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?
Rathell: I support the five findings from the commission. Preschool should be available to all at a discounted rate. At-risk students should receive the help they need to help them succeed. Teachers should be compensated at a higher rate. High school diplomas should help prepare students better for college. Lastly, the public needs to be given the confidence that funding is making a difference in 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?
Rathell: Studies need to be completed to see if the Baltimore area is adequately served. For citizens to succeed with a career, they need a reasonable opportunity provided to them for transportation.
Do you support the legalization of recreational marijuana?
Rathell: At this point, recreational use age hasn’t been around long enough to study the impact on communities. Time and research will help with this decision in the future.
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?
Rathell: Our state should ensure that there is adequate funding to protect our largest waterway. The health of the bay impacts every single one of us. We need to protect it at all costs.
What steps should Maryland take to ensure the broadest possible access to affordable health care?
Rathell: Healthcare is tricky. There’s not an easy answer or fix. I think there should be more research with community involvement to see what would fit our state the best.
What role should the state play in helping Baltimore address violent crime?
Rathell: We should support education in school age children to help prevent violence. If children are given opportunities at an early age, the streets become significantly less important to them.
How would you characterize Maryland’s business climate? What can the state do to foster the creation of more family-supporting jobs?
Rathell: We need to offer incentives to encourage small, family-run businesses. Opening a business should be supported. There have been way too many closures of small businesses in our state.
Do you support the creation of a non-partisan, independent body to draw legislative and congressional district maps after each census?
Rathell: Gerrymandering is a huge issue in our political climate. I do agree that an independent body needs to re-draw the maps.
Does the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights adequately balance protections for police and the public? Should it be changed, and if so, how?
Rathell: Law enforcement officers need to be respected by our communities. The officers must hold themselves at a high standard and be a true public servant. I would have to do more research to see how it balances protections and if it needs revision.
What strategy would you adopt to address the opioid addiction and overdose crisis?
Rathell: I am very well versed in this topic. As a Paramedic, I see and treat people dealing with this crisis. My thoughts for improving this crisis is to provide more back end support. There are a lot of people that want help. There are only so many beds and places that they can be offered treatment. We need to provide funding to create additional treatment facilities to help.
What if anything should the state do to address income inequality?
Rathell: Everyone should be paid equally, no matter the race, sex, beliefs, etc. The state should continue to investigate income inequality and penalize businesses that do such.
Do the state’s Public Information Act and open meetings laws adequately ensure Marylanders’ ability to exercise oversight of the government?
Rathell: I think it does help with oversight of the government. There is always room for improvement though. The voters need to see that their elected officials are holding true to represent them.