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?
Harman: Who could be opposed to Innovation and Excellence in Education? The devil is in the detail, with cost being paramount in the evaluation of the options. Exploration of business partnerships would be one means of advancing technology in education in a time when taxation is driving employment to other states.
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?
Harman: The Baltimore region is not adequately served by transit and the State does not have the resources to meet all unmet needs. As long as the goal is to provide door-to-door service to all, there can never be the expectation that the needs can be met. More focus should be on providing reliable and timely transit on main routes into and out of Baltimore, and then focus on individual service in local communities.
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?
Harman: Local governments must be encouraged, or even required, to consider more detailed impact assessments of new development with the goal of fully addressing the negative environmental effects.
What steps should Maryland take to ensure the broadest possible access to affordable health care?
Harman: Strengthen families and assure living wages for working individuals. Employers should be encouraged to provide basic health care for all employees. Medicaid service will be needed for families with low incomes, but the long term goal will be to have enough workers in the family to purchase basic health care.
What role should the state play in helping Baltimore address violent crime?
Harman: A generational focus on rebuilding stable family structures must be initiated. It will be challenging to undo the deterioration of the family over the past decades, but good living wage jobs along with educational efforts will be essential.
How would you characterize Maryland’s business climate? What can the state do to foster the creation of more family-supporting jobs?
Harman: Maryland’s reliance on government jobs is problematic. Down turns in the size of the federal work force could be a major loss to the Maryland tax base. Businesses look at the overall tax burden, not only for the corporate entity, but also the workers. Consideration of reductions in all taxes must be part of the process of getting businesses to stay and grow in Maryland.
Do you support the creation of a non-partisan, independent body to draw legislative and congressional district maps after each census?
Harman: I would go as far as to turn the process over to computer algorithms that would look simply at the number of people in each district without consideration of any other factors except for County boundaries.
Does the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights adequately balance protections for police and the public? Should it be changed, and if so, how?
Harman: I would be open to any constructive suggestions, but would be comfortable with the current situation.
What strategy would you adopt to address the opioid addiction and overdose crisis?
Harman: A stronger focus on the reduction in the number and quantity of medical prescriptions would be the first step. Foreign importation, legal and illegal, would be the second focal point. Strengthening family values would be my focus in all issues, and in regard to illegal drugs, would only help.
What if anything should the state do to address income inequality?
Harman: Income inequality should be the driving force to individuals to excel and escape from poverty. Living wage jobs would be the goal for all people, but incentives for advancing economic status should allow all to expand their personal wealth. Government may be called upon to provide a floor to insure that everyone has the basics for “reasonable” living, but removing the incentive to advance is not in the best interest of society.
Do the state’s Public Information Act and open meetings laws adequately ensure Marylanders’ ability to exercise oversight of the government?
Harman: No. Continued improvement in the electronic access to meeting schedules and meeting content is needed. Governmental agencies tend to obscure meeting notices with advance notices of less than adequate for community organizations to be informed and discuss the issues. Most community groups meet no more frequently than monthly and do not have the time to meet, discuss, and vote on positions when the public notice is no more than 3 or 4 weeks. Thirty days for distribution of written responses is way too long.