Campaign Blog: Getting Things Done

After 35 years as a Dupont engineer, my second career for the past five years has been as a volunteer for Delegate Heather Mizeur four days a week, three months a year. Why? Short answer: she gets things done.

In 2004, my daughter volunteered for John Kerry’s presidential campaign in Maryland. After meeting Heather, who was the State Director for the campaign, my daughter explained to me that I must try to work for her office in the General Assembly. My daughter is a smart woman.

Speaking of smart, Heather is probably the smartest person I’ve ever known. I see this up close. I worked with a few dozen managers at Dupont, but Heather has unsurpassed management skills. She finds great people to work for her and her management style brings significant growth in their skill set.

In 2008, there were 100,000 uninsured children in Maryland eligible for insurance from the state. Heather figured out a simple solution: on the Maryland income tax form, ask people if their dependent children have insurance. If not and the income level would make them eligible, the State contacts the family and helps them sign up. Easy, right? Heather worked 24/7 for 90 days to get this bill passed. Over half of those children are now covered.

Heather listens. I had often complained that it was ridiculous that you had to come to Annapolis to find out how legislators voted in committee and that you had to pay $800 to get information on the web that was supposedly “up to date.” She heard my frustration and created legislation that has resulted in changes for a more open government– such as live web broadcasts of bill hearings.

I’ve heard people ask why Heather sticks her nose in Western Maryland or Baltimore City issues. My answer: she believes that she is a STATE Delegate

Believe it or not, sometimes bills get enacted and then nothing happens or the maximum benefits aren’t accomplished. Not with Heather’s bills. In 2007 – her first year as Delegate – she passed a bill to allow young adults to stay on their parents health insurance until they were 25.  One of my first jobs in 2008 was to contact every municipality, every college, and many major businesses to see if they were taking advantage of this legislation. Getting things done.

Five years as a volunteer. It is just so fascinating to see an ethical, smart, super hard working person accomplishing things in different policy areas in the chaotic, sausage-making culture of Annapolis. Best seat in the House. Looking forward to sitting down in the State House.

This blog post was written by Jim Franke, a longtime friend of Heather's who has volunteered in both the legislative and campaign offices.