He has asked to be assigned to the Ways and Means Committee.
Frederick, Md (KM). The celebrations following the 2018 election are over, and it’s now time for Ken Kerr (D) to get ready to serve as Delegate from District 3B. He defeated Republican incumbent Bill Folden during the November 6th general election.
Kerr is an English professor at Frederick Community College, and he will continue teaching, even as a state lawmaker. “I will teach during the summer, and I will teach a bigger than average load in the fall to meet my contractual obligations,” he says. Kerr says he’s under contract with FCC to teach 30 credit hours per year.
He also says he will commute back and forth to Annapolis during the 90-day session, which takes place from January through early April.
As for committees, Kerr says he’s asked to be assigned to the House Ways and Means Committee. But getting a seat on that panel is not guaranteed. “From what I understand, the Speaker likes to have gender and geographic and ethnic balance on committees. So it all fit all depends on whether I fit the right profile, or whether they need me somewhere else,” he says. “But the Education Subcommittee is in Ways and Means. Of course, that’s where my greatest interest lie and my greatest area of expertise.”
The 2019 Maryland General Assembly session will begin on Wednesday, January 9th at 12:00 noon.
Kerr says one education issue he wants to address is apprenticeships. Currently employers who agree to hire a high school graduate as an apprentice can receive a $1,000 tax credit for the first year of that apprenticeship. He wants to increase that to $3,000. “To where a kid would express an interest in becoming a scientist. These companies would take them on as apprentices, full time work at apprentice wages,” he says. “And part of their work week would be attending their college classes.” Kerr says it would also work for those students who pursue careers in other fields beside science.
If the young man or woman decides this is not the career path he or she wants, that young person could back out, and neither side loses much. . “After a couple of years, you know whether this is a good job for you, and the apprentice sponsor knows whether your a good candidate for this career,” says Kerr.
Another issue Kerr says he wants to tackle is transportation. He says one way to encourage more people to use the MARC commuter train is to expand the platform at the Point of Rocks station. He says train coming out of Frederick doesn’t stop at the station because the platform is not long enough. “So if we were even able to expand that platform to accommodate the trains that leave Monocacy Station and Frederick Station so we can have increased ridership in those t rains leaving Frederick, that would allow many more people to take advantage of that public transportation option,” he says.
In addition, Kerr says he wants to see MARC commuter rail operate seven days a week. “If we could get triple tracking, then we could have seven-day-a-week, all day, both direction, train traffic between Washington and Frederick and even down into Baltimore,:” he says.
The tracks are owned by CSX, which has triple-tracked part of the routes in this area. . But in the end, Kerr says it would be less expensive that setting up a public-private partnership to collect tolls on major h highways such as I-270. “I think that rail transportation at a half-billion or less makes a whole lot more sense than $9-billion to a private enterprise,” says Kerr.
By Kevin McManus