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?
Massett: I support fully funding public school systems with a designated funding stream, and I oppose the funding of private and religious schools with public funds.
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?
Massett: Western Maryland needs more investment in balanced infrastructure development of both transit and roads, including, for example, adding bus lanes to route 270.
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?
Massett: Time is short for protecting our natural resources, including the Chesapeake Bay, our mountains and valleys, waterways and wetlands. Protecting our natural resources, rural landscapes and farming heritage must be done without placing undue financial hardship on individual citizens and small business owners, farmers, and orchardists. Therefore, I support attracting green, sustainable industry and funding job retraining programs; comprehensive waste management and composting solutions; responsible residential and commercial development and planned public transportation; adopting the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to set Maryland’s renewable energy target to 50% by 2030; and innovative, non-traditional farming industries and financial incentives to retain this industry as a valuable heritage and way of life that touches every Marylander.
What steps should Maryland take to ensure the broadest possible access to affordable health care?
Massett: The goal must be access to health care for everyone. The best solution is single payer. Until then, I support the ongoing efforts to protect the affordability of health insurance under the Affordable Care Act; continuing the full funding of Medicaid, CHIP and Medicaid Expansion; requiring the Department of Human Services to ensure that every person in contact with the Department be offered the opportunity to apply for Medicaid, CHIP and Medicaid Expansion; fully funding the efforts of the Department of Human Services to help Marylanders apply for health insurance through the exchange and to ensure the availability of navigators who speak the many languages spoken in the State.
What role should the state play in helping Baltimore address violent crime?
Massett: An effective response to crime must be holistic and includes, for example, economic development, comprehensive responses to substance abuse illness, collaborative interventions for low-level drug offenders, appropriate responses to people with disabilities such as autism spectrum disorder, and grassroots community involvement to improve relationships between police and communities and to encourage dispute resolution.
How would you characterize Maryland’s business climate? What can the state do to foster the creation of more family-supporting jobs?
Massett: The keys to attracting and keeping family-friendly businesses lie in a great public school system, an educated and healthy work force, good infrastructure and a clean and livable environment. All of these are within our reach if we make them our priorities.
Do you support the creation of a non-partisan, independent body to draw legislative and congressional district maps after each census?
Does the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights adequately balance protections for police and the public? Should it be changed, and if so, how?
Massett: This issue requires substantial study, particularly on the question of whether the changes made in 2016 affect the process for police accountability and community participation and engagement.
What strategy would you adopt to address the opioid addiction and overdose crisis?
Massett: Our children and young people are not expendable. We must develop and implement immediate and comprehensive solutions to address the opioid and substance abuse issues in our communities. Based on my experience in the field, I believe that now is the time to form partnerships, between community advocates, grass roots organizations, behavioral and medical health services, law enforcement and the justice system; fight for the expedited development of detox options, and continue support for inpatient, recovery, and traditional services; provide addicts’ families with caring and supportive services, and equally value, protect and care for all people.
What if anything should the state do to address income inequality?
Massett: All Marylanders, from the youngest to the oldest, have a right to live in safe, affordable housing, with access to quality, affordable health and child care services, transportation solutions, and safe, fully funded, quality public schools. Therefore, we need to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next 4 to 5 years. We also need to ensure and protect adequate funding for rental assistance programs that prevent homelessness or housing insecurity due to temporary financial setbacks; Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and affordable health care; child care subsidies for working families; transportation solutions, including increased support for mass transit and local public/private solutions for rural areas; heating assistance; age-in-place and support services so that seniors can age in place and alternative solutions when they cannot live at home.
Do the state’s Public Information Act and open meetings laws adequately ensure Marylanders’ ability to exercise oversight of the government?
Massett: In general, the statutes are acceptable. The public will not have adequate access, however, unless government officials are committed to full and timely compliance with the laws.