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?
Van Wye: I support the findings of the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education and would commit to funding the associated reforms if Montgomery County’s schools are adequately funded by the state. This may require a higher percentage of the $2.9 billion in increased funding to come from the state than originally suggested. I would pay for the increases with carbon pricing. Based on a Brookings Institute study, charging $40 per metric ton of carbon (about 1/5th of carbon’s cost on society) could fund almost the entirety of the increase.
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?
Van Wye: The Baltimore region should be better served by public transit, though representing Montgomery County, assuming Metro is fully funded, my top priority is transportation spending that helps alleviate traffic on I-270 and I-495. This could include creating two reversible lanes on I-270 during rush hour.
Do you support the legalization of recreational marijuana?
Van Wye: I do support the legalization of recreational marijuana. Using Colorado as a model, this reform could generate $200 million of additional revenue per year.
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?
Van Wye: Climate change is the existential crisis that is facing the Bay. Though there are certainly steps that are needed in order to protect the Bay in the short term, I believe carbon pricing is the single best way to curb climate change and save the Bay in the long term.
What steps should Maryland take to ensure the broadest possible access to affordable health care?
Van Wye: My plan is a Premium Reducing Medicare Option, a public option for anyone that doesn’t have insurance and isn’t eligible for Medicaid or for people whose exclusion from the health pool will decrease everyone else’s premiums; specifically, anyone aged 55 and older or people with certain pre-existing conditions. This plan would be great for those that would have a public option, and for those that do not, risk would be reduced in the marketplace, which should drive down prices and hopefully create more competition with new insurance companies joining the individual market.
What role should the state play in helping Baltimore address violent crime?
Van Wye: I believe that the state should provide funding in order to help reduce violent crime, though I believe that localities, as hyper-local as a neighborhood, are best able to find solutions to crime that work best for their community.
How would you characterize Maryland’s business climate? What can the state do to foster the creation of more family-supporting jobs?
Van Wye: We should always be looking to improve our state’s business climate and help create middle-class jobs. Maryland has the opportunity to be the first state in the country to adopt carbon pricing. This holy grail of environmentally policy should help attract green energy companies to the state, especially if coupled with tax credits for these companies or perhaps a slightly lower corporate tax rate.
Do you support the creation of a non-partisan, independent body to draw legislative and congressional district maps after each census?
Van Wye: There is a need for gerrymandering reform, though I would like to see it done at the Federal or Judicial level.
Does the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights adequately balance protections for police and the public? Should it be changed, and if so, how?
Van Wye: I believe that there needs to be a better balance in order to protect the public while also maintaining essential protections for our hardworking law enforcement officers. One reform that would create a better balance is for officers that are under investigation to be questioned as soon as possible, though after they have their attorney. Another policy upgrade would be having a longer statute of limitations on excess force complaints.
What strategy would you adopt to address the opioid addiction and overdose crisis?
Van Wye: I am hopeful that medicinal marijuana will help alleviate the over-prescribing of opioids, cutting off addiction at the root. Though I would prefer to see most drug usage crimes decriminalized, I believe that there should be strict penalties for deadly drugs like Fentanyl. Maryland should also expand options for rehabilitation, including for people in the criminal justice system.
What if anything should the state do to address income inequality?
Van Wye: The state should increase the minimum wage to match Montgomery County’s. Additionally, the state should require companies to file salaries with the state in order to ensure equal pay for equal work.
Do the state’s Public Information Act and open meetings laws adequately ensure Marylanders’ ability to exercise oversight of the government?
Van Wye: No, current laws don’t adequately ensure the public’s ability to exercise oversight over the government. The floor of both chambers should be available live on video and committee work should also be available for live viewing.