Brooke’s Brief: 2017 Back to School

Friends & Neighbors,

And just like that, summer is over (unofficially at least) – and wow, was it a busy one for me and for many of you! Best of luck to all those moms and dads and grandparents sending their children off to school today – I hope it’s a great school year.

Both in Baltimore and across the country, we are facing many challenges – just this past weekend we lost more lives in our City to gun violence. I’ve been working hard all summer to connect with residents in neighborhoods around District 46 to discuss how we can build bridges, create opportunity, and ensure our neighborhoods are safe, healthy, and growing. I’ve knocked on several thousand doors, and it’s been wonderful to connect with people on their front steps to discuss what’s going on in our lives, on our blocks, and in our communities. Thank you for opening your door and speaking with me.

A bit of personal news: in case I haven’t seen you at a community meeting around the district, or kruchtiki-making in Locust Point, or at a tenant council meeting, National Night Out, or Breakfast with Brooke, then you might not have seen that Teddy is getting a new sibling this fall! Teddy and I made a super-short video to let folks know that this November, we’ll be welcoming a baby girl into our home!

Today is also the first day of school for most public schools in Maryland and Baltimore. This year is the first year in many years that most public schools are starting after Labor Day. The Baltimore Sun published an op-ed I authored last week about why I believe the Governor’s decision to mandate a later school start date (and an earlier school end – June 15) was the wrong decision. You can read my op-ed here. The idea of a later school start date is not a partisan issue and it is worth debating because it has huge implications on families, children, and our future competitive edge in a global economy.

As some of you know, I graduated from the University of Texas Law School in Austin – and I’ve kept in close touch with many friends who are still in Texas, including in Houston. The personal accounts I have read of what is going on in Houston are devastating. If you’re interested in contributing but don’t know where or how to do so, Texas Monthly published a great list of places to donate. (And yes, I was a bit conflicted as the Terps battled the Longhorns this past weekend in football!)

Just a couple hours ago, the President announced that he is canceling the DACA program that Pres. Obama put into place and that has allowed children brought to the U.S. by their parents the ability to go to school and work legally. I cannot say strongly enough how reprehensible I find this action – it is cruel, inhumane, will separate families and will lead to disruptions in our economy and educational institutions. We are blessed to have many of these 800,000 “dreamers” in Maryland and in District 46 and I will do everything I can to enable them to continue working and living productive lives in our state.

State Legislative News

My calendar has been filled this summer with meetings with advocates and constituents, as well as local events and doorknocking. As I’ve been doorknocking, I’ve spoken with many residents who have concerns or questions. My legislative aide and I have been busy following up on those requests. In addition, we’ve had meetings in Upper Fell’s Point about traffic and speeding, at the Southeast CDC to start discussing increasing park and playground space, meetings with Rec & Parks and City DOT about neighborhood projects, and calls with advocates about juvenile justice issues, complete streets, and literacy. It’s been a great and busy summer!

I was thrilled to attend the opening of the first 21st Century Schools building at Fort Worthington Elementary/Middle School. Through a partnership with the State of Maryland, City Schools, Baltimore City, and the Maryland Stadium Authority, we are working to rebuild at least 24 schools in the City, and Fort Worthington was the first to open – and it was amazing to see! Learn more about the 21st Century Schools plan here. I look forward to helping cut the ribbon on new schools or new additions in District 46 in the next few years – in Greektown at John Ruhrah Elementary/Middle School, in Cherry Hill, in Brooklyn, at Patterson High School, and in Highlandtown/Butchers Hill schools – as well as others in O’Donnell Heights that are being rebuilt through a more traditional funding process.

This week I’ll be attending a trip with the Appropriations Committee to Southern Maryland to learn more about the pretrial system in St. Mary’s County, St. Mary’s College, and the needs and opportunities in the region. Fall hearings will begin soon as well – I’m on the Joint Committee on Pensions and the Joint Committee to End Homelessness so I’ll be attending many hearings over the next few months. We will also be discussing the Governor’s planned cuts to our budget through the Board of Public Works. I am very concerned about the reductions he has introduced – including cutting $1 m from the disparity grant for Baltimore City – given that we are not currently facing a deficit. At a time when we need to be investing in programs to reduce violence and find productive opportunities for young people, we need more investment, not less.

I’ve also been keeping up with the Kirwan Commission hearings. This important commission will be responsible for taking the recommendations from the adequacy study published last year and putting them into action in the form of legislation to consider next session. Based on the review by the educational experts and the Commission, it agrees there is consensus that our schools are underfunded because of the current formula. For more information or to see the documents from the Commission, click here.

Save the Date(s)

Community Conversations with Delegate Lierman

I’ll be holding four community events around the district to connect with residents before session, and to bring speakers like Dr. Santelises and MTA Administrator Kevin Quinn to our neighborhoods. RSVP and learn more here.

  • Oct 17: Patterson Park Public Charter School
  • Oct 19: Ben Franklin High School
  • Oct 24: Thomas Johnson Elem/Middle School
  • Oct 26: St. Veronica’s Church Hall

News from Team 46

Team 46 authored a framework and concrete ideas for moving forward to combat the crime plaguing our streets and to create safe and healthy neighborhoods. This is not the beginning of the conversation, and it’s certainly not the end: these are our thoughts after talking with many individuals engaged every day in this work – and we look forward to hearing your thoughts as well. We propose these ideas for the purpose of starting a discussion that government, civic, and business leaders must have so that we can address violence and crime directly. Read the plan and let me know what you think!

Learn More Here

Get Involved!

We need your help! Senator Bill Ferguson and Delegates Luke Clippinger, Robbyn Lewis and I – Team 46 – are out doorknocking and planning events, but we cannot reach everyone we need to reach alone! Let me know if we can count on you to work with us on the campaign trail prior to the June 2018 primary election by clicking on the button below and signing up to volunteer! Even if you signed up last campaign, we’d love to have you re-commit to help us! Thank you so much for your support and help.

Sign me up!

Upcoming Events in District 46

Final WTMD First Thursday Concert in the Park
September 7, 5:30 p.m. • Canton Waterfront Park

Little Italy Madonnari Arts Festival
Sept 7-10 • Little Italy – amazing works of art painted on the street!

Locust Point Festival 2017
September 9th 11am-7pm • Latrobe Park Locust Point

Riverside Park Concert Series
September 10th 5pm-9pm • Leone Riverside Park 301 E Randall St

4th Annual Baltimore Seafood Fest
September 16 12p-7p • Canton Waterfront Park

DBFA New Babies Playdate in the Park
Tuesday Sept 27th from 5pm-7pm • Federal Hill Park

Generation We Summit
September 30th 10am-1:30pm • Digital Harbor High School

Application for Youth and Seniors for the Snow Removal Program: Applications are due at the end of October. Seniors and Youths need to contact 311 to request an application form or if they have any questions.

Meetings about the Perkins Home Redevelopment Project: Third Tuesdays of the month at Perkins Homes Community Center – email for more details.

At the end of the day, I am here to serve the residents of District 46! That means, if you live in District 46 and you have a problem – I’d like to do all I can to help. You can email me at and my legislative director and I will help figure out how to solve the issues you’re confronting or connect you to someone who can. Please follow me on Facebook to keep up with what I am working on, and to see news that I post that is relevant to our district.

Hope to see you at the doors out and about the district – or at a Community Conversation! Keep in touch!

My best,