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?
Manicone: I so support the findings of the CIEE. The Commission’s report is well researched with national and international comparative metrics and goes to an exhaustive length to lay out the multifactorial dimensions to the educational performance in Maryland. I agree with the need for a long term investment akin to the focus that Massachusetts has made (and hopefully the results they have achieved). The Commission emphasizes the depth of this vision which extends for early childhood education all the way tot the college pathway for young educators. In their report, the Commission does not describe a sustainable funding strategy but clearly this needs to be a bipartisan supported endeavor at the county, state and federal level. Education is the primary and most effective mechanism towards upward socioeconomic mobility and is the driver for Maryland’s future.
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?
Manicone: Maryland’s transportation is favored more heavily towards roads than public transit. That said, BaltimoreLink’s efforts are important steps forward in terms of reliability and access. Bus-only lanes and traffic light sensors that extend green lights for them are important first steps (which have already shown a 9% increase in reliability), however this initiative needs ongoing performance evaluations and modifications with all key stakeholder having a voice, especially the riders! Transportation throughout Maryland will only become more challenging over the next decade and therefore I am interested in a long term infrastructure assessment and strategy to meet the growing demands and challenges.
Do you support the legalization of recreational marijuana?
Manicone: As a pediatrician, I have personally cared for more children with accidental marijuana intoxication than I care to remember. Many small children have access to ‘edibles’ as they are often prepared in forms that are attractive to children such as cookies. Legalization for adults would make access immediate and affordable to many adolescents in middle and high school. I do however support the controlled and diagnosis specific usage of medical marijuana.
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?
Manicone: As a Marylander and as a sailor, I am passionate about the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay and investment in the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Firstly, the Foundation must remain solvent and continue to do their important work. Secondly, recreational boating and fishing are multi-billion dollar industries which is not only a strong economic engine for Maryland, it is a source of national pride. Furthermore as the largest fish estuary in the world, it is incumbent upon the state and federal governments to support the preservation of this natural wonder of the world. Lastly, we must prevent offshore drilling as this is a clear and present danger to our environment and our boating and fishing economy.
What steps should Maryland take to ensure the broadest possible access to affordable health care?
Manicone: As a physician, this is an area that I am very passionate about. Watching the affordable care act nearly become undone without a viable alternative motivated me to run for public office. I simply could not stand by any longer when the coverage of hundreds of thousands of Marylanders, and millions of Americans would have been reduced to unregulated and inadequate coverage. Good evidence now exists that shows the economic benefits of expansion of Medicaid under the ACA. Maryland needs to focus on coverage, access and primary care incentives. Incentives for utilization of primary care should include premium reductions for consumers. Prevention of complications of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and early detection of cancer will improve the lives of Marylanders and create long term savings.
What role should the state play in helping Baltimore address violent crime?
Manicone: The state should play a large and comprehensive role. Baltimore has long been struggling with violent crime and I would be naïve to think I have a clear path forward. The state must remain partnered with the City of Baltimore to prioritize crime reduction.
How would you characterize Maryland’s business climate? What can the state do to foster the creation of more family-supporting jobs?
Manicone: According to the US News and World Report, Maryland ranks #2 in the nation in “Opportunity” yet is ranks very average in the areas of ‘fiscal stability’, ‘economic growth’ and ‘quality of life’ . This discrepancy illustrates a disconnect between our potential and our reality. Maryland’s business climate is in need of a stimulus. Maryland needs innovation and stability. This means we need to support businesses who are jobs creators in Maryland. We also need to strengthen our labor unions who have steadily eroded over the last half century. Together these two forces will create synergy and stimulate our economy.
Do you support the creation of a non-partisan, independent body to draw legislative and congressional district maps after each census?
Manicone: Absolutely. Gerrymandering is wrong and should be fair regardless of which party controls 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?
Manicone: Law enforcement is the toughest job on earth. It is even more difficult when there is public mistrust. Herein lies the root of the issue. Public mistrust. I support community policing efforts which strive to engage with community leaders, local business owners and places of worship to create a more forwardly engaging presence in the community rather than a more disconnected militarized approach to policing.
What strategy would you adopt to address the opioid addiction and overdose crisis?
Manicone: The opioid epidemic requires three major efforts: 1. Law enforcement to stem the flow of drugs on the street. 2. Addiction management for the tens of thousands of Marylanders who abuse opioids and struggle with addiction. 3. Medical community engagement. Physician groups, health care organizations and pharmaceutical companies need to participate in this effort to reduce the number of prescriptions of opiates that are excessive and unnecessary.
What if anything should the state do to address income inequality?
Manicone: Education and job creation will reduce the inequality gap however the inequality that exists now based on gender or race is unacceptable and hazardous to our growth and prosperity. Diversity is a stimulus. History has proven this time and time again. The state must continue to engage with residents and civic leaders to address this endemic issue that is both pervasive and harmful.
Do the state’s Public Information Act and open meetings laws adequately ensure Marylanders’ ability to exercise oversight of the government?
Manicone: I believe they could. The state could do more to active, educate and engage Marylanders in the civic affairs. There are many venues for this and it is perhaps one of the most exciting aspects of our democracy. I believe this for of oversight and access to our government creates more dialogue and more respect for both our residents and our legislators who at the end of the day, all want the same essential elements of life: happiness, good health and prosperity!