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?
McMahan: In general, I support the finding of the Commission. Specifically, I align myself with MABE and am generally in support of their initiatives. Autonomy for local Boards of Education is paramount. The prosperity of this state is totally dependent on its relationships to quality education. That education begins in Pre-K and and for English learners. Governor Hogan and the Maryland General Assembly made limited progress this year in funding some of the programs identified by the Commission. A step backward, however, was legislation authorizing the creation of a special commission that will be responsible for remunerating the 23 Counties and Baltimore City with their school construction monies. Taking that function away from the Board of Estimates should be looked upon as an affront to every voter in this state. Adequate funding will always be a legislative nightmare, but I support funds for education because it is a fundamental need that fuels commerce, industry, and every citizen’s quality of life.
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?
McMahan: No. The balance is skewed. Yes, public transportation must be where the population is located to support it, but there has been a great need for highway funds in the counties to meet the needs of the commuters over longer distances. These roads have deteriorated and are in dire need of the appropriated assets to come back to the counties. I did not support the Red Line but I do support the Link for the Metro area.
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?
McMahan: The Federal and State Government should take a very hard look at the sewage treatment system of Baltimore City. It is old as we all know. If truth be known it is probably grossly inefficient and the affluent discharge can’t help be contaminated. That problem demands every citizen’s support. The Governor and the Susquehanna River Basin Commission are actively involved in reducing up stream farm run off pollution into the Susquehanna River. We are awaiting their findings so a plan can be implemented. Then we must look for funding. The Bay is one of Maryland’s greatest economic assets for commercial and tourist trade.
What steps should Maryland take to ensure the broadest possible access to affordable health care?
McMahan: Funding for the rural counties must be restored and it is folly to turn a blind eye to this problem. Our rural health departments need the financial assets to treat the disproportionate number of lower income families in need of health care. Dental needs of these citizens are treated with pain killers that end up on the street when providing dental care in our rural health departments could solve the problem better. From Western Maryland to the Eastern Shore and Southern Maryland the fiscal need for our rural health departments has been put on the back burner.
What role should the state play in helping Baltimore address violent crime?
McMahan: I support the recent legislation passed by the legislature as a start. Until the court system gets straightened out in the city and people arrested with a gun are not let back out on the street one and two times, crime will run rampant. First offender is an OFFENDER adjudicate appropriately. A slap on the wrist serves no purpose. The cops are putting their lives at risk trying to get the gun toting criminals off the street and then the courts give no penalty. Makes no sense.
How would you characterize Maryland’s business climate? What can the state do to foster the creation of more family-supporting jobs?
McMahan: Every state’s business climate is linked to its educational system. If you can’t read or write effectively when you graduate you are not going to find a decent job and that turns idle minds and bodies into folks just waiting to get into trouble. Where did our trade schools go? You do not have to be a rocket scientists to be a good house painter, landscaper, property caretaker but you do need to be able to do basic math, fill out an application and read the directions on a container. Until we get hold of the education system in this state and mainly the metropolitan areas, the stagnation will prosper. Business incubators attract investors, train workers and put folks on the road to success but require some government support.
Do you support the creation of a non-partisan, independent body to draw legislative and congressional district maps after each 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?
McMahan: The LEOBR has stood the test of not only local courts but the Supreme Court of the United States. Some people complain that it is nearly impossible to fire a Bad Cop. Frustrating at times because everyone has their “day in court” but certainly not impossible as we have recently witnessed in Baltimore City. It is just as hard to fire a government worker many say. The point is that “due Process” is the law we ascribe to as citizens of a democracy. A police officer is entitled to the same protection. The LEOBR also protects against higher ranking individuals unjustly bringing suit or claims against those in lower ranks without benefit of experience or knowledge of the system.
What strategy would you adopt to address the opioid addiction and overdose crisis?
McMahan: We in Harford County have been among the most aggressive counties in the state fighting the Opioid epidemic . We take back unused drugs to get them off the street. We have a pre- release program run by our Sheriff at the detention center to prepare those convicted of substance abuse for life on the outside again. We need more visible and authentic media attention to how easy it is to DIE from an overdose . Its called “tough love” FOR THOSE YOU LOVE. Dying from an overdose isn’t pretty. SHOW IT TO THE KIDS IN SCHOOL AND ON TV.
What if anything should the state do to address income inequality?
McMahan: Income inequity is again relative to education. Many of the urban area school systems are plagued with scandal, contract shortcomings and downright fraud. All of this takes much needed money away from the class room. We need to reduce the classroom size, provide the tools and pay our teachers to teach, and nurture in a safe environment. Until we get our major urban school systems under control, systemic problems will fester. I applaud the teachers in Harford County. Their dedication to their students can’t be questioned. The state needs to take back their obligation under the retirement contribution for teachers so the counties can put that money toward raises.
Do the state’s Public Information Act and open meetings laws adequately ensure Marylanders’ ability to exercise oversight of the government?
McMahan: They serve well when they are adhered to.