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Cheryl Kagan

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Cheryl Kagan
Cheryl Kagan.jpg
Maryland State Senate, District 17
In office
January 14, 2015 - present
Term ends
January 8, 2019
Years in position 0
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 4, 2014
First electedNovember 4, 2014
Term limitsN/A
Bachelor'sVassar College, 1983
Date of birthJuly 2, 1961
Place of birthWashington, DC
ProfessionDirector of Community Engagement, BBYO
Office website
Campaign website
Cheryl Kagan is a Democratic member of the Maryland State Senate, representing District 17. She was first elected to the chamber in 2014.

Committee assignments

2015 legislative session

At the beginning of the 2015 legislative session, Kagan served on the following committees:

Maryland Committee Assignments, 2015
Education, Health & Environmental Affairs


Campaign themes


Kagan's website highlighted the following campaign themes:

Civil Rights and Liberties:

Cheryl Kagan recognizes that civil liberties are among our most cherished birthright as Americans.

Cheryl will continue the work she began as a staffer at NARAL, standing up for women’s right to privacy and the freedom to make our own reproductive decisions. Cheryl proudly supports equality for all Marylanders, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Cheryl will protect our voting rights and Maryland’s election process from those who would seek to undermine our democracy. Cheryl is committed to reforming our campaign finance laws, ensuring that special interest funding does not overshadow the efforts of grassroots support.

Domestic Violence: Domestic violence and sexual assault are persistent and tragic problems in Maryland. Every instance of domestic violence profoundly affects a woman, a child, and a family. Unfortunately, Maryland is the only state in the nation that places significant barriers in front of domestic violence victims seeking protection through our judicial system.

Cheryl supports making it easier for victims to obtain protection from the courts; increasing penalties for those who commit crimes in front of children; and ensuring that rape victims aren't forced to share parental rights with their attackers. She will work with domestic violence advocates and survivors to raise awareness and enact stronger legal protections for our mothers, sisters, daughters, and friends.

Education: A good education is the main key to success in today’s society. Maryland is fortunate to have the best schools in the nation and the most dedicated teachers. However, our schools still face challenges. The minority achievement gap threatens to leave many of our children behind, while crucial building and modernization projects in Montgomery County have been put on hold for lack of funding.

As a K-12 graduate of Montgomery County Public Schools and former substitute teacher, Cheryl understands the importance of public education. She’s committed to investing in education, supporting our teachers, and protecting every child’s chance to succeed. She’ll support the expansion of voluntary Pre-K for Maryland 4-year-olds. And she’ll fight to make sure Montgomery County schools get the funding from Annapolis our students deserve.

Environment: Maryland has been blessed with incredible environmental resources. From the Chesapeake Bay to our beautiful state parks, our vibrant and diverse ecosystems are critical recreational, economic, and natural resources for all Marylanders. We have an obligation as stewards of this planet to protect and restore our environment so that parks, clean air, clean water, and clean energy options are available for future generations.

Cheryl doesn’t just support “green values” as a campaign issue—she lives them every day! She shifted to 100% wind power for her home six years ago, and she minimizes carbon pollution by living within walking distance of her workplace. In the State Senate, Cheryl will pursue an environmental agenda to encourage Smart Growth development; fund mass transit and transportation improvements; control storm-water runoff; and aggressively limit greenhouse gases.

Gun control: Maryland has made great strides against gun violence in recent years. However, as we’ve seen in Aurora, CO; Sandy Hook, CT; and Maryland’s own Columbia Mall, we must do more to protect our communities from senseless gun crimes.

Cheryl has always been a strong advocate for tough gun control laws. 20 years ago, she worked as a federal lobbyist with Jim and Sarah Brady to pass the Brady Bill and federal Assault Weapons Ban. When she uncovered inexcusably long delays by the Maryland State Police in conducting background checks on gun purchases, Cheryl blew the whistle and saw to it that the backlog was addressed. As our State Senator, she will continue working to keep dangerous guns off our streets.

Health Care: We all share a responsibility to provide quality health care to every Marylander. Universal access to health care helps create stronger families, communities, and workplaces. Despite the real progress that has been made under the Affordable Care Act, there’s more yet to be done.

In the State Senate, Cheryl will work to ensure Maryland Health Connection offers every family and employer quality care at reasonable prices. As a longtime advocate for women’s health care, Cheryl will demand that better coverage be made available to more women. Cheryl also supports increased funding for mental health services, so that those who are too often forgotten can get the help they need.

Maryland’s Budget: Cheryl Kagan is a firm believer that government can and must be a force for good in our communities, but we have a responsibility to see to it that public resources are managed wisely. Especially in a time of economic uncertainty and strapped budgets, taxpayer dollars should be allocated in a thoughtful, accountable, and transparent manner.

Cheryl voted for balanced budgets every year and fought wasteful spending as a representative in the House of Delegates. Cheryl’s leadership and financial management as the first-ever Executive Director of the Carl M. Freeman Foundation allowed the organization to contribute over $1,000,000 each year to deserving nonprofits. As State Senator, Cheryl will make sure that tax dollars are carefully spent, so that we have funding available for important priorities like education, transportation, and the environment.

Montgomery County priorities: Montgomery County is a wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family. We’re fortunate to have terrific schools, high-quality employers, and cultural amenities that contribute to an enviable quality of life. Because of its very success, Montgomery County is often taken for granted and its needs ignored in Annapolis; it’s expected to give much more than it gets. But we all know the County has changed tremendously in the past few decades, and with those changes have come new challenges. Now more than ever, we need someone like Cheryl who will look out for us in the State Senate.

Cheryl was born and raised in Montgomery County and she understands our needs. She’ll work to be sure that we get our fair share from the state for school improvements and other important priorities. Whether or not it’s popular in Annapolis, Cheryl will always put the interests of Montgomery County first.

Transportation: We are all frustrated by the transportation challenges we face daily. From congestion on 270 and the Beltway, to delays on Metro’s Red Line, this affects both our quality of life and our economy. Workers and businesses are losing too much valuable time and resources to gridlock.

As a Montgomery County native, Cheryl remains committed to making affordable transportation options available to local residents. More flexible pricing for the ICC, new mass transit options like the Purple Line and the Corridor City Transit-way, and other options for improving transportation should be vigorously explored. Ultimately, we need smart and efficient transit solutions that reduce congestion, limit environmental impacts, and promote economic growth in Rockville and Gaithersburg.

Working families: No one who works for a living should live in poverty. Improving the lives of working families is the key to building a stronger Maryland. We must enhance opportunities for working people so that all our residents can share in the benefits of economic growth.

Cheryl has always stood up for working Marylanders. During her time in office and as a private citizen, she’s fought for affordable housing, quality education opportunities, union representation, and universal health care. She also supports the recent $11.50 minimum wage increase in Montgomery County, because it helps local workers support their families and boosts our economy by increasing consumer demand.[1][2]



See also: Maryland State Senate elections, 2014

Elections for the office of Maryland State Senate took place in 2014. A primary election took place on June 24, 2014. The general election was held on November 4, 2014. The filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was February 25, 2014. Cheryl Kagan defeated Luiz Simmons in the Democratic primary. Steve Zellers was unopposed in the Republican primary. Kagan defeated Zellers in the general election.[3][4]

Maryland State Senate District 17, General Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngCheryl Kagan 68.6% 18,526
     Republican Steve Zellers 31.4% 8,496
Total Votes 27,022

Maryland State Senate, District 17 Democratic Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngCheryl Kagan 54.6% 4,713
Luiz Simmons 45.4% 3,917
Total Votes 8,630


See also: Maryland State Senate elections, 2010

Kagan ran in the 2010 election for District 17 of the Maryland State Senate. Kagan was defeated in the Democratic primary by Jennie Forehand.[5]



In 2014, Kagan's endorsements included:[6]

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