Del. Miller homes in on local economy in re-election campaign -- Gazette.Net


Aruna Miller is taking a different tack for her re-election campaign for state delegate by focusing on businesses in Maryland.

Miller (D-Dist. 15) of Darnestown, a transportation engineer at Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation, leveraged her transit expertise to win her delegate seat in 2010. But as she rallies support for a second term, she’s looking at the state’s business climate.

The delegate is one of 11 legislators on a House of Delegates’ business climate work group, which also includes Del. Kumar Barve (D-Dist. 17) of Gaithersburg.

“We’re trying to have a concerted effort to try to make Maryland a friendlier place for businesses,” she said. The work group is considering initiatives that would help bring in new businesses and retain and create jobs.

Miller plans to propose a task force in the upcoming session to discuss paid parental leave, which is not required by federal law, but varies across states.

“I’m not making any efforts to change it in the U.S., but I’d like to change it in the state of Maryland,” she said.

Some states require partial pay for employees on maternity leave, Miller said, but it isn’t the same as requiring businesses to offer new parents fully paid leave.

“It’s not just a women’s issue. It’s a family issue,” she said.

Miller is still advocating transportation projects for Montgomery County, such as the Corridor Cities Transitway, as she builds her re-election campaign.

“Whatever we do, we need transportation,” she said. “It’s particularly important for businesses as well.”

The Corridor Cities Transitway, a rapid transit bus line connecting Clarksburg to the Shady Grove Metro station, will receive $100 million in state funding, about a fifth of the project’s total cost. Miller said she will advocate for more funding for the planned transit system.

Del. Kathleen Dumais (D-Dist. 15) of Rockville, also an incumbent, will seek a District 15 delegate seat along with Miller, former Del. Saqib Ali (D-Dist. 39), and David Fraser-Hidalgo of Boyds. Democratic leaders in Montgomery County have named Fraser-Hidalgo as their pick to fill the vacant Dist. 15 delegate seat for the rest of the current term.

The general election will be held in November 2014.