–District 7A Delegates Ryan Nawrocki and Kathy Szeliga have submitted their Year End Highlights for 2023 as they look forward to the new year and the 2024 Legislative Session. Part 1 & Part 2 were sent over the past weeks. Here is their final installment –
Chaudry and Antisemitism
We continue to follow the Israel-Hamas war. We stand firmly with Israel as they fight back against Hamas after their unprovoked barbaric and evil attack on innocent civilians that led to the death of more than 1,200 people and the abduction of the elderly, women, and babies as hostages.
Hitting the headlines here in Maryland and making national news, Ms. Zainab Chaudry, a member of the newly-created Commission on Hate Crime Response and Prevention, has made several antisemitic posts on her public Facebook page.
This commission member, who is charged with hate crime response and prevention, called Israelis “Nazis” and posted the Israel flag next to a Nazi flag.
Ms. Chaudry also serves as director of the Maryland branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). President Biden cut ties with CAIR last month because of their antisemitic comments, saying they were “happy” to see Hamas attack Israel on October 7th.
Ms. Chaudry called Hamas “freedom fighters” just two days after their barbaric attacks on innocent civilians in Israel. She also said the babies brutally murdered by Hamas were fake.
We believe that the aggressive antisemitism of these posts is unseemly from any decent person but is especially objectionable from someone serving on a commission whose sole purpose is to address and prevent hate crimes.
We joined five other delegates from across the state in writing a letter requesting that Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown remove Ms. Zainab Chaudry from his newly created Commission. AG Brown had suspended Ms. Chaudry. However, we believe that more than suspension is needed.
Unbelievably, just two weeks after the suspension, the Attorney General reinstated her to the commission, stating that the letter of the law did not give him the authority to suspend or remove any members. We find this ridiculous! The poorly written law has proven to be nothing more than virtue signaling if there is no way to suspend or remove members of this Commission regardless of their actions.
Ms. Chaudry has every right to express whatever disgusting and dangerous opinions she may hold, but it does not follow that she should be allowed to stay on a Commission appointed by a Maryland state official.
No one who supports the murder, rape, and torture that the Israeli people suffered on October 7th should remain in a role that is meant to provide additional protection and help for targeted minority communities. Maryland must do better to protect Jewish people.
Water Task Force
Did you know that Baltimore City owns and operates our regional drinking water and wastewater systems? You certainly might notice that when you get your water bill and pay it to Baltimore City.
The regional water systems serve as many as 1.8 million residents across Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and other surrounding jurisdictions.
However, under existing State law, Baltimore City bears the sole responsibility for the water supply and wastewater operations, maintenance, and capital investments.
This past session, the General Assembly created the Baltimore Regional Water Governance Task Force. The task force, composed of 13 members, is charged with making recommendations to modernize the governance of the region’s water and wastewater utilities.
They currently operate under half-century-old agreements. The goal is to help ensure residents receive high-quality water and sewerage services.
While these are all necessary and lofty goals, we are concerned that the appointed task force does not include enough Baltimore County representation. Many of the appointees are not living and breathing the true ramifications of the broken water/sewage systems in our County.
It is frustrating for County residents when a waterline breaks; they have to wait for Baltimore City to send someone out! It is inefficient and always takes longer than it should. We believe that Baltimore County should have a larger role in our water and wastewater.
Maybe you heard about the recent parasite found in the city water that impacted a portion of our district in Parkville. We must ensure safe water for everyone.
During the recent task force meeting, in a surprising turn of events, the vote to approve the new type of governance model was delayed because the task force couldn’t agree on the best path forward.
Also, it was clear during the meeting that Baltimore COUNTY residents will bear the brunt of cost increases due to the projected plans.
Thankfully, final decisions have not been made yet, and we will keep an eye on this issue as it moves forward.
As we look forward to the 2024 legislative session which begins on Jan. 10, we will continue to be a voice for Baltimore County and serve our constituents on these and the many other pressing matters that we face. Do not hesitate to reach out to our offices to share your thoughts with us as we head to Annapolis!