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?
Madaleno: Absolutely. I am the only candidate who is a member of the Commission, and have worked hard to develop these recommendations. I am running to ensure that the recommendations are fully implemented. The five key recommendations provide a substantive blueprint for improving education and opportunity for all Maryland children, especially those with significant challenges: First, invest more in high-quality early childhood education, including full day preschool for all 4-year olds and all low-income 3-year olds; Second, significantly increase spending for at risk children, including those living in poverty; Third, increase compensation and support for educators, improve teacher education and preparation programs and raise certification standards - in short, elevate teaching into a high-status profession as it should be; Fourth, make college and career readiness a priority for all children, expanding pathways in high school to ensure every student graduates prepared for success - having taken college preparatory courses, earning college credits and/or participating in career and technical programs that lead to an industry-certified professional credential; Fifth, strengthen governance and accountability so that the public knows that our investments in schools are achieving results. As part of the budget adopted by the General Assembly this year we included $200 million dedicated to future investments to fund the Commission recommendations, a commitment I will build on to implement the recommendations. Maryland needs a committed Governor who truly believes in public education to implement these recommendations. I am running for Governor to make that happen. I will be the “Education Governor” Maryland needs.
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?
Madaleno: I will build and maintain a strong statewide transportation system that gives people choices and opportunities for mobility, and keeps our environment healthy. Supporting effective, efficient public transit, faster, more reliable rail, better roads and safe bridges are essential for residents’ quality of life and for economic and job growth. A proponent of transit, I led the way in securing $178 million for the Baltimore Metro system in this year’s successful bill which funds the Washington Metro. I have been a strong supporter of the Red Line rail transit project to improve transit in Baltimore and its application to receive federal funding. Unfortunately, Governor Hogan’s abrupt cancellation of the project and his withdrawal of its funding application means that the Red Line is not in line to receive critical federal funds. As governor I will direct the Department of Transportation to revive the Red Line and determine the most feasible, expeditious means of securing funding to improve transportation and support jobs and commerce in Baltimore. And the MARC commuter system must be improved with more frequent service and expansion. My vision for the transportation of the future includes long-term sustainable funding and the creation of regional transportation authorities to decide how best to fund, operate and maintain our transportation system. I fought to pass the Maryland Open Transportation Investment Decision Act that requires transparent decision-making for major transportation projects. As governor I will ensure that Maryland makes good transportation decisions which will result in better use of taxpayers’ dollars.
Do you support the legalization of recreational marijuana?
Madaleno: Yes. I have been a leader in the effort to legalize marijuana in Maryland. We need to end the prohibition on marijuana and regulate and tax its sale in our state. During the 2017 legislative session, my bill proposed to legalize sales and possession of cannabis under specified circumstances and to impose a 9% excise tax on such sales (excluding sales of medical marijuana). The legislation dedicated half of the revenues for community schools in neighborhoods most impacted by the failed “war” on drugs, and the remainder for opioid prevention and treatment measures, workforce development, and public education and training regarding driving under the influence. As a result of my leadership in efforts to legalize marijuana, I received the 2017 Vanguard Award from the Maryland state chapter of the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). This year I was a leader on the bill to put the question of legalization of marijuana for recreational use on the ballot. I support the legalization of medical marijuana and helped lead successful passage of the bill to fix the process for the implementation of and additional licenses for medical marijuana in Maryland. As Governor, I would appoint Commissioners who are committed to full realization of the goals of Maryland’s medical marijuana laws and who would administer the program effectively. With appropriate staffing, funding and a commitment to diversity, we can run an effective program that makes medical marijuana available for all patients who could benefit from it.
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?
Madaleno: Maryland must continue to be an active steward of the Chesapeake Bay. As governor I will be a strong leader and will protect, defend and improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay, one of Maryland’s abundant natural treasures. To realize these goals of improving the health of the Chesapeake and its watershed, I will take action to reduce harmful runoff, maintain federal funding for Chesapeake Bay programs and increase funding for the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays 2010 Fund which pays for projects to restore and improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay and its watersheds, to improve water quality and to control water pollution. I will be a strong leader who will engage in regional cooperative efforts with our neighboring states of Virginia and Pennsylvania to improve water quality and the health of the Chesapeake Bay and its oyster and crab population. My record of action to protect and improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay is extensive. When the Trump administration proposed eliminating funding for programs to protect the health of the Chesapeake Bay, I led efforts to restore federal funding for these programs which are so vital to a healthy, clean bay and successful state economy. I have been a key legislative voice and leader in the battle to clean up the Chesapeake. For the past five years, no legislator has been more aggressive and bold in seeking to increase funding to protect the Bay and holding the poultry industry accountable for their impact on the environment.
What steps should Maryland take to ensure the broadest possible access to affordable health care?
Madaleno: I believe that healthcare is a human right. I will be the strong leader Maryland needs to ensure that all Marylanders have broad access to affordable, high-quality health care. I fully support this year’s initiative to provide a temporary reinsurance program to help cover the most expensive claims from people insured on the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange to stabilize health insurance rates now. Building on my legislative successes in improving Maryland’s health care system and given the Republican repeal of the individual mandate under the Affordable Care Act, I strongly support a new health insurance down payment plan for uninsured Marylanders to provide coverage and to keep premiums affordable. I provided leadership for this year’s bill to make prescription drugs affordable and to prevent price gouging by brand name drug companies in Maryland. Given generic drug companies’ significant price increases for critical generic drugs, I fought for the 2017 law which prohibits price gouging by manufacturers or wholesale distributors in the sale of essential generic drugs in Maryland. I also worked to enact a law to provide Rx payment assistance to the elderly. When the Republicans in Congress threatened to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood, I successfully championed the law guaranteeing continued state funding for Planned Parenthood’s health care services if the federal government terminates funding. For many Marylanders these clinics are a key source of primary health care, including cancer screening, preventive health and family planning services. Access to these essential services is now protected in Maryland.
What role should the state play in helping Baltimore address violent crime?
Madaleno: The State of Maryland can and should play a role in helping Baltimore address violent crime. First, it is critical to rebuild trust and to improve the community’s relationship with the Baltimore police force. Equally important is the realization that we can no longer merely “police” our way out of unacceptable levels of crime. The time has come to both implement effective law enforcement strategies while also addressing the systemic root causes underlying crime. I helped secure funds for diversion programs to keep those who are able to enter into these programs in Baltimore. As Governor my budget will include additional support for programs to assist Baltimore, including the Safe Streets program which the legislature funded this session, a community-based program that has produced results. I will provide additional state funding to help implement technology improvements and changes needed in the Baltimore police department to implement the Consent Decree between the Department of Justice and the City of Baltimore to improve policing. I will work with Baltimore to improve the community’s relationship with the Baltimore police, including requiring body cameras for police officers, making sure we recruit a police force that is of Baltimore, changing how allegations of police misconduct are investigated, and improving the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights. I support providing smart policing training to establish effective communication and good working relationships with citizens and community leaders. When I am Governor the state will take action to help address violent crime in Baltimore.
How would you characterize Maryland's business climate? What can the state do to foster the creation of more family-supporting jobs?
Madaleno: Under my leadership Maryland will be “Open to the Future”. I will improve Maryland’s business climate and will vigorously pursue opportunities for greater economic development and the creation of more family-supporting jobs throughout our state, capitalizing on its many core competencies in technology, computers, security, analytics, food and manufacturing. I will keep good-paying jobs and bring new, good-paying jobs to Maryland. I will develop training programs and partnerships with our educational institutions so that Maryland workers have the skills companies need for the jobs of our future. I will fully fund Maryland’s Partnership for Workforce Quality which funds training for employees in Maryland businesses, especially in the manufacturing and technology sector. I will support the state’s growing renewable energy sector with targeted tax assistance, and support the development of 21st century jobs in construction, manufacturing and support services to serve the offshore wind energy project and to manufacture vessels to support offshore wind turbines locally and globally. My Lt Governor candidate, Luwanda Jenkins, a native Baltimorean with an extensive background and track record of state experience and results-driven accomplishments on behalf of Marylanders, especially the small, women and minority business community, served under Governor’s Schaefer, Glendening and O’Malley as Special Secretary for the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs and advanced the state’s minority business efforts. Luwanda’s private and public experience and reputation as an effective, committed leader who delivers results combined with my successful legislative track record means we are the team ready to lead Maryland on day one.
Do you support the creation of a non-partisan, independent body to draw legislative and congressional district maps after each census?
Madaleno: Yes. I support redistricting reform. I supported and helped lead the 2017 bill passed by the General Assembly and vetoed by the General Assembly to establish a Temporary Redistricting Commission to prepare and adopt decennial redistricting plans for congressional districts in the State. This process was contingent on the enactment of a nonpartisan congressional redistricting process in the following mid-Atlantic region states: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and North Carolina. In 2015 I supported a bill calling for a constitutional amendment requiring that each congressional district (1) consist of adjoining territory; (2) be compact in form; and (3) be of substantially equal population, giving due regard to natural and political boundaries. In 2005 I introduced legislation calling for a study commission to examine how Maryland draws legislative and congressional district maps and make recommendations to the Governor and to the General Assembly.
Does the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights adequately balance protections for police and the public? Should it be changed, and if so, how?
Madaleno: It is critical that the LEOBR appropriately balance protections for the police and public. Sadly, the events that have occured in Baltimore with the Gun Trace Task Force brings into question the effectiveness of the LEOBR. The legislature took steps this year to address the GTTF issue by creating the Commission to Restore Trust in Policing. While the Commission will be focused on Baltimore, its work may provide the seeds for policy development to address the disconnect between communities and those that “protect and serve”. Certainly we don’t want an oversight process that is arbitrary, capricious or unfair. We DO need to have a system that will ensure accountability is justly exercised and appropriately dispensed. The disconnect today between communities and law enforcement didn’t just happen: it has taken years, and like any cultural change, will take time to improve. Most law enforcement personnel do the right thing everyday - and they should be honored for their service. But we need to think more strategically about how community and those that serve - not just law enforcement but any public servant - can come together with a shared sense of purpose and duty, working together, not separately. More “doing with”, not “doing to”. My administration will infuse this philosophy throughout. As Governor I will bring together the police, the public, and law enforcement professionals to find common sense reforms that improve our ability to make officers accountable and, where needed, impose discipline and/or removal of officers who have engaged in wrongful conduct.
What strategy would you adopt to address the opioid addiction and overdose crisis?
Madaleno: Finding solutions to and preventing the spread of Maryland’s opioid epidemic – a problem that persists in the lives of many Marylanders – requires a multi-faceted approach. To provide fast, effective relief for those suffering from addiction, and to find a long-term approach to stemming this crisis, I propose a new focus on prevention and treatment: Mandating medical profession and student education and training on i) non-opioid treatment and management of pain, ii) identification of substance use disorders, including how to detect opioid abuse, and (iii) options to secure assistance for patients. Further restricting the prescribing of opioids for treatment of pain, subject to exceptions, such as for cancer and palliative care. Enhanced monitoring of data reported through the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program to detect potential patterns of abuse or aberrant prescribing practices so that action can be taken. Creating a Director of Recovery to ensure a fully coordinated and comprehensive treatment and recovery support system. Creating sufficient Outreach Teams and Recovery Residences in Local Communities. Providing for sufficient Certified Peer Recovery Specialists to support patients and assist with connections to housing, transportation and employment. Ensuring that medication assisted treatment (MAT) and other long-term treatment, including mental health treatment, is available for those suffering from addiction, whether in the emergency room or in a prison. Ensuring that upon release from prison individuals are able to continue treatment through Medicaid eligibility and connection to community-based treatment. Enforcing mental health parity laws to ensure coverage for preventive services and addiction disorder treatment.
What if anything should the state do to address income inequality?
Madaleno: A growing economy must also be a just economy. Too many Marylanders work full-time but still live paycheck to paycheck, and the African American community is disproportionately impacted by an income inequality gap that we cannot ignore. I have led successful efforts to raise our state minimum wage and have been leading the fight for a much-needed $15-per-hour minimum wage, indexed to the cost of living so no one falls behind again. As Governor I will champion this legislation. Whether with his veto of the earned sick leave legislation or his opposition to the minimum wage, Larry Hogan stands in the way of progress for Maryland’s working people. Building on past democratic administrations’ impressive gains for the state’s minority businesses through rigorous oversight, advocacy and access to level the playing field, a Madaleno-Jenkins administration’s economic development focus will continue that progress and include minority businesses as a competitive advantage for growing the State’s economy and ensuring that all communities benefit equitably. Maryland needs greater progressivity in its tax code. This year I was a leader in increasing the Maryland standard deduction to offset the negative impacts of the Republican federal tax bill for most lower and middle income taxpayers. I introduced successful legislation to expand the earned income tax credit for those under 25 years of age and to “decouple” our state estate tax from the federal estate tax given the significant increase in the federal estate tax exemption. Increasing the fairness of our taxes will help address income inequality.
Do the state's Public Information Act and open meetings laws adequately ensure Marylander's ability to exercise oversight of the government?
Madaleno: I fully support our state’s open meetings and freedom of information laws to ensure Marylanders’ ability to know what actions their state government takes and to allow Marylanders to exercise oversight of their government. I will provide an open government which provides easy access to public information, including studies, permits and regulatory violations; easy access to public meetings; and that engages in transparent decision making. In order to fully realize the goals of these laws, as Governor I would provide training to all my appointees on how to best implement and achieve full compliance with open meetings and information laws. I would also act to ensure that my administration implements web streaming of public meetings by our state agencies wherever feasible, and provides ready access to public information, including records supporting state decisions, in electronic form wherever possible – consistent with the law I introduced which maintains public access to public records in electronic format.