Malcolm J Heflin grew up in the Dallas, Texas area. He served in the United States Navy from 2002-2014, working as a cryptologic linguist. Malcolm moved to Maryland in October 2007, and enrolled as a full-time student at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) in August 2014. While attending UMBC, Malcolm has worked with UMBC's Student Government Association (SGA) on various politically-focused projects, and was the president of Model United Nations (MUN).
We are entering into economic times unlike anything we’ve seen in the past. Modern technologies will create levels of productivity and wealth that the world has never seen, but it will also see more people begin to slip further and further behind.
I support a phased-in increase of the minimum wage to $15/hour, with future increases indexed automatically to inflation. This increase will help thousands in our community, especially in communities of color. I will also work to build more bridges between UMBC and CCBC, and the surrounding area. UMBC and CCBC both have resources for building and developing local small businesses, and UMBC is a major research institution and technology hub. They provide us with opportunities that can mean stable and better-paying jobs.
Another way I will work to boost our district’s economic development is to support local small business growth. For example, the area around UMBC does not have the services that a student body of almost 15,000 would eagerly support. Let’s make sure that this economic potential benefits our district. By making entrepreneurs aware of the resources available, reforming tax code and regulation on liquor, and creating deeper avenues of communication between local businesses and government, we can build a stronger economy for our district.
A strong education system is the key to our American future. The money that we invest in our children today pays back in huge dividends in the future. What we sow today we reap by the bushel load down the road. We need new schools, not just renovations of the old ones. Baltimore County has the second oldest school stock in the state, and our students and teachers deserve to learn and work in modern facilities. . Universal pre-k will improve children’s outcomes life, and will save all of us money in all kinds of societal costs, such as health care and law enforcement. Community Schools will also help improve the communities that they serve, by providing free breakfast and lunch, after-school activities, job placement and training, and health care. The world of tomorrow needs more education than ever, and we need to make sure that whoever wants access to an education can get that access. We also need to expand STEM education...STEM jobs are the jobs of the future. We should also offer free tuition at our community colleges. Community colleges are a key to providing our community with a way to gain or expand our professional (and even personal) skills. We should also find a way to offer free tuition to those who want to attend trade schools. The median age of those in the trades is growing older, and we need to consider ways to grow the stock. Also, these are the exact kind of great-paying middle class jobs that we all want in our economy.
Teachers also need to be treated better. Teacher pay has not kept pace with inflation. Between that and pay freezes real teacher pay is only 91.6% of it’s actual amount, when accounting for cost of living. We can and should do a better job of not only paying our teachers better, but making sure that their pay keeps pace with inflation. We should also find ways to incentivize the hiring of more teachers, such as student loan forgiveness/repayment programs. And building new schools also benefits teachers as well. These are the people who we entrust to shape our children’s minds, and we should honor the work they do by giving them great facilities to work in.
I wish that this went without saying, but I will say it: our schools don’t need more firearms. What our schools do need are guidance counselors, social workers, and evidence-based solutions. These will help to reduce violence, as well as improve our schools and the lives of our students. Once again, community schools can act as an anchor in marginalized communities, providing the resources that children need to feel safe and cared for. By ensuring that all of our students' needs are met at younger ages, we can provide the opportunity for true academic growth at later stages, and ensure that students of color are given a better chance at success.
Infrastructure is without question one of the important parts of our society and the economy. The major infrastructure projects of the mid-20th Century were responsible for the amazing growth and prosperity that we enjoyed. Now, too often, we think that we can “afford” to let our infrastructure go. Funding should be found to begin restoring our roads and bridges.
There is also the issue of addressing inequity of infrastructure in lower-income areas. I would make sure that these areas are receiving enough of a share of infrastructure investment to close the quality gap between their and more affluent communities. Greater attention should also be paid to how infrastructure is planned and managed in lower-income communities and communities of color. Case in point: there are few sidewalks along Route 1. There are numerous communities along this busy road, and hundreds of people come in and out of here for work. And yet, in order to walk along it in many places, you have to walk literally in the road. It doesn’t seem right that people here have to contend with that, and I want to re-instill Annapolis with the spirit of stewardship and service, to work towards serving working-class neighborhoods and make sure that they are getting the same kinds of unfettered attention that more affluent parts of town receive.
We also need to invest in our digital infrastructure. Ensuring quality Internet access for all will support education and business development in our region. It will also prepare us for the economy of tomorrow, an economy that will require even higher internet speeds and greater internet density. The costs of providing that needed level of penetration should be shared between government and industry, and I would support legislation built along those lines.