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?
Tilley: The Commission issued its preliminary proposal on January 18, 2018 but requested more time to consider the significant task at hand. The Commission’s caution is prudent, given the historical gap between state investment and educational progress. I fully support the Commission’s call to action in response to data showing that Maryland student performance is in the middle of the pack against the rest of the modern world. The Commission demanded a “statewide commitment to systemic change” and their general strategy seems to be sound: increase the investment in early childhood education, devote resources to at-risk students, transform teaching into a high-status profession with appropriate compensation, promote a linear career pathways system and strengthen the administrative system of governance and accountability. Most importantly, the Commission acknowledged, and I agree, that addition funding, while necessary, is not alone sufficient to build a globally competitive educational system in Maryland. I am committed to both sound funding decisions but, more importantly, wise systemic choices to guide that funding.
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?
Tilley: Maryland’s roadways are clearly overwhelmed and there is a need for a well-planned transit system connecting urban areas of our state. The state’s transportation needs are significant and state resources may be insufficient to meet the need without creative, effective alliances. I support Governor Hogan’s approach which contemplates a public-private partnership in key zones to alleviate the suffocating congestion that frustrates Maryland commuters. This also aligns with the federal approach of government infrastructure investment boosted by additional private sector resources. There are opportunities to improve transit options throughout Maryland and it is important for everyone involved to make the best use of available funds, make smart choices about which projects to pursue and proceed with care as we invest in Maryland’s transportation future.
Do you support the legalization of recreational marijuana?
Tilley: While I am supportive of the states medical marijuana program and hope tight controls are put in place to ensure only patients with a true medical need are admitted into the program, I do not support the legalization of recreational marijuana. It is widely acknowledged by all informed parties as a gateway drug. Permissive recreational use creates a dangerous view of marijuana as a substance without socio-economic impact when, in fact, we know from other states that this path will create dilemmas of public safety and social stability.
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?
Tilley: There are no new panaceas to the problem of environmental protection and funding shortages are a perennial issue. Maryland will absolutely need to renew its commitment to proven methodologies – funding clean-up efforts, restraining pollution sources and prioritizing environmental stewardship. Maryland will also need to draw on the energy of its citizens to work in concert towards sustainable policies and interactions with all waterways. The Chesapeake defines Maryland and every citizen must do his or her part to preserve the Bay.
What steps should Maryland take to ensure the broadest possible access to affordable health care?
Tilley: This is a multi-faceted and complicated issue, with the intersection of so many competing interests and moral implications. As we work towards the health and well-being of every citizen of Maryland, two policy questions stand out - the regulation of health insurance coverage and the regulation of health care services. With regard to health insurance coverage, the question is whether states will have impactful authority to regulate health care. I prefer that local government retain autonomy in these decisions, but the nation is still working through a significant federal intervention in the form of the ACA. Association health plans (AHP’s) are one way for self-employed individuals, as well as small-businesses, to purchase health insurance across state boundaries. It is my hope that Maryland will a regulatory environment that allows AHP’s to compete while protecting our citizens from health care fraud. We also need to pay attention to the regulation of health care services. Excessive pricing and overconsumption are two of the major issues impacting our ability to provide affordable coverage to every citizen. Maryland should look to the overwhelming, unique talent of its physician citizens to step in on these issues. I suspect that our leading hospitals and their medical teams have a pretty good grasp on how to reduce the costs of health care in our state. Building a coalition of health care institutions and providers, which leverages our state’s unique health care talent, to help manage this component is a good first step.
What role should the state play in helping Baltimore address violent crime?
Tilley: Baltimore’s unique status as Maryland’s largest city and arguably the epicenter of our cultural identity means that most of us have a stake in the city. As a conservative, I tend to support a “hands-off” approach but we now have a calamitous violent crime situation in Baltimore that challenges the wisdom of laissez-faire. The City Council’s recent decision to restrain Johns Hopkins from hiring a private police force suggests that efforts to unilaterally seek solutions to the violent crime will be blocked. And yet, the problem extends beyond the city boundaries. Our seaport is the second largest in the Mid-Atlantic and Johns Hopkins Hospital is a nationally ranked health care provider. We offer nine outstanding colleges and universities in Baltimore, including my alma mater, Loyola University. There are art galleries, theaters, historic sites, parks, recreational sites, monuments, museums, stores and countless other places and institutions that all Marylanders esteem and enjoy. And all of these Baltimore treasures are also Maryland treasures. So, I posit that the problem of violent crime is not just a problem for Baltimore to exclusively own anymore. A solution to violent crime in Baltimore requires committed leadership from four vital corners – city officials, school leaders, local employers, and the police force. The State of Maryland can and should provide necessary assistance to support and stabilize these four corners. But the significance of the problem, and the need for a ready solution, means that the state should also consider reform measures, strategic funding and thoughtful intervention.
How would you characterize Maryland’s business climate? What can the state do to foster the creation of more family-supporting jobs?
Tilley: Maryland’s business climate is hardly supportive. High taxes, excessive regulation and the competition of government jobs versus private sector opportunities create a stressful entrepreneurial environment and deter new business growth. Economic policy is a choose-your-own-adventure that each state gets to make. Maryland can certainly stay the course and remain heavy-handed in both taxation and regulation, attempting to regulate the economy by sucking out all available funds and redistributing it according to the politics of the day. Or, new political leadership in Maryland can pivot to a marketplace approach that reduces reliance on government intervention and allows a free economy to self-regulate to a practicable extent. Before making this decision (and, more to the point, placing a vote), I suggest that everyone consider the demographic trends of states with the marketplace approach – Florida and Texas, for example – and compare that to the trends in the heavy-handed states such as New York and New Jersey. The decision seems simple from my vantage point.
Do you support the creation of a non-partisan, independent body to draw legislative and congressional district maps after each census?
Tilley: Yes. It is entirely reasonable to expect that an independent body would draft more maps that were actually fair and reasonable rather than those that obviously preserved the political status quo.
Does the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights adequately balance protections for police and the public? Should it be changed, and if so, how?
Tilley: Police Officers serve a unique function in society and deserve the special layer of due process protections afforded by the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights which is codified in fourteen states, including Maryland. These protections allow them to undertake the uniquely specialized tasks of their work which require the latitude to handle difficult and dangerous situations through coercive, and discretionary, force. Police officers insist that these enhanced due process provisions are necessary to allow officers to protect the public without undue concern about unfair scrutiny in order to best protect the community. Activists counter that the authority to use coercive force necessitates an enhanced level of scrutiny to best protect the community, and that police officers who misuse their authority are not held appropriately accountable because of their enhanced due process. Police accountability is the subject of intense debate now, and civil right proponents have long recommended the institution of citizen oversight agencies, such as a civilian review board, to ensure adequate disciplinary processes. Police officers are owed a certain degree of deference in light of the significant rules, stresses and dangers of their job. The majority of the LOEBR provisions are consistent with standard due process and pose no obstacle to police accountability. A refinement of the LOEBR code, however, would go a long way to restoring the public’s trust in fairness and the rule of law as it relates to our police force. Careful, considered amendments to LOEBR would ameliorate the transparency issue that the police force currently faces.
What strategy would you adopt to address the opioid addiction and overdose crisis?
Tilley: Aggressively targeting Heroin and Opioid suppliers and ensuring laws are in place to ensure they serve adequate jail time for the pain and suffering they have inflicted on our Community. It is important we provide access to affordable treatment options for addicts and their families. This is truly a medical condition that needs to addressed with additional medical resources geared toward treating mental health.
What if anything should the state do to address income inequality?
Tilley: Wealth redistribution through government intervention is the fundamental socio-economic ideology of the left and has proven time and time again to be disastrous. It is the underpinning of the Marxist doctrine that America has long opposed. The formidable combination of a capitalist system coupled with our fundamental freedoms are sufficient to address income inequality. State investment in infrastructure and education are appropriate uses of tax dollars to create a conducive environment for every person to succeed.
Do the state’s Public Information Act and open meetings laws adequately ensure Marylanders’ ability to exercise oversight of the government?
Tilley: I support transparency and suggest that government operate in an open environment unless it compromises individual protections or national defense.