General Election – November 3, 2020, 7 am until 8 pm
- Early Voting for the General Election – Thursday, October 22, 2020 through Thursday, October 29, 2020 from 8 am until 8 pm.
- Ballots will begin being printed on September 3rd
- Absentee ballots will begin being mailed out on September 19th
- Last day to pre-register to vote is October 13th– you will still be able to register election day in person at your polling location
- Last day to request an absentee ballot is October 30th
- Your absentee ballot must be postmarked by November 3rd
July 22, 2020
Contact: Ben Alexandro, firstname.lastname@example.org, 845-596-9634
U.S. Congress Passes Great American Outdoors Act
Landmark bill will protect open spaces in Maryland and throughout the United States
Washington, D.C. – By a bipartisan vote of 310-107, the U.S. House of Representatives today passed the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA), a landmark environmental bill that will restore parks and public lands in Maryland and across the country and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Act (LWCF). The bill, which passed the Senate on June 17, now heads to the White House for President Trump’s signature.
“The passage of the Great American Outdoors Act is a significant victory for Maryland,” said Maryland League of Conservation Voters Executive Director, Kim Coble. “The bill guarantees that Marylanders will have access to clean, safe, and healthy parks for years to come.”
The Great American Outdoors Act will allow the National Park Service to restore resources that are deteriorating due to age and inconsistent funding. In Maryland alone, park sites that welcome nearly 7 million visitors and support more than 2,900 jobs each year require $244 million in repairs. The now-permanent LWCF funding is significant for Maryland: The state has received $231.8 million in LWCF funding over the past five decades, protecting places such as the Assateague Island National Seashore, Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Monocacy National Battlefield and the C&O Canal National Historic Park. Maryland also uses LWCF to leverage additional funds, such as state Program Open Space money that funds hundreds of facilities and creates access to local and state parks.
Coble lauded the role of Majority Leader Steny Hoyer in shepherding the Great American Outdoors Act through Congress. “For decades, Marylanders have always known that Steny Hoyer would go to the mat for Maryland’s special places,” said Coble. “His tremendous leadership in moving the Great American Outdoors Act through Congress will provide lasting benefits to Marylanders and all Americans.”
The Maryland League of Conservation and its members weighed in heavily in support of the Great American Outdoors Act. Early in July, Maryland LCV organized 36 Maryland conservation groups to urge Rep. Hoyer’s continued leadership, and Maryland LCV reached hundreds of thousands of Marylanders through drive-time radio ads and extensive on-line advocacy in both English and Spanish.
Here are quotes from other Maryland organizations that joined with us in advocating for the Great American Outdoors Act:
“Our parks are inundated with people — a great problem to have, but our parks need help so they can remain treasures that connect people to nature while preserving delicate ecosystems. The Great American Outdoors Act is that help,” said Emily Ranson, Clean Water Action, Maryland Director.
“The Alice Ferguson Foundation applauds Majority Leader Hoyer’s continuous leadership of environmental causes both locally and nationally. The Great American Outdoors Act will continue to ensure our national parks thrive for future generations,” said Theresa Cullen, Executive Director, Alice Ferguson Foundation.
“GAOA funding will support our Urban parks and recreational spaces that are used by millions of people close to home,” said Jim Foster, President, Anacostia Watershed Society.
“This passage of the Great American Outdoors Act ensures that our irreplaceable Maryland parks and public lands will continue to be protected, and that all Marylanders will have access to nature. By continuing to provide funds for our parks we help cool our communities with green spaces as climate change heats up, and create opportunities to expand outdoor education programming,” said Denisse Guitarra, MD Conservation Advocate at Audubon Naturalist Society.
Maryland LCV is known for educating lawmakers and holding them accountable for their leadership and votes on key environmental issues. Their annual scorecard, along with other reports, help inform voters about their legislators’ records.
Maryland League of Conservation Voters
30 West Street, Suite C
Annapolis, MD 21401
Tipsheet from Maryland League of Conservation Voters
From: Maryland League of Conservation Voters’ Chispa Program
Date: July 20,2020
Re: Latino Conservation Week story opportunities
If you are interested in exploring story opportunities around Latino Conservation Week, we wanted to make sure that the Chispa Maryland program is on your radar. Chispa, which means “spark” in Spanish, is a program launched by the Maryland League of Conservation Voters in 2014. Chispa Maryland works with Latinx families, community groups, faith-based organizations, and elected officials to identify and address unique environmental issues facing Latinx communities in Maryland.July 18-26 is Latino Conservation Week, or Disfrutando y Conservando Nuestra Tierra. Latino Conservation Week, an initiative of Hispanic Access Foundation, was created to encourage and demonstrate the Latino community’s commitment to protecting our natural resources.
Chispa is also helping community partners overcome disproportional impacts associated with COVID-19; for example, Chispa recently raised more than $30,000 for the Langley Park MD community to help Latinx families with emergency assistance for rent, food, medicine, and other essential items.
Beyond COVID, transportation issues are front-and-center for Chispa this year. Maryland’s Latino communities are burdened by transportation inequities, including unsafe streets, unstable walking and biking environments, and public transit that can be hard to access, unaffordable, and unreliable. This limits Latinos’ access to health-promoting assets ─ affordable housing, green spaces and physical activity, healthy food, medical care, good schools ─ and makes it harder for Latino families to lead healthy lives. Chispa will be working with Maryland’s Latinx communities in the coming year to ensure that their environmental, economic, and social equity goals receive attention from policymakers in transportation-planning decision making.
Chispa Maryland Director Ramon Palencia-Calvo is available for Latino Conservation Week interviews and can also connect you with Maryland partner groups and other Latino community leaders who are fighting for environmental justice in their communities.
Contact: Ramon Palencia-Calvo, 202.531.5091, email@example.com
Kim Coble, executive director of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters, issued the following statement today in support of a resolution by Senators Brown, Harris, and Booker to declare racism in the U.S. a public health crisis:
“The Maryland League of Conservation Voters applauds this resolution from Senators Brown, Harris, and Booker and hopes it will be a first step in dismantling racial systemic policies that perpetuate health disparities and environmental degradation. Too many Marylanders of color suffer from mortality differences and a slew of other daily challenges, including environmental injustices. We need to commit to fighting these injustices and we must address public health problems that are exacerbated by racial disparities.”
Langley Park Civic Association Receives $20,000 Grant from League of Conservation Voters for COVID-19 Community Efforts
Langley Park Civic Association Receives $20,000 Grant from League of Conservation Voters for COVID-19 Community Efforts
Funds will support Langley Park residents who have been disproportionately harmed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Annapolis, MD – The Langley Park Civic Association, a nonprofit Latinx led organization that serves individuals residing in Langley Park in Prince George’s County, Maryland has been awarded $20,000 by the League of Conservation Voters to bolster the Association’s COVID-19 relief efforts. Upwards of 80% of community residents are Latino.
“This grant from the League of Conservation Voters will provide a great relief to these families so that they are not left behind, and it will also help our community to move forward together,” said Cándida Garcia, a board member of the Langley Park Civic Association. “The Civic Association will use these funds to provide direct financial relief to immigrant families that are experiencing hardships related to COVID-19 and increase the capacity of the Langley Park Civic Association to better assist residents of this community during the pandemic and beyond.”
The Langley Park community is a longtime partner of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters Education Fund. The Maryland LCV Ed Fund — through its Chispa Maryland program, and in partnership with community leaders, community members and the Langley park Civic Association — has delivered environmental education workshops, advocacy opportunities and leadership training that has produced over 30 Environmental Justice and Action “Promotores” (advocacy leaders) from this community.
“These Promotores and leaders have become the heart and soul of the Chispa Maryland program, and this community has been a key ally in advancing environmental legislation and policies that incorporate environmental justice in Maryland,” said Chispa Maryland Program Director Ramon Palencia-Calvo. “With many community members experiencing income loss due to lay-offs or significant reduction of work hours, and many unable to access federal assistance programs, we consider continued support for the community to be an urgent priority.”
Last May, Maryland LCV Education Fund and Chispa Maryland partnered with the Langley Park Civic Association to also assist its immigrant residents during the coronavirus pandemic. Jointly, the two raised over $10,000 through a 10 day GoFundMe campaign to help families with emergency assistance for rent, food, medicine, and other essential items.
“During that same May period, we applied for the $20,000 grant for the community from the national League of Conservation Voters’ COVID-19 Fund,” said Palencia-Calvo. “We are thrilled that the funds have now been awarded, because the community of Langley Park continues to experience hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic.”
Those who are interested in supporting Chispa’s COVID-19 community relief efforts should contact MD LCV at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Maryland LCV Education Fund, a non-profit, non partisan organization, works to strengthen the Maryland environmental community by growing a base of conservation-minded voters across the state. A leading environmental organization in Annapolis, we have advocated for smart environmental policies working to make Maryland a healthy and prosperous place for families and communities. Maryland LCV Ed Fund protects public health by fighting for restoration of the Chesapeake Bay and local waters, preserving green spaces, promoting smarter growth and increasing Maryland’s investment in clean energy.
Chispa, meaning “spark” in Spanish, is a program of Maryland League of Conservation Voters Ed Fund launched in 2014. Chispa Maryland has been working to ensure that Maryland Latino families and community leaders are a powerful voice for protecting the environment, our health, and our future. Chispa works with Latino families, community groups, faith-based organizations, and legislators to identify and address unique environmental issues facing Latino communities in Maryland
By Kelly Peaks, 2020 Summer Intern
As a child, I remember always looking forward to playing in my local park, Louise F Cosca Park, after school. I loved the tire swing, the monkey bars, and, as far as my childhood brain could comprehend, the “life-size” pirate ship. I cherish those afternoons making friends with children in my community as we ran along the pond. Or the many church picnics that were held in the park’s recreational spaces.
Parks have always been an important part of my life and have had a hand in shaping who I am today. These community parks that I frequented, Louise F Cosca, Watkins Regional Park, Henson Creek Park, and many more were partially funded by grants from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The upcoming House vote on Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) will strengthen park protections and ensure that national parks, as well as local parks, are able to be properly maintained and funded.
Parks have held a special place in my heart because they housed so many life events. One of those celebrations was the annual church picnics my family and I attended. The church picnics were a great way to bond with other parishioners outside of the church. My favorite activity was the nature walk where we would follow one of the many park trails. If we were fortunate enough to be in Watkins park, we would be able to ride the mini train that circled the property. Many of the families that attended the picnic lived in DC, so they didn’t readily have access to larger parks. The picnics were a wonderful way to provide the children with access to nature and teach them to respect and appreciate nature as an important part of our faith.
As a 24-year-old adult, I’ve outgrown the playground, but I’ve come to appreciate the other facets that parks have to offer. Access to nature and wildlife, beautiful views, and trails are only some of my favorite park activities. Since this pandemic has forced many of us to work from home, parks have become a place of solace. Parks have become such a popular destination because they are some of the only places we can enjoy while still being able to safely socially distance.
The past few weeks my family has spent quite a few afternoons walking along the path in Henson Creek Park. It has felt amazing to have a way to safely get out of the house and to find some sense of normalcy. There were families there teaching their kids to ride a bike, observing the local wildlife, and simply bonding with nature.
Personally, sitting inside all day, every day, can take a toll on my mental health. The times I’m able to take a break and take a walk have helped clear my head, boost my mood, and aid with efficiency. If I didn’t have access to parks, I think that self-quarantining would be more difficult for me. I am so thankful to have access to many parks in my district and hope that they remain open and cared for so that everyone can have access to nature for the duration of this quarantine.
The LWCF is a program that was created by Congress in 1964 to protect the nation’s natural and culturally significant areas and the resources around them, as well as provide recreational areas for citizens to enjoy. The program includes funds for National parks and refuges but also provides grants for states and localities that go towards smaller, community parks.
Every year, revenue from offshore oil and gas is supposed to go towards this fund, but a large portion of this money has been diverted from parks. Because of this, there is a backlog of maintenance needs totaling almost $30 billion, over $244 million in Maryland alone. The diversion of funds is jeopardizing park infrastructure, which endangers visitors’ health, safety, and enjoyment of parks.
This is where the GAOA comes in to address these challenges by providing a more dedicated source of funding. It promises to end the diversion of funds and ensures that they are spent on their intended purpose: parks. It will also establish the National Parks and Public Lands Legacy Fund which will direct money towards park repairs. Just last month, U.S. Senate passed the Great American Outdoors Act. This is partially due to strong support from our great Maryland Senators as well as House Majority Leader, Steny Hoyer.
Rep. Hoyer has announced that at the end of this month this legislation will be voted on in the House, and with its strong bipartisan support, he is optimistic that it will pass and will officially be signed into law. I am grateful to Rep. Hoyer as well as our state senators for their leadership and commitment to bring it to the floor and I hope that it will pass.
I’ve noticed maintenance issues over the past few years in these smaller parks. It has been little things like broken swings, fallen trees, and unkept trails. With the pandemic and the backlog of maintenance issues, these small things can turn into larger problems that prevent people from enjoying their local parks. In times like these, where nature is one of the only safe places that we can escape to, we need legislation like the Great American Outdoors Act to improve our parks and provide us with spaces to clear our minds, bond with family, and build lasting memories.
I hope you join me in adding your name to our petition to get this legislation passed.