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?
Lee Dymowski: I agree with some of the findings. Among these are the need for better trained teachers and holding teachers more accountable. We must remember that merely throwing money at a problem does not solve it. Maryland spending on education is among the top in the nation. Funding needs to be tied to results and school administration must be held accountable for the large amounts of money currently under their control. Too often money is wasted and/or unaccounted for. A school is not a replacement for a home-life and a family where education starts. It used to be that a child came to school to learn. Now schools are expected to feed them, teach them right from wrong, and take the place of parenting, while at the same time tying teachers hands when discipline is needed.
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?
Lee Dymowski: When we try to force people out of their cars and into a public transportation system we end up with a system that is way over budget and grossly underutilized, like the Baltimore subway. We don’t have the resources to force people to use something that is simply inconvenient. Governor Hogan has said that he will address traffic issues on I95, I295 and other major highways surrounding Baltimore. However, for this to be effective, the Baltimore Beltway especially needs to be addressed as it carries traffic between those roads. Anyone traveling during rush hour understands this. Gasoline taxes and tolls already bring in enough funding to pay for these improvements.
Do you support the legalization of recreational marijuana?
Lee Dymowski: Yes. People in a free society should be able to make their own decisions as long as they are not hurting anyone else. At one time gambling was against the law because we thought it was bad for people and now it brings millions of dollars into the states treasury. Legalizing marijuana would decrease drug dealers as well as our prison population.
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?
Lee Dymowski: The Chesapeake is a treasure and must be protected. We do, however, have enough regulations and laws that have lead to significant improvements over the last 30+ years. We are reaching a point where the regulations hinder employment and business growth and a more balanced approach must taken in the future.
What steps should Maryland take to ensure the broadest possible access to affordable health care?
Lee Dymowski: We should eliminate Obama care once and for all. Allow insurance companies to operate across state lines and create competition between insurers – that will give Marylander’s the best rates possible, rather than creating an artificial environment.
What role should the state play in helping Baltimore address violent crime?
Lee Dymowski: The best thing the state can do is ensure that judges are appointed who believe in incarcerating violent criminals for a long time. Unfortunately the Baltimore City delegation to Annapolis is much more concerned with the rights of the criminals because they continuously fight against toughening laws for hardened criminals. I believe Baltimore City residents deserve the same protection as people living in the rest of the state and the only was to ensure this is to deal with violent repeat offenders in the harshest way possible. Baltimore City also needs to play its part – too often Baltimore City juries refuse to convict violent criminals at trial. If Baltimore City juries don’t take crime in the city seriously why should the burden fall on the rest of the state?
How would you characterize Maryland’s business climate? What can the state do to foster the creation of more family-supporting jobs?
Lee Dymowski: The business climate is fair – we are still too highly regulated. We give big businesses tax breaks to lure them here, while mom and pop businesses are over-regulated and overtaxed. Don’t overlook the businesses that are already here - we should offer them the same incentives that we are using to lure businesses, like Amazon, from other states.
Do you support the creation of a non-partisan, independent body to draw legislative and congressional district maps after each census?
Lee Dymowski: Maryland is one of the worst gerrymandered states in the country where the politicians pick the voters instead of the other way around. Redistricting should be done with an eye on keeping communities together and lines should be drawn by impartial panels and not by politicians concerned about being re-elected.
Does the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights adequately balance protections for police and the public? Should it be changed, and if so, how?
Lee Dymowski: No, under this bill officers are only judged by other officers. And it prevents the formation of civilian review boards that give civilians oversight over police. The result is other officers judging each other rather than seeking input from an impartial third party. In addition, the police board cannot acknowledge that an officer is under investigation. If the charges are dropped the department may not publically acknowledge that that investigation ever took place or reveal the nature of the complaint.
What strategy would you adopt to address the opioid addiction and overdose crisis?
Lee Dymowski: 80% of heroin addicts begin with an addiction to over prescribed pain medications. The opioid issue is massive and is growing increasingly more complex and dangerous. I would participate in counsels to address solutions giving those addicted the help they need and provide education for alternative pain relief options.
What if anything should the state do to address income inequality?
Lee Dymowski: It is not the responsibility of the government to ensure income equality. We are not a socialist state. This has been tried in Cuba and Russia with bad results.
Do the state’s Public Information Act and open meetings laws adequately ensure Marylanders’ ability to exercise oversight of the government?
Lee Dymowski: In theory it works well. However, in reality, we are still subject to the various layers of bureaucracy.