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?
McDowell: Yes. I would continue the work and collaborate with other legislatures and community partners on ways to further enhance the meaures.
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?
McDowell: I don’t believe we have truly invested enough into our roads and transit which may cost us more in the upcoming years due to the lack of proactive strategic planning. I am unsure of the full impact with the cancellation of the Baltimore region, but I believe it to be significant enough to harm employment growth. Corporations such as Amazon do not consider regions that have poor to mid grade level transit for furture employees. We must move to a more aggressive approach to obtain larger coporations to increase our business tax base and reduce the burden on homeowners, who carry a significant portion of the taxes.
Do you support the legalization of recreational marijuana?
McDowell: I support the use of marijuana for medical purposes. I believe that in some of our progressive approaches we are missing the mark on long term negative impact(s) recreational marijuana is having on our youth below the ages of 18. Additionally schools are facing more students and parents entering the buildings under the influence, clothing saturated with marijuana which exposes other families to the drug and family members driving them to school exposing them to second hand smoke. We must be more thoughtful in our long range approach when crafting legislation, removing the emotional attachment and including measures like this on the ballot for a vote.
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?
McDowell: I believe Maryland should take steps notwithstanding guidance from the EPA and federal government to set our own guidelines to continue moving our state forward on all environmentally friendly measures.
What steps should Maryland take to ensure the broadest possible access to affordable health care?
McDowell: Maryland should create a commission to investigate best practices in and outside of Maryland that addresses elderly care, youth and elderly affordable healthcare. Additionally we need to keep a closer eye on the practices, partnerships and monies donated to campaigns in order to sanction and censor those who are unethically profiting instead of leading in the best interest of the state.
What role should the state play in helping Baltimore address violent crime?
McDowell: Approximately 20 years ago Prince Georges County was in a similiar place ond DOJ came in to assit with the restructuring and it appears to have worked. I would partner Baltimore with agencies who have gone through the process and other who have created policies and procedures whose data proves it to be successful.
How would you characterize Maryland’s business climate? What can the state do to foster the creation of more family-supporting jobs?
McDowell: We are in a unique position in the state of Maryland. With the increase of families who are better understanding the need to be College and Career ready, we are responsible to provide training. I believe we need to provide more opportunities for families to be career ready, certification opportunities and affordability with child care as this will reduce their dependency on county aid, reduce crime, reduce high school drop-outs and increase community engagement, increase our tax base and increase home ownership.
Do you support the creation of a non-partisan, independent body to draw legislative and congressional district maps after each census?
McDowell: Yes. I believe it has been abused by some lawmakers to benefit their re-elections and disregarding the will of their constituents.
Does the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights adequately balance protections for police and the public? Should it be changed, and if so, how?
McDowell: The bill was written in 1974 and appears to be outdated which could benefit from amendments that have a more balanced approach which give both parties equal protections. Unfortunately we have witnessed an imbalance with some officers being held accountable for their actions around the country. When this happens it develops an mistrust and unhealthy relationships with officers who have not acted unethically or criminally. Prince Georges County had this issue serveral years ago and addressed it head on with results that has built trust, positive relationships, accountability, community collaboration with alleged complaints and investigations.
What strategy would you adopt to address the opioid addiction and overdose crisis?
McDowell: I would provide more engagement with our youth, schools and faith-based communities to provide on-going prevenative workshops and access to nalozone. Also we should hold companies more to task with tracking the amounts and frequency they are prescribing addictive medications. Secondly pharmacists should have more responsibility in policies that implement and promote the proper uses and dangers of the drug while also reducing opiods usage.
What if anything should the state do to address income inequality?
McDowell: The states should implore a strategic diverse team compiled of predominately under-served populations to obtain a true report of the inequalities. Thereafter the states should address the inequities by assigning divisions to work directly with those municipalities to create a more balanced system within an adequate timeline. I feel that in order for this to truly happen in the foreseeable future several members of our assembly would need to be voted out of office or retire, for a more diverse and fair body to be elected.
Do the state’s Public Information Act and open meetings laws adequately ensure Marylanders’ ability to exercise oversight of the government?
McDowell: No. There needs to be adequate changes to ensure full transparency and accountability.