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House of Delegates, District 5 candidate: Emily Shank, Democrat

Emily Shank
Emily Shank

Emily Paige Shank

Residence: Eldersburg

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Age: 34

Website: www.emilyshankfordelegate.com

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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EmilyShankforDelegate/

Twitter: @shank4Delegate

Other social media: Instagram: Emily Shank for Delegate

Profession: Attorney (Admitted to the Maryland Bar in 2014)

Current place(s) of employment: Stoner Preston and Boswell, Chartered (2 years)

Education: Juris Doctorate

Community groups involved in: ACLU Know Your Rights trainer, Volunteer attorney at the Carroll County Family Law Clinic, member of the Carroll County Bar

Past political experience: None.

Why are you interested in running for this office?: I'm running because I want to leave my daughters a world that they deserve. Compared to when I was growing up, they are more likely to suffer a drug overdose, be racked with student loan debt, or be the victim of a school shooting. When they graduate high school, they will have to decide if the skyrocketing cost of higher education is worth it, and regardless of that decision, they may not make a living wage. I am not okay with leaving my children this world. I am the six-greats grand-daughter of an American Revolutionary, and I believe deep in my bones we must step up and be accountable for creating the world we want. I want a world where everyone has access to healthcare, where schools are safe and fully funded, and jobs pay a living and fair wage. I'm sick of politicians in Annapolis and Washington who vote solely based on the party next to their name. It's time to put people over politics. If you agree, consider joining our fight.

Explain why you are qualified for the office you seek: In addition to my most important jobs of being a wife and mom, I'm a lawyer and an activist. I fight for what I believe in. Activists often fight from the outside of the system with the goal of changing that system.  As a delegate, I will do the same. I will not become complacent and I will support or oppose issues based on what is best for the residents of Carroll County. I will always put people and issues over party. As a lawyer, I advocate for my clients' interests in the same way I would advocate for my constituents' interests. When a client comes into my office, I always encourage a negotiated settlement. In a settlement, my client is still able to achieve their top priorities, but they save on attorney's fees and they are able to move on emotionally and avoid a long, expensive court battle. I would tackle legislation the same way. I would seek to work with both Democrats and Republicans to get more done, rather than bickering over everything. It will allow the Carroll Delegation to achieve our constituents' top priorities and provide reassurance that our government is functional by passing bipartisan legislation.

What are the three main issues you wish to address during your campaign and how do you plan to address them?

Healthcare. Healthcare is and should be treated as a human right. We need to ensure that every Marylander has access to affordable health care coverage. We must address our failing healthcare system. The options in Maryland are thin, and costs continue to skyrocket. At the same time, Carroll County has been hit hard by the opioid epidemic, and we have seen increases in overdoses year after year. It is time that we stop ignoring mental health, and mental health treatment. While it has been proposed that employers could pay for universal healthcare through a wage tax, I am concerned that may be too burdensome on small business if all business is treated exactly the same. Other proposals of a progressive tax, or sliding scale that balances deductibles and copays based on family income (with some paying nothing when appropriate) may be promising. Ultimately, I would want to see a task force established to find the most appropriate method of funding a public option in the state of Maryland.

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Schools. As a parent, our schools are one of my biggest concerns. In Carroll County our schools are facing budget deficits, redistricting, overcrowding, school closures due to declining enrollment, and underpaid teachers. The amazing thing is that they are still GREAT schools. But we must take action now if we want them to stay great schools. School funding will inevitably face big changes in the coming years, as the Kirwan commission outlines the budget for their proposals, and determinations over the school funding lock-box are made. There will be the opportunity to bring home more school funds to Carroll County, to allow our schools to fulfill their promise — but only if we have leadership ready and willing to fight for Carroll County Public Schools. To increase enrollment and prevent further school closures and redistricting, we must make Carroll a place young families want to and can afford to live.

Economy and Jobs. If we want to attract young families to Carroll County, we must pay people a salary and wage that they can live at. This means a few things: first, we have to pay police and teachers a salary that allows them live in the same communities they are serving, instead of working in other counties, or living across state lines in Pennsylvania. It also means paying hourly workers $15.00. What constitutes a 'living wage' is going to be different county to county — but in Carroll, it's $15.00 according to MIT research. As the daughter of a small business owner, I know it is imperative that this discussion include our local and small businesses. To implement such a law without their input would be to risk our growing economy. I am confident that we can find ways to pay hourly workers a living wage over time, while allowing our local economy to thrive.

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