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?
Luedtke: I supported the preliminary findings of the Commission that were released and written into legislation this session. I’m looking forward to their final recommendations, and expect to support them. Maryland can and should make adequate investments in our schools to provide a great education to every kid. Funding the recommendations will likely involve a number of revenue options, and as far as I’m concerned all options are on the table.
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?
Luedtke: Maryland has historically underinvested in transit, and the Baltimore region in particular does not have the transit options a world class city deserves. We took steps this session to shore up transit funding, including dedicated funding for both DC and Baltimore Metro and MARC. But there is more to do, and expanding rail options in the Baltimore region should be high on our priority list.
Do you support the legalization of recreational marijuana?
Luedtke: I support the legalization of recreational cannabis and have co-sponsored legislation to that effect.
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?
Luedtke: Given the current administration’s anti-environmental bent, Maryland and surrounding states must be vigilant in protecting the Bay. Our agricultural community does more to prevent runoff than farmers anywhere else in the country, but we need to be more aggressive in prevent urban and suburban runoff.
What steps should Maryland take to ensure the broadest possible access to affordable health care?
Luedtke: I believe health care is a basic right, and support efforts to reach universal health care through whatever means possible. A number of states have been exploring a medicare for all option, which I support.
What role should the state play in helping Baltimore address violent crime?
Luedtke: Every neighborhood in Baltimore, and frankly anywhere in the state, should be a safe place to live, work, and play. While enforcement and community policing can help address immediate concerns, the long term solution to violent crime are public health programs like Safe Streets Baltimore and ensuring adequate educational and economic opportunity.
How would you characterize Maryland’s business climate? What can the state do to foster the creation of more family-supporting jobs?
Luedtke: I believe that Maryland’s business climate is strong, though of course there is more we can do. We should work to ensure that Maryland’s laws and regulations allow businesses to grow and do not hinder innovation, a problem we have seen, for example, in the brewing industry.
Do you support the creation of a non-partisan, independent body to draw legislative and congressional district maps after each census?
Luedtke: I support independent redistricting nationwide.
Does the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights adequately balance protections for police and the public? Should it be changed, and if so, how?
Luedtke: I believe we need a balance between the right of law enforcement officers to due process and the right of the public to ensure accountability in policing. Among the changes we should make are shortening the period for superiors to question officers and extending the period of time to file an excessive force complaint.
What strategy would you adopt to address the opioid addiction and overdose crisis?
Luedtke: The General Assembly has already been working hard to address the opioid crisis, emphasizing the public health response. Cracking down on pill mills and overprescription is an important part of that. One area where we need to do more work is in supporting young people with substance abuse problems. A number of school districts are exploring the creation of recovery schools where kids can continue their education while getting treatment. The state should be supporting those efforts.
What if anything should the state do to address income inequality?
Luedtke: Two key ways to reduce income inequality are by passing a $15 minimum wage in the state and by expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit. Longer term, ensuring that our tax policies are progressive rather than regressive, for example by shifting more of our revenues from sales to progressive income taxes, can help reduce inequality significantly in Maryland.
Do the state’s Public Information Act and open meetings laws adequately ensure Marylanders’ ability to exercise oversight of the government?
Luedtke: I believe Maryland’s public transparency laws are strong, but enforcement of those laws is an issue. We need to strengthen the bodies tasked with enforcing the Public Information Act and open meetings laws to ensure that all levels of government and all agencies are fully transparent.