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?
Gilchrist: The Commission is still working and their findings will be reviewed upon publication. In the meantime I support the funding proposal on the General Election ballot which will substantially increase education funding over four years.
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?
Gilchrist: As a member of the Maryland House of Delegates I supported an increase in the gas tax. These funds have been used for road projects, transit projects, pedestrian and bike projects across the state. With a combination of BaltimoreLink, the light rail, the Baltimore Metro system and the MARC trains, the Baltimore region has access to a number of transit options that provide service to tens of thousands of riders every day.
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?
Gilchrist: Maryland ought to work on improving water quality in the Chesapeake Bay by investing in sewage treatment plants, upgrading combined sewer and stormwater systems, and preserving the fisheries of the Bay.
What steps should Maryland take to ensure the broadest possible access to affordable health care?
Gilchrist: Maryland needs to fully support the state medicaid program including the CHIP program for children. These programs are matched by the federal government and provide essential services. Maryland is way ahead of Virginia on this and Virginia is only now finding ways to expand medicaid. Maryland also needs to support the health exchanges established by Congress and President Obama. Maryland needs to reinsure insurance companies in the uncertain federal environment.
What role should the state play in helping Baltimore address violent crime?
Gilchrist: The state should support Baltimore authorities in their efforts to improve public safety through grants that support law enforcement. Also, the state should support programs that promote economic development, educational attainment, recreational programs, and the non profit sector that all provide important services and avenues for residents to pursue that are beneficial to the city.
How would you characterize Maryland’s business climate? What can the state do to foster the creation of more family-supporting jobs?
Gilchrist: Maryland has a diverse and growing economy. The port, the airport, the inner harbor, the Charles Center, universities and colleges, major research institutions such as Johns Hopkins and the National Institutes of Health, the United States Naval Academy, tourism on the Chesapeake Bay and in mountain Maryland all contribute to a wealth of opportunity. The state needs to continue to promote transportation, education, health care and a healthy environment to support this growing economy.
Do you support the creation of a non-partisan, independent body to draw legislative and congressional district maps after each census?
Gilchrist: The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ordered a new map in Pennsylvania and the United States Supreme Court is reviewing Maryland’s congressional districts. The US Supreme Court is also reviewing districting in Wisconsin. I support judicial action in this area that will put redistricting on an even playing field nationally.
Does the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights adequately balance protections for police and the public? Should it be changed, and if so, how?
Gilchrist: The LEOBR is always under review and amendments are discussed.
What strategy would you adopt to address the opioid addiction and overdose crisis?
Gilchrist: Maryland must work with the health community to reduce the number of people who are over prescribed opioid painkillers by doctors. Mechanisms should be put in place to monitor the amount of opioids being dispensed annually so that abuse of painkillers can be identified.
What if anything should the state do to address income inequality?
Gilchrist: The state must make efforts to produce a tax code that doesn’t penalize low income individuals. Programs to provide health care to the low and moderate income such as support for insurance markets and medicaid need to be a priority. The state should provide disparity grants to low income communities.
Do the state’s Public Information Act and open meetings laws adequately ensure Marylanders’ ability to exercise oversight of the government?
Gilchrist: Maryland’s Public Information Act is continually under review. The Office of the Attorney General provides opinions as to its implementation and the Act should continually be revised as necessary.