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I've got your back

 
 

Meet Ashanti

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"I was raised in New Carrollton, attended school at St. Mary's Landover Hills, and graduated from Parkdale High School. I know the challenges and triumphs our community has faced."

Throughout his career Ashanti has consistently stood for change, from advocacy for under represented groups- including LGBTQ students within the Prince George’s County Regional Association of Student Governments, to working alongside fellow progressives like Rep. Elijah Cummings, Rep. Steny Hoyer, Del.  Joseline Peña-Melnyk, and the Legislative Latino Caucus in Annapolis.

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He's decided to run because our community deserves New Energy, Committed Leadership, and Bold Progressive Policies - affordable housing, quality education, greater access to health care, economic security and opportunity. 

Ashanti was named in the “Top 30 Under 30” by 93.9 WKYS in  2017 and was also featured on the  “Forty Under 40” in the same year by the Prince George’s County Social Innovation Fund.  He has been featured in the Washington Post, WUSA 9, BET, Kojo Nnamdi Show, the Washington Hispanic, PBS' To The Contrary, The Maryland Reporter and NPR. 

Issues

 

EDUCATION

 As a recent graduate of our Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS), I know we are not providing our students with the education they deserve. We need fresh leadership to confront the challenges of classroom overcrowding, aging facilities, low teacher retention, and lack of transparency in our School Board. Our students lack the post secondary readiness needed for a 21st century economy.  In Annapolis, I will fight to bring renovation dollars back to our District to update our outdated equipment and technology. To increase transparency and accountability in our schools, I will work to repeal HB 1107 and return our School Board to a fully elected body.  Having our students career and college ready means having a 21st century school system that focuses on the needs of our students both inside and out of the classroom. As your Delegate, I will fight for Universal Pre-K and affordable Community Colleges even in our most challenging neighborhoods. I will also work to partner with various Labor Trades to provide apprenticeship and certification opportunities for our students and young adults.  We should be working to integrate the successes and best practices from magnet and charter schools into the public school system, but we should also be holding these schools and it’s teachers to the same performance standards as our state schools.  We need to treat our teachers like doctors, since the lifeblood of our economy is literally in their hands. This requires investing in:   •  Higher pay   •  College loan forgiveness   •  Elevate and improve training and education programs   •  Providing teachers with the tools and support they need to be successful  The government’s responsibility to educate our workforce is as important than ever. We must commit to fully funding public education. This means:   •  Rebuilding our schools as part of a major infrastructure reinvestment.   •  Create a system of universal access to free Pre-K (Less than half of 3-4 year olds in Maryland have access to pre k.)   •  Reduce child care costs for families   •  Provide free 2-year college tuition (The State of Tennessee has already made this free for all adults.)   •  Debt free 4-year tuition for students with loan forgiveness plans

As a recent graduate of our Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS), I know we are not providing our students with the education they deserve. We need fresh leadership to confront the challenges of classroom overcrowding, aging facilities, low teacher retention, and lack of transparency in our School Board. Our students lack the post secondary readiness needed for a 21st century economy.

In Annapolis, I will fight to bring renovation dollars back to our District to update our outdated equipment and technology. To increase transparency and accountability in our schools, I will work to repeal HB 1107 and return our School Board to a fully elected body.

Having our students career and college ready means having a 21st century school system that focuses on the needs of our students both inside and out of the classroom. As your Delegate, I will fight for Universal Pre-K and affordable Community Colleges even in our most challenging neighborhoods. I will also work to partner with various Labor Trades to provide apprenticeship and certification opportunities for our students and young adults.

We should be working to integrate the successes and best practices from magnet and charter schools into the public school system, but we should also be holding these schools and it’s teachers to the same performance standards as our state schools.

We need to treat our teachers like doctors, since the lifeblood of our economy is literally in their hands. This requires investing in:

Higher pay

College loan forgiveness

Elevate and improve training and education programs

Providing teachers with the tools and support they need to be successful

The government’s responsibility to educate our workforce is as important than ever. We must commit to fully funding public education. This means:

Rebuilding our schools as part of a major infrastructure reinvestment.

Create a system of universal access to free Pre-K (Less than half of 3-4 year olds in Maryland have access to pre k.)

Reduce child care costs for families

 Provide free 2-year college tuition (The State of Tennessee has already made this free for all adults.)

 Debt free 4-year tuition for students with loan forgiveness plans

 

TRANSPORTATION

 As our communities grow, we need the voice of someone in Annapolis who fully understands the inconvenience of a 20-minute train service delay, or how metro fare and parking hikes can impact our lives. As your Delegate, I will work tirelessly to be this voice and to find bipartisan solutions for our expanding transportation needs.  In Annapolis, I will adamantly oppose the current MagLev proposals. The disastrous potential of environmental and commercial impact to the region far outweighs any benefit that a wealthy few developers will receive from the rapid rail.

As our communities grow, we need the voice of someone in Annapolis who fully understands the inconvenience of a 20-minute train service delay, or how metro fare and parking hikes can impact our lives. As your Delegate, I will work tirelessly to be this voice and to find bipartisan solutions for our expanding transportation needs.

In Annapolis, I will adamantly oppose the current MagLev proposals. The disastrous potential of environmental and commercial impact to the region far outweighs any benefit that a wealthy few developers will receive from the rapid rail.

 

JOBS 

 Main Street businesses are the backbone of our economy. I will support policies that encourage entrepreneurship, innovation, and a better climate for small businesses to flourish.  We should be investing in our children, the next generation of skilled workers and business leaders by providing the world’s best education opportunities. The Maryland economy of the 21st century will be dependent on skilled workers of all varieties in fields of space, technology, engineering, and science. This even applies to our farmers!  I will also support legislation to make a major investment in job creation for the ever important task of rebuilding our roads and bridges.

Main Street businesses are the backbone of our economy. I will support policies that encourage entrepreneurship, innovation, and a better climate for small businesses to flourish.

We should be investing in our children, the next generation of skilled workers and business leaders by providing the world’s best education opportunities. The Maryland economy of the 21st century will be dependent on skilled workers of all varieties in fields of space, technology, engineering, and science. This even applies to our farmers!

I will also support legislation to make a major investment in job creation for the ever important task of rebuilding our roads and bridges.

 

CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM

 The United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population but almost 25 percent of the total prison population. A significant percentage of the more than 2 million Americans incarcerated today are nonviolent offenders. African American men are far more likely to be stopped and searched by police, charged with crimes, and sentenced to longer prison terms than white men found guilty of the same offenses.  We devote far too many resources on over-incarceration and misguided crime policies, money that could be better spent providing education, training, and jobs to those who might otherwise get lost in the criminal justice system.  We must do a better job from the state to the local level in bringing law enforcement agencies together to define the use and limits of police force. In addition, I will work to create policy for increased community engagement from law enforcement agencies in order to develop bonds of trust in our neighborhoods.  We don’t need to keep incarcerating the masses. Instead I advocate for smarter gun control as well as stronger policies to prevent domestic violence and sexual assault.  Reforming our criminal justice system is paramount to helping advance opportunities for our most challenging communities. I support Elimination of Mandatory Minimums, Legalized Cannabis Industry, and creating a Prince George’s County Community Police Review Board with authority to remove officers who’ve abused their power.    Cannabis     Far too many of our neighbors are still being incarcerated for nonviolent crimes, including for possessing small amounts of marijuana. I fully support the legalization of medicinal and recreational marijuana. But for where it is not legal, I support the popular policy of cities to cite and release in these instances.  The medical breakthroughs being made in cellular cancer cells by cannabinoids found in Marijuana is too much to ignore. Cancer patients in particular deserve access to alternative treatment methods when all else fails.  Recreational marijuana provides a safe alternative to drinking and other drugs like opioids.  States that have legalized marijuana are reporting significant reductions in incidents of drunk driving and underage drinking.

The United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population but almost 25 percent of the total prison population. A significant percentage of the more than 2 million Americans incarcerated today are nonviolent offenders. African American men are far more likely to be stopped and searched by police, charged with crimes, and sentenced to longer prison terms than white men found guilty of the same offenses.

We devote far too many resources on over-incarceration and misguided crime policies, money that could be better spent providing education, training, and jobs to those who might otherwise get lost in the criminal justice system.

We must do a better job from the state to the local level in bringing law enforcement agencies together to define the use and limits of police force. In addition, I will work to create policy for increased community engagement from law enforcement agencies in order to develop bonds of trust in our neighborhoods.

We don’t need to keep incarcerating the masses. Instead I advocate for smarter gun control as well as stronger policies to prevent domestic violence and sexual assault.

Reforming our criminal justice system is paramount to helping advance opportunities for our most challenging communities. I support Elimination of Mandatory Minimums, Legalized Cannabis Industry, and creating a Prince George’s County Community Police Review Board with authority to remove officers who’ve abused their power.

Cannabis

Far too many of our neighbors are still being incarcerated for nonviolent crimes, including for possessing small amounts of marijuana. I fully support the legalization of medicinal and recreational marijuana. But for where it is not legal, I support the popular policy of cities to cite and release in these instances.

The medical breakthroughs being made in cellular cancer cells by cannabinoids found in Marijuana is too much to ignore. Cancer patients in particular deserve access to alternative treatment methods when all else fails.

Recreational marijuana provides a safe alternative to drinking and other drugs like opioids.

States that have legalized marijuana are reporting significant reductions in incidents of drunk driving and underage drinking.

 

FIGHTING FOR FAMILIES

 We need more leaders that share our values and understand the struggles of working families. For far too long, far too many of our families have been ignored, and haven't been able to get ahead. It's time our community sends someone to Annapolis that will have our back.  I will be that leader for Maryland's working families. In Annapolis, I will fight for:   •  $15 minimum wage   •  Debt-free college tuition and career training   •  Fair Scheduling   •  Access to affordable, quality health care   •  Affordable Housing   •  The Trust Act.

We need more leaders that share our values and understand the struggles of working families. For far too long, far too many of our families have been ignored, and haven't been able to get ahead. It's time our community sends someone to Annapolis that will have our back.

I will be that leader for Maryland's working families. In Annapolis, I will fight for:

$15 minimum wage

Debt-free college tuition and career training

Fair Scheduling

Access to affordable, quality health care

Affordable Housing

The Trust Act.

 

ENVIRONMENT

 Data shows a consistent and scary rise in temperatures, sea levels, and extreme weather in recent years. What we are also finding is that It is WAY cheaper to invest in sustainable energy now than pay for the damage climate change would cause in the future.  As your Delegate, I will fight to defend and extend Maryland’s pollution and emission standards, invest in clean energy infrastructure, and promote stewardship and conservation.

Data shows a consistent and scary rise in temperatures, sea levels, and extreme weather in recent years. What we are also finding is that It is WAY cheaper to invest in sustainable energy now than pay for the damage climate change would cause in the future.

As your Delegate, I will fight to defend and extend Maryland’s pollution and emission standards, invest in clean energy infrastructure, and promote stewardship and conservation.

 

Endorsements

 
 
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ELECTED OFFICIALS

  • Maryland State Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk (D) 

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