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?
McFadden: Absolutely, I am a very strong supporter of education. We set aside in this years’ budget $200,000,000 as a deposit on future funding needs for the implementation of Kirwan. We also passed the “lock box” legislation that will be on the ballot in the General Election that mandates all casino money to be used to increase and not supplant school 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?
McFadden: There is an imbalance in Maryland under this administration where the appropriations are slanted significantly towards roads. Baltimore Link is just what it says-link- not a comprehensive, integrated mass transit system that the Baltimore region deserves.
Do you support the legalization of recreational marijuana?
McFadden: Maybe in the future, but not at this time. We have to see how the medical cannibus initiative works.
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?
McFadden: Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania take the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay more seriously than the Trump administration. I stongly support the work of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and will support all of efforts and initiatives to clean up thhis important natural resource.
What steps should Maryland take to ensure the broadest possible access to affordable health care?
McFadden: We need to recognize that the Republicans on Capitol Hill will do everything they can to decimate Obamacare, but we must ensure we have the tools make the ACA succeessful. In Maryland, we are looking at an innovative solution which will create an individual mandate. It will work to keep our funds in an escrow-like setting that will give individuals and families the opportunity to use those funds to purchase health insurance. This will expand the pool and lower rates for all.
What role should the state play in helping Baltimore address violent crime?
McFadden: We need a comprehensive approach to Baltimore’s crime problem that emphasizes community policing and additional resources that result in more officers on foot patrol as opposed to desk and office duties. An enhanced use of tehnology can help in all areas. I also stongly support the multipronged approach we moved forward in the General Assembly to increase penalties for repeat violent gun offenders while significantly increasing our Safe Streets program. We akso gave additional tools to the Baltimore City Police and The States Attorney’s Office to assit in their effort to fighting crime.
How would you characterize Maryland’s business climate? What can the state do to foster the creation of more family-supporting jobs?
McFadden: Maryland’s business climate is underated, it works better for those with means but presents problems for many others. We need to do more to expand opporrunities for those without college degrees and expand tehnology related educational opportunities. We need to foster better alignment of the business needs of our citizens by expanding the skill sets of our residents through certified job training and apprentice prgrams. Further expansion of the Governors’ P-Tech program will provide additional opportunities for our high school students. Additionally, we need to make college education more afforable by passing legislation such as the degree without a debt bill that we passed in the General Assembly this year.
Do you support the creation of a non-partisan, independent body to draw legislative and congressional district maps after each census?
McFadden: I think redistricting is a national problem that needs a national and/or regional solution. I hope the Supreme Court will lay out standards this summer to address this national problem.
Does the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights adequately balance protections for police and the public? Should it be changed, and if so, how?
McFadden: In Maryland and many other states we are in many respects hampered by the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights (LEOBoR). This legislation has made it almost impossible to discipline and remove bad police officers. Under LEOBoR officers are judged by other officers and it prevents civilian input in the process. Recent events in Baltimore City clearly show we can and must do better. We must learn from our mistakes and make appropiate changes that clearly address the few bad actors in the Baltimore City Police Department. We need full participation of citizens on police trial boards. I also supported the creation of the state commission which will investigate allegations of police corruption that was revealed as a result of the Gun Trace Task Force investigation with supbeoena power.
What strategy would you adopt to address the opioid addiction and overdose crisis?
McFadden: We need more options for treatment. We also need to be smarter on crime - by going after the high level drug kingpins, while ensuring that those who are low level drug users get diverted into programs that can help them.
What if anything should the state do to address income inequality?
McFadden: We need to address this critical issue - that’s why I introduced legislation to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, but unfortunately it failed, It is also why I supported paid sick leave, and voted to override the Governors veto. I am a very strong supporter of collective bargainng which enhance the opportunities for our hard working ctizens to raise their familites.We must also eliminate the disparities of income between men and women that was revealed in a recent study that showed women earning $.84 to every $100 earned by a man.
Do the state’s Public Information Act and open meetings laws adequately ensure Marylanders’ ability to exercise oversight of the government?
McFadden: We can do better, for example when the Governor convened his Sick Leave Task Force without strict adherence to our open meetings law, there were no public records and little or no opportunity to hear the concerns of business people or thier employees. We must avoid this happening in the future. It is essential that we do better in the General Assembly by taking additional steps to be more open and transparent. We should work to have our floor sesions live streamed to the public as are our comittee sessions.