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?
Hoverman: I do support, at least in large part, the findings of the commission. I am committed to funding the associated reforms, as I believe is also our duty in the Maryland Declaration of Rights. Maryland got to be an attractive place to live in large part due to the educational system it had. We need to be able to adapt to change, and adequately funding these projects, like universal pre-k, are a priority for me.
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?
Hoverman: No. Roads are expensive and inefficient, and we have not done a good job of having a diversified transportation network. Baltimore, in particular, has not been adequately served by transit. Car congestion on our highways has resembled parking lots, and we lose minutes and hours every year to commutes that could otherwise be spent with friends , family, and leisure activities. I believe that we can more effectively spend the existing transportation budget, and if additional projects become necessary, there are models we can adopt to accurately reflect the true costs of the type of transportation that need to be built. A bus that runs on the ICC should not cost a user more than it does for each individual car to drive on it. That is a prime example of financial and environmental resources.
Do you support the legalization of recreational marijuana?
Hoverman: Yes, I support the legalization, regulation, and taxation of recreational marijuana. The war on drugs is a costly and abject failure. I think other states have already shown the proceeds can be directed towards education systems and I would like to see public health funded more adequately as well. I believe the legalization of marijuana can be a part of that path.
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?
Hoverman: Marylanders understand how important the environment across the state is, and in particular the Chesapeake Bay. We need to be sure to protect our environment whether or not we have the support of the Federal Government. Regrettably, in this administration, it does not look like we have a partner who shares our goals. Therefore, we should be adequately supporting our attorney general to make environmental claims that violate our laws. We also need to be sure to have legislation that protects our most precious environmental resources including, but not limited to, incentives for clean, renewable energy.
What steps should Maryland take to ensure the broadest possible access to affordable health care?
Hoverman: My preference would be a system that reflects most other western countries with a single payer system. While no system is perfect, the United States lags behind other countries in positive health outcomes while spending the same amounts or more money. I think health care should be a right, and that it is vital to our citizens at a time where our economy has shifted to be more dynamic and fast paced than it has been. The days of working for a single employer are becoming more the exception, and not the rule. Therefore, the system of health care that may have once been acceptable, no longer works the way it should.
What role should the state play in helping Baltimore address violent crime?
Hoverman: The state should be a partner in helping Baltimore address issues ranging from poverty to substance abuse to adequate facilities for children to learn. A true partnership is not the state directing and dictating, nor is it a blank check. I also think we should think of bold and innovative solutions, and not the solutions that have been tried in the past to limited or unsustainable success.
How would you characterize Maryland’s business climate? What can the state do to foster the creation of more family-supporting jobs?
Hoverman: Maryland is probably no better than middle of the pack when comparing states and the business climate. Maryland offers - overall - a good educational system and sits in a wonderful location, in the midst of the East Coast, There are certainly other attractive features, in my view. However, I think Maryland, like other states are too quick to cater to large corporations at the expense of smaller or main street businesses. The focus should be on whether or not the state is putting all its businesses in a position to succeed, not just trying to compete against multiple other jurisdictions to lure the next corporation. I favor investing in the building blocks of an educated and/or well trained workforce, accessible and reliable transit options, and a clean, safe environment to live. I would much rather Maryland be the creator of the next great business or businesses, because that is more sustainable to a vibrant economy.
Do you support the creation of a non-partisan, independent body to draw legislative and congressional district maps after each census?
Hoverman: Absolutely, yes. Legislators have many serious issues to get to in a 90 day session. Working on how to insulate incumbents and political parties by essentially picking constituents is not a democratic process in my view. We should be focused on the people’s business, not how to get rehired automatically every 4 years regardless of our performance. It is time for Maryland to do what is right, and not operate under the false premise that because other states draw lines on a hyper-partisan basis we should too. Two wrongs does not make a right. It is that simple.
Does the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights adequately balance protections for police and the public? Should it be changed, and if so, how?
Hoverman: It should be changed. There are numerous issues I have with the LEO Bill of Rights. From the time limitations placed on a person who wishes to make a brutality claim being too short, to the section dealing with polygraph tests, something that is junk science, of the officers are just some of the reasons I would want to make revisions to the Bill of Rights. First, the time limitation is awfully short for a person to bring a claim. Unfortunately, we have seen with the Gun Trace Task Force some extraordinarily brutal officers intimidate numerous people. It is totally conceivable that a person would be too terrified to raise a claim within 90 days.
What strategy would you adopt to address the opioid addiction and overdose crisis?
Hoverman: We should continue to approach the opioid addiction and overdose crisis through a primarily public health approach. As an attorney, I think drug courts are beneficial, and can also play a role. I also think we need to investigate exactly how we got here, and if drug companies and doctors were too quick to write pain medications that can often lead to opioid addiction, we may need to insist on training existing doctors and the next generation of doctors how to more effectively deal with pain treatment. I think we should also be willing to have our Attorney General be supported in cases where it is necessary to bring doctors or drug companies to court if they knew of the aspects of the danger, and continued to recklessly unleash a massive societal and public health problem.
What if anything should the state do to address income inequality?
Hoverman: I think the state should address income inequality, and I think some of it can be done in a manner that does benefit all citizens. I favor universal health care and universal pre-k. I think in addition to a different approach to how we allocate existing revenues is my primary goal, I could envision a scenario where we ask the most well off Marylanders to pay their fair share to help build a more equitable, vibrant Maryland.
Do the state’s Public Information Act and open meetings laws adequately ensure Marylanders’ ability to exercise oversight of the government?
Hoverman: No. Maryland’s Public Information Act still has a ways to go to be truly transparent. While efforts have been made to increase transparency, we are not where we need to be.