A lifelong Marylander who was raised by a single mother in Gaithersburg, Eric Luedtke attended Wootton High School and the University of Maryland, College Park. As a student, he became involved in efforts to preserve the Chesapeake Bay and other unique natural places. Passionate about preserving these places for future generations, he was involved in the campaign that saved Belt Woods in southern Maryland and protecting the state's clean air laws. He co-founded the first countywide network of student environmentalists in Montgomery County, and became involved in national environmental advocacy.
After college, he returned to the community where he grew up, becoming a teacher for Montgomery County Public Schools. For ten years, he worked in two high poverty middle schools in the county, trying to make sure that every child had access to a great education. As a teacher, he saw the many challenges his students and their families faced. Lack of access to adequate food, health care, and housing. Parents working two and three jobs just to get by. He thought, and still thinks, that the wealthiest county in the wealthiest state in America could do better. He re-engaged with advocacy, this time for children and public schools. And in 2010, seeing a chance to make a bigger difference, he ran for the Maryland House of Delegates. Running a low dollar people-powered campaign, he knocked on more than 5,000 doors, talking to voters one-on-one about what issues were on their mind. And to the surprise of many in the political establishment, he won.
In Annapolis, he quickly established himself as an effective voice for the kinds of causes that don't have highly paid lobbyists representing them. He has been a leading advocate for public schools and the kids they serve. Time and again, he has championed legislation strengthening our state's special education laws, because kids with disabilities deserve the same great education other kids get. Following a series of incidents in schools across the state, he led a renewed effort to prevent child abuse in Maryland, passing groundbreaking legislation to make sure kids know how to get help.
Knowing that Maryland's economy is built on small businesses and not multi-national corporations, he has worked hard to eliminate unnecessary laws and provide targeted tax relief for entrepreneurs. Continuing his earlier work to protect our environment, he spearheaded efforts to deal with threats to the Bay and our oceans. And he has consistently fought for the working people of Maryland, who like the families of the students he taught face daily challenges in improving their lives.
This hard work has led to new leadership roles and recognition in Annapolis. He became the youngest subcommittee chair in a generation and a major player on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. And he has been recognized by many groups, including the Baltimore Child Abuse Center, the ARC, the Governor's Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and the Humane Society of the United States.
Throughout it all, he hasn't forgotten that the most important role of a public official is to help the people he serves. From repaving roads in Burtonsville to getting funding for the Olney Theater to replacing the football field at Damascus High School, no issue is too small for him to work on. Eric Luedtke is proud to serve the people of Maryland every day, and to ensure that the next generation of Marylanders, like his son Colin, have every opportunity to succeed.
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- Every child in Maryland deserves the opportunity to be successful in life. Our public schools are the best in the nation, but can be ever better. Among my focuses are closing the achievement gaps, strengthening services for kids with disabilities and English language learners, and improving teacher education.
- Because good schools alone aren't enough, I also believe we should better fund high quality after school programs, the state children's health insurance program, and meals programs to prevent childhood hunger.
- Small businesses are the foundation of our economy, and the core of every community in District 14. The state can and should do more to promote and support entrepreneurship, including eliminating out of date laws and easing the tax burden on small businesses.
- The beating heart of Maryland is the Chesapeake Bay, and we have a moral responsibility to future generations to protect it. I've long fought for strong longs to preserve the bay, protect unique natural places, and ensure our families have clean air to breathe and clean water to drink.
- Anybody who does a decent day's work deserves a decent day's pay. It seems like a simple statement, but it has become hard for too many Maryland families to make ends meet. I believe Maryland can do better by working families, targeting tax relief to them rather than big business and ensuring that they are fairly treated in our economy.