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?
Bowers: Education reform must include efforts to develop training in the area of the skilled trades (construction, mechanical etc.)which should include technology skills in order to develop a well rounded future work force.
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?
Bowers: I do not support a transportation system that would present a financial burden on the taxpayers without the possibility of any real return on their investment. The Fair Box deficit is not often discussed but most if not all public transportation operates at a loss which means that many of us not only pay for our own car but we also pay for others to ride in partially empty busses subsidized by tax dollars. I understand the need some have for public transportation, the question remains, how much of that problem deserves the hard earned tax dollars of others.
Do you support the legalization of recreational marijuana?
Bowers: I do not think someone using marijuana presents the same societal threat a heroin or meth user poses. As for the full legalization of recreational marijuana, I am not prepared at this time to support it. As a lawmaker I have an obligation to hear and weigh evidence as well as an obligation to uphold our constitution in all my decisions.
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?
Bowers: Maryland has made great efforts to protect our bay. Other factors must be considered such as the waste and pollution from neighboring states. We must also look for ways to improve existing solutions to make them more effective. I also believe the watermen who live off of the bay’s bounty of seafood should have a prominent seat at the table of decision making. They are closest to the bay and they are truly stakeholders.
What steps should Maryland take to ensure the broadest possible access to affordable health care?
Bowers: The government has a track record inefficiency and waste. The less governmental interference the better.
What role should the state play in helping Baltimore address violent crime?
Bowers: Baltimore’s issue is poor leadership and our Attorney General Brian Frosh who fought hard to change Maryland’s bail system and tilt the system in favor of the accused criminals by allowing them to be released without bail if they cannot afford to pay it will be a major failure moving forward. This was argued in the MD Court of Appeals in 2017, I testified against the legislation in a failed attempt to protect Marylanders.
How would you characterize Maryland’s business climate? What can the state do to foster the creation of more family-supporting jobs?
Bowers: Maryland is open for business. Unfortunately, our taxes are not competitive with many other states which puts us at a disadvantage when states with lower taxes.
Do you support the creation of a non-partisan, independent body to draw legislative and congressional district maps after each census?
Bowers: One thing is for sure, Martin O’Malley should be banned from the process! It takes just a quick look at the congressional map of Maryland to see the fix is in for most Maryland Congressional districts. The guidelines were not followed at the time the districts were redrawn and highly partisan decisions were made. The people of Maryland deserve better. If the lawmakers of Maryland do not have the integrity and character to follow existing guidelines already in place to protect the public, then yes, sadly we must depend on outsiders to be the voice of reason. It is sad that so many legislators take their oath of office so casually.
Does the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights adequately balance protections for police and the public? Should it be changed, and if so, how?
Bowers: In my discussion with law enforcement, I conclude the current legislation is adequate however it is not without room for improvement. I support law enforcement and believe the men and women who put their lives on the line for us deserve our best effort to provide justice. I respect and appreciate our law enforcement officers at all levels and will do all I can to keep them safe and properly protected by law.
What strategy would you adopt to address the opioid addiction and overdose crisis?
Bowers: I believe a multifaceted approach is needed. We must strengthen the family unit, this is where children learn their coping skills. Many addicts that I have dealt with in the past were victims of emotional pain resulting in anger,depression, anxiety and hopelessness. Many times this pain is treated by drug and alcohol abuse. The family unit is the first line of defense. In many neighborhoods the faith community has taken the initiative to start programs built around faith solutions for those wanting to deal with their addiction in that manner. I would also look into the prescription drug industry as well as making sure current laws on the books are being properly enforced and judges are rendering proper sentencing for violators. We must enforce harsh penalties for drug dealers as a deterrent for future dealers.
What if anything should the state do to address income inequality?
Bowers: It is up to the free market to determine one’s income in private business. If there is an inequality within the government then the government should attend to it. I believe a person doing a job deserves to be properly compensated regardless of gender, race, etc.
Do the state’s Public Information Act and open meetings laws adequately ensure Marylanders’ ability to exercise oversight of the government?
Bowers: In Maryland, the public does not have oversight of the government. In Maryland the government is run by the partisan entity known as the Democrat party. The meetings the public is privy to are in many cases after the fact and the fix is in. The public meeting is nothing more than entertainment. In a state where the majority party has a super majority, there is little hope for public oversight of the governmental workings. Currently the Public Information Act has little consequences for violators.