Spotlight on Delegate Kumar Barve (LD-17)
By S. Alexandra Tuttle
Now that the interim Maryland state legislative session is underway, we will begin to focus on our Montgomery County delegation, to assess how well they have served their constituents in 2015. It is my hope that we can continue to add to the repository of information regarding our delegates, so that when Republican candidates step forward, they will have information that will be helpful to them during the campaign season.
Montgomery County Delegate Kumar (LD-17) has been in the Maryland House of Delegates since January 1991, and over the years he has been a majority whip, served on a variety of committees, and this year served as chair of the Environment and Transportation Committee. Delegate Barve has recently “put his name into the hat,” among others now vying for Congressman Van Hollen’s 8th congressional district seat.
At a recent legislative session wrap up, I had the opportunity to hear from nine members of the Montgomery County delegation, who sat before a largely friendly audience. Since the question and answer session was short, I didn’t get a chance to ask members any questions. Afterwards, I made my way up to Delegate Barve (admittedly a random choice) and made some small talk. Then I asked him about his views on the issues of voter identification, registration and concerns about potential voter fraud.
His demeanor suddenly changed, and looking at me with steely eyes, he said in a loud voice, “There is not one shred of proof that it exists.” When I pointed out that Congressman Andy Harris’s opponent, Wendy Rosen, did vote in two states a few years ago, he dismissed it, saying: “..it did not happen!” (It did). After I countered him with another example of an actual state legislator who had been caught, he walked off in a huff.
His arrogance and dismissive attitude toward anyone who asks a question about a genuine concern was very telling. Moreover, he didn’t know that I was not a constituent and by extension, didn’t seem to care. Barve, according to “some,” is supposedly known for his wicked sense of humor and is “whip smart.” I must have missed that.
Just what has Delegate Kumar Barve has done for his constituents lately? During the 2015 legislative session, he was the primary sponsor on three bills; cosponsor on 23 and “by “request,” – one bill. As a primary sponsor, he seemed to “play it safe” by sponsoring a “Commemorative Days, South Asian American Heritage Day,” which was approved by the governor (Chapter 170); and, the “Maryland Consolidated Capital Bond Loan of 2011 – “Montgomery County Water Park at Bohrer Park” – the Senate companion was signed by the governor. Had that bill not been signed, there would have likely been a loss of access to matching funds for needed county repairs.
Additionally, Barve sponsored a bill providing for the “…creation of a state debt for the Jewish Foundation for Group Home Renovations.” I am extremely supportive of group homes because we do have disabled residents in our community, who for one reason or another cannot live on their own. But, have all financing options been explored, especially since Maryland taxpayers are the ultimate backer of this debt? While Barve co-sponsored several other “creation-of-a-state-debt bills,” we need new leaders in our legislature who will prioritize these projects.
Other bills co-sponsored by Del. Barve include: the Rape Survivor Family Protection Act; the Marijuana Control and Revenue Act; the Richard E. Israel and Roger “Pip” Moyer Death with Dignity Act, and the creation of a “task force to study issues related to the use of self-driving vehicles.
Are you happy where your Barve-dedicated tax dollars are going?