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2022 Voter Guide: Donald “DP” Patti, candidate for Maryland House District 17



Maryland House
District 17

Donald “DP” Patti



Gaithersburg, Montgomery County

I am a small business owner based in Olde Towne Gaithersburg where I run a business that provides consulting, coaching and training to organizations large and small. During my 30-year career, I have served some of our country’s most prestigious businesses — JPMorgan Chase, Daimler-Benz, Amazon, GE, AT&T, Verizon, Lockheed-Martin, Leidos and HP among them. I have also helped over a dozen different government agencies to improve success and deliver on their key initiatives, both federal and local. This includes serving HHS, NIH, NCI, SSA, DHS, Commerce, Labor, SBA, NASA, CMS, EXIM Bank, the state of Florida and Los Angeles County. Through this work, I’ve learned how to help both business and government flourish. Finally, in my work as an educator, I have delivered training to over 1000 working professionals, who have a 97% pass rate on certification exams in the last five years.

I earned my MBA from RH Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, where I served as Vice President of the MBA Association and graduated Beta Gamma Sigma. At the same time, I earned my Masters in Public Management from University of Maryland School of Public Policy. For my undergraduate degree, I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Economics and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of California at Santa Barbara. Finally, I am regularly “schooled” by my wife, my fourteen year-old daughter, and my 21-year-old son when we play board and trivia games.

This is my first effort to seek elected office.

Why are you running for office?

For many of us, the last few years have been filled with challenges of all kinds: The pandemic, illness, isolation, loss of beloved friends, job loss, loss of business, eviction and high crime among them. Yet, instead of tackling these enormous problems, the focus of many of our elected leaders has been to divide us. While our house burns to the ground, our politicians are bickering over who should grab the bucket and who should hold the hose. Unfortunately, when they finally make decisions, many decisions are simply NOT good. To me, the answer to our problems is obvious, though not easy. We need sharp, open minds, not closed-mindedness. We need pragmatic people, not ideologues. We need problem-solvers, not finger-pointers. We need voices of reason. I hope to be a voice of reason, applying the same effective problem-solving techniques I have throughout my career to help the state of Maryland.

What is the most pressing issue in your district?

During the last year, crime has spiked in our community. There have been five homicides in our neighborhood in a little over a year, while vehicle and home break-ins have become commonplace. Throughout Montgomery County, homicides are up 88%, carjackings have doubled and shootings are up 75% in 2021. We need to respond to this by: 1. Enabling our officers to perform their jobs once again, by setting the threshold for stopping suspects at “reasonable suspicion” throughout the state. 2. Showing our police officers that we respect the difficult decisions they have to make when they risk their lives on our behalf, by restoring the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights. 3. Addressing the root causes of crime: Our failing educational system, persistent pockets of poverty that span generations, and a lack of higher-paying blue collar jobs that make it easier to choose gainful employment over a career in crime.

How will you help your constituents deal with inflation?

Many of us are feeling the sting inflation — from the sudden jump in gas prices to the price of basic necessities. If it continues, the pinch is likely to keep us from paying for essentials like food and rent. To address inflation, special emphasis needs to be placed on reducing regressive taxes, which most affect Maryland’s poor; and on reducing the burden on retirees, who are often on a fixed income. The best way to help Marylanders deal with inflation is to provide immediate, temporary relief by: 1. Putting in place a freeze on property taxes, preventing state and local jurisdictions from raising rates beyond those charged in 2020. 2. Reducing the state sales tax by two cents, as suggested by Robin Ficker, Governor Candidate. 3. Cutting the state gas tax in half. Though we can’t take away the sting of inflation entirely, we can significantly reduce the swelling.

What do you see as the top transportation priority in your district, and how would you address it?

Because our district straddles I-270, the most pressing transportation issues relate to I-270. Currently, traffic is comparatively light due to COVID, but there is a risk that heavy traffic congestion will return. The best strategies for dealing with this are (1) to attract more large businesses to Gaithersburg and Rockville so fewer people need to drive to the beltway for their daily commute, (2) to create a business climate that keep our current businesses here, (3) to incentivize continued work from home, (4) to expand MARC train service upstream, easing traffic on I-270, and (5) to expand metro service north to near the intersection of Quince Orchard and Rockville Pike, which is becoming a growing hub for business and commerce.

What should schools do differently during the next pandemic to help students, families and teachers?

One of the biggest challenges I have ever faced as a teacher was the transition from in-class instruction to online teaching in under a month. My entire curriculum needed to be redesigned from the ground up to effectively support online learning. I’m sure the task was equally difficult for our teachers. To better prepare, we should: 1. Train teachers to effectively deliver learning remotely. (We teachers sometimes need teaching, too). 2. Continue occasional remote learning, so both teachers and students can still learn during a pandemic or other disaster. 3. Consider the whole-educational experience for remote learning. Include effective attendance tracking, counseling, discipline, parent engagement and childcare. 4. Move teaching technology to the cloud so they are available and scalable whenever needed. 5. Negotiate with teachers unions to retain in-person learning wherever possible, placing a heavy emphasis on in-person learning to our children’s mental health when doing so.

How equitably do police officers treat people of color?

Whether police officers treat African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans, and others fairly depends upon where and when. In Baltimore City, members of the police have been caught treating African Americans unjustly and have committed acts of violence against them because of their race. To fix Baltimore City, we need to replace the entire criminal justice system with state-based institutions: State police, the attorney general’s office and the state appeals courts on a temporary, emergency basis. Only restore city institutions once corruption has been rooted out, evidence of racial bias addressed, and crime subsided. Overall, Maryland has done an effective job treating all individuals fairly in recent years. The problems that have occurred have been incidental, though still very important. To reduce specific incidents of racism, recruit police officers from diverse backgrounds, punish racial wrong-doers severely when they are caught, and encourage officers and citizens to treat each other with respect.

What would you do to make sure Maryland’s voting system is secure and accurate?

Unfortunately, current voting methods used in Maryland and our localities are quite susceptible to small-scale fraud. It would be easy to vote multiple times using absentee ballots mailed to multi-voter households, steal ballots mailed to neighbors, and register to vote in multiple jurisdictions at once. Though small-scale fraud is unlikely to impact most elections, it IS likely to affect results in very tight races. When this occurs, it lends credence to claims that the entire system is broken. Our best solution to this problem is to issue a FREE universal Real-ID to adults in Maryland and to require its use for voting. Doing so would substantially reduce risk of small-scale fraud, re-establishing faith in our voting process. We can also reduce the risk of large-scale fraud by having voting machines create a paper record of all votes cast and by reconciling vote counts between electronic and paper, ensuring voting integrity.

What are the right goals and deadlines for Maryland to reduce carbon emissions and develop renewable energy sources?

Earlier in my career, I worked on an environmental project for a well-known manufacturer, where I learned the ins-and-outs of pollution. Through that effort, one fact became clear: airborne and water-borne emissions can have a significant impact on the planet’s health, and we CAN improve it using technology. Unfortunately, it’s NOT clear to me that carbon emissions from humans are our most pressing environmental issue. Prehistoric CO2 levels were 10 times higher than today and life flourished on the planet. Further, CO2 is non-poisonous – we breathe it all the time, with no harm. If we truly wish to be good stewards of our environment, we should shift emphasis away from CO2 and toward actual toxins — arsenic, lead, sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxide and particulate matter in air; and, lead, mercury, pesticides and herbicides in water. These are far more likely to be deadly than increased CO2 ever will be.

What’s Maryland’s best use of federal COVID relief money?

We have all suffered greatly from COVID — illness, isolation, loss of beloved friends, job loss, loss of business, eviction, bankruptcy and high crime among them. Given our losses, COVID relief money should be spent on preventing future suffering and helping those who have most suffered by: 1. Paying for COVID vaccination and treatment efforts. 2. Strengthening Maryland’s pandemic response and health infrastructure through better business continuity planning and disaster recovery planning. 3. Providing relief to individuals who lost their jobs due to COVID, much like Governor Hogan’s GEER Fund. 4. Providing relief for individuals who lost their home or apartment due to COVID and their inability to work. 5. Providing relief for small businesses that were adversely impacted — and uncompensated — for losses caused by COVID and COVID-mandated closures.

Baltimore Sun Media’s voter guide allows candidates to provide their background, policy and platforms on issues, in their own words. Any questions or feedback can be sent to, or read more about the questionnaire process here.

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