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The Stakes Are High For Maryland in 2012

The stakes this election, both in Maryland and the nation are high. “In 2008 we changed the guard”, Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) said. “In 2010 we have to guard the change.” This year the Young Democrats of Maryland will play a pivotal role in “guarding the change” in Maryland and across the country by helping to re-elect President Obama, pick up congressional seats, and fight off attacks on social justice advances.  While Maryland has a reputation as a “safe” blue state that produces thousands of volunteer hours in Virginia and Pennsylvania, we have daunting challenges in our own state this year that are lighting a fire under young Maryland activists.

Jireh Silva, who just graduated from Prince George’s County’s Henry Wise High School at the top of her class, needs our help. The valedictorian was accepted to a number of colleges, but without a green card the financial aid she needs is unattainable. That is why she will be heading back to her native Philippines to attend school. Silva didn’t come to our country illegally. Her mother came to the United States years ago as part of a program to address teacher shortages. So while Silva’s mother teaches people here, her daughter will have to return to the Philippines to get her education.

Thanks to Maryland Democrats, we’ve passed the DREAM Act which would provide in-state tuition rates for students like Silva.  But those on the far right have petitioned this law to the ballot and we face an uphill battle to put affordable education within the reach of every young person.  Learn more about Maryland students here.

Thousands of committed LGBT couples will have to defend their right to marry at the ballot box in November as well.  After a fierce fight this past legislative session, our legislature passed the Civil Marriage and Religious Protection Act which Governor Martin O’Malley signed into law.  It was a great moment in Maryland history, but the law will not take effect until 2013 and relies on it making it through the difficult referendum we’re now facing.  It’s a fight we’re deeply committed to and want to see become a reality for loving families across the state.  Learn more about the fight for equality here.

We’re also raring to pick up a congressional seat this year too.  John Delaney is running in Maryland’s 6th congressional district and we’re working to unseat the nearly 20 year incumbent tea party congressman Roscoe Bartlett.  In his two decades in Congress Bartlett has stood in the way of progress on just about every issue. This week, instead of joining the rest of the Maryland delegation to support extending tax cuts to help middle class families, Rep. Bartlett is fighting to protect tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.

We can’t turn back the last four years of progress.  Get involved with “guarding the change,” and head over to our online campaign headquarters at ydmaryland.org/2012.  Help us make phone calls, knock doors, and learn how to be an effective advocate for change in our state and the country.