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Paul Bardack joins the race for District 19 delegates -- Gazette.Net

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  • Thursday, March 13, 2014 Share Comment Print

    Paul Bardack joins the race for District 19 delegates

    Wants to bring business, education, and housing policy experience to Annapolis

    by Sarah Scully Staff writer photo Paul Bardack District 19 delegate candidate Paul Bardack, of Silver Spring, wants to take his experience in business, online learning and job training, and affordable housing policy to Annapolis.

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    Paul Bardack says that what his competition aspires to address as state delegates, he has already done, making him the best choice to represent District 19 in the State House.

    Bardack’s public and private sector experience ranges from a top position in the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, a housing policy advisor, founding an online learning site, and working on policy to bring businesses and jobs to low-income neighborhoods.

    A 30-year resident of Montgomery County — mostly Silver Spring, where he now lives — Bardack, a democrat, said he decided to run because “the tenor of conversations I was hearing started to change.” He said he heard stories of friends and neighbors losing their jobs and turning to food stamps, and increasing housing costs. Bardack wanted to step in and apply policies he has implemented in the past.

    “The pain in my community is real, it’s widespread and I just couldn’t step aside anymore,” he said.

    As Deputy Housing and Urban Development Assistant Secretary for HUD, he worked on creating two programs — Homeownership and Opportunity for People Everywhere, and HOME Investment Partnerships — to assist low-income residents secure affordable housing.

    He would like to implement rent stabilization for certain groups, notably seniors, and state housing subsidies for low-income residents.

    To mitigate these needs and stimulate the economy, Bardack wants to bring in policy similar to that which he worked on under former U.S Rep. Robert Garcia, representing the South Bronx in New York. Bardack helped write legislation to create “urban enterprise zones,” which lowered corporate taxes while bringing job training and other social services to low-income neighborhoods.

    He also supports raising the minimum wage, aiming for $11.50 per hour. And Bardack wants to make this wage hike bearable for employers who are “struggling to make their way out of a recession. ... We need to equally consider the shop owner,” he said.

    Tax breaks for businesses can make up for the burden of higher labor costs, he said, “so that the cost of this [minimum wage increase] is revenue-neutral for our business community.”

    Bardack also served as urban policy advisor to the governor of New Jersey. There, “we created the first urban small business entrepreneurship incubator,” he said. The program supported teens from low-income areas in starting businesses. According to Bardack, follow-up studies showed that whether or not the companies succeeded, children who participated had lower rates of drug use, incarceration and pregnancies, and were more likely to stay in school. The program helped them see an economic incentive in staying healthy and finishing high school, he said.

    Using his background in building online learning sites — MyJewishLearning.com, and websites for Booz Allen Hamilton — Bardack would like to take Maryland’s job training programs online, making them more accessible to those whose working hours can’t accommodate in-person classes. He also worked as director of George Mason University’s Center for Online Workforce Development, is chair emeritus of the United States Distance Learning Association, and has advised the U.S. Congress, federal executive branch and foreign governments on related policy.

    Finally, Bardack wants to improve life for seniors and has an idea for an adopt-a-grandparent program. Volunteers could help seniors get to doctors appointments and the grocery store.

    In the first three weeks of his campaign, Bardack raised about $11,000. District 19 includes parts of Silver Spring, up to Rockville and north.

    Bardack faces incumbent Dels. Bonnie Cullison (D) and Benjamin Kramer (D), and challengers Marice Morales (D) and Charlotte Crutchfield (D) in the June 24 primary. Del. Sam Arora (D), the third District 19 representative, is not seeking re-election.

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