Jim Gilchrist, one of three Delegates representing District 17 to the State of Maryland, has decided not to run for election in 2022. Serving as a member of the House of Delegates since January 2007, he’s unfortunately been one of the least effective of our elected representatives. He rarely introduces legislation and he’s hardly made any effort to bring state funds to support community projects. He makes no effort to keep voters informed—he has a stagnant website, no newsletters, and a Facebook page with only five posts this year (three for the same event). Most recently, he failed to take a stand for or against the widening of 270. Everyone has an opinion on this major construction project that cuts through Rockville but incredibly, not Gilchrist. If you’re elected to office, politicians have to make tough decisions so voters know where you stand.
Becoming a state Delegate is a relatively easy campaign compared to running for city or county council. With three seats available, you only need to capture enough votes to be in the top three. If you’re an incumbent, you typically campaign with the other incumbents, making it even easier. The downside it’s a job that requires you to be in Annapolis three months out of the year when the legislature is in session, so anyone with a typical full time job can’t serve.
It’s an important position that has immense opportunities to make a difference in Rockville and Maryland, but with the complications of serving, who will make an ideal candidate? So far, only one person has announced an interest: Joe Vogel.
Yesterday, Vogel announced his candidacy to represent Gaithersburg and Rockville as a Delegate in the Maryland General Assembly. He launched his campaign with videos in English and Spanish, sharing his story and vision. As a young Marylander, a Latino immigrant, and an openly gay man; Joe states he will bring a new perspective to Annapolis and the ability to build strong coalitions.
Joe’s family immigrated to Rockville, Maryland when he was three years old. At 15, Joe volunteered on President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign and later worked for Senator Cheryl Kagan during her 2014 campaign. In 2015, Joe was nominated and confirmed by the Governor of Maryland to serve as a member of the Maryland Youth Advisory Council. Joe has been an active volunteer in community organizations working to address the ongoing economic and public health crises facing the community.
Before running for office Joe worked as a policy fellow for Montgomery County-based Interfaith Works; started Learn It Together, a non-profit to support children of essential workers in their transition to remote learning during the pandemic; worked on the Presidential campaign staffs of Senator Cory Booker and Secretary Hillary Clinton; and was a consultant for the March for Our Lives, NARAL’s campaign against Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, and President Joe Biden’s general election campaign. Joe is finishing a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard University and received his Bachelor’s Degree from The George Washington University.
Maryland State Delegate Jim Gilchrist of Rockville has proposed a far reaching change to the Maryland tax code that would add sales taxes to 34 additional services starting January 1, 2013 including:
- cable television
- automobile repair warranties
- auto repair and road service
- parking (although it exempts state government, of course)
- docking services
- shoe repair
- public lockers
- employment agencies
- temporary help
- tax preparation services
- notary public
- testing labs
- weighing machines
- physical fitness facilities
- dieting services
- barbers and hair stylists
- management consulting
- pest exterminators
- interior decorating
- shop window decorating
Really? Do we need more taxes in this economy? Do we want to add more government paperwork to small businesses, such as barbers, interior decorators, and shoe repairmen? Tax the service that helps prepare our taxes? Tax unemployed people who are trying to get temporary job or get help from an employment agency? Really?
This change in the law has not been adopted but is under consideration by the State House of Delegates, so you still have time to voice your opinion. State government legislation is notoriously hard to follow (and the legislature has been reluctant to be more transparent because it would mean giving up control) but according to the Rockville Chamber of Commerce, House Bill 1051 will be heard by the Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday, March 6. If you have concerns, contact the delegates that represent Rockville:
- Luiz Simmons: email@example.com
- Kumar Barve: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Jim Gilchrist: email@example.com (who proposed this legislation with Delegate Sheila Hixson on February 10)
Read House Bill 1051 for yourself–everything in bold capitals is new.
Despite the rainy weather, more than one hundred volunteers came to the Stepping Stones Shelter in the Jefferson Square/Hungerford section of Rockville today as part of the National Day of Service commemorating 9-11. When I arrived at 1 pm, it was buzzing with people. They had removed carpet from the house exposing the original oak floors, were fixing radiator covers on the front porch, clearing LOTS of brush from the woods, and refinishing picnic tables in the back yard to make the historic house a more attractive and enjoyable place for its residents and staff. The project in Rockville launched a three-year partnership between Continue reading →