By Kimblyn Persaud
As a Democrat from Wheaton, I believe we need a government that can provide for the people, support the weak, downtrodden, and poor. I support a strong government that steps in when society has failed us.
Affirmative action programs were needed when racism prevented jobs and college admissions. Housing programs were necessary when we were kept out of neighborhoods and prevented from being able to rent or buy homes. Schools in urban areas need money, families need child care programs, and nutrition, food, health care and other basic human needs must be provided by the government to help our communities and families.
But in Montgomery County, our Democratic political leaders are failing us. We are one of the wealthiest counties in the entire United States. We should be able to have top schools for every single child, but local political policies keep some of our kids in trailers, or in classrooms without proper heating in the winter, have lunchrooms filled with mice and mice droppings, and other practices that target the poor, minority areas of the county.
Lack of gender equality
In Montgomery County, 52% of the residents are female and 56% of the women are minorities. But the same Democratic Party leadership that requires 50% of delegates to the presidential conventions to be female somehow cannot find a process that provides gender equality on the local council, where eight council members are male and one is female.
Montgomery County is going to face steep budget cuts. There will be revenue loss in the coming year. Departments, agencies, and programs will be reduced or eliminated. And who will lose out the most? The poor, the minorities, and those who don’t have strong voices in the county.
16,000 local residents signed a ballot petition to eliminate at-large seats on the council so that local residents can have someone in their own geographical area represent their interests. But realizing that plan would eliminate the existing seats of four At-Large members, the county council banded together and created a plan to save their own seats, a plan that has a price tag of $3.4 million and will require tax increases on the local residents. The Democratic Party political machine that cannot get mice out of lunchrooms were able to raise funds and organize an effort to save the jobs of four local politicians.
And worse, they are ignoring the financial costs. They are silent on how they will fund the $3.4 million cost to hire more staff and construct new office space, buy new furniture, and pay for more salaries for their buddies. The current council members make $140,371 a year; the council president makes $154,408.
They are instead trying to fear-monger, claiming that opposition to Question C is a Republican effort, which is offensive to me and every other Democratic activist and resident who oppose higher taxes in the middle of COVID-19. They are being reckless and irresponsible, using their power, network, and political donors to continue to oppress and suppress local residents. They are opposing Question D that would provide equal representation to every resident of Montgomery County, and instead supporting their plan that perpetuates discrimination based on gender, color, nationality and even residency.
This is not the progressive values that I believe in, these are not the beliefs of the Democratic Party. But I will not abandon it.
Instead, I will work harder to elect the Biden-Harris ticket and I will spend the next few weeks, days and nights, to educate voters on Questions C and D. I call upon my neighbors in Montgomery County to ask your legislators and council members how they will fund Question C. I ask community and faith leaders to stand up against the inequality we are facing. I urge my Democratic Party friends and colleagues to step up and fight for our progressive values, for equality, to end discrimination, and to put the masses first, not the small group of political leaders who put themselves first.
We need economic and political policies and practices in Montgomery County that reflect our community. Vote against Question C which continues suppression of voters and is anti-democratic. Vote for Question D which will give all our children, families, schools, and minorities a chance to be heard and treated equally in Montgomery County, Maryland.