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?
Sample-Hughes: Yes, I am supportive of the majority of the findings of the Commission and look forward to the work that is ging to be done during the 2018 interim to identify the “true cost impact” of the recommendations. However, I know it is imperative to address the teacher recruitment and outreach efforts because schools across the state and nation are struggling to obtain and retain qualified teachers. Providing incentives for young people to go into the teaching field while having retired teachers come in and offer peer support can be beneficial to the over all system. I will be supportive of the reforms that will address school construction funding, special education funding for pre-k and saftey measures.
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?
Sample-Hughes: The balance of roads and transit have always been a struggle and for the immediate future will continue to be. Each jurisdiction wants to ensure transportation needs are met and the need is truly great. In the rural communities, it remains a struggle to ensure disabled persons in the outlying areas get serviced; however that can’t comfortably happen due to the inability to have non fixed routes available to disabled persons. As a state, we are working towards the restoral of Highway User Revenues, and will continue to work along with municipalities and counties to addressed the most pressing projects and do our best to make them happen.
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?
Sample-Hughes: Set aside additional funds within Maryland’s budget to keep protecting the Bay, as it is a vital resource for Maryland’s economy and the health and wealth of daily living. Additionally, as a state law maker, I will continue to press my federal counterparts to make the Chesapeake Bay a priority. We are seeing progress through watershed reports and through efforts that farmers and environmentalists are making and we must continue to fight for our quality of life.
What steps should Maryland take to ensure the broadest possible access to affordable health care?
Sample-Hughes: Through recent legislation passed creating a task force to look at funding formulas for the cost of premiums and working along with the Federal Government by way of requesting waivers is a strategic and necessary step. Additionally, affordable health care has to have all stakeholders at the table to address long term plans. We have started down the road to identify dental health is a priority by having a pilot program.
What role should the state play in helping Baltimore address violent crime?
Sample-Hughes: Continue to fund initiatives that have proven results such as Safe Streets. This intiative is a postive tool that is backed by annual funding in the budget.
How would you characterize Maryland’s business climate? What can the state do to foster the creation of more family-supporting jobs?
Sample-Hughes: Recent studies have shown that Maryland has the highest rate of per capita minority and women business ownership in the United States, to that end, the business climate is progressive; however we (Maryland) have more that we can do to reduce barriers to allow additional people into the small business world. Family supporting jobs would be to create a consortium of businesses with on site daycare, a climate with flex time.
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?
Sample-Hughes: There is room for improvment to ensure a true balance is realized.
What strategy would you adopt to address the opioid addiction and overdose crisis?
Sample-Hughes: I believe that the legislation that I have co sponsored and supported to address the opioid addiction and overdose crisis has merit and I am eager to see many of these tools work in our communities. This crisis is going to have to be fought on many fronts with citizens, health and law professionals at the helm. Maryland is making strides on the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. Additionally, as we have health care professionals informing patients of how opioids can be harmful if used too long and educating citizens on the risks and signs of addiction. The grants that are being administered through the Health Departments will get the funds on the ground. It is extremely important to me that we continue to have regular dialogue with youth in and out of schools.
What if anything should the state do to address income inequality?
Sample-Hughes: Comprehensively review the economic viability in each jurisdication, to which counties such as Somerset and Dorchester could identify what types of businesses & support would be needed to drive a stronger economy. Additionally, all industries (health, forestry, hospitality, industrial) will need to identify where support (financial, policies etc) is needed to ensure that they are not blocked in order to have wages rise to the level that all persons can have a decent quality of life.
Do the state’s Public Information Act and open meetings laws adequately ensure Marylanders’ ability to exercise oversight of the government?
Sample-Hughes: Yes, I believe the Public Information Act and open meeting laws are adequate at this time because of the past few years the MD Legislature passed laws to ensure persons are being trained, new levels of transparency to ensure compliance at all levels of government. Case in point, Maryland Association of Counties & Maryland Municipal League offer classes reguraly to government officials and review the policies accordingly.