Category Archives: Casa de Maryland

Kessler Responds to CASA’s Torres

Kessler

Rick Kessler issued the following comment in response to the strong defense of Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez’s decision to travel to El Salvador by CASA de Maryland’s Gustavo Torres .

This is a question of commitment to District 18.  It is about the choices made by one elected official who chose to be absent for two days during the recent Maryland Legislative Session to vote in the Salvadoran election when she could have voted by mail. The Legislative Session only runs for 90 days: I believe that the Session is important and that Delegates are elected to be present and participate. There were important Appropriations Committee budget hearings on those days that she could have attended and still voted in the El Salvador election by mail.I think the people of  District 18 deserve better: they have a right to expect that the priority of their elected legislators is to participate fully in the Maryland legislative process on behalf of the people who elected them.

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CASA Slams Kessler Attack

casa logoRecently, Delegate Candidate Rick Kessler (D-18) raised questions about Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez’s decision to travel to El Salvador during the session. CASA Director Gustavo Torres issued this statement in response:

I was extremely disturbed to recently learn that a candidate for state office in the 18th district has chosen to attack Delegate Ana Sol Gutierrez for a trip she made to El Salvador during the past legislative session. Rick Kessler’s willingness to engage in this type of thinly-disguised race-baiting reveals that he is not the right representative for any district, let alone one as diverse as the 18th.

To recap, Delegate Sol Gutierrez missed two days of session in order to fly over a weekend to El Salvador and participate as an Official International Observer of the Salvadoran Presidential election. She traveled at the formal invitation of the Salvadoran National Assembly, an invitation that Maryland House Speaker Michael Busch not only approved but described as “an honor.” Legislators miss floor votes and committee hearings all the time due to illness, family emergencies, personal business, and to attend special events. It is hard to imagine an event more important than participating in a historic election for progressive change in a country whose past civil conflict has driven so much immigration to our region and whose leadership impacts so many close relatives of district residents. It seems an odd posture particularly for someone that is actually running for elected office and, we would assume, a believer in the importance of political participation.

I believe that the real purpose of these complaints is to surface that Delegate Sol Gutierrez remains engaged in her country of birth and to imply that this engagement somehow lowers her commitment to this country – one she is so dedicated to that she has chosen to dedicate 20 years to the unusually grueling life path of public service including, for the past 12 years, representing her home district in the Maryland House of Delegates. During the early 20th century, immigrants to the United States were frequently attacked for their continued affiliation with their country of origin and these arguments were used to support profiling, red-lining, and exclusion from political engagement. Reading the Bethesda Now piece, I was reminded once again how very far we have to go. As an organization whose very purpose is to engage immigrants in the political process, leaders like Delegate Gutierrez show that our responsibility is global, our lives cross borders, and our kids can strive to achieve extraordinary triumphs in a multicultural world.   While it is certainly true that not everyone in the 18th District has immigrated to this country, we believe that most of its residents honor diversity, celebrate immigration, and appreciate open cultural and civic engagement, here and abroad.

In closing, while it is true that CASA in Action has endorsed Delegate Sol Gutierrez as well as three additional candidates for delegate, I have not chosen to address this issue because of that support. Regardless of who you support, our community is better than the types of attacks that Mr. Kessler has chosen to engage in.

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Leventhal Slams CASA

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The Washington Post reports that dealing with negative impacts of the Purple Line on low-income people is CASA’s biggest priority and the lack of concern with these issues cost incumbent Councilmembers George Leventhal and Nancy Floreen the organization’s support:

CASA ‘s biggest priority in Montgomery at the moment is the Purple Line’s potential threat to affordable housing and minority-owned small businesses in communities such as Long Branch. In CASA’s assessment, they weren’t there with them. . . .

CASA and other groups are worried that gentrification, triggered by escalating real estate values along the route, will price Latinos out of the community.

“George’s perception is that any discussion of equity around the Purple Line undermines its chances of going forward,” Propeack said.

George responded less than tactfully:

“My impression is that they’re trying to insult me,” Leventhal said. He added: “I do think CASA sometimes loses sight of the fact that the primary beneficiaries of the Purple Line will be Latinos. It will be of enormous benefit to workers who will have greater access to jobs. I guess they think transit is bad for communities.”

This quote exhibits George’s greatest strengths and weaknesses. He is fervent in his causes and makes cogent arguments for them. At the same time, he often acts in ways that express disdain for people who disagree with him and build barriers rather than friends. This case is especially telling because of his past very close relationship with CASA and his genuine, strong support for Latinos.

Nancy also made a statement to the reporter:

Floreen said she couldn’t say what happened.

“I have no idea. These are folks with their own agenda. They’re all advocates for something or other.”

Whether you agree with her or not, Nancy is opinionated, informed, and smart as a whip. But when I read this, it sounded like the least sensible quote ever from Nancy Floreen. Of course, they have an agenda. They’re an interest group.

However, interviews are long and quotes are short, so I gave Nancy a call. Her assessment has more sang-froid than George’s:

It’s their assessment of the politics of the situation. I’ve always supported them and their interests in the past and will continue to do so in the future whether or not they endorse me.

Essentially, they’re an interest group with their own goals they will do what they will do. A smart response as it leaves doors open, doesn’t alienate, or give the story more traction.

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CASA Issues Endorsements

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CASA has been kind enough to share their complete list of endorsements around the State. An increasingly successful and powerful group, CASA advocates for Latino and immigrant rights. In 2012, CASA played a central role in the passage of the Maryland DREAM Act by the General Assembly and then it being upheld by a wide margin in the referendum that followed.

I have attempted, as usual, to highlight all of the non-incumbents in boldface. (It’s easy to make a mistake so let me know if I did.) The order of offices is federal then statewide offices. Next are endorsements for the General Assembly and county offices, which are organized by county.

You can also find the full official lists here in English and Spanish.
Puede encontrar las listas completas aquí en inglés y español.

U.S. CONGRESS
District 2       C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger III
District 3       John P. Sarbanes
District 4       Donna F. Edwards
District 5       Steny Hoyer
District 6       John K. Delaney
District 7       Elijah Cummings
District 8       Christopher Van Hollen, Jr.

STATEWIDE
Governor/Lt. Governor: Anthony Brown/Ken Ulman
Attorney General: Brian Frosh
Comptroller: Peter Franchot

BALTIMORE COUNTY

General Assembly
District 10

House: Benjamin Brooks, Adrienne A. Jones, Carin Smith

District 11
House: Shelly Hettleman, Dana M. Stein, Don Engel

District 12 (also Howard County)
House: Eric Ebersole, Rebecca P. Dongarra, Clarence Lam

District 42
Senate: Connie DeJuliis

County Council
District 4: Kenneth N. Oliver

BALTIMORE CITY

General Assembly
District 45
Senate: Nathaniel J. McFadden
House: Cory V. McCray, Cheryl Glenn, Talmadge Branch

District 46
Senate: Bill Ferguson
House: Bill Romani, Brooke Lierman, Luke Clippinger

HOWARD COUNTY

General Assembly
District 12 (also Baltimore County)
House: Eric Ebersole, Rebecca P. Dongarra, Clarence Lam

District 13
Senate: Guy Guzzone
House: Fred Turner, Vanessa Atterbeary, Shane Pendergrass

County Sheriff: John A. Newnan

MONTGOMERY COUNTY

District 14
Senate: Karen Montgomery
House: Anne R. Kaiser, Eric Luedtke, Craig J. Zucker

District 15
Senate: Brian Feldman
House: Kathleen Dumais, David Fraser-Hidalgo, Aruna Miller

District 16
Senate: Susan Lee
House: Bill Frick, Ariana Kelly, Hrant Jamgochian

District 17
Senate: Cheryl Kagan
House: Kumar P. Barve, Jim Gilchrist, Andrew Platt

District 18
Senate: Richard Madaleno
House (four endorsed for three seats): Al Carr, Natali Fani-Gonzalez, Jeff Waldstreicher, Ana Sol Gutierrez

District 19
Senate: Roger Manno
House: Ben Kramer, Marice I. Morales, Bonnie Cullison

District 20
Senate: Jamie Raskin
House: Sheila Hixson, Will Jawando, David Moon

District 39
Senate: Nancy King
House: Charles Barkley, Kirill Reznik, Shane Robinson

County Executive: Ike Leggett

County Council
At- Large: Beth Daly, Marc Elrich, Hans Riemer
District 1: Roger Berliner
District 2: Craig Rice
District 3: Ryan Spiegel
District 4: Nancy Navarro
District 5: Tom Hucker

Board of Education
At-Large: Shebra Evans
District 1: Judy Docca
District 3: Patricia O’Neill
District 5: Michael Durso

PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY

District 21
Senate: Jim Rosapepe
House: Barbara Frush, Joseline Peña-Melnyk, Ben Barnes

District 22
Senate: Paul G. Pinsky
House: Tawanna P. Gaines, Anne Healey, Alonzo T. Washington

District 23
Senate: Douglas J. J. Peters
House: Geraldine Valentino-Smith (23A), Marvin E. Holmes (23B), Joseph F. Vallario Jr. (23B)

District 24
Senate: Joanne C. Benson
House: Carolyn J. B. Howard, Darren M. Swain, Michael L. Vaughn

District 25
Senate: Ulysses Currie
House: Angela Angel, Darryl Barnes, Dereck Davis

District 26
Senate: Anthony C. Muse
House: David Sloan, Kris Valderrama, Jay Walker

District 47
Senate: Victor Ramirez
House: Michael Summers (47A), Jimmy Tarlau (47A), Will Campos (47B)

Countywide
County Executive: Rushern Baker
County Sheriff: Melvin C. High
State’s Attorney: Angela Alsobrooks

County Council
District 1: Mary A. Lehman
District 2: Deni Taveras
District 3: Danielle Glaros
District 4: Vince Canales
District 5: Andrea Fletcher Harrison
District 6: Derrick Leon Davis
District 7: Kito James
District 8: Obie Patterson
District 9: Mel Franklin

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