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?
Franks: I support the findings of the Kirwan Commission’s. The commission indicates that Maryland’s public education system has been underfunded to the tune of approximately $2.9B. In order to address this, I support the effort to reserve all state gambling revenue (the lock-box) for public education.
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?
Franks: On the whole, I think it is reasonably balanced. However, I think the red line project should have been implemented.
Do you support the legalization of recreational marijuana?
Franks: Yes. I think we should legalize it, regulate it and tax it. Additionally, we should reserve some of the revenue from tax marijuana sales for education funding.
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?
Franks: I think we should take steps to make sure that the programs in place have adequate funding and secure revenue streams to make up for the lack of federal support.
What steps should Maryland take to ensure the broadest possible access to affordable health care?
Franks: I support further Medicaid expansion to increase access to affordable health care. I would also support the creation of a public option here in Maryland.
What role should the state play in helping Baltimore address violent crime?
Franks: I think the state should help with officer training and community engagement. IT should take steps to reduce poverty and bolster education resources and opportunities in Baltimore.
How would you characterize Maryland’s business climate? What can the state do to foster the creation of more family-supporting jobs?
Franks: I think we need to create more incubator zones and build tighter coordination between our colleges, universities and employers to make sure we providing our students with skills to qualify for the jobs of tomorrow.
Do you support the creation of a non-partisan, independent body to draw legislative and congressional district maps after each census?
Franks: Yes. Maryland’s legislative map is among the worst cases of gerrymandering in the nation.
Does the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights adequately balance protections for police and the public? Should it be changed, and if so, how?
Franks: No, it does not. I think the review board for police brutality cases should have the third member of the panel be civilian. I would also support extending the time for residents to file a complaint to a minimum of 180 days
What strategy would you adopt to address the opioid addiction and overdose crisis?
Franks: I would like law enforcement to investigate the manner in which these drugs have been over-prescribed.
What if anything should the state do to address income inequality?
Franks: I think we can combat income inequality by; 1) implementing universal pre-k, 2) increasing the minimum wage, 3) mandating universal paid family leave and, 4) by improving retirement security.
Do the state’s Public Information Act and open meetings laws adequately ensure Marylanders’ ability to exercise oversight of the government?
Franks: Yes, I think it does.