By: Bailey Martin
The 2022 election for Maryland’s County Delegates will include one unique candidate. Ruben Amaya, A Stevenson student with a Legal Studies major and Criminal Justice minor, is on the ballot for Maryland House of Delegates, District 10 (Baltimore County).
Growing up a Baltimore County resident up in Reisterstown, Maryland, Ruben knew he wanted to go into public service. Since Amaya was a sophomore in high school he was motivated by the political landscape. Amaya emphasizes his vision in what “was going on in politics” and “seeing what was[…] affecting young people, like climate change and when Parkland Happened,” [2018 shooting at parkland high school in Boward county Florida.]
Amaya explains that it was this time in his life that he placed emphasis on “getting youth involved,” Stating, “no matter who you are or where you come from, your voice does actually make a difference.”
These factors in Amaya’s life contributed to his decision to make a career in public service and politics.
Amaya has a record of holding positions of service. These positions have poised him for his next steps. Amaya was the President of the Baltimore County Student Council his senior year of high school; commissioner on the Maryland School to Pipeline Commission, and commissioner on the School Board Nominating Committee. Amaya currently serves as an at-large member of the Baltimore County Democratic State Central Committee.
Aside from his countless roles in Baltimore County, Amaya is highly active on campus. Amaya is a Student Ambassador for the Admissions Office, Chief Justice for the Student Government Association, and was a member of the award-winning mock trial team in his Freshmen and sophomore years at Stevenson.
Amaya started to envision what a career in politics would look like- Thinking back to the likeness in his senior year of high school. From that point on, he started to grow his vision by networking with people in the community; leaders and stake holders. In meeting with these people Amaya, “saw a need for change.”
Rueben Amaya officially joined the race in summer, 2020.
Amaya spoke on some of his many hopes and plans. Amaya believes he must help initiate change if he is elected. Amaya talked about his goals for education, climate change, and criminal justice. Amaya explains, he wants to “[overhaul] our education system, making sure teachers get a $60,000 starting salary.”
Amaya elaborates that he also wants to “ensure that our students are looked at as humans and not statistics,” emphasizing mental health, and “actually preparing them for the 21st–century environment.”
Regarding climate change, Amaya described it as “a huge issue and we need to tackle it.” Amaya wants to make sure “we are holding companies and corporations accountable for polluting our environment.” Amaya believes this is possible by “making sure we fund a civilian climate core, so we can plant more trees, build more state parks, things like that that to promote the environment.”
Regarding criminal justice, Amaya says he hopes to “bring back civilian oversite in our police department,” to promote police accountability.
Andrew Gersh, Amaya’s Treasurer and Field Director, said what he likes most about working with Amaya, “[is] that he cares about every single person we talk to- and what they have to say.” Gersh, then went on to say- “the job of a representative or delegate is to represent people to the government to improve the quality of life for everyone, but I have never truly seen that in practice until I saw Ruben [Amaya] speak with voter’s door to door, phone call to phone call, every single day.”
If elected in 2022, that would make Amaya – the first Latino and the youngest Democratic legislator to hold this position. “I think representation matters,” Amaya said. “If I hold this position, hopefully someone else who is Latino or Hispanic can see themselves doing it.” As far as being the youngest, Amaya believes that does make a difference. To him, “many young people feel as though their voices don’t matter in politics. What I’m trying to change is that it does.” Amaya describes the experience as “quite empowering.”
Amaya believes that being the youngest does put him at an advantage over others in this position, not only with voters his age, but those older as well. Amaya explains- “People want change and the only way you can do that is by passing the torch,” he said.
Ruben Amaya wants to tell voters, “If you are tired of seeing the same promises being made, but not seeing those promises being kept with change, then if you want to see a new way forward, then [I think] our campaign presents that vision. And if you want someone who is going to go into communities and speak, and actually dive into the issues that are affecting you, then I think our campaign presents that vision.”