Dawn D. Gile
Severna Park, Anne Arundel County
Bachelor of Arts (2002), Rockford University, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa; major: psychology, minor: French. Juris Doctor (2006), Loyola University Chicago School of Law.
Why are you running for office?
I decided to run for office after seeing a need for more effective representation on four key priorities: providing greater support for working families, strengthening environmental protections, helping local businesses thrive, and investing in our public schools. In particular, I am a strong supporter of paid family and medical leave as well as expanded access to affordable, quality childcare. Additionally, as a mother of three, I care deeply about ensuring that every child has the chance to learn and thrive in a safe environment, and I will work to provide the resources that our schools and communities need. Most importantly, I am committed to serving with integrity and responsiveness to constituent needs.
What is the most pressing issue in your district?
District 33 has many different communities with varying top issues, so I do not believe there is a "most pressing issue" that encompasses the entire district. When I speak with certain voters, I hear public safety concerns and the urgent need to address crime. In other areas of the District, investment in our public schools is a top issue, particularly in regions that have seen significant population growth resulting in school overcrowding. Other residents have voiced concerns about environmental issues, such as the need to protect the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed and to address the impact of climate change. Overall, I believe it is imperative that we provide much-needed support for working families and local businesses as we continue to recover from the pandemic.
How will you help your constituents deal with inflation?
There is no doubt that inflation has placed an immense strain on Marylanders, particularly on working families and retirees on fixed incomes. Many of the tax relief policies that the General Assembly implemented in the most recent session, including tax relief for retirees and exemptions for hygiene and childcare products, are steps in the right direction. I would continue to fight for an expansion of targeted tax relief that is fiscally sustainable and responsible but also provides the greatest support for the most vulnerable Marylanders such as working families and retirees. I also think we need to ensure that residents have access to jobs with good benefits, and further, that smart policy decisions are made so that small businesses are supported.
What do you see as the top transportation priority in your district, and how would you address it?
The significant population growth in Anne Arundel County has led to frustrating traffic congestion in certain areas due to infrastructure not keeping pace with the growing population. There are multiple traffic corridors throughout the District, including Routes 2 and 3, that need to be addressed, and I would support traffic studies and solutions to ease congestion in problematic corridors. Moreover, I believe that additional funds need to be invested in public transportation to make it a reliable, clean, convenient, and safe means of transport. Similarly, I would prioritize bike and pedestrian infrastructure funding.
What should schools do differently during the next pandemic to help students, families and teachers?
In a time of crisis, Maryland schools did an admirable job of adopting policies and procedures to keep students and staff safe from COVID-19. There are, however, numerous lessons to be taken into the next public health crisis. Keeping up with the need for both PPE and testing kits was a challenge throughout the crisis and showcased the need for better coordination between state, local and federal agencies to protect vulnerable Marylanders. We also need to prioritize students' social and mental health, and I would support funding for mental health counselors in public schools. Additionally, I would work to expand existing efforts to build our broadband infrastructure, particularly in rural counties and underserved communities, and to bridge the digital divide. Finally, addressing teacher burnout and shortages is an important concern, and we need to implement measures to boost recruitment and retention and to provide better administrative support for current educators.
How equitably do police officers treat people of color?
Public safety is one of the top concerns that I hear about from constituents in my district. As a military spouse, I am acutely aware of the risks taken by those in uniform while serving and protecting our communities, and the police have my enduring support. Further, while I believe that the overwhelming majority of our police force serves honorably with integrity, I do believe that those police officers who engage in misconduct should be held accountable for their actions. I also support increased funding and resources to provide police officers with thorough and comprehensive training with equity being a top issue to be addressed.
What would you do to make sure Maryland's voting system is secure and accurate?
Maryland, like the rest of the United States, already has some of the most secure and accurate elections in the world. The General Assembly has rightly focused on increasing access to voting through expanding vote-by-mail in the state and implementing measures that improved curing ballots. I would continue to make Maryland's voting system secure and accurate by ensuring that both physical and electronic voting records are maintained using the best available technology and cybersecurity standards. In addition, I would support improved processes for tallying and curing ballots.
What are the right goals and deadlines for Maryland to reduce carbon emissions and develop renewable energy sources?
The deadlines outlined by the General Assembly in the Climate Solutions Now Act set bold, aggressive, and practical goals for reducing Maryland's emissions of greenhouse gasses 60% by 2030 and reaching net neutral emissions by 2045. Those are the right goals to ensure that we reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and other sources of carbon emissions in a timely manner, without disrupting the Maryland economy in the process. I believe that the evidence is clear that to address global warming and severe climate change impacts, we need to invest in low carbon energy sources. I also support improvements to Maryland's public transportation system and a replacement of Maryland's fossil fuel fleet, including buses and other state-owned vehicles, with electric vehicles.
What's Maryland's best use of federal COVID relief money?
I believe the best use of federal COVID relief money for Maryland would be to use it to better prepare for future pandemics: identifying and establishing supply chains to provide PPE, tests, vaccines, etc. as well as investing in establishing an effective plan for preventative measures and preparedness. Finally, providing relief to people who may have fallen behind on housing/rental payments or other bills as a result of lost income during the pandemic is perhaps the most important use for these relief funds. The General Assembly has done a lot of work in this regard already, providing $14 million for those needing representation in eviction proceedings. Ultimately, I think that COVID relief money should go to providing a better quality of life post-pandemic to families through good jobs, accessible and affordable health care, and supporting public safety.
Baltimore Sun Media's voter guide allows candidates to provide their background, policy and platforms on issues, in their own words. Any questions or feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, or read more about the questionnaire process here.