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?
Chang: I support the findings of the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I voted for the 21st Century School Facilties Act that increases funding for schools up to $400 million. I offered an amendment to the bill that was approved for an additional $10 million for school safety grants. I supported the bill for the constitutional amendment on this year’s general election ballot for the lock box of gaming revenues for education.
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?
Chang: Representing the Fort Meade, BWI, and Arundel Mills Area, priority of dollars from the state administration are needed in this economic vibrant area of the state. The Transportation Trust Fund needs to be protected to specifically fund transportation project. Additional plans are needed in transit to address the congestion in the district I represent to support the significant development and economic engine of the state. In my opinion, the cancellation of the Red Line did not help serve the transit needs.
Do you support the legalization of recreational marijuana?
Chang: I only support medical use of 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?
Chang: I voted for the resolution giving power to Maryland’s Attorney General to sue the federal for cutting funding the Chesapeake Bay and other important environmental projects. Chesapeake Bay Trust Fund needs to be dedicated to protecting the bay. Unfortunately, the Governor issued an executive order eliminating the required for BAT technology on septic tanks. Executive orders like this threaten the treasured estuary. I support legislation to protect our water quality with best available technology. Throughout my first term in the Maryland General Assembly, I have received a 100% score from the Maryland League of Conservation Voters.
What steps should Maryland take to ensure the broadest possible access to affordable health care?
Chang: Maryland has the world’s best healthcare systems like University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins in our state. As a member of the Public Safety Subcommittee, I supported additional funding for Shock Trauma. Investments in underserved community with access to healthcare needs to be increased. Programs like Children’s Health Insurance Program need to be protected from cuts. Investments in primary care accessibility for all populations are needed to support preventive medicine.
What role should the state play in helping Baltimore address violent crime?
Chang: As a member of the House Public Safety Subcommittee, I voted for budgetary items that entail state and city prosecutors and law enforcement working jointly to address violent crimes. Harsher felony convictions are needed for violent crime offenders.
How would you characterize Maryland’s business climate? What can the state do to foster the creation of more family-supporting jobs?
Chang: Maryland is a leader in the business climate with a diverse portfolio of business sectors in the state. Cyber, defense, and manufacturing are strong industries in the state that support the greater community. Maryland is heavily reliant of federal government jobs. The state needs to continue invest in workforce development programs for all segments of the population. Maryland has a great education system that helps students meet the demands of the labor needs of the state. Instead of billion dollars of tax credits to one specific firm, policies are needed to support firms of all sizes, sectors, and in diverse geography to provide family-supporting jobs.
Do you support the creation of a non-partisan, independent body to draw legislative and congressional district maps after each census?
Chang: Yes, I support he creation of a non-partisan, independent body to draw legislative and congressional district maps after future census.
Does the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights adequately balance protections for police and the public? Should it be changed, and if so, how?
Chang: Time will tell on the LEOBR of the balance of protections for police and public. Fair due process is needed to support police officers in doing their jobs. Policies that promote police and community relations will help in bridging the two stakeholders together for the better good of public safety. As a member of of the House Public Safety Subcommittee, I hear frequently that morale and recruiting are at historic lows in law enforcement agencies. I support continual improvments to LEOBR to protect the majority of police officers who serve with integrity our community.
What strategy would you adopt to address the opioid addiction and overdose crisis?
Chang: Educational programs at a younger age on the opioid crisis are needed. Additional healthcare facilities and professionals are needed to meet the demands of opioid addictions. As a certified Narcan administer, additional funding for health departments are needed to support training the community in Narcan and the signs of opioid addiction. Felony penalties are needed on healthcare professionals who abuse the administration of pain medication. Also, felony penalties need to be strengthened on drug dealers of the fatal drugs.
What if anything should the state do to address income inequality?
Chang: In my district, there are areas that struggle with poverty are in the shadows of the economic prosperity of the region. Targeted workforce development needs to continue in those underserved areas. Transportation needs to be more accessible for underserved areas to access good quality jobs. Economic revitalization needs to be invested in areas of the state that have economically underserved areas.
Do the state’s Public Information Act and open meetings laws adequately ensure Marylanders’ ability to exercise oversight of the government?
Chang: For the most part, the PIA and open meetings laws allow more transparency for Marylanders to exercise oversight of the government. With increased technological capabilities, the public should be able to access more of the hearings and meetings that affect Marylanders.