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?
Sanchez: I do support the findings of the Kirwan Commission and am committed to funding the reforms. As a state we must begin to evaluate all of our corporate tax credits to ensure that we are only committing money to programs that actually provide a benefit to Maryland, not put money in the pockets of large corporations. I am committed to looking at all discretionary spending to ensure that we fund our public educational system first.
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?
Sanchez: Under this administration, spending is not balanced towards an approach that makes sense for Maryland. The state would have the resources it needs if we were properly evaluation projects and needs around the state. Baltimore is not adequately served by transit, and we cannot expect Baltimore to be able to experience the growth we want without a comprehensive public transportation system.
Do you support the legalization of recreational marijuana?
Sanchez: Yes, I do. For far too long, we have clogged our criminal justice system (Police work, courts, detention facilities, etc.) by criminalizing low level possession and use of marijuana. It is time we focus our attention on eliminating violent crime that has sprung out of the drug trade, and use the revenue to help our public educational systems.
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?
Sanchez: We must continue to set strict guidelines and policies that ensure a healthy Bay. At the same time, we should be working with our federal partners to bring in as much federal money as possible to pay for the restoration, and maintenance of the Chesapeake Bay.
What steps should Maryland take to ensure the broadest possible access to affordable health care?
Sanchez: We have to look at adopting a true single-payer model in the State of Maryland.
What role should the state play in helping Baltimore address violent crime?
Sanchez: The state should help provide resources to the City of Baltimore to help address crime. This means providing the correct amount of funding for the public school system to end the school to prison pipeline. We should also provide funding to the Police Department to ensure officers are properly trained and equipped to do their jobs. We should also be providing smart crime policy that gives Police, Prosecutors, Judges, and Public Defenders the correct tools to deal with the various issues that individuals that enter our criminal justice system are actually dealing with.
How would you characterize Maryland’s business climate? What can the state do to foster the creation of more family-supporting jobs?
Sanchez: I think we could always do better to make our state attractive to anyone who wants to open a business. We should be providing assistance for small businesses, and eliminating barriers for minority businesses to be successful.
Do you support the creation of a non-partisan, independent body to draw legislative and congressional district maps after each census?
Sanchez: I would like to see it happen for state legislative districts. For congressional districts, I think we need a national approach to ensure that representation is not impacted negatively in Maryland without our neighboring states, and states across the country also doing it. I think state leadership should be working with leadership from other states to bring ideas forward and lead the way to a real solution.
Does the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights adequately balance protections for police and the public? Should it be changed, and if so, how?
Sanchez: There have been instances in which the balance of protections of the LEOBR has been brought into question. I have my concerns, but I believe that the Police Officers should be at the table to discuss and negotiate any changes. I think we have to ensure transparency with our police force. As citizens we have given the police the authority over our constitutional rights if they believe we have committed a crime, their actions while in the line of duty should be held to the same standards.
What strategy would you adopt to address the opioid addiction and overdose crisis?
Sanchez: Education about opioids and overdoses, policies that punish doctors, pharmacies, and other health care providers who assist in getting prescription opioids on the streets.
What if anything should the state do to address income inequality?
Sanchez: The state should have policies for state jobs that ensure there is no income inequality due to gender, race, ethnicity, etc. Before we ask private corporations to do something, the state should be wiling to do it with their own employees.
Do the state’s Public Information Act and open meetings laws adequately ensure Marylanders’ ability to exercise oversight of the government?
Sanchez: I am not well versed enough in these laws to know. But I welcome any policy changes that provide more transparency and oversight into what we do.