Heather R. Mizeur
Non-profit leader and farmer
Attended University of Illinois; received high school diploma from Blue Mound High School, Blue Mound, Ill.
Maryland State Delegate, 2007-2015; Takoma Park City Council Member, 2003-2005
Why are you running for office?
I am running for Congress to be your fierce advocate, and a representative who wakes up every day looking for new ways to improve the lives and livelihoods of First District residents. For the past decade in Washington, Congressman Andy Harris has failed to represent us, preferring to play insider politics, cozy up to corporate PACs and special interests, and run to the far-right extreme of his party — all while leaving his constituents behind. We need a Congresswoman whose only focus is putting in the work and delivering meaningful results for our communities. I have a unique ability to build bridges across ideological and partisan divides to find consensus and pass common-sense measures that work for everyone. I am running on my track record of bipartisan accomplishments from my service as a Maryland state legislator, and I am excited to bring that same brand of leadership to Congress.
What is the most pressing issue in your state or district?
Economic strife — specifically working families' struggle to make ends meet due to rising costs — is the number one issue that comes up when I meet people on the campaign trail, regardless of their party or ideology. I hear over and over that we need a leader who understands what people are going through, who listens to them, and who will put politics aside to address the economic issues we face today. That is why I have a detailed, hyper-local plan to improve the economy in the First District and alleviate some of the economic struggles our residents face. I call that plan EconomyFirst — because it is tailored specifically to our district, and because making sure the economy works for working families will always be my number one priority in Congress.
What does the U.S. need to do to combat climate change?
Along the Bay, we are uniquely vulnerable to the climate crisis — yet Congressman Harris has denied its existence and opposed environmental protection at every turn. We need new leadership to take urgent action. I am endorsed by the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters, and I was known as an environmental champion in Annapolis — but I also grew up in an agricultural community and live on a farm, so I understand how these issues impact all of us. There are many innovative ways we can combat climate change — for example, by partnering with farmers. Farmers stand to lose the most if we fail to act on the threats of climate change, but our agricultural community can benefit greatly when we creatively partner for success. That is why I released an "Agri-Climate Solutions" plan, laying out how farmers can be a part of our climate solutions while benefiting from environmental practices.
How do you assess the United States' response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine?
The willingness of the Ukrainian people to stand up and fight for their freedoms and for democracy has inspired the whole world, and I am pleased that the American response has been to stand unequivocally by their side. I have supported the tough sanctions that the Biden administration has implemented on Russia as a response to Vladimir Putin's unwarranted aggression and blatant war crimes. In a time of crisis in Europe, it is important that our leaders unite to uphold the principles of NATO — and I was discouraged that a few members of Congress, including Congressman Harris, voted against bipartisan legislation re-affirming support for those principles. This is not the time for political games — it is critical that we stand together to support democracy, sovereignty, and self-rule among all of our allies who share these core principles of freedom.
What should the U.S. do regarding the legal status and prospective citizenship for undocumented immigrants living here?
Our current immigration system is just not working — we badly need comprehensive immigration reform. But again and again, Congress can't get the job done because politicians aren't focused on coming together to find solutions. It is so important that we elect leaders who are willing and able to bridge that divide — because there is common ground we can find on the issue of immigration. Like many reasonable Marylanders, I support comprehensive immigration reform that includes both a clear pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and a strong commitment to border security. Such reform should not restrict existing legal pathways that have been in place for nearly 70 years. Since many migrants come to our country due to violence, persecution, and untenable economic situations, it is also important that we have conversations about the root causes of migration and the role the U.S. can play in keeping people secure in their home countries.
How would you describe what happened at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6?
There is no need to mince words — January 6th was a violent insurrection against our democracy and a stain on our proud nation. It was perpetuated by a brazen attempt by Congressman Harris and a number of his colleagues to overturn the results of a free and fair election. To this day, Congressman Harris and others refuse to tell the truth about that day and continue to downplay its significance. We need leaders who will tell the truth and work to make sure our democracy is not threatened again. We also need leaders who recognize that our polarization is our greatest threat to national security and we must do all we can to diffuse the division, transcend partisanship and ideology, and find the common connections that allow us to once again build communities where everyone feels they belong, are respected, and have a shot at the American Dream.
What should the U.S. do now to prepare for the next pandemic?
With the COVID-19 pandemic still with us, it may seem odd to begin planning for the next pandemic. But it is essential. A new national commitment to pandemic preparation must be a priority. There are four essential elements for preparedness: 1) We must build up our national and public health infrastructure and urge other nations to do the same so we don't struggle with tasks like testing, contact tracing, and vaccine administration; 2) We must build up our physical response capabilities (including an adequate national stockpile of essential equipment like ventilators and personal protective equipment, where we reduce our dependence on foreign suppliers — with clear guidelines for distribution) and develop standby hospital ICU capacity and training for health professional staff; 3) We must make a national commitment to vaccine preparedness and added capacity for manufacturing of supply; and 4) We must make development of a broad-spectrum antiviral medication a research priority.
What's the right balance for U.S. transportation spending between roads and transit?
It is important that we devote resources to both improving our roadways and expanding transit. Here on the Eastern Shore, like other rural areas, transit options are severely limited. With planning money available under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we should undertake a comprehensive planning process to review the adequacy of existing services and the gaps to address. Our region would benefit from a robust planning process to reimagine transit possibilities that could shape our communities over the next ten years. Expanding transit is good for the environment and for addressing income inequality. That said, while we work toward that long-term goal, we also need to ensure our roadways are safe and convenient for rural residents. I am a strong supporter of the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that provided funding for both roadway improvements and transit expansion. Our current representative voted against it and all of the funding it will bring.
What would you have the nation do to better address income inequality?
Wealth and income inequality are not just a symptom of a broken system; they are corrosive forces in our politics and social fabric. In order to stop and reverse growing inequality, we must increase worker power and reinvest in systems that provide economic opportunity to all. I support policies that protect workers' rights to unionize, crack down on abuses of independent contracting, raise wages, and integrate workers' voices into decision-making processes of large corporations. I also support making targeted investments in education, health care, and affordable housing that will revitalize the middle class. To pay for these investments, I support ensuring the wealthy (who make more than $400K annually) and large corporations pay their fair share in taxes.
Describe your position on the Electoral Count Act, which would put ‚Äúguardrails‚Äù around the certification of presidential elections?
Protecting the integrity of our elections must be a top goal — the strength of our country and our democratic values are at risk without it. I support reforms proposed under the Electoral Count Act that will ensure that neither the Vice President nor Congress can overrule the state-level results of a free and fair election. Bipartisan efforts are underway in the Senate to initiate these reforms. After the 2020 election, we saw serious, credible attacks on our democracy — and it is critical that we put protections in place to guarantee that federal officeholders cannot subvert the electoral outcome of any state.
Who's your top choice for president in 2024 and why?
Wow. I'm focused on winning my own election in 2022 and that seems like a world away. However, based on the great work he has done to make a once-in-a-generation investment in our country's failing infrastructure (and all of the jobs this will create) and the critical relief we received from his American Recovery Plan, I will support President Joe Biden if he chooses to run for re-election. But for the most part, our politics should not be defined by who you support in a presidential election. Most voters just want someone who will work tirelessly on their behalf and pass meaningful legislation that benefits their lives. That is more important than horse-race political questions, in my opinion. I am an independent thinker and I will sometimes support and sometimes oppose whomever is our President. It is not a proxy for how I will govern.
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.