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?
Hopkins: Yes I do! I am also committed to funding those reforms. One of the biggest things that the commission recommends is an update to our education funding formula. We need to spend more money on at-risk children before they fall behind. That means we must give additional funding to schools in certain areas before the test scores fall.
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?
Hopkins: No. The state needs to spend more money on transit. I was quite disappointed in the cancellation of the Red Line here in Baltimore. Even with the BaltimoreLink bus system Baltimore still has gaps. The Red Line would have opened up job opportunities in areas where there’s no significant mass transit available.
Do you support the legalization of recreational marijuana?
Hopkins: Yes. I support not only the legalization of marijuana in addition to Maryland having dispensaries.
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?
Hopkins: Maryland should continue to work with neighboring states to help stop run-off pollution and dumping as well as to monitor our crab and fish population to possibly shorten the season if there is possible overfishing.
What steps should Maryland take to ensure the broadest possible access to affordable health care?
Hopkins: Maryland should provide each county health departments more money to provide mobile health services. When I went to Iowa I saw that their state has mobile health vans outside of nightclubs that provide free rapid HIV and STD testing and the results were available in minutes. I think it would be great if Maryland had a similar program as well as mobile wellness checkups available at malls and high traffic areas.
What role should the state play in helping Baltimore address violent crime?
Hopkins: The state should help enforce the consent decree as well as give additional funding to crime-prevention programs. Maryland should also give the city more funding to help police officers with de-escalation training.
How would you characterize Maryland’s business climate? What can the state do to foster the creation of more family-supporting jobs?
Hopkins: With Baltimore being the biggest city in Maryland it is clear to me that the lack of adequate transportation options has hurt business growth in Maryland. This is why the Red Line was so important. Companies want to be where their employees can access them from public transportation. This is why Baltimore’s bid was rejected by Amazon but Montgomery County’s bid is a finalist. Montgomery County has multiple railways of accessibility yet the biggest city in Maryland does not. There is a lack of job equality throughout the state.
Do you support the creation of a non-partisan, independent body to draw legislative and congressional district maps after each census?
Hopkins: Yes. I also would support computer drawn districts so that there is no political influence in the legislative maps.
Does the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights adequately balance protections for police and the public? Should it be changed, and if so, how?
Hopkins: The Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights initially protected police officers from people higher up in the police department but today it serves to protect police officers from the public. I welcome the changes that have been made recently so that more information is public regarding complaints.
What strategy would you adopt to address the opioid addiction and overdose crisis?
Hopkins: I would have people treated for rehabilitation in jail. Currently those addicted to drugs are stabilized or treated for their addiction but are not given the necessary tools to stay clean once they are released. This, therefore, causes a repeating cycle.
What if anything should the state do to address income inequality?
Hopkins: The state should expand pay discrimination laws as well as eliminate any laws that allow mentally challenged individuals to receive the normal minimum wage.
Do the state’s Public Information Act and open meetings laws adequately ensure Marylanders’ ability to exercise oversight of the government?
Hopkins: No. The best example is the survellience of the Mondawmin Mall area during the Baltimore riots. We are still unable to see footage of that area despite multiple requests.