Named twice to Maryland’s Top 100 Women list, Heather Mizeur has been called an “audacious risk-taker,” a “hero to a wide swath of Democrats,” and “one of the canniest politicians in Maryland today.”
Her fifteen years of experience in policy has made her a progressive powerhouse in Annapolis, where she expanded health care to children, protected reproductive rights for women, safeguarded the environment and brought new technology jobs to Maryland.
Her political know-how has proven she can win the tough races. In 2006, Heather garnered the most votes in a seven-way primary and defeated two incumbents to capture her seat in the House of Delegates. Her emotional floor speech during the same-sex marriage debate helped swing the vote to make Maryland the eighth state to pass Marriage Equality.
Never one to shy away from her progressive principles, Heather was championed by the Daily Record as a “Maryland Health Care Hero” and the Baltimore Sun called her “one of the leading environmental advocates in the General Assembly.” She has received NARAL’s Choice Advocate Award, National Alliance on Mental Illness Montgomery County’s State Hero Award, and the Legislator of the Year Award from the Maryland Association of Resources for Family and Youth.
Elected to the Takoma Park City Council in 2003, Heather was appointed by President Obama to the Executive Committee of the DNC and to a White House advisory group on health reform.
During the 2004 presidential campaign, Heather was the key architect of Senator John Kerry’s health care and disabilities platform and served as the Maryland State Director for the Kerry-Edwards campaign. She was Sen. Kerry’s Domestic Policy Director from 2003 to 2006, capping more than a decade of experience working on Capitol Hill.
Her father’s family are fifth generation farmers and her father was a factory welder and UAW member his entire career. The time spent on picket lines with her dad built the foundation of Heather’s social justice principles and the summers spent working the cornfields to pay for college cultivated the strong character she demonstrates today.
When elected, Heather will be the first openly gay governor in the country and the first female governor in Maryland. She lives in Takoma Park with her wife, Deborah. They own a small business in Silver Spring and an organic farm on the Eastern Shore.
In 2008, Heather sponsored and passed the first-in-the-nation Kids First Act, putting Maryland on the road to universal coverage for children by targeting the 100,000 minors who were eligible for but not enrolled in public coverage. Nearly 50,000 of these children have received coverage since the passage of this law, and the innovative Kids First Act helped deliver nearly $80 million in federal bonus funding for Maryland.
In 2011, Heather sponsored and passed the Family Planning Works Act to expand Medicaid family planning services to more low-income women. This expansion will cover nearly 35,000 women, save the state millions in publicly funded pregnancy costs, and significantly reduce the number of women seeking abortions.
In 2007, Heather sponsored and passed the Family Coverage Expansion Act, allowing young adults to stay on their family’s insurance plans until they turn 25. She also worked with the Maryland Congressional delegation to include this coverage in the new federal health reform law. Because not all children are fortunate enough to have families to support them, Heather sponsored and passed additional legislation in 2009 to expand young adult coverage to former foster care children.
In 2008, Heather sponsored and won passage of the Coordinating Emerging Nanobiotechnology Research (CENTR) in Maryland Program to invest millions in funding towards nanobiotechnology research. Using tools available in this new, incredibly precise science, researchers are making advances on new medical treatments for cancer, HIV/AIDS, and other diseases. Nanobio was incorporated into more than $50 billion in manufactured goods in 2006, and this impact is expected to grow to $2.4 trillion by 2014.
Heather has been an outspoken advocate against Marcellus Shale drilling in Western Maryland, first introducing legislation for a moratorium in 2011 to halt the rush to drill and conduct a study on the environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing. Heather’s bill led to the creation of the Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Initiative, an executive order requiring a comprehensive study of drilling. Governor O’Malley appointed Heather to serve on the Initiative’s fourteen-member advisory commission.
In 2011, Heather authored a DNC Resolution calling on President Obama to reject the Keystone XL “tar sands” pipeline. In November of the same year, Heather was featured at a 12,000-person rally outside the White House, alongside leading activists and experts.
In 2010, Heather sponsored and championed the Maryland Open Government Act to bring enhanced transparency and greater access to decision-makers in state government. Her leadership ushered in several changes including posting committee votes online, webcasting bill hearings, and making the General Assembly website free to the general public. In 2011, Heather sponsored and passed legislation creating the Joint Committee on Transparency and Open Government Act, a new permanent legislative body tasked with overseeing and promoting 21st century technologies and advancements that will continue opening up the inner workings of our state government.
Heather was first elected a Democratic National Committeewoman in 2005. In 2009, she was appointed by President Obama to be a member of the Executive Committee of the DNC, as well as to serve on the State Legislators for Health Reform Task Force, a small, select group of legislators advising the White House on state best practices, policies, and priorities critical to federal health reform.