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?
Pasti: Education is the highest priority of the Government and I support the findings of the commission. However, before we commit additional funding, we must first make sure the current funding is being spent appropriately. Our budgets are overflowing with too many at the highest pay scale and not enough for the teachers. We must look at where the money is going and then re-allocate to address the greatest needs.
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?
Pasti: We need to spend on both roads and transit, but I believe most Marylanders are driving their cars and the roads take a higher priority.
Do you support the legalization of recreational marijuana?
Pasti: No, I’ve seen the devastating effects of marijuana use with my clients. Marijuana is not good for you. I do believe it is a gateway drug and is used by too many young people who make bad choices when under the influence of marijuana. It makes people lazy and unmotivated. However, I do support the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
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?
Pasti: We need to continue to fund the Bay Restoration Fund and support both point source and non-point source policies to reduce sewage run off.
What steps should Maryland take to ensure the broadest possible access to affordable health care?
Pasti: We need to allow more choices to those who have been priced out of the market. Unfortunately, the affordable care act is not the answer. I support the expansion of Medicaid, but there are currently only two choices for those who are self-employed. We need to either limit the amount an insurance company can charge, or we need to allow those who are self-employed to go across state lines to purchase insurance.
What role should the state play in helping Baltimore address violent crime?
Pasti: The State should always play a role in addressing violent crime, whether its creating more jobs for young people, making tougher laws, or assisting those who are addicted to drugs. But we need to make better use of our faith community and businesses to come along side the young people to provide them with opportunities and steer them away from the cycle of drugs and violence.
How would you characterize Maryland’s business climate? What can the state do to foster the creation of more family-supporting jobs?
Pasti: The business climate is improving. However, we need to make it easier for those who want to start a business. The amount of regulations and forms for those who have employees can be overwhelming and costly. From workers compensation insurance to unemployment insurance to payroll taxes to personal property taxes, it can be endless.
Do you support the creation of a non-partisan, independent body to draw legislative and congressional district maps after each census?
Pasti: yes, I agree 100%.
Does the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights adequately balance protections for police and the public? Should it be changed, and if so, how?
Pasti: The Law Enforcement Officers Bill of rights is primarily for the protection of the police. I don’t believe it adequately protects the public, especially in reference to the 10 day rule. A timely investigation requires immediate action and the police know this.
What strategy would you adopt to address the opioid addiction and overdose crisis?
Pasti: I agree with Governor Hogan’s 4 prong approach of enforcement, education, treatment, and prevention. We need more affordable treatment facilities. We need to be more aggressive in prosecuting those who sell fentanyl and have stricter penalties for those sellers, especially if someone dies from an overdose of a drug and we can identify the source. We need to hold doctors liable as well for overprescribing pain killers and limit the amount of doses that can be prescribed.
What if anything should the state do to address income inequality?
Pasti: I do believe in equal pay for equal work. The State needs to address any sort of discrimination in income inequality, but we do live in a capitalistic society which is driven by supply and demand.
Do the state’s Public Information Act and open meetings laws adequately ensure Marylanders’ ability to exercise oversight of the government?
Pasti: I know enough about the Act to respond.