August 27, 2002
Kathleen M. Dumais
Family: Single. Oldest of 8 children, 16 nieces & nephews
Office held: None.
Occupation: Family Law Lawyer
Current employment: Law firm of Paley, Rothman
Education: B.A., cum laude, Mount Vernon College, Washington, D.C. 1980. J.D., University of Maryland School of Law, Baltimore, MD 1983.
Community ties: I’m a lifetime Maryland resident and have lived in Montgomery County for over 12 years. I am committed to public service and have always been active in the community. I have been a leader through my activities with the Montgomery County Bar Association and the Women’s Bar Association. Additionally, I am a member of the St. Mary’s parish in Rockville and have been active in my homeowners association. I’ve always had a significant connection with Montgomery County. My father worked for the Montgomery County Public Schools for 30 years. He retired in 1988 as principal of Seneca Valley High School. My youngest sister is currently a MCPS third grade teacher and one of my brothers is a Montgomery County Police Officer.
Endorsements: Montgomery County Education Association (MCEA), Maryland State Teachers Association (MSTA), Montgomery County Council of Supporting Services, Employees (MCCSSE- SEIU, Local 500), Germantown Democratic Club
* Why are you running for this position?
* I am running for Delegate because as a practicing family law attorney, I have first hand experience with the important issues pending before Maryland’s legislature concerning working families. I have built a solid reputation as a trusted advocate with integrity for families in crisis. I am a problem solver. This professional experience and my leadership roles in a myriad of professional and community organizations evidences my dedication to making a difference.
* What is your top public-service accomplishment?
* I believe my top public-service accomplishment is my commitment to the principle of pro bono legal services. I received an award for “Outstanding Pro Bono Legal Services” from the Washington D.C. Archdiocesan Legal Network in November 2001. Additionally, I am very proud of my commitment to Habitat for Humanity. I worked on the home built in Rockville by the Montgomery County Bar Association in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity this year and have been active with the Worcester County Chapter of this organization with my parents for the past 8 or 9 years.
* What are the top five problems facing your constituents and what approaches will you use to solve them?
* The next legislature will obviously need to balance a multitude of important needs with limited funds. If elected, my top priorities are as follows:
Education: I believe that by providing quality education in Montgomery County we directly improve the overall quality of all of our lives. Therefore, it is important that the county continues to receive ample state funds to maintain excellence in our schools. We need to continue the early childhood initiatives recently enacted and we need to continue to reduce class size. We need to retain great teachers and principals. We need to improve our school facilities and reduce the number of trailers/portables used for classrooms.
Transportation: We are beyond the time for study on many projects and must move forward now. But, at the same time we must find a consistent funding stream for transportation projects. I fully support Doug Duncan’s “Go Montgomery” proposal. The solution to the current gridlock is multi-faceted. It must include expanded public transportation and it is time to build the Inter-County Connector and the Inner Purple Line.
Health Care and Health Insurance: We need to see that affordable health insurance is available for all Marylanders so that no one is without the opportunity to receive regular, routine, necessary health care, especially our children and our seniors. Based upon my work with families in crisis during separation and divorce, I am astounded at the number of families – whether low, median or high income – that choose not to have health insurance because of the incredible expense. This is simply unacceptable. We also need to address the cost of prescription drugs for our seniors. They should not have to make a choice between basic necessities and their prescriptions.
Family Law & Juvenile Justice Issues: This is the issue that I think distinguishes my candidacy. As a member of the House of Delegates I want to work on family law and juvenile justice issues. We need to continue the improvements in services available through the Court for families in crisis during separation and divorce. We also need to continue working on the structure of the juvenile justice system so that children do not get lost in the system.
Environmental Issues: We need to be sure that Maryland’s extraordinary natural resources are protected as an underlying consideration in all budget and growth decisions.
* What qualities, qualifications and characteristics will you bring to this office?
* As a result of my experience as a trial lawyer, I will bring strong advocacy and negotiation skills to Annapolis that will enable me to effectively protect the best interests of my constituents. Public service is important to me and I welcome the challenge to serve as a member of the House of Delegates.
* How will voters best distinguish between you and your opponents?
* I believe that voters can best distinguish me from my opponents by my commitment to working on issues that effect families in crisis during separation and divorce and my commitment to working on improving the structure of the juvenile justice system.
* What is one thing you promise not to do if elected?
* If elected, I promise not to lose sight of constituent concerns and issues.
* What do you predict for the short-term (two years or so) future of the Maryland budget and what adjustments will you propose to prepare for your prediction? How is this likely to impact your constituents? Where can the state afford to trim the budget?
* I believe that Maryland faces a budget crisis and, a possible deficit. There is no question that the funding needs for education, transportation and health care and the State’s ability to meet these needs conflict. I believe that the State already underfunds critical services. Therefore, we need to analyze the inadequate revenues and consider new sources and/or increased taxes.
* Do you support the recently reviewed Potomac Master Plan?
* I have not had the opportunity to study this in great detail. However, generally, I believe that the Potomac Master Plan addresses growth in a manner that maintains existing parks and greenspace; provides for transportation improvements to relieve congestion and improve public/pedestrian safety; and includes options for needed senior housing.
* How would you characterize transportation issues in Montgomery County and what specific actions would you support as a result? Please address your position on: Smart Growth; Metro Purple Line; ICC; Regional Transportation Authority; recently passed County Council plan calling for more than $4 billion in state funding over the next 10 years; raising the gas tax and other possible means of paying for transportation infrastructure.
* I clearly believe transportation issues are critical. I will try to address the issues referenced in the question:
Smart Growth: I support smart growth in that we need to provide that growth occurs near existing transit centers; maintain open space; protect our natural resources; and ensure that the transportation infrastructure supports the planned growth.
Metro Purple Line: I support construction of an underground Inner Purple Line.
ICC: I support the construction of the ICC.
Regional Transportation Authority: Although I do not object to the formation of a Regional Transportation Authority for the purposes of study and coordination, I would object to providing such a body with legislative/decision-making authority.
I support the County Council Plan and, in fact, support the broader plan set forth in the Go Montgomery Plan submitted by Doug Duncan.
Raising the gas tax and other possible means of paying for transportation infrastructure. I support raising the gas tax and believe that we need to legislate a specific funding source for transportation infrastructure.
* What is your position on a Techway and new bridge across the Potomac River in Montgomery County? Do you favor a new study?
* At this time, I do not favor the Techway. Although I believe a new study for a second crossing over the Potomac River in Montgomery County should be done, it is a very low priority (although I realize such a study is included in the Go Montgomery Plan submitted by Doug Duncan, which I support). I believe that we have more immediate transportation issues to address.
* How would you characterize and prioritize the preservation of open space in Maryland Montgomery County? What actions would you take?
* I would characterize the preservation of open space in Montgomery County, Maryland as an important and critical priority. Maryland is an absolutely beautiful State and we need to maintain our commitment to our extraordinary natural resources and planned growth. I believe that protecting open space and protecting our natural resources are integral to all growth and budget decisions.
* Is the current mix of state fees and taxes appropriate and equitable? What would you do differently?
* We need to carefully address the budget crisis in the next legislative session. Additionally, we need to review the report of the Commission on Maryland’s Fiscal Structure that was created in 2002. I believe that after the submission of this Commission’s initial report, we can better evaluate the mix of state fees and taxes.
* Schools in Potomac and the rest of the county are overcrowded with renovation, additions and new schools behind schedule. What is the state’s role in solving this and what do you propose? How would you balance the need for funding for school construction and transportation infrastructure?
* There is no simple answer to this issue, particularly in light of the budget crisis facing the next legislature. However, I would support greater funding from the state for capital improvements for our county schools.
* Would you support legislation to require parental notification or consent in the case of a minor seeking an abortion?
* Please articulate what you would do to reduce hand-gun violence.
* I would strongly support continuation of the gun control legislation that was enacted last year and would work to further legislation requiring registration of guns sold at gun shows.