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?
Cook: Yes I support the preliminary recommendations of the Commission, and agree that the funding of these reforms is important. How they should be funded is by reallocation of our current funds and if needed tax increases in the future.
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?
Cook: No, there needs to be much more infrastructure spending conducted within the state. Building a high speed rail system between Baltimore and DC should be a priority.
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?
Cook: The bay is vital to the environment and economy of the state, clearly. As a legislator, I would support bay conservation efforts and look to increase education efforts so that young people recognize the importance of this and other waterways in the state.
What steps should Maryland take to ensure the broadest possible access to affordable health care?
Cook: I support a single payer system for Maryland.
What role should the state play in helping Baltimore address violent crime?
Cook: By going to the source of the issue, increasing job training, increasing educational and professional opportunities, increasing the recreational opportunities, partnering with organizations on the ground in Baltimore to address issues that have been around for decades, and most of all dismantling the for profit prison system, which depends on recidivism to survive and focus on helping people avoid the situations that cause crime in the first place.
How would you characterize Maryland’s business climate? What can the state do to foster the creation of more family-supporting jobs?
Cook: Maryland is in a great position, if we make some major investments in our educational system right now. businesses will always go to where they can find the talent and Maryland could be a leading example of the new tech trained worker of the future if we get started making those decisions now.
Do you support the creation of a non-partisan, independent body to draw legislative and congressional district maps after each census?
Cook: Absolutely. Gerrymandering is antithetical to democracy in my opinion and has been used as a weapon against masses of people for too long.
Does the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights adequately balance protections for police and the public? Should it be changed, and if so, how?
Cook: Yes I agree the needs of both police and civilians are protected, however I do wonder why it expressly says police may not be threatened, coerced or harassed etc to answer questions, when that’s exactly what the police do to civilians. But overall, I am ok with it.
What strategy would you adopt to address the opioid addiction and overdose crisis?
Cook: More rehab support. Unless someone has committed a violent crime to support their habit, I don’t believe they should be in jail.
What if anything should the state do to address income inequality?
Cook: It all begins and ends with our educational system. If we can make that public education system better, income inequality will address itself in time.
Do the state’s Public Information Act and open meetings laws adequately ensure Marylanders’ ability to exercise oversight of the government?