We Need More Women Like This!

Can I just say that Rani is a woman after my own heart, a young mom, ready to take on the world, or at least Annapolis?  I’ll let Ann Miller give you all the nitty, gritty details, but I can’t say how excited I am to meet her, get to know her, and help her get elected.  Granted, I don’t get to actually vote for her, and I have a ton on my plate between promoting Steve Whisler and the District 12A team, but at the least, I’ll keep you guys up to date on her candidacy.  Let’s just hope that she’s not subjected to the Palin Effect.  We know how the libs feel about stay-at-home-moms in politics.

From Ann Miller at the Examiner.com

Rani Merryman is a candidate for the House of Delegates in District 8 in Baltimore County. She’s not your typical candidate and would no doubt not be your typical delegate. And that is exactly what Rani is running on.

Rani grew up in Waynesboro, PA, a small town of about 9,000 people. She came from a middle class, working family. Her father was a union tile fitter. When Rani was a high school senior, her father passed away after a period of being disabled. She started college at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, but the medical bills had drained the family’s resources, so she was unable to finish her degree. Although her mother had set aside college money, Rani didn’t feel right about taking her mother’s retirement savings. She is grateful of her decision, because shortly thereafter, her mother was in a car accident which left her hospitalized for six months and the money was needed for her mother to live on.

Rani has no reservations about her lack of a college degree. She said, “Anybody can do whatever they want to – degreed or not degreed. Bill Gates never finished college and owns one of the largest corporations in the world. It’s all about hard work and what you are willing to put into it. Education should be a life-long purpose and not just a degree.”

Although both her parents were Democrats, Rani has been a Republican since college. She describes herself as a Libertarian-leaning Republican. Rani said, “My father belonged to a Democratic Party that didn’t want any handouts, they just wanted to be able to live their lives and not get pushed around. You work hard for what you have, you protect it, and you should be able to keep what you make. I believe that’s how the Democratic Party started and that’s the philosophy I grew up with. The Democratic Party I knew is still out there, they just don’t realize they’ve been hijacked by people who want to give everything away for no good reason, rather than requiring you work for what they get.”

She says her upbringing and the small town values were influences in why she got involved in politics. In a town where everybody knows everybody, issues were dealt with neighbor to neighbor, rather than looking to a higher authority to solve problems. Rani said, “On Friday night, if you were out past curfew, they didn’t haul you off to the station. They’d say, ‘Alright Rani, here’s the deal. I’m going to see your dad at the VFW on Friday night. So either you’re going to tell him, or I’m going to tell him. You pick.’ A lot of our legislative woes have been caused by our communities breaking down. We need to find fixes to those so our communities can start taking care of people again instead of the government doing it.”

Rani and her husband, Jimmy, have two sons, aged 4 and 2. The couple decided that Rani would leave her job when her youngest son was born in order to be there to pass on their moral values.

Prior to becoming a stay at home mom, Rani’s work experience was diverse. She has sold insurance and cars, been a gas station attendant, was the regional sales director for a catering company specializing in catering to the rich and famous on private jets, was the general manager of a restaurant, and worked at Disneyworld opening Euro Disneyland. Her experience was primarily working for small businesses.

Rani believes her work experience, while not typical for someone seeking political office, is invaluable to the office she seeks. Having an intimate understanding of operations and budget management in a small business and customer service in the restaurant business are skills she has acquired along the way. She said, “In the restaurant business, you have to be able to manage and work inside a budget. The state of Maryland, if it were run as a business, would fail. You can only go back to your investors (or taxpayers) so many times for a cash call before they expect a return on their investment. We have cash called our taxpayers to death, and there’s no return on their investment.”

Rani believes her customer service experience was important. “The people on the front lines bring back to the owners and managers what needs to change or improve. That’s exactly what a representative does. They take the needs of the people back to Annapolis as a representative, present that, and find solutions.”

“The people in the statehouse now may have a lot of experience and look where we are. So maybe it’s time to look at people who don’t have legislative experience, but just want to do a good job for the people.”

Rani summed up her reasons for running for office. “I’m running because of my children. We are the fourth highest taxed state in the nation. My husband and I looked at the direction the state is going and asked ourselves what was the largest contribution we were willing to make. People need to take a turn at bat. To continue the baseball analogy, Manny Ramirez, if he struck out, would stop in the batter’s circle and tell the next man up what pitch put him out. Not only is it time to start looking to regular citizens in the community to take their at bat, but it’s also time for us to make sure the next generation knows how to step up to the plate themselves.”

Rani believes she uniquely attracts citizens across party lines. She said, “When I started looking at getting involved, I contacted all the people I knew and found that every walk of life was interested in making an impact on our society through government. People from a range of every party – Constitution, Independent, Republican, Democrat, and Libertarian – all have the same goals. We want to live our lives in a good state. We want to keep as much of our own money as we can. We want good things for other people.”

“I stand on the constitution. Our founding fathers came up with the best solution that has ever been created. If you stand on something as solid as those written words, it holds all the answers to our challenges. America is the longest standing republic, with more freedom than any other society in history.”

On the direction Maryland is currently heading, Rani said, “The way we are spending money is leading us down a path where our children will be paying for our mistakes. We need to find a way to spend no more than the money we have. If we had a rainy day fund that we refused to pull money from, then when the economy went south, we would have been fine. There wouldn’t have been any furloughs. We would have been able to afford ourselves if we had been fiscally responsible prior to this.”

Rani discussed several issues that are most important to her.

On small business, she said, “Small business makes up 97.7% of business owners. That’s the machine of the economy. They create the jobs. We need to make tax laws that are business friendly and not send millionaires packing to other states. Small business is not doing well here. You can drive up Bel Air Road and see the vacancies.”

On education, she said, “In Maryland, we spend over $2 billion more than the national average and rank 20th in the nation. I don’t mind spending $2 billion more, but if we are, our kids need to be coming out smarter, faster, and better than the others.” She also said that society doesn’t stress the importance of voc/tech schools. “We put more emphasis on formal education and much less on voc/tech and voc/ag, which are so important to our society. They really do have a place.” Rani discussed the voucher program as well. “It’s a terrible shame the voucher program is no longer in place. Children from the inner city can be placed in schools that have room in better areas. Those tax dollars follow those kids. Kids are not locked into the mentality that ‘This is my circumstance, I have no choice.’ Instead, it’s ‘This is my circumstance, but I have a choice if I’m willing to work hard.’”

On lower taxes, Rani is interested in finding common sense ways to lower taxes by using the resources Maryland has to the advantage of the taxpayers. For instance, she suggested we could lease BWI Airport. “It runs in deficit every year. There are plenty of cities who lease their airports out to private companies. Those companies have to manage inside a budget because they don’t have taxpayer money to back up a deficit. If we lease the airport out, we’d not only save the deficit money but also gain money from leases on property the state owns. Those are some smart ways we can look at doing business in Maryland to let the taxpayers keep more of their own money.”

On helping our communities, Rani said, “Our communities are breaking down. The more business that dies in Maryland, the more people have to travel outside the state for work instead of working locally. Families are then missing a parent for two hours a day more than they could be. Taking ten hours a week out of a family will cause more community breakdown.”

“I really believe in Teach a Man to Fish opportunities. Habitat for Humanity is a great organization, and they don’t steal from anyone to get things done. The people who get the houses have to work for them. There are community service hours that are required, stipulations on not selling the home for a certain number of years so they can’t make a profit on the home. We need to look at organizations statewide and look back to the community to fund them.”

“Temporary Cash Assistance in Anne Arundel County was just raised. For a family of four, you can get food stamps if you make $3,000 per month. I find that to be outrageous. When Jimmy started with the union, we weren’t making that amount and we didn’t get food stamps. We also don’t have big screen TVs or new cars. Those are sacrifices we made because I wanted to be a stay at home mom. Instead of increasing government programs, we need to look to the community to see what help people need and what kind of Teach a Man to Fish programs we can provide so we are not just throwing cash at a problem, but giving people opportunities to create something for themselves. When you get an envelope from the government, you open it up and spend it, and all you have left is an envelope.”

“In Galatians in the scriptures, there is a passage that is so indicative of what’s going on in our nation and state. It talks about bearing your brother’s burden, then two paragraphs later, it talks about bearing your own burden. The message is that you need to know when to ask for help and when not to. It’s not okay to ask people to carry your backpack, but it’s okay to ask people to help you move a piano. It’s our duty to make sure people know how to carry their own backpacks.”

“The opportunity to live the American dream is in the palm of our hands. We are at a crossroads where we get to make the choice about who we are as Americans.”

Rani is holding a Barbecue Fundraiser to kick off her campaign this Friday evening, starting at 7 p.m. at Boomers Bar and Grill in Middle River. Walk-ins are welcome. For more information, see Rani’s website at www.ranimerryman.com.

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