In over two decades of elected office and professional activism, Tom has amassed a proven record of uniting communities in common causes and producing results. As the District 5 representative on the Montgomery County Council, Tom continues to advocate for progressive solutions to the challenges our community faces.
Below are some of the many progressive victories Tom has helped achieve as founder and Executive Director of Progressive MD, during his 8 years serving in the Maryland General Assembly, and currently as a member of the Montgomery County Council:
- Worked with Councilmembers to help pass legislation to provide a new tool for law enforcement to use to disincentivize and reduce human trafficking.
- Fought to ensure that the Council rejected last minute attempts [by the business community] to weaken County paid sick and safe leave legislation and offered a successful amendment providing that all types of workers that are laid off and later rehired are able to use previously accumulated time if they are rehired within 9 months.
- Worked to make Montgomery County the first in Maryland to tax e-cigarettes at the same rate as tobacco products, ensuring that the county tax code reflects an evolving vaping industry .
- Introduced and passed a bill to combat human trafficking in Montgomery County that provides law enforcement with an innovative demand-reduction tool.
- Worked with Councilmembers to help pass legislation to increase Montgomery County’s minimum wage, then successfully fought for statewide legislation to increase Maryland’s minimum wage, giving a raise to nearly half a million workers. Helped defeat efforts in Annapolis to pre-empt Montgomery’s new higher minimum wage
- Introduced legislation to establish a statewide retirement fund for private employees, similar to President Obama’s MyRA mentioned in the 2014 State of the Union
- Secured bond funding for District 20 projects, including $100,000 for a renovation of the overcrowded Silver Spring Volunteer Fire Station on University Boulevard, and $100,000 to finish renovations to make The Black Box Theatre ADA compliant – so that everyone in our community can enjoy it
- Worked with parents at Silver Spring International Middle School to stop the Board of Education from cutting funding for the eight-period schedule, which has helped turn around student achievement for poor and minority students
- Passed the Pregnant Worker Protection Act, providing pregnant workers with better protection from firings and requiring all employers to accommodate their workers during pregnancy
- Worked closely with Gov. O’Malley to pass the MD Offshore Wind Energy Act, historic legislation creating thousands of green jobs and preparing MD to be a leading producer of wind energy in the country
- Passed “Connor’s Law” requiring automatic external defibrillators at every public pool and mandating that staff be trained to use them — the first state in the nation to do so
- Improved training requirements for asbestos removal to better protect workers being exposed to the deadly substance
- Passed the MD Watershed Protection and Restoration Program, guaranteeing that every major jurisdiction in the state will work together to address stormwater pollution and create green jobs across the region
- Successfully fought to ban arsenic additives from chicken production, a policy later adopted by the FDA
- Helped pass the first-ever reliability standards for Pepco with state Senator Brian Feldman. Three years later, our electric service is far more reliable, despite an unusually icy and cold winter of 2013-14
- Successfully ended Pepco’s practice of charging customers for utility usage during power outages
- Passed statewide screening requirements to test newborns for congential heart disease – the first state in the nation to do so
- Passed HB 350 with overwhelming bipartisan support for federal funds to dramatically expand pre-K in Maryland
- Worked with Montgomery County and Maryland State Police and the Maryland Women’s Caucus to pass HB 1322, requiring hotels that have previously been cited in violation of prostitution and/or human trafficking laws to post bilingual signs with numbers to national human trafficking hotlines in each hotel room
- Re-elected as D20 delegate, endorsed by the MD Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters, NARAL Pro-Choice MD, EqualityMD, MCGEO, UFCW, SEIU, The Washington Post, The Gazette, MCEA, MSEA, and many other organizations
- Passed the MD Preschool for All bill requiring MD to finalize a business plan to offer free, voluntary pre-Kindergarten to all four-year olds
- Served on the White House Task Force of State Legislators for Health Care Reform, which provided policy advice and organized support for the passage and implementation of the President’s national health care reform efforts
- Served on a Working Group that brought together manufacturers, environmentalists, and labor unions to create and pass HB 315, Maryland’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act, the nation’s toughest state global warming law at the time
- Passed landmark legislation requiring that all workers on state contracts receive a Living Wage — the first state in the nation to do so
- Helped pass the Maryland Clean Cars Act, drastically lowering vehicle emissions in MD
- Introduced legislation that prohibited housing discrimination against a person because of source of income
- Led the charge to override Governor Bob Ehrlich’s veto of a minimum wage raise with then-Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley
- Elected to represent District 20 as state delegate, endorsed by former NAACP President Kweisi Mfume, then-school board member and District 5 County Council candidate Valerie Ervin, the Washington Post, the Gazette, the Montgomery County Education Association and the Montgomery Federation of Teachers, the Maryland League of Conservation Voters, the National Organization of Women, the Maryland Nurses Association, the Fraternal Order of Police, the Montgomery County Career Fire Fighters Association/IAFF L. 1664, the Hispanic Democratic Club, the Coalition of Asian Pacific American Democrats (CAPAD-MD) and over thirty other organizations
- Rallied over 450 Progressive Maryland members and allies outside Montgomery Blair High School to protest President Bush’s phony “Town Hall Meeting” inside the school and criticize his plan to privatize Social Security
- Received Public Service Award by the League of Korean Americans of Maryland and the Defenders of Justice Award by the Maryland Association for Justice
- Collected over 16,000 postcards from constituents to key lawmakers to close the infamous “Delaware Loophole” that allowed megacorporations to avoid income taxes and win hundreds of millions of dollars for Maryland schools, universities, and hospitals
- Won a four year campaign to enact Montgomery County’s Living Wage Law
- Helped manage the campaign to elect Delegate Herman Taylor, the first African American delegate in Montgomery County’’s 227-year history
- Directed organization that was awarded “Friends of Latinos” by the Hispanic Democratic Club of Montgomery County
- Successfully fought County administration proposals to eliminate rent guidelines and other anti-tenant measures
- Founded Progressive Maryland