I never considered myself to be very political. I have my beliefs and I will stand up for them when necessary, but I haven’t felt truly connected to many candidates or issues – that is, until Chrissy Holt came along. I met Chrissy almost four years ago, when I had just moved back to Anne Arundel County from a very unsuccessful first semester at college in South Carolina. I had made the dean’s list, but I had relapsed on alcohol after months of recovering from a debilitating drug addiction. I was feeling lost and knew that I needed to move home to Annapolis where my family would support me in getting clean again.
I was accepted into the University of Maryland in College Park for the spring semester but I was scared that the exact same thing would happen again, that I would throw away months of progress in my recovery during one single moment of insecurity. But that fear changed when I met Chrissy at a recovery-related community event. She didn’t know it then, but her actions that day gained her a very loyal supporter in her campaign for the District 30 seat in the Maryland Senate.
I told Chrissy about my struggles and education surrounding addiction. She spoke to me about her efforts to work with the University of Maryland to provide sober living options on campus in order to support young students in recovery. While the university was unresponsive at the time, Chrissy did not stop talking to me until we had reached some kind of solution. She put me in contact with a student in recovery at UMD and said to reach out to them to know that I was not alone in my struggles. That student would later introduce me to more students in recovery; during really difficult moments, I leaned on them to maintain my own recovery. I am coming up on four years of being substance free this September during my last semester of college, which would not have been possible without all the people who had helped me along the way, including Chrissy Holt.
When I heard she was running for office, I could not have been more excited. Chrissy is an amazing person who advocates for everyone in her life, even a scared eighteen-year-old girl who she had just met, and will do whatever it takes to reach an effective solution to whatever problem is at hand. This includes fighting for effective solutions to the raging opioid crisis that so many politicians have seemed to forget about now that it is no longer on the cover of every newspaper and magazine. But people are still dying; my friends are still dying. Anne Arundel County is ahead of the game in various ways when it comes to this epidemic, like starting up Safe Stations and Not My Child, but what still seems to be lacking are people in government who actually understand the issue.
Nothing frustrates me more than working with politicians and government employees who do not know what they are talking about in regards to addiction. Their approaches to creating solutions are futile, and on top of that, they are not willing to listen to the suggestions of addicts in recovery. In 2018, the Maryland General Assembly passed exactly ZERO bills to help with the addiction crisis in the state.
Chrissy is different. She knows what the pain of addiction feels like; she knows what it’s like to lose loved ones to this disease. That personal experience is why I trust her to bring the addiction crisis to the forefront of the political landscape once again, and to work with recovering addicts in the community in order reach solutions that bring hope and change to a county that is tired of losing the people we love to addiction.
Jenn Schultz lives in Anne Arundel County.
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