Se­nate elec­tion pro­files

Times-Record - - FRONT PAGE - By KAYLA RI­VAS kri­vas@star­dem.com @Kay­la_S­tarDem

EAS­TON — Holly Wright is run­ning for state Se­nate in Dis­trict 37 and is on a mis­sion to be a leader who will stand up for work­ing fam­i­lies.

“At a time when wages are stag­nat­ing, schools are de­te­ri­o­rat­ing and re­tiree ben­e­fits are un­der threat, this dis­trict can no longer af­ford Ad­die Eckardt’s tired con­ser­vatism that ig­nores the big is­sues and fo­cuses on small busi­ness tax cred­its,” Wright said.

“I have felt my Chris­tian faith, its first prin­ci­ples, have been hi­jacked by con­ser­va­tives po­lit­i­cally,” she said.

Wright, a Democrat, said the fun­da­men­tal ex­pec­ta­tions of her faith are car­ing for the hun­gry, sick and those in prison, which ex­plains the Bi­ble verse Matthew 25:34 in­scribed on her cam­paign ma­te­rial.

Run­ning against in­cum­bent Ad­die Eckardt, Wright’s cam­paign pri­or­i­tizes four is­sues: in­creas­ing the min­i­mum wage, early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion, con­trol­ling the cost of pre­scrip­tion drugs and vot­ing rights.

Wright has 20 years ex­pe­ri­ence in pub­lic health, work­ing at the state and re­gional level.

“Through­out that ca­reer, I worked with leg­is­la­tors, they lob­bied me, I spoke be­fore their hear­ings,” she said. “I know what it looks like to see a leg­is­la­tor who knows the needs of the dis­trict and fights for them.”

She said she sup­ports a phased-in in­crease in the min­i­mum wage to $15 over four years, with a slower rate of in­crease for small busi­nesses that may strug­gle with la­bor costs.

This pri­or­ity is in due part to data doc­u­mented in the As­set Lim­ited In­come Con­strained Em­ployed Re­port from 2016, a study of fi­nan­cial hard­ship.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, over 35 per­cent of white work­ing fam­i­lies on the Mid-Shore can­not af­ford a house­hold bud­get that cov­ers hous­ing, child care, food, trans­porta­tion and health care. For AfricanAmer­i­can and His­panic com­mu­ni­ties, this fig­ure is over 50 per­cent.

Speak­ing to uni­ver­sal pre-K, or gov­ern­ment­funded early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion, Wright said this is some­thing we know works.

“It helps kids so­cially learn how to get along with each other, and you can pick up on some be­hav­ioral is­sues early,” she said.

Wright said with pre-K, chil­dren are more likely to read by third grade, which also cor­re­lates with grad­u­at­ing from high school.

“I am for fully fund­ing pre-K for 4-year-olds, and to have it means-tested for dis­ad­van­taged fam­i­lies for 3-year-olds,” she said.

As per con­trol­ling pre­scrip­tion drug costs, Wright said she feels strongly about es­tab­lish­ing a board (Drug Cost Re­view Com­mis­sion) at the state level to ex­am­ine costs of new med­i­ca­tions and de­ter­mine whether those ex­pen­sive costs are ap­pro­pri­ate.

“It’s not right when you go to the Wal­mart phar­macy and you see peo­ple leave their med­i­ca­tions on the counter be­cause they can­not af­ford to pay for them,” she said.

An­other ma­jor facet of Wright’s cam­paign is her sup­port of same-day voter reg­is­tra­tion.

“In Dis­trict 37, his­toric for the birth­place of Har­riet Tub­man and Fred­er­ick Dou­glass, Ad­die Eckardt con­tin­ues to spon­sor bills on voter ID, which ab­so­lutely are in­tended to suppress the vote,” Wright said.

Wright also pointed to Eckardt’s vote against early vot­ing. “Any­thing to make vot­ing less con­ve­nient, this re­ally of­fends me in the dis­trict of Har­riet Tub­man and Fred­er­ick Dou­glass,” she said.

Af­ter trav­el­ing across the world in a mil­i­tary fam­ily, Wright claims the en­tire United States as her home. She now en­joys cook­ing, en­ter­tain­ing din­ner guests and read­ing.

She is an ac­tive mem­ber of New St. John’s United Methodist Church in Wittman, and also took train­ing to be a chap­lain at the hospi­tal in Eas­ton and the Re­gional Cancer Cen­ter in Eas­ton, and with the New Hope Jail Min­istry at the Tal­bot County De­ten­tion Cen­ter.

Wright has a daugh­ter, Emily Phelps, a sis­ter and brother-in-law in St. Michaels, and a yel­low Lab named Peach.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

Holly Wright, a Democrat, is run­ning for state Se­nate in Dis­trict 37.

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