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Please join DTMG as we host a forum on What's Next for Maryland Schools.

Maryland Schools, especially in Montgomery County, were regularly ranked #1 in the nation until things began to change four years ago. Today we're ranked #6 after years of steady decline. Schools statewide are underfunded by $3 billion. The Kirwan Commission has been working for two years on game-changing policies to restore excellence, but ultimately it is up to state government to fund and implement these changes.

Learn how you can use your voice to advocate for change at our forum "What's Next for Maryland Schools" on Saturday February 9 from 10 a.m. to noon at Newport Mill Middle School in Kensington. Panelists include Rich Madaleno, Director, Montgomery County Office of Management and Budget, former State Senator (D18) and Kirwan Commission member; Maryland Delegate Jared Solomon (D18); MoCo Board of Education At-Large member Karla Silvestre; and Joe Francaviglia, Partnership Director at Strong Schools Maryland. Sign up here and help restore our schools.

Ranked Choice Voting Day of Action Slated for Wednesday

Wednesday January 23 (1-23) is a Day of Action for Ranked Choice Voting (RCV), and you can take actions right from home or on your phone. RCV enables voters to rank their preferences for multiple candidates on a ballot, ensuring that candidates elected have the support of a majority (not just a plurality) of voters.

Maryland Senator Cheryl Kagan (D19) and Delegate Eric Luedtke (D14) have introduced a bill, MC29-19, that enables the Montgomery County Council to evaluate and adopt RCV of approval voting methods for elections for certain county offices. Our Action is to encourage our elected officials to support this enabling legislation. Click here for suggested asks and talking points to use when emailing your state and county elected officials, links to their contact information, and some suggested tweets you can use to amplify this effort. #RankedChoiceVoting_EasyAs123.

Happy 2nd Anniversary to DoTheMostGood Montgomery County!

Thank you to everyone who joined us on Sunday to celebrate DTMG's second anniversary and to all of you who have helped our cause along the way. And thanks to the guests who supported our raffle on Sunday, as well as a generous donation from Congressman Jamie Raskin (Maryland District 8), DTMG raised more than $1,500 to allow us to advance our work, which includes a slate of community forums throughout the year. Raskin commended the successes our volunteers had in taking back the House in the recent midterm elections, but urged us to keep fighting in 2019 and 2020 and beyond.

Thanks, also, to DTMG steering committee member Ashwani Jain for opening his home for Sunday's celebration, and to all the volunteers who helped make the event a success.

At the celebration on Sunday, attendees had a chance to try their hands at Ranked Choice Voting, which lets voters rank their choice of candidates on a scale. In our (decidedly unscientific) experiment, Kamala Harris, who didn't officially enter the race for president until yesterday, was the ultimate winner through a successive narrowing of the field of candidates. Thanks to RCV Maryland for its role in facilitating the demonstration. If you're intrigued by ranked choice voting, see above for Wednesday's Day of Action.

Spotlight Events

MD Action On A Global Climate Emergency to Meet Saturday in Takoma Park

Please join Takoma Park Mobilization,  DTMG MoCo and others for a Maryland Action On A Global Climate Emergency on Saturday January 26 from 4 to 6 p.m. at Piney Branch Elementary School at 7510 Maple Avenue in Takoma Park. Speakers include Maryland Senator Brian Feldman, lead sponsor of the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act; Tamara Toles O'Laughlin, executive director of the Maryland Environmental Health Network; Mike Tidwell, executive director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network; Gina Mathias, sustainability manager for the City of Takoma Park; and a representative from the Sunrise Movement. Event co-sponsors include the City of Takoma Park's Municipal Government Committee on the Environment; the Climate Mobilization, Montgomery County Chapter; and 350 Montgomery County. Check our website for more information.

Lobby Next Month with DTMG and Strong Schools MD

DTMG is a founding member of Strong Schools Maryland, and as you'll learn in our February 9 education forum, Strong Schools Maryland is ramping up its advocacy during Maryland's 2019 legislative session. Organizers will be in Annapolis every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday during the legislative session. Tuesday February 12 is DTMG's designated lobby day.

Join our team members in Annapolis from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Sign up here to represent DoTheMostGood and Strong Schools Maryland on February 12, and you will receive specifics by email closer to the event about where to meet. If you cannot join us on February 12, please choose an alternate date to lobby with Strong Schools Maryland.

Save the Date for DTMG's Forum on Transportation

Our March forum will focus on transportation policy at the state and county level on Saturday March 9 from 10 a.m. to noon at Newport Mill Middle School in Kensington. Speakers confirmed to date include Maryland Delegate Marc Korman (D 16); Stewart Schwartz, Executive Director of the Coalition for Smarter Growth; and Susan Swift, Executive Director of the Suburban Maryland Transportation Alliance.

More Upcoming Events

Montgomery County Seeks Input for 2020 Operating Budget

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich plans to continue his series of FY 2020 operating budget forums to get input from county residents. Sessions will be held Tuesday January 22 at Eastern Montgomery Regional Services Center, 3300 Briggs Chaney Road, Silver Spring; Wednesday January 23 at the Mid-County Recreation Center, 2004 Queensguard Road, Silver Spring; Thursday January 31 at BlackRock Center for the Arts at 12901 Town Commons Drive in Germantown (snow date for the canceled January 14 session) and Monday February 4 at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, 4301 East West Highway in Bethesda. All sessions start at 7 p.m. Find more info here.

Join Sierra Club Webinar with Maryland Delegate Vaughn Stewart

Register today for a webinar on Thursday January 24 at 7 p.m. with Maryland Delegate Vaughn Stewart (District 19) as he discusses a bill he's sponsoring to study the climate-related impact of new highway projects, including the proposed I-270 expansion. Sign up here for the event highlighting one of the priority bills of the Maryland Sierra Club. In related actions, you can also:

  • Check our website for five ways to support the Maryland Sierra Club's legislative priorities for the 2019 session.
  • Meet with the Montgomery County, Maryland, Sierra Club on Monday January 28 at 7 p.m. at the Rockville Memorial Library, 21 Maryland Avenue, in Rockville.
  • Join the Annual Environmental Legislative Summit on Wednesday February 6 from 4 to 6 p.m. in Annapolis, co-sponsored by the Maryland Sierra Club and several other environmental groups. More info here.
  • Attend the Maryland Sierra Club lobby night Monday February 25 in Annapolis.

District 20 Officials to Discuss Legislative Priorities

Meet on Saturday January 26 at Piney Branch Elementary School, 7510 Maple Avenue in Takoma Park, from 3 to 4 p.m. as elected officials representing Maryland's District 20 discuss their progressive priorities for the 2019 Maryland legislative session. Speakers include state Senator William Colonel Smith Jr., Delegate Jheanelle Wilkins, and Delegate Lorig Charkoudian.

MCDCC to Host Listening Session

The Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee is holding a listening session on the lessons that the local party can learn from the 2018 election, as it prepares for 2020, on Saturday January 26 from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Activity Center at Bohrer Park, 506 S. Frederick Avenue, Gaithersburg.

Attend the Women's Legislative Briefing in Rockville

The Montgomery County Commission for Women is hosting its 39th annual Women's Legislative Briefing on Sunday January 27 from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Universities at Shady Grove in Rockville. For registration, tickets, and a schedule of events, check here.

Citizens Against Beltway Expansion to Hold Public Meeting

Join the Citizens Against Beltway Expansion on Sunday January 27 from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Indian Springs Recreation Center at 9717 Lawndale Drive in Silver Spring as it discusses its goals for the first half of the year, including the crucial Maryland legislative session. More info at www.cabe495.com.  

Before you go, read the January 7, 2019, letter from the Department of Legislative Services to budget officials at the Maryland General Assembly recommending Maryland Governor Larry Hogan withdraw a December 11, 2018, pre-solicitation report from the Maryland Transportation Authority on proposed privatized toll lanes for I-270 and I-495. Then contact your state senators and urge them to support the recommendations from the DLS letter.

MD Party Chair To Address BCC Democratic Breakfast Club

Make plans to attend the Monday February 4 (7:30 to 9:30 a.m.) gathering of the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Democratic Breakfast Club at the Original Pancake House at 7703 Woodmont Avenue in Bethesda, featuring Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, incoming chair of the Maryland Democratic Party.

Resources Available for Federal Workers Impacted by Shutdown

Following a January 9 rally in Silver Spring calling for an end to the ongoing Trump Shutdown of a large part of the federal government, Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland's 8th district shared a list of resources for furloughed workers and other local residents impacted by the delay in re-opening the government. The list includes links to local food assistance, interest-free loans, and filing for unemployment benefits. Find a list from Congressman Elijah Cummings (Maryland District 7) of resources for Maryland workers here. And here is a link to food-related discounts or giveaways for furloughed workers in the region compiled last week by Our Community Now.

Help Refugee/Asylum Seekers with Rides or Donations

DTMG is working with Takoma Park Mobilization's immigration subcommittee and the Montgomery County chapter of the ACLU to assist refugees vetted as asylum seekers who are being sent to our area. Train to be a greeter for arrivals at the Silver Spring bus station or volunteer to drive refugees to Baltimore for check-ins with ICE; contact Roxanne Weiss at ranaraine@gmail.com. Direct Support for Immigrants has also set up an online donation site here to collect money for legal fees, burner phones, or Lyft rides.

The group is also collecting items for welcome bags for newly-arriving refugees:
  • Adult travelers will receive socks, gloves, hats, towels, tissues, baby wipes, hand sanitizer, deodorant, combs, toothbrushes, and toothpaste.
  • Volunteer greeters will offer travelers these add-on items as needed: Water; menstrual care items; boxes of chocolate milk; bags of children's socks (small, medium, large or newborn); children's toothbrushes; kids' journals, coloring books, and crayons; diapers of various sizes; travel-size tissue packs; children's and adults' coats in various sizes; kids' hats and gloves; and travel-ready food (apple sauce, Goldfish crackers, protein bars, and fruit snacks).
  • To donate, please contact Gwen Stewart at gwenatsumner@gmail.com.

Sign Petition to Call for Release of ICE Detainee

Help us demand the release of Roxana Orellana Santos, a mother of four and civil rights hero who was taken into custody during a regular check-in with ICE in Baltimore earlier this month and faces deportation, by signing this petition from CASA.

For updated information between our Action Update newsletters, please check our website at www.dothemostgoodmoco.org.