2018 Maryland election results

B. Darren Burns

B. Darren Burns
  • Republican
  • Age: 54
  • Residence: Annapolis

About B. Darren Burns


College of William & Mary, J.D. (1990) Hampden-Sydney College, B.A. (1986) Severn School (1982)


Attorney/Partner Carney, Kelehan, Bresler, Bennett & Scherr, LLP. http://www.carneykelehan.com/our-attorneys/darren-burns Practice centers on litigation, particularly cases involving education, commercial construction, employment, contract, business, real property, and cable/satellite piracy issues. His clients include developers, contractors, property managers, retail businesses, restaurants and property owners. He represents his clients in courts throughout Maryland as well as in federal court, administrative hearings, arbitration and mediation. In addition to litigation, Mr. Burns advises clients on contracts and business formation, and he handles regulatory matters before various Anne Arundel County and City of Annapolis agencies including liquor licenses and other trade requirements. An experienced education lawyer, Mr. Burns served for six years as the in-house counsel for the Anne Arundel County Public Schools. He has represented boards of education, local governments and public officials in numerous contract, tort and civil rights cases. Professionally, Mr. Burns is an officer for the Construction Law Section of the Maryland State Bar Association and former trustee of the Anne Arundel County Bar Association. His two decades of experience in court began with his judicial clerkship for the Hon. Robert H. Heller Jr. in the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County.


    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?
    Burns: In concept, I support the focus on education policy, goals and structural improvements that the Kirwin Commission sought to address, and I concur that the funding formula – like the setting of priorities – required a fresh, comprehensive revisit. At the same time, Maryland’s leaders cannot accept that the answer to the question, “How do we take public education to greater success?” is simply more spending and more taxes. Equally important is that any initiatives with such state-wide implications must be truly bipartisan and geographically diverse. Debate needs to be fully inclusive of all Marylanders’ points of view, not merely those of the dominant political party or the largest counties.
    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?
    Burns: It’s unclear to me whether transportation spending is appropriately balanced between roads and other forms of transit. Achieving the balance that is right for Maryland requires an understanding of the geographic diversity of our state, because the right choices for the Eastern Shore shore are not the same as for the I-95 corridor or for western Maryland. And the long-term solutions for the urban/developed suburban areas around Baltimore and Washington are different from anywhere else, yet must be integrated with the overall plan. At the same time, we need a realistic assessment of the condition of our existing infrastructure and the need for serious reinvestment in it. Moreover, how we spend must be predicated on the broader plan, not merely on piecemeal, project-by-project horse-trading . Governor Hogan appreciates this, and I support his measured approach.
    Do you support the legalization of recreational marijuana?
    Burns: No; Maryland has barely begun to implement its medical marijuana initiatives, let alone had time to assess the relative success. However, some element of decriminalization, and with that less incarceration, appears to have merit.
    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?
    Burns: The Chesapeake Bay’s restoration is not an either/or question, nor is it a state vs. federal question. Like all bodies of water among our major natural resources (e.g., the Great Lakes, the Mississippi, the Colorado, the Everglades, the coastal waters, etc.), states – and groups of directly impacted states –must take the lead and insist on true partnership at the federal level. Maryland should re-start the process by including all stakeholders (watermen, recreational users, environmental watchdogs, farmers, businesses) in its policy initiatives, in order to balance competing interests and reach compromise wherever possible on what we are trying to achieve. Then, once we force ourselves to set a mission and strategic goals, we can attack how to reach them.
    Health Care
    What steps should Maryland take to ensure the broadest possible access to affordable health care?
    Burns: It’s a work in progress, but somehow we must combine the incredible excellence of our health care institutions and care providers with the ability of most income earners to contribute to the cost of care, while funding a reasonable, sufficiently funded safety net for those who truly are without ability to pay for care. I do not have the answers to this question, but as an elected representative I would call on our best and brightest minds to come together, regardless of party affiliation, to propose solutions. Adopting/co-opting recent federal “universal” policies is not the answer.
    What role should the state play in helping Baltimore address violent crime?
    Burns: This is a complex issue, with both entrenched causes and current driving factors. Besides the clear need for state and city officials to work cooperatively across party lines to address the problem holistically (education, child-centered resourcing, illegal gun trade and use, and consistent, fair law enforcement), perhaps the State’s most important role for right now is to support the City in its efforts to reform the Police Department while not demonizing the rank & file. In addition, State (and City ) officials must hold prosecutors and the courts accountable for convicting and sentencing violent offenders. The revolving door of violent recidivism must end.
    Business Climate
    How would you characterize Maryland’s business climate? What can the state do to foster the creation of more family-supporting jobs?
    Burns: It is improving under Governor Hogan, but there is more work to do. Government must stop seeing businesses and business owners as merely a taxable resource and instead celebrate them as the engine of prosperity and job creation. Income comes from productivity, so public policy must favor those who want to promote and practice being productive, and, in turn, be financially rewarded for choosing that path rather than a path of subsistence or long-term public dependence.
    Do you support the creation of a non-partisan, independent body to draw legislative and congressional district maps after each census?
    Burns: Yes.
    Does the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights adequately balance protections for police and the public? Should it be changed, and if so, how?
    Burns: The LEOBR reflects a long history of balancing due process for the discipline of police officers with the broader interests of all citizens. At the same time, like any law or policy that has been in place for a long time, it is not immune to changing community standards and expectations. I would support a bi-partisan, diversely constituted panel to review what works, what needs to be updated, and what may no longer serve original policy goals.
    What strategy would you adopt to address the opioid addiction and overdose crisis?
    Burns: We need to continue the efforts of leaders who have been willing to identify the crisis and implement programs, like Governor Hogan and Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh, and work harder at funding them. In addition, we need to incentivize – or at least remove impediments – to hospitals, treatment facilities and other private providers to expand mental and behavioral response and treatment, including for addiction.
    Income inequality
    What if anything should the state do to address income inequality?
    Burns: There is no magic fix for income inequality in a free society based on capitalism and market economy. To start, we must understand that one key is education and career training, which can provide families and especially young people a path to become income earners in way that they feel they have a stake in the economy and their own future. In other words, citizens must believe from their early years that hard work and playing by society’s rules will actually get them where they want to go. At the same time, government must stop seeing businesses and business owners as merely a taxable resource. and instead celebrate them as the engine of prosperity and job creation. Income comes from productivity, so public policy must favor those who want to promote and practice being productive, and, in turn, be financially rewarded for choosing that path rather than a path of subsistence or long-term public dependence.
    Do the state’s Public Information Act and open meetings laws adequately ensure Marylanders’ ability to exercise oversight of the government?
    Burns: Yes.

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