Heather Mizeur

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Heather Mizeur
Delegate Heather Mizeur.jpg
Member of the Maryland House of Delegates
from the 20th district
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 10, 2007
Preceded by Peter Franchot
Gareth Murray
Personal details
Born (1972-12-06) December 6, 1972 (age 41)
Blue Mound, Illinois, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Deborah Mizeur
Alma mater University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Religion Roman Catholicism
Website Campaign website

Heather R. Mizeur (/mɪˈzɪər/ mi-ZEER; born December 6, 1972) is an American politician from Maryland. A Democrat, she is a member of the Maryland House of Delegates, representing the state's 20th district in Montgomery County. Mizeur was a candidate in the 2014 Maryland gubernatorial election, however she lost the Democratic primary to Anthony Brown.

Early life, education, and personal life[edit]

Mizeur was born on December 6, 1972 in Blue Mound, Illinois. Her father, Dale Mizeur, was a welder at the Caterpillar Inc. factory and a member of the United Auto Workers. She attended Blue Mound High School, where she graduated as valedictorian of her graduating class. Mizeur attended the University of Illinois, where she was awarded the Harry S. Truman Scholarship in 1994.[1]

Mizeur married her wife, Deborah, in a private ceremony in 2005 on the Chesapeake Bay. They were legally married in California in 2008. They reside in Takoma Park with their dog Chester, and they also own a 34-acre organic farm in Chestertown, Maryland.

Career[edit]

Her professional career began with U.S. Reps. Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky (D-PA) and Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX). In 1995, she became Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II’s (D-MA) Legislative Director. In 1998, Mizeur was named Director of State Affairs at the National Association of Community Health Centers, an organization advocating for improved access to health care for the uninsured. In 2003, she became U.S. Sen. John Kerry's (D-MA) Director of Domestic Policy, and authored much of his health care platform for the 2004 presidential campaign.

Electoral history[edit]

Mizeur was first elected to public office in 2003, when she won a seat on the Takoma Park City Council.[2]

In 2006, Mizeur ran for a seat in the Maryland House of Delegates in District 20, which comprises Silver Spring, Takoma Park, Colesville, and White Oak in southeastern Montgomery County. In the Democratic primary, Mizeur garnered the most votes in a seven-candidate field for three seats, receiving 8,176 votes.[3] She faced only nominal Republican opposition in the general election and was elected by a wide margin.

In 2010, Mizeur and fellow incumbent Delegates Sheila Hixson and Tom Hucker defeated three primary challengers by a wide margin and then won unopposed in the general election.[4]

In both elections, Mizeur secured endorsements from The Washington Post,[5][6] the Montgomery County Education Association,[7] the League of Conservation Voters,[8]Sierra Club,[9] and NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland,[10] among many others.[11][12]

Maryland House of Delegates[edit]

Health care[edit]

In her first year as a legislator, Mizeur introduced and passed the Family Coverage Expansion Act[13] to allow young adults to stay on family health plans until age 25. In 2009, Mizeur introduced and passed the Foster Kids Coverage Act[14] to extend Medicaid coverage to former foster care youth.

In 2008, Mizeur introduced and passed the Kids First Act[15] to find and cover an estimated 100,000 children who were uninsured but eligible for public coverage.[16] According to the 2009 Joint Chairmen’s Report on Barriers to Enrollment at the Community Level, from July 2008 to December 2009 the Kids First Act helped cover an additional 50,000 children.[17] The Kids First Act was instrumental in delivering more than $75 million in federal health bonus funds for Maryland.[18]

In 2011, Mizeur introduced and passed the Family Planning Works Act[19] to expand family planning services to low-income women at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. The Guttmacher Institute estimates this expansion would have the potential to avert as many as 7,980 unintended pregnancies, 2,650 abortions, and 4,150 Medicaid births annually.[20] The Maryland Department of Legislative Services noted that “general fund savings from those averted births alone could be as much as $39.5 million”.[21] Mizeur co-authored a Washington Post editorial with Republican co-sponsor Delegate Mike Smigiel to champion both the fiscal savings and health benefits to this legislation.[22]

Mizeur also sponsored successful legislation, known as the Prosthetic Parity Act, to improve health benefits for amputees.[23]

Mizeur has received numerous accolades for her health care work:[24]

  • "Good Works Done Well" Award, Primary Care Coalition, 2009
  • Legislator of the Year, MARFY, 2009
  • Health Care Hero, The Daily Record, 2011
  • Dr. Henry and Page Laughlin Distinguished Public Official Award, Montgomery County Medical Society, 2011
  • State Hero Award, National Alliance on Mental Illness Montgomery County, 2011
  • Choice Advocate Award, NARAL Pro Choice Maryland, 2011
  • Legislator of the Year, Maryland Association of Community Services, 2012

Job creation[edit]

In 2008, Mizeur introduced and passed legislation alongside Senate President Mike Miller to create the Coordinating Emerging Nanobiotechnology Research (CENTR) in Maryland Program.[25] CENTR is a state-administered grant program for nanobiotechnology projects that develop potential life-saving technologies.[26]

In a Washington Post editorial opposing the 2012 plan[27] to expand gambling in Maryland, Mizeur outlined her economic priorities for Maryland.[28]

  • "Jobs of the future. Maryland’s potential rests on the expansion of its knowledge-based economy. We have already begun to build expertise in areas such as biotech and nanotechnology, cybersecurity, space exploration and clean energy, and we are at the head of the pack nationally in research and development investment. But we significantly lag our peers in turning these innovative ideas into marketable products. We have to improve on that with a long-term commitment to commercialization and loosening government regulations that are barriers to economic growth. These jobs will also require a skilled workforce. By 2018, an estimated 66 percent of jobs in the state will require postsecondary education. As “Obamacare” takes full effect, we will need as many as 100,000 additional health professionals to serve the newly insured. We must join with employers to take a full inventory of our state’s economic opportunities and aggressively encourage partnerships among business, state and local governments and our robust university and community college system to better align student studies with job opportunities. We can make Maryland a leading state in matching our skills and talent with our economic needs.
  • Small-business tax cuts. Small-business owners drive the engines of job creation. Freed-up capital in the hands of a small-business entrepreneur is often directly reinvested in the local economy through new hiring, supply purchases and marketing. We can provide tax relief to small businesses by closing the combined-reporting loophole that has allowed some giant corporations to avoid their Maryland tax obligations. Shockingly, between 2008 and 2010, at least 68 Fortune 500 companies across the nation — including Comcast, Verizon and Pepco in our area — paid no state income taxes in at least one of those years. Our economy works best when everyone plays by the same rules. We can boost the bottom line for small businesses while ending shell games for corporate titans.
  • Rebuilding roads and rail. Rebuilding highways and bridges, investing in Maryland’s globally competitive Port of Baltimore and expanding public-transit options can create construction, maintenance and operations jobs and fuel economic activity. Maryland must give a boost to our dwindling state transportation trust fund. And no revenue option should be off the table to make this happen.
  • Transformative school construction. Building new schools creates more jobs than almost any other activity in which government engages. Maryland has a backlog of roughly $5.5 billion worth of school construction projects. I have proposed a new kind of public-private partnership, tested in North Carolina and elsewhere, that uses creative financing options to fund sweeping transformations of our school systems. A partnership with private pension funds, which invest billions of dollars annually, can provide the seed money to get this program up and running. If organized labor gets involved, we could guarantee that these new jobs come with good union wages and benefits."

In 2012, Mizeur worked with the Maryland Energy Administration in 2012 to create a Biomass Heating Grant Pilot Program to enable homeowners to purchase EPA-certified wood and pellet stoves.[29]

Delegate Mizeur speaking at the "Surround the White House" Rally in 2011.

Environment[edit]

Delegate Mizeur has been a high-profile supporter of stronger regulations on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. In 2010, she authored a Baltimore Sun op-ed, “Water on fire,” calling attention to the drilling practice.[30] In 2011, she introduced the Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Act to require strict safety studies on fracking in Maryland.[31] Mizeur’s bill passed the House but failed in the Senate. However, Mizeur’s bill led to creation of the Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Initiative under a gubernatorial Executive Order.[32] Mizeur serves on the Initiative’s Commission, which is charged with studying the environmental, economic, and health impacts of fracking.

In September 2011, Mizeur authored a Democratic National Committee resolution pressuring the president to reject the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. Two months later, she was a featured speaker at the 12,000-person KXL rally in Washington, DC to protest the pipeline.[33]

The Baltimore Sun has labeled her “one of the leading environmental advocates in the General Assembly” for her work on the environment.[34]

Education[edit]

Mizeur serves as Vice Chair of the Education and Economic Development Subcommittee, which has primary jurisdiction over the state’s $12.7 billion K-12 and higher education budget. During her time as Vice Chair, K-12 public education funding has increased by more than $400 million and higher education funding increased by $350 million.[35]

In 2012, Mizeur voted against a proposal to shift teacher pension costs to County governments.[36]

Marriage equality[edit]

As one of eight LGBT legislators in the Maryland General Assembly, Mizeur has been a vocal supporter for marriage equality. She has written editorials urging Maryland to enact same-sex marriage[37] and worked with several national LGBT organizations[38][39] to affirm marriage equality on Maryland’s Question 6 referendum. Mizeur’s floor speech during the 2011 debate on the Civil Marriage Protection Act went viral after it was picked up by national LGBT blogs.[40]

Government transparency[edit]

In 2010, Mizeur introduced the Maryland Open Government Act[41] which sought to post General Assembly committee votes online; eliminate an $800 fee and enable free public access to the General Assembly's "up-to-the-minute" bill tracking service; post General Assembly committee agendas a day in advance; webcast committee hearings; and bring greater transparency to the proceedings of the state Board of Public Works.[42] The bill was ultimately referred to an interim summer study that lead to adoption of many of these reforms.[43]

In 2011, Delegate Mizeur introduced a bill that created the Joint Committee on Transparency and Open Government.[44]

Committees, task forces, boards and commissions[edit]

Mizeur serves as a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, which has jurisdiction over the state budget. In 2011, she was appointed the Vice Chair of the Education & Economic Development Subcommittee.

In addition to her role as Vice Chair, Mizeur is a member of the Montgomery County House Delegation. She also serves on the Maryland Medicaid Advisory Committee,[45] the Marcellus Shale Safe-Drilling Initiative Advisory Commission,[46] the Maryland Affordable Housing Trust,[47] and the Joint Committee on Transparency and Open Government.[48]

In 2009, Mizeur was appointed to the White House Task Force of State Legislators for Health Reform,[49] where she advised the Obama administration on state best practices to be included in the Affordable Care Act.

Democratic Party[edit]

In 2004, Mizeur served as Maryland State Director for the Kerry-Edwards campaign in the presidential election.[50] In 2006, she was elected as one of Maryland’s Democratic National Committee members. In 2009, President Obama appointed Mizeur to the DNC’s Executive Committee.[51]

As a DNC member, Mizeur was a superdelegate in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary.[52] In an effort to support the party above any of the candidates, Mizeur opted to stay neutral.[53] In explaining her decision to stay neutral for as long as she did, Mizeur said, “We have a democracy, not a monarchy. We're not about coronating candidates." When it became clear that he would win the nomination, Mizeur endorsed Barack Obama on June 4, 2008, saying, “It's time for everyone to rally around our nominee. I intend to pledge my support for Barack Obama. I am going to extremely enthusiastically support him."

Gubernatorial run[edit]

Mizeur was a candidate in Maryland's 2014 gubernatorial election. Reverend Delman Coates was her running mate.[54] Mizeur has co-sponsored a bill to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana in Maryland. On January 31, 2014 she received the support of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.[55] She has also received the endorsements of the Maryland National Organization for Women,[56] the Sierra Club,[56] and the Women's Campaign Fund.[57]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Truman Scholar’s Profile on Mizeur". 
  2. ^ "2003 Montgomery County Election Results". The Washington Post. 
  3. ^ "2003 Official 2006 Gubernatorial Primary Election results for Legislative District 20". 
  4. ^ "2010 General Election Official Results". 
  5. ^ "Washington Post: Choices in Montgomery 2010". The Washington Post. August 23, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Washington Post: Choices in Montgomery 2006". The Washington Post. September 10, 2006. 
  7. ^ "Teachers union’s backing is key in Montgomery". 
  8. ^ "Md. environmental group sides with Senate challengers". The Washington Post. 
  9. ^ "Sierra Club 2010 State and Local Endorsements". 
  10. ^ "NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland PAC Announces More Endorsements". 
  11. ^ "Progressive Maryland Announces More Endorsements". 
  12. ^ "Equality Maryland Releases Early Endorsements for the 2010 Primaries". 
  13. ^ "Family Coverage Expansion Act". 
  14. ^ "Foster Kids Coverage Act". 
  15. ^ "Kids First Coverage Incentive Act". 
  16. ^ "HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE IN MARYLAND THROUGH 2007". 
  17. ^ "Joint Chairmen’s Report – 2009 Department of Health and Mental Hygiene". 
  18. ^ "CHIPRA Performance Bonus Awards, FY2009-FY2012". 
  19. ^ "Family Planning Works Act". 
  20. ^ "Estimating the Impact of Expanding Medicaid Eligibility For Family Planning Services: 2011 Update". 
  21. ^ "FISCAL AND POLICY NOTE HB778". 
  22. ^ Mizeur, Heather R.; Smigiel, Michael (April 8, 2011). "Partisan gridlock over family planning? Not in Maryland". The Washington Post. 
  23. ^ "Prosthetic Parity Act". 
  24. ^ "MDGA: Delegate Heather R. Mizeur". 
  25. ^ "Coordinating Emerging Nanobiotechnology Research (CENTR) in Maryland Program". 
  26. ^ Rucker, Philip (February 27, 2008). "Coordinating Emerging Nanobiotechnology Research (CENTR) in Maryland Program". The Washington Post. 
  27. ^ Mizeur, Heather R. (July 27, 2012). "More gambling isn’t the answer for Maryland’s economy". The Washington Post. 
  28. ^ Wagner, John (July 27, 2012). "O’Malley announces special session on Prince George’s casino, other gambling issues". The Washington Post. 
  29. ^ "Md. to launch wood stove rebate pilot program". 
  30. ^ "Water on fire? Time to put this on ice". 
  31. ^ "Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Initiative Advisory Commission". 
  32. ^ "Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Act of 2011". 
  33. ^ "Tar Sands Action "Surround the White House" - November 6, 2011". 
  34. ^ "MD lawmaker played role in pipeline delay". 
  35. ^ "State Budget Highlights, FY2014". 
  36. ^ "Teachers union’s backing is key in Montgomery". 
  37. ^ "In search of marriage equality for all". 
  38. ^ "Same-Sex marriage fight to return to legislature". 
  39. ^ "Lesbian Heather Mizeur Makes List of ‘Catholic Women Making a Difference". 
  40. ^ "Md. Rep. Mizeur: You can’t stop us!". 
  41. ^ "Maryland Open Government Act". 
  42. ^ "Mizeur Builds Massive Support for Open Government Act". 
  43. ^ "Maryland government makes a leap online". The Washington Post. 
  44. ^ "Mizeur-Sponsored Open Government Bill Signed Into Law". 
  45. ^ "Maryland Medicaid Advisory Committee". 
  46. ^ "Marcellus Shale Safe-Drilling Initiative Advisory Commission". 
  47. ^ "Maryland Affordable Housing Trust". 
  48. ^ "Joint Committee on Transparency and Open Government". 
  49. ^ "House of Delegates: Heather Mizeur". 
  50. ^ "Vice Presidential Nominee To Rally State Democrats in Annapolis Friday". 
  51. ^ "Mizeur goes National". 
  52. ^ "Superdelegate Heather Mizeur". 
  53. ^ Rucker, Philip (June 4, 2008). "On the Fence and in the Spotlight". The Washington Post. 
  54. ^ Wagner, John (November 14, 2013). "Mizeur: Lieutenant governor pick, pastor Delman Coates, can ‘move mountains’". The Washington Post. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  55. ^ Wagner, John (January 31, 2014). "Maryland gubernatorial hopeful Mizeur wins backing of national marijuana reform group". The Washington Post. Retrieved 16 February 2014. 
  56. ^ a b "Sierra Club endorses Mizeur". The Baltimore Sun. January 20, 2014. Retrieved January 22, 2014. 
  57. ^ Riley, John (July 25, 2013). "Mizeur Makes It Official". Metro Weekly. Retrieved August 15, 2013. 

External links[edit]