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?
Gross: Yes, I do and I am committed to funding the associated reforms. One of my more important goals is to increase funding targeted towards low-income and impoverished students and schools. To achieve this I would provide secured, ‘lock-box’ status of public education funding, re-direct BOOST voucher program money away from subsidizing private schools, ensure that all money generated through gaming for our education system is used only for public education, and levy more stringent taxes on high net-worth and ultra high net-worth individuals and ‘carbon’ taxes on businesses that generate greenhouse gases to provide more economic resources for public education funding.
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?
Gross: No it is not, more money is spent on highway development over what’s needed for public transit. The cancellation of the Red Line project, disparaging low-income communities predominantly of people of color, was a huge step backwards in what we should be doing with our state’s public transportation sector. BaltimoreLink, so far, has only marginally increased efficiency, yet any amount of increase is great; however, ridership has remained static thus showing no positive growth in it’s ultimate goal. I do not believe that Baltimore is adequately served by it’s public transit system.
Do you support the legalization of recreational marijuana?
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?
Gross: I believe that Maryland should strive for developing and fulfilling projects through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). In addition to strengthening the RCPP, Maryland needs to adopt legislation and regulations that have a much greater impact on environmental polluters such as an effective tax levied on greenhouse gas producers and strict regulations enacted on industrial farms limiting ammonia discharges and managing phosphorus use in fertilization.
What steps should Maryland take to ensure the broadest possible access to affordable health care?
Gross: The Maryland government needs to regulate the pricing of all prescription drugs in addition to health care services through direct and aggressive negotiating with providers. Move towards a single-payer healthcare system and along with these, offer drug “safe havens” free from legal repercussions, staffed with medical professionals, with an emphasis on rehabilitation that can be provided effectively.
What role should the state play in helping Baltimore address violent crime?
Gross: -Kickstart community programs instilling inclusion. -Enact various methods of reducing–and optimistically, eliminating–poverty through job and career growth opportunities, free trade skill programs, and the provision of a basic income to combat inequity. -A prospering public education system. -Developing and maintaining a trustworthy law enforcement presence in higher crime locations: install officers as members of these communities–as people who care for whom they’re supposed to protect, promote response of understanding over violent responses in law enforcement training, strict regulations for accountability through body camera usage.
How would you characterize Maryland’s business climate? What can the state do to foster the creation of more family-supporting jobs?
Gross: I believe that Maryland is very business friendly, with complaints mostly directed towards high income tax rates which I want to address with a revised income tax structure based on economic impact. I think that the state should implement regulations regarding adequate parental leave, legislation for a regularly indexed living wage, and support employee childcare either through potentially subsidized on-site facilities or by facilitating partnerships with local childcare providers.
Do you support the creation of a non-partisan, independent body to draw legislative and congressional district maps after each census?
Gross: Yes, I absolutely do.
Does the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights adequately balance protections for police and the public? Should it be changed, and if so, how?
Gross: I believe that the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights (LEOBoR), as it currently is, serves as a detriment to the public that LEOs are employed to protect. There needs to be a lot of reform with Maryland’s LEOBoR: - Repealing of the 10-day waiting period in regards to internal questioning of officers under investigation, allowing for more transparency to the public and adequate investigating. - Repealing of the 90-day window for filling excessive force complaints. Civilian review boards should also be instituted to assess and assist in conducting LEO investigations to further support accountability, transparency, and trust.
What strategy would you adopt to address the opioid addiction and overdose crisis?
Gross: I think one of the most pertinent subjects–that feed into this–that must to be addressed is poverty. Along with addressing the issue of poverty is providing quality, effective and affordable, if not free, opioid rehabilitation centers where medical professionals oversee public opioid treatment in “safe zones” that are open access and free from legal repercussions. The main goal would be rehabilitation, yet before people can reach that point, there needs to be a foundation of trust and motivation. The least we can do is fund overdose treatments and preventative measures such as Naloxone for overdose reversal and fentanyl test strips.
What if anything should the state do to address income inequality?
Gross: - Enact legislation for a regularly indexed living wage. - Eliminate the power of salary negotiation in the job interview process. - Reform the income tax system to be based on economic impact. - Regulations for businesses to provide salary ranges of job positions to prospective employees and full internal employee salary transparency.
Do the state’s Public Information Act and open meetings laws adequately ensure Marylanders’ ability to exercise oversight of the government?
Gross: No, it’s not enough. The government should push to provide Marylanders with information in line with government transparency, such as: - Ease of access for people of different backgrounds and abilities (computer literacy, language barriers, etc.). - Access to the full historical voting records of their representatives. - Expedience in the process of information dissemination. - “Snapshots” of the political views of their representatives and candidates provided at polling places. - Transparency of the specific processes used when determining the drawing of district lines.