brandon's platform

healthcare

Medical Staff

St. Mary's County is designated as a healthcare shortage area by the Department of Health and Human Services. Further, the Maryland Rural Health Plan lists concerning statistics for the county:

  • Over 6,100 mental health related visits to the ER per 100,000 people, over double the state goal.

  • Domestic violence rate that is nearly double the state's goal.

  • Hospitalizations related to Alzheimers are nearly triple the rate they should be.

  • High rate of ER visits for addiction related conditions.

As Commissioner, I will include strategic community partners in a creative planning process to address these concerns. My proactive strategy includes:

  • Working with the St. Mary's County Health Department to review their plans to mitigate local health issues and identify ways the county government can assist in facilitating those plans.

  • Ensuring the public is aware of what resources are available, how to access them, and provide education on recognizing when those resources are needed by friends and family.

  • Currently, Medstar St. Mary's is not equipped to handle in-patient youth mental health or Alzheimer/Dementia patient treatment. I'll partner with Medstar St. Mary's Hospital to identify gaps in their services and work alongside them to advocate for and provide those services.

  • Exploring the option of loan repayments as an incentive to attract mental health professionals to start practices in St. Mary's County.

 

education

College Friends

In recent years, we have seen how the current Commissioners have prioritized education during the budget process. There have been some tense and contentious exchanges. As Commissioners, we can't afford to have bad working relationships with our community partners. It's not good for the residents of the County.

Our schools are a hub for our communities--they are the one place our kids spend the most time outside of their home. Beyond just learning, schools provide resources and stability to our community. That's why I believe it's important to fund our schools appropriately.

My proactive strategy includes:

  • Developing and maintaining a friendly and strong relationship with leaders of St. Mary's County Public Schools.

  • Ensuring education becomes and remains a top priority during the budget process;

  • "Going Back to School" by keeping on my learning hat to hear, understand, and deliver the resources needed to foster an effective education environment--and actually visiting local schools to stay present and engaged.

  • Work with SMCPS and local colleges to further develop education and career pipelines to create a replenishing pool of candidates for employment in local industries and needed careers. PAX NAS and contractors must be included in this.

  • Identify opportunities to provide social skills curriculum in schools or using community partners; this should include resume and job development, financial literacy, civics including local government, and a Citizens Academy for students in the local school system.

  • Advocate with fellow community stakeholders to secure our share of funding from the Blueprint for Maryland's Future.

 

land use

Construction Engineer

To help guide the development of our area, St. Mary's County has an overall Comprehensive Plan, while Lexington Park and Leonardtown have their own respective plans. I've read the plans and they're full of useful historic information on development in the County, but they lack specificity and focus.

We must preserve the rural character of our county while ensuring development that occurs is smart, intentional, and serves our residents.

My proactive strategy includes:

  • Work with the Dept. of Land Use and Growth Management (LUGM) on the Comprehensive Plan to provide specific details on development in the identified town, village, and rural centers. 

  • Update the Adequate Public Facilities ordinance to ensure infrastructure like roads, sewer, schools, and the Sheriff's Office can handle new development. 

  • Supporting retail development in areas where it is needed, like along the Great Mills Road corridor where a food desert currently exists. Meanwhile, discourage chain convenience stores from invading the area with too many locations.

  • Work with LUGM to examine current zoning ordinances and regulations, and fully update the county's zoning ordinance. We need to ensure that emerging local industries develop in a way that does not negatively impact their surroundings.

 

public safety

SMCSO.jpg

Public safety is about so much more than policing. Our local Sheriff's Office does outstanding work but, just like our educators, they are overburdened. St. Mary's County needs to take a wholistic approach which relies on more than the Sheriff's Office. 

Our Emergency Management Services have traditionally been run by wonderful and dedicated volunteers. But with volunteerism down, the EMS Department is in a period of transition, playing catch-up with overworked volunteers and paid employees to provide the same services.

There are proactive changes we can make to combat these, and other issues.

My proactive strategy includes:

  • Offering competitive pay for police to keep them in parity with neighboring counties.

  • Consider a housing stipend for an initial period of service as an incentive for deputies to live where they work.

  • Work with the Sheriff's Office and Health Department to continue development of the Crisis Response Team, which would relieve the workload of calls dealing with mental health and more. 

  • Continue development of EMS providers, recruiting and retaining paid employees to offset volunteer shortfalls. Develop a career pipeline through volunteerism so interested young folks can "intern" with the chance to become paid employees.

  • Respect current and previous volunteers by maintaining their benefits of service, like LOSAP.