The Aegis Opinion

Del. Mary Ann Lisanti: Maryland, nation facing failures of government systems meant to serve people | COMMENTARY

As Americans, as Marylanders and as Harford countians, my friends are facing a great challenge. We are amidst “a perfect storm.” For many, the past year has been the greatest health and economic crisis of a lifetime. Simultaneously, and as a direct result, we are facing catastrophic failures of government systems built to serve people. These systems are responsible for basic government functions such as the distribution of emergency relief funds, unemployment benefits and life-saving vaccinations. In these cases, your state government has let you down and must render aid immediately.

Are these the failures of individuals, of leaders? Or are they failures of neglect or of design? Have we as a people overlooked the responsibility of oversight, or have we simply ignored the role that effective government plays in organized society? Have we become too confident to fail or too big to recognize broken pieces within? Has physical isolation created a myopic view?


Each of these questions keeps me awake at night and weighs heavily on me at the start of the 2021 legislative session in Annapolis. Collectively, as your elected leaders, we must admit failures, assume responsibility, work together and find solutions.

I for one, will not engage in finger-pointing, provide excuses or promote division. I seek to overcome our crisis with empathy, and lead with urgency and determination.


You deserve leaders who fix problems, not promote their glory. You deserve leaders who have compassion for all and have a vision for a future where we thrive based upon our hard work, not our ZIP code, the color of our skin, our cultural beliefs or the mistakes of the past. You deserve leaders who bring people together, not divide and destroy. Most of all, you deserve to be respected for your opinion and encouraged to listen to others who differ.

For my part as one of Maryland’s 188 state legislators, I am focused on helping you navigate these troubled times, casting my vote to represent Harford County and offering my ideas for possible solutions to just a few issues of concern.

As we work in a committee-style setting in Annapolis, my legislative agenda is primarily focused on the matters before the Ways and Means committee where I serve and areas pertaining to my knowledge base. Specifically, my legislative agenda will address internet access, election security, ethics, video tolls collection fees, health insurance for hearing aids, and a tax rebate for all the computer and technology equipment you had to purchase to educate your child or work at home.

Additionally, I am working bills to elect additional members to the school board, expand representation, public input opportunities and help our local watermen. I am working to secure funding for community projects in Edgewood, Aberdeen and Havre de Grace.

To provide you with the best support during these challenging times, I have upgraded my website’s services ( and created a direct telephone line for citizen services, 443-502-0762. My website now includes more useful information, links to expedite common requests, the ability to send me your opinion on proposed legislation, and the ability to send me a direct message. Soon we will be adding more information about my legislation and issues of interest.

To ensure the public has full access to hearings and voting sessions, the Maryland General Assembly has established a YouTube channel for each House and Senate Committee. This is your opportunity to keep up to date with our actions and to engage in the policy decisions we make.

Together we can build a brighter tomorrow. It will take all of us to make progress. Now is the time to collectively re-imagine our future, fix what is broken, emerge stronger, smarter and prepared for future adversity.

Having traveled to all 50 United States and 56 foreign countries, I know that we have inherited the greatest nation on Earth. But, with our greatness comes our fragility. I believe that our scars create our wisdom, our compassion creates our strength, our respect for those who differ, our union and our liberty is balanced by justice.


Our citizenship is a gift we cannot squander.

Mary Ann Lisanti is a Democrat representing District 34A in the Maryland House of Delegates.