With 12 years of experience under her belt, Del. Susan C. Lee thinks it’s the right time to represent her district in the Senate.
Lee, a Bethesda Democrat who has served in the House since 2002, said she can use the relationships she has in the House and the work she has done to advance policy goals in the Senate.
“I wanted to use my experience and accomplishments that I’ve gotten over the last 12 years ... to build on that track record and do even more in the Senate for my constituents,” she said.
Lee got her chance to run for an open Senate seat in District 16 this year when Sen. Brian E. Frosh (D) of Chevy Chase ran for attorney general.
Lee is the deputy majority whip, serves on the House Judiciary Committee, and chairs the Family Law Committee. She counts among her top accomplishments her work with the women’s legislative caucus to devote funding to rape crisis centers; pass a law to keep people from using mistaken age a defense in child sex crimes; and make kidnapping a child for the purpose of human trafficking a felony.
“This will help prosecutors prosecute” human trafficking, she said.
Lee has also led commissions and task forces on cybersecurity, telemedicine and nanobiotechnology. She said she is considered a leader in passing laws to fight cybercrime and identity theft.
As more health records are stored electronically, she said, large-scale identity theft is a greater risk.
“It’s so easy now with technology to hack into a computer and steal” health records,” she said, adding that stolen health records could lead to misdiagnoses and incorrect drug charges.
Cyber innovation also holds promise, however, and Lee said she wants to propose legislation to keep bioscience entrepreneurs in the state. Maryland could give innovators help commercializing their inventions, she said, or by giving tax credits to industries, or simply streamlining state processes that are cumbersome.
Like many legislative hopefuls, Lee expects education funding to continue to be a priority. She said the state can ensure kindergarten through 12th-grade funding and expand prekindergarten funding, as well as keep college affordable.
“We’ve made our tax system fairer, more progressive,” she said. “... We need to cut waste and duplication so that we can streamline processes” in the government, while balancing the budget.
Maryland has an opportunity to build on the innovation already happening in the state as the home to numerous federal agencies as well as science companies and colleges, Lee said, and legislators should prioritize support for those industries.
“We could be the epicenter of cybersecurity, as well as life sciences,” she said. “We could create all sorts of different jobs.”
Lee said she thinks she can do more in the Senate, which is smaller than the House, and forge bipartisan coalitions.
“I’ve worked with [the senators] before, and I know that now that I will be over there, I can work with them even more,” she said.
Lee is running against Republican Meyer Marks to represent District 16, which covers Bethesda, Chevy Chase and part of Potomac.