’ ability to distribute literature, protect the posting of literature in common areas against premature or unreasonable removal, protect renters’ rights to organize and meet with other tenants independently and/or with the assistance of outside organizers in common areas of rental properties?

Answer: Yes. These elements are essential to the dissemination of critical information and are critical for the full and effective functioning of any organization.

Question 9: Expanding and Protecting Below Market Rate Rental Housing
What steps would you take to increase the availability of below market rate, affordable rental housing and ensure that there is no loss of existing lower income rental housing, for example due to the building of the Purple Line?

Answer: Though much of this issue falls under the purview of the County Council, I would support efforts to encourage mixed development so as to include reasonably priced rental housing.

Question 10: Ending Deceptive Business Practices by Landlords
In some rental communities, landlords promise, deceptively, to make repairs, provide services or building improvements, charge unfair and undeclared fees and other questionable and deceptive business practices.

Do you support expanding the Consumer Protection Act to prohibit all landlord deceptive and unfair practices and provide renters with a legal remedy?

Answer: Yes. When renters sign a lease they should have full faith that their contract will be enforced and that there will be swift legal remedy for the deceptive/illegal practice of non-enforcement.


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