Jim Shea

Jim Shea
  • Democrat
  • Running mate: Brandon M. Scott
  • Age: 66
  • Residence: Owings Mills

About Jim Shea

Education

I am a lifelong Marylander. I attended Baltimore County Public Schools before going to boarding school. I graduated from Princeton University in 1974 and the University of Virginia School of Law in 1977.

Background

Throughout my career, I have led large public and private organizations across the state. For four years, I was the Chair of the University System of Maryland, and I served on the board for ten years. I have also served as Chair of the Empower Baltimore Management Corporation, the Central Maryland Transportation Alliance, and the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore. And, for 22 years, I served as Chairman of Venable LLP, the state’s largest law firm. After graduating from law school, I worked as an Assistant Attorney General in Maryland.

Questionnaire

1
Kirwan
Do you support the findings of the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education? Are you committed to funding associated reforms, and if so, how?
Shea: I fully support the findings of the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education. It has found that results of Maryland’s public education system fall in the middle of the pack when compared to other states across the country. Last year, I released a comprehensive education plan that addresses issues from universal pre-k through institutions of higher education. We need universal pre-k, because we know that educational inequity currently cements itself before children step foot in a classroom. We need to institute a curriculum that is benchmarked against international standards, and we need to put that curriculum in the hands of well-trained and compensated educators. We need to develop a new funding formula that properly accounts for areas of concentrated poverty and funds additional community schools. And, we need to provide more Marylanders with access to job training programs and higher education opportunities. Many of these priorities, which I outlined last year, are mirrored in the findings of the Kirwan Commission. Yes, some of these initiatives will cost money. As I construct my budget each year, I will do so with properly funding education as my highest priority. Governor Hogan has funded education at a lower rate than general fund growth, so prioritizing education in the budget will help to fund these policy proposals. Further, there are other potential sources of revenue, including the legalization and taxation of cannabis and sports gambling. Finally, rolling in the lockbox for the casino revenue will add additional money to properly fund public education.
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2
Transportation
Is Maryland's transportation spending appropriately balanced between roads and transit? Does the state have the resources to meet its transportation needs? With the cancellation of the Red Line and the advent of BaltimoreLink, is the Baltimore region adequately served by transit?
Shea: Under the Hogan Administration, Maryland’s transportation spending has not been anywhere close to appropriately balanced. Governor Hogan’s transportation decisions have involved taking credit for a Purple Line project that previous administrations planned and conceived. He cancelled the Red Line, forfeiting almost one billion dollars back to the federal government. Not only would the Red Line have provided a transit lifeline to those who live and work in East and West Baltimore, but it would have also created a transit spine upon which other lines or spurs could be built. Baltimore’s consolation from the Hogan Administration was BaltimoreLink, which caused significant upheaval and confusion but does not significantly reduce commute times or improve transportation in the city. No, the Baltimore region is not adequately served by transit. That is why, in the transportation plan I released last year, I proposed developing a replacement to the Red Line that moves people across the city. I also proposed an expansion to MARC services that will serve the Baltimore area, as well as a bus system that then properly complements the larger transit systems. None of these proposals will happen overnight. First, we need a statewide plan, and we need to know our priorities so that when funding opportunities present themselves, like, for example, a major federal infrastructure package, we have everything ready to go. We also need to be willing to invest in long-term projects that will create jobs, grow our economy, and improve the quality of life of our state.
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3
Marijuana
Do you support the legalization of recreational marijuana?
Shea: Yes, I support the legalization, regulation, and taxation of recreational marijuana. As other jurisdictions across the country, including Colorado, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C. have recognized, legalizing marijuana is an issue of criminal justice and economic equality. Not only will it create a more just society, but it will also provide the state with additional resources to deliver more robust services to citizens. Further, I support developing a systematic approach that will expunge previous marijuana sentences, and I will look into programs, like the one in Oakland, California, that mandate that half of the licenses go to those who were previously convicted of cannabis-related offenses.
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4
Chesapeake Bay
At a time when the federal government's commitment to Chesapeake Bay restoration is questionable, what new steps should Maryland take to protect this resource?
Shea: Maryland, with our way of life and economy so strictly tied to a healthy environment, has a fundamental interest in protecting the Chesapeake Bay. When the federal government fails to act to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay, my Administration will fill the void. The state must be a leader in promoting environmentally-friendly practices, incentivizing growth in renewable energy, and reducing pollution that soils the air we breathe and the water we drink. As Governor, I will roll out a new transportation vision for the state that gets people out of their cars and onto mass transit lines. Studies continually show that passenger vehicles are a major polluter. I will create ambitious targets for our renewable portfolio standard, create an incentive structure that supports renewable energy growth, and invest in our state’s energy storage capacity. Finally, I will work with both the environmental and agricultural community to identify ways that the two groups can continue to work together to limit the runoff of damaging toxins, while also developing practices that give our agriculture sector room to grow and flourish.
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5
Health Care
What steps should Maryland take to ensure the broadest possible access to affordable health care?
Shea: Maryland has, for decades, been a leader in expanding the availability of quality and affordable health care. On the federal level, President Obama’s signature achievement, the Affordable Care Act, has significantly expanded access to health care in Maryland. As Governor, I will be a staunch advocate for Obamacare and stand up against any and all efforts to repeal it or lessen its impact. Further, at the federal level, the winds seem to be shifting towards a single payer system, which I support. I will advocate for further federal reform, but I do not believe that the state of Maryland can implement its own single payer system. It is simply too expensive for one state to do so alone, as California and Vermont have both found as well. Instead, I will look for changes we can make at the state level to increase access to quality and affordable care. Throughout my career, I have worked with each of the interested parties in our health care system: patients, doctors, hospitals, and insurers. I will bring each of these groups to the table to find ways to improve our system. One area, for example, that I think we can improve is access to primary care physicians. Doing so would prioritize preventative care tactics that keep health care costs down. It will also give more Marylanders consistent relationships with doctors who are able to develop longer-term strategies to keep patients healthy.
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6
Crime
What role should the state play in helping Baltimore address violent crime?
Shea: The state has a very large role to play in helping Baltimore address violent crime. There are several different entities, including the state police, corrections, and parole and probation, and the Baltimore City Police Department, that fall under State jurisdiction. We must focus the State’s resources on targeting the city’s most violent offenders, a large percentage – fully one third – of whom are in the parole and probation systems. The State also must work with local jurisdictions across the state, especially Baltimore City, to implement policies that will help to reduce crime. Along with my Lt. Governor Brandon Scott, we will invest in programs like Safe Streets, which have a proven track record and can be expanded. We will expand group violence reduction and community mediation programs. We will develop a statewide gun violence prevention database that properly and functionally tracks important metrics. And, we will facilitate the sharing of information between the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention and the Maryland State Police and local jurisdictions. In the long-term, in order to fully address the issue of crime in Maryland, we must identify and correct the underlying causes. We must properly invest in education to give every one of Maryland’s children, regardless of their zip code, a proper education. We must work to expand economic opportunities for Marylanders, especially those in distressed communities. And, we must do a better job connecting Marylanders, wherever they may live, with the jobs and opportunities that are available in the state.
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7
Business Climate
How would you characterize Maryland's business climate? What can the state do to foster the creation of more family-supporting jobs?
Shea: Maryland has all of the assets it needs to have the strongest economy in the United States. However, I do not think we are capitalizing on our assets, nor are we making the proper, targeted, and necessary investments in crucial economic development drivers like education, infrastructure, and small business. In order to foster the creation of more family-supporting jobs, I will build bridges between the economic assets we have in our state, including the federal research institutions, our colleges and universities, and our business leaders. I will properly prioritize our public education system, because a strong labor force is the backbone of an economy. I will invest in new infrastructure projects, particularly transit infrastructure, that will create jobs, reduce congestion, and improve the economic attractiveness of our state. And, I will work to support our state’s small businesses by making our state government systems more efficient and looking for ways to provide them with the necessary access to capital.
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8
Redistricting
Do you support the creation of a non-partisan, independent body to draw legislative and congressional district maps after each census?
Shea: I support the creation of a bipartisan and independent body to advise during the redistricting process. I will also work to create a more transparent process to provide additional measures of accountability so that the public can be assured that the process is honest and fair.
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9
LEOBR
Does the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights adequately balance protections for police and the public? Should it be changed, and if so, how?
Shea: In order to truly address the crime and violence that is so pervasive across our state, including in Baltimore, we must devise a plan that ends the violence and restores the community’s trust in law enforcement. To accomplish the crucial second goal, we should ensure that people are properly held accountable. The Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights provides us with one area in which we can make some changes to restore community trust in law enforcement. For example, I support efforts to involve the public more closely with disciplinary decisions and allow them to serve and vote on trial boards. Further, I think that there are other steps, including limiting the number of days officers can go between an incident and providing testimony, that will improve transparency and paint a cleaner picture of the incident. And, we can make police misconduct investigations more transparent by ensuring that those who file a complaint of police misconduct are able to access information on how the department investigates or resolves the case.
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10
Opioids
What strategy would you adopt to address the opioid addiction and overdose crisis?
Shea: The opioid epidemic has run rampant across Maryland for far too long. Still, deaths due to overdose have continued to rise over the past three years. As Governor, I will develop a well-funded and well-conceived plan to address this crisis head-on. We will expand the prevalence of and access to community health centers across the state that treat victims and prioritize continuity of care. My Department of Health will work with local jurisdictions to develop a system that properly treats each patient according to their needs. l will ensure that naloxone is readily available, and that first responders across the state have naloxone on-site. I will make sure that people have access to treatment in our state’s prisons and jails. And, finally, I will work with local jurisdictions to make sure they have the resources they need to confront the crisis on the ground.
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11
Income inequality
What if anything should the state do to address income inequality?
Shea: I will grow our economy and give hardworking Marylanders opportunities they deserve. To do that, we will build on our strengths and ensure that more Marylanders can benefit from our institutional advantages. We will prioritize public education, which is continually proven to be the surest ladder of opportunity. Today’s small businesses and start-ups are often developed by Marylanders who honed their skills in the classroom. We will invest in infrastructure and our small businesses. And, we will create an energy economy that incentivizes growth in renewable sources, which will become increasingly important as we move further into the 21st century economy. This growth will give more Marylanders more opportunities for success. However, while we work to grow the economy, we also must work to make it fairer. As Governor, I will push for legislation that institutes a statewide $15 minimum wage and work to expand the state’s Child Care Subsidy Program. In the long-term, I believe that, in order to really address income inequality, we need to fix our state’s public education and transportation systems. We will not provide every Marylander with the chance to succeed and with the opportunity for long-term, steady, and fulfilling careers if we do not provide every Marylander with an adequate education. And, if we continue to isolate communities across the state by failing to provide them with access to public transit, they will not have access to good-paying jobs that are available. In order to address income inequality, each of these areas is crucial.
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12
Transparency
Do the state's Public Information Act and open meetings laws adequately ensure Marylander's ability to exercise oversight of the government?
Shea: Public Information Act and Open Meetings Laws are crucial to ensuring our government is accountable to the people it is designed to serve. As Governor, I will ensure that Public Information Act and Open Meetings Laws are always properly adhered to. If they are not being adhered to consistently, or if the laws are not strong enough to provide the public with the information they need, then I will work to change them.
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