State Assembly Delegate, District 20 – George Zokle

zokle

1. Tell us about yourself.

I am an openly-gay attorney and civil rights advocate living in Silver Spring.Prior to law school, I worked for the Archdiocese of Baltimore, where I devoted I time to youth protection issues and provided families across Maryland with the resources and education necessary to recognize signs of child abuse. This experience helping children lead me to be a staunch supporter of safe, quality schools. Over the years I have also honed my expertise in Maryland politics earning Master’s Degree in Governmentfrom Johns Hopkins University, working on campaigns, and serving in leadership in Young Democrats clubs, both statewide and in Baltimore.

2) What do you hope to accomplish in office?

If elected as Delegate, I would execute the many progressive goals I have set forth throughout my campaign, such as:

* Building stronger schools with Universal Pre-K for all families and increased funding to help our schools expand and close achievement and cultural gaps.

* Reducing the carbon footprint of District 20 by making climate change, air and water quality a priority

* Achieving economic equality by authorizing Paid Sick Leave, increasing minimum wage, building affordable housing and closing the pay gap for women

3) What would you say your biggest accomplishment has been so far. What does that say about your priorities as delegate?

I am proud to have achieved many accomplishments in my life from several advanced degrees to many commendations, but none are as personally significant to me as the accomplishment of coming out as a gay man. Some may say that simply stating who I have always been may not count as an accomplishment but I disagree. It is a story many in the LGBT community experience all too often: The fear of rejection from a conservative family and the repercussions personally and professionally that may come of my finally telling the truth. I survived a tumultuous time coming out in my 30s and I couldn’t be more proud. This time tested my resilience, courage, compassion, fearlessness and problem-solving ability that I now pride myself on. These are all hallmarks of my character and will apply this heart and tenacity to my work as a public servant as well.

4) Many of you have fought for political causes outside of the assembly. What could you accomplish as a delegate that you couldn’t accomplish as an advocate?

Throughout this campaign, I have been the only candidate who has been outspoken on issues surrounding mental health care and wellness. I have advocated for this issues because I know that is an issue that plagues us all, regardless of socio-economic bracket, race, gender, or sexual orientation. Veterans and adolescents are particularly at-risk and deserve the support that they need. If elected, I would make providing greater access to treatment and education a priority so we can finally eliminate the sigma attached to mental health issues.

5) What distinguishes you from the other candidates?

I look at the office of Delegate not as a selfish political career opportunity, but rather as a post to best serve you. We must remember that a Delegate is a public servant, here to serve in the best interest of the constituents and tend to the daily concerns of my fellow residents. I would be an accessible, hands-on Delegate working diligently to see that our area reaches its full potential.

6) What is the top issue (or one of the top issues) facing the District and how do you propose to deal with it?

All of the issues surrounding our infrastructure is a major issue that concerns us all. We must invest in smarter infrastructure that can serve our community in the best way possible. We need progress while also preserving our diversity of small businesses. I would implement a responsible Purple Line development plan, bus rapid transit and improved pedestrian and cyclist safety measures.

7) What are the top issues facing the Assembly and how do you propose to deal with it?

Increasing revenue for education is vital to closing the achievement gap, expanding Universal Pre-K, and investing in school construction. I will support a cigarette tax increase of at least $1.00 to supplement education funding.

Maryland must also address and invest in climate change programs to improve the quality of our air. I would build coalitions of environmental experts to craft legislation to make environmental improvements.

Transportation development is another top issue. I would engage existing community and governmental organizations to increase the transparency of initiatives like the Purple Line to ensure adequate progress.

8) Please list endorsements:

The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund

9) Please supply links, and contact info.

www.georgezokle.com
https://www.victoryfund.org/our-work/our-candidates/george-zokle
Friends of George Zokle
P.O. Box 8662
Silver Spring, MD 20907

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