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?
McConkey: Some. I regret that the Commission did not have broader representation including Republican delegates and more representatives of education reform. The Commission has unfortunately spent little time examining how our school systems could be better managed to accomplish more with existing resources.
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?
McConkey: My priority is roads. 90% of the money in the Transportation Trust Fund comes from taxes and fees on motorists while 59% of the money goes to mass transit. The legislature just voted to take more. I am dedicated to building and maintaining roads including restoring state highway user funds to counties to improve our roads. Transit users should shoulder more of the cost of transit.
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?
McConkey: I think continuing progress on cleaning the Bay is the most important goal. In addition to the program in place I would accelerate progress on oyster re-establishment, which I think is key. I would move forward with the introduction of the Asian oyster to help speed clean up.
What steps should Maryland take to ensure the broadest possible access to affordable health care?
McConkey: The hospital assessment is a state tax on healthcare of $350M which drives up costs for everyone and needs to be repealed. Obamacare is collapsing and an additional $380M tax passed this year to prop it up will only make things worse. We need to eliminate Obamacare, reduce mandates and allow Marylanders to buy insurance plans across state lines to introduce more competition and cost savings.
What role should the state play in helping Baltimore address violent crime?
McConkey: Enforce existing laws to remove criminals from the streets of Baltimore. With criminals removed, communities will have a chance to heal.
How would you characterize Maryland’s business climate? What can the state do to foster the creation of more family-supporting jobs?
McConkey: Maryland typically ranks in the bottom half of states in business climate because of high taxes and excessive regulation. Taxes need to be reduced to attract more job opportunities for Maryland families.
Do you support the creation of a non-partisan, independent body to draw legislative and congressional district maps after each census?
McConkey: I strongly support electing members of the House of Delegates from single member districts, and I support Governor Hogan’s plan to set up an independent non-partisan commission to draw the lines for both Congress and the state legislature.
Does the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights adequately balance protections for police and the public? Should it be changed, and if so, how?
McConkey: I believe it works well to balance the protections for law enforcement officers in a very dangerous job.
What strategy would you adopt to address the opioid addiction and overdose crisis?
McConkey: I think we need to provide more treatment, but treatment alone will not work. We need to use existing criminal laws to prosecute and remove dealers from society, and users who are unwilling to participate in treatment.
What if anything should the state do to address income inequality?
McConkey: I believe less government taxation and regulation would be the best way to make the Maryland economy more competitive and growth oriented, which would best help all Marylanders prosper and best life everyone out of poverty.
Do the state’s Public Information Act and open meetings laws adequately ensure Marylanders’ ability to exercise oversight of the government?
McConkey: Yes. Any process can be improved, but I think our current laws work well. I have heard few complaints.