For Immediate Release
April 15, 2020
Statement from District 12 Council Candidate Dave Heilker on Calls for a 180-Day Water Bill Moratorium
On April 15th, 2020, Dave Heilker, a Democratic candidate running for Baltimore City Council’s 12th District seat issued the following statement:
“Since we launched this campaign in April of 2019, #waterbillrelief has been one of the highest priority policies for which I’ve advocated. We’ve talked to thousands of Baltimore residents in every corner of our district and one thing is clear: Baltimore’s inconsistent and unpredictable water bills are catastrophically impacting the most vulnerable people in our city.
“So many of the seniors that I’ve talked to while canvassing District 12 neighborhoods like Oliver and Broadway East have recounted horror stories of needing to make the grim choice between keeping their water on and paying for their insulin for the month. As lawmakers and as leaders, Baltimore City must do what we can to aid our residents, not increase their suffering.
“As a community organizer who has worked to progress equity in Baltimore City schools, I learned that water insecurity –– an increased risk of a lack of clean drinking and bathing water –– is not only rampant among the most marginalized people in Baltimore, but it is also comorbid with learning disabilities, poor test performance, and the high school push out rate. At a time when so many of our students are suffering with an unclear picture of the remainder of their school year, it is an injustice to compound that stress with water bills that will further widen the gap between the haves and the have nots.
“Eventually, this pandemic will be over, and when it is, the people of Baltimore will have to begin the expensive and arduous process of getting our lives back to something resembling normal. When we finally emerge from this chaotic, confusing, and economically devastating crisis of public health, Baltimore should be able to proudly proclaim that we have not added to the burden of our residents’ recovery.
“Today, I sent a letter calling on Mayor Jack Young to issue a moratorium on residents’ water bills for the next 180 days, at least. I do so to echo a call on April 9th for #waterbillrelief issued by Councilmember Shannon Sneed, and echoed today by Baltimore Right to Water Coalition. Demands for equity in a city where it has been codified should not have to be considered ‘bold,’ and yet, aside from Councilmember Sneed and the co-signers of the Coalition’s letter, there is a vacuum of leadership stepping up to carry this banner.”
David Heilker is an activist and a community organizer focused on education, police transparency, and social justice. He is originally from Baltimore City, and a democratic candidate for Baltimore City Council in District 12 who has been endorsed by Our Revolution and the Democratic Socialists of America.