Gabriel Auteri

Gabriel Auteri
  • Democrat
  • Age: 31
  • Residence: Baltimore

About Gabriel Auteri

Education

I have a BA in political science and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Drew University, and a Law Degree and Business Degree from American University.

Background

I am a former high-school history teacher and I’ve worked for the Baltimore City Health Department for the last 3 years. I currently serve as the Chief Policy and Engagement Officer and General Counsel.

Questionnaire

1
Kirwan
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?
Auteri: I strongly agree with the initial findings and recommendations of the Commission, but many of the recommendations will take a long time to have an impact; in Baltimore, our kids need us to do better now. As a former high-school teacher, I know implementing change across a school is hard, let alone doing it across a district or a state. In the Commission’s report, a lot of attention was paid to career ladders for training principals and teachers, but little time was spent discussing long-term principal development. We know that dynamic principals can change the way a school operates, especially in Baltimore’s decentralized system. We ask our principals to be more than administrators; we ask them to be social workers, activists, and community organizers, yet we invest little in their development after their second year. As a result, our attrition rate after 3 years is untenably high. A visionary, supported principal can better support students and teachers and can lead grassroots improvement in our schools with community organizations, local foundations and non-profits, students, and parents. Paying for the Commission’s recommendations and my proposal above will take significant investment, but we need to recognize that investments today in education and career readiness generate long term savings in the near future in the criminal justice system, health system, and lost wages and taxes. Adjusting the funding formula to account for need and poverty will almost certainly require reductions in budget for wealthier jurisdictions, and I’m ready to fight for that investment.
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2
Transportation
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?
Auteri: Baltimore’s transportation system leaves quite a bit to be desired, even after the advent of BaltimoreLink, and many have to take two or more busses to access jobs, healthcare, social services, and education. Though the Red Line was cancelled, we need a comprehensive vision for public transportation across the region, inclusive of rail. We have to focus on investing in transportation solutions that increase access. Investments like this need to be funded through city/state collaboration and include federal dollars where available. I will advocate for creative funding solutions, like TIFs, be made available for solutions that increase access for our residents. One opportunity is to connect the West Baltimore MARC station, which provides train access north and south and serves as a bus hub, to the Lexington Market Subway and Light Rail lines. A reliable light rail could be built in the existing highway to nowhere at a relatively low-cost and would connect much of West Baltimore more reliably to jobs downtown and points north and south of the City through the light rail and subway.
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3
Marijuana
Do you support the legalization of recreational marijuana?
Auteri: Yes.
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4
Chesapeake Bay
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?
Auteri: The Chesapeake Bay is a national treasure and important resource and I am committed to working to find ways to improve its health. We need to support efforts to bring natural filters like oysters and aquatic plants back into the region and reduce both urban and rural storm water run-off while reducing pollution. These not only reduce pollution but create high-quality jobs. The 40th District, like much of Baltimore, lacks green spaces and is largely paved/impervious, which allows pollutants and trash to flow quickly into the Bay. I support programs that reduce storm water run-off and its effects such as bump-outs and conversion of paved lots and vacant blocks to green space. We should also continue to ensure that all state-sponsored development and infrastructure projects use best practices and technology to minimize the effect of run-off.
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5
Health Care
What steps should Maryland take to ensure the broadest possible access to affordable health care?
Auteri: Maryland has led the way in increasing access to affordable health care, but we need to ensure absolute access to care across the state and across the spectrum of need: we need to move Maryland to a single payer system. More than that, we need to continue to build a robust system of behavioral health care, specifically by ensuring 247 access to critical behavioral health services in all corners of the state. Importantly, however, less than 20% of our health is defined by what happens within the walls of our doctor’s office. Social determinants of health, including housing, food access, and employment, play a major role in the health of our residents. Investments in education, housing, food access, and employment will lead to better health outcomes.
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6
Crime
What role should the state play in helping Baltimore address violent crime?
Auteri: The state has a responsibility to protect its residents and a responsibility to be a part of the solution to violence in Baltimore. Investing in programs like Safe Streets is important, as is supporting implementation of the Consent Decree. But like health, drivers of crime are complex and require more than a police solution; opioid addiction touches almost every family in Baltimore, and joblessness, homelessness, and poverty fuel disconnectedness that drives crime. The state can and should play a role in addressing not only the immediate precursors of violence, but the more attenuated inputs.
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7
Business Climate
How would you characterize Maryland’s business climate? What can the state do to foster the creation of more family-supporting jobs?
Auteri: Maryland’s business climate is friendly, and often the state and local government provide compelling tax incentives to lure and keep business and investment in the state. Where we struggle is in developing a competitive workforce across the board, and we especially need to invest in vocational programs, apprenticeships, and trades. Maryland has incredible colleges and universities, but we don’t do a great job as a system of meeting the needs of people who don’t want to go to college.
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8
Redistricting
Do you support the creation of a non-partisan, independent body to draw legislative and congressional district maps after each census?
Auteri: Districts should be drawn based on exclusively on proportional representation. We cannot allow gerrymandering to perpetuate politics as usual and disenfranchise our most vulnerable.
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9
LEOBR
Does the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights adequately balance protections for police and the public? Should it be changed, and if so, how?
Auteri: There are significant issues with policing nationally and in Maryland, and the Baltimore Consent Decree shows it. We have to recognize that we ask first responders to put themselves in danger as a matter of course, many of them without a second thought. But we need civilian participation on review boards. We have to end racism in policing and restore the public’s trust in law enforcement.
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10
Opioids
What strategy would you adopt to address the opioid addiction and overdose crisis?
Auteri: Baltimore City, through its Health Department, has built an innovative, nationally recognized strategy to combat the opioid epidemic that focuses on saving lives with naloxone, increasing access to treatment, and fighting stigma. We need to support their work and expand it across the state. The price of naloxone remains too high for expansive distribution and there still isn’t sufficient access to treatment. More than that, we need to ensure that people can access treatment as soon as they’re ready, without having to wait days or weeks for appointments. We need to ensure that treatment is available in diverse venues so that people in our jails have access to evidence-based drug treatment programs while they’re incarcerated and immediately upon release. Addiction is a chronic disease and treatment exists, and we need to stop criminalizing the disease.
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11
Income inequality
What if anything should the state do to address income inequality?
Auteri: To start, we need to increase the minimum wage to $15. Wage growth for low-paying jobs has been virtually non-existent when accounting for inflation, and Maryland has to ensure workers across the state are paid fairly. A wage hike to $15 an hour will certainly have consequences, and we need to be careful to protect small businesses. To do so, we should provide small businesses with tax credits and reduce the amount of payroll taxes due, the cost of which could be offset by the increase in income taxes. Though this won’t completely even the cost for business, it can significantly lessen the burden while putting higher wages into the pockets of workers.
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12
Transparency
Do the state’s Public Information Act and open meetings laws adequately ensure Marylanders’ ability to exercise oversight of the government?
Auteri: Both laws are helpful but do little to provide an opportunity for meaningful community input and engagement. Being informed isn’t the same as being involved, and the responsibility to engage stakeholders lies with government agencies, to be held accountable by elected officials.
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