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?
Mosby: The Kirwan Commission has done tremendous work in the area of evaluating necessity enhancements of public Pre K through12 education for the benefit of all Marylanders. They have not only drilled down on current limitations of our school objectives and outcomes but also developed areas of opportunities to provide a paradigm shift for public education. I am deeply encouraged of the commission’s evaluation and understanding for the need to address the correlation of school funding formulas to concentration of poverty. Equity in education is essential to level setting the playing field and providing all of Maryland’s children the opportunity to take full advantage of all the opportunities our state has to offer. I am excited about the emphasis being placed in early childhood education. Through empirical data, we know the sooner a child is placed in a productive learning environment, the better the outcomes we see matriculating through our school systems. As a committee member on Ways and Means, I am committed to funding the reforms necessary to moving our school system rapidly in the right direction. I think there are several opportunities to establish funding mechanisms to ensure reforms take effect. Over the course of the next 4 years we will start receiving 100% of the Educational Trust Funding as a supplement to existing school dollars, we will also start receiving revenue from new streams of money, such as, medical marijuana and potentially recreational marijuana. Implementing the Kirwan recommendations is a MUST!
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?
Mosby: Mass transportation in the Baltimore Metropolitan area is anemic and the Achilles heel to the expansion of sustainable economic development. Governor Hogan’s decision to cancel the Red Line and insert the BaltimoreLink bus overall as it’s replacement has major long term implications in our ability to compete and grow proportional to neighboring metropolitans. The Red Line was not a perfect project, like any project of it’s size and scope, but was a game changer in terms of connecting people to jobs, increasing quality of life, and an economic stimulus to our economy. Studies show the number one determinant of upward mobility out of poverty is the presence of a robust transit system. The readjustments and the allocations, in this years budget, to highway user funds will deem a significant benefit to Baltimore but doesn’t erase the reduction of spending and deferred maintenance Baltimore has experienced over the past couple of years. Since we are the only jurisdiction in the state responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of state roads in our boundaries, we are always at a disadvantage to the propotional amount we receive from the state. Transportation must be a priority and unfortunately that has not been the case in Baltimore. We are far from the days of Baltimore being a national transportation leader through technology and innovation and we need the new administration to make that a core competency.
Do you support the legalization of recreational marijuana?
Mosby: I believe the legalization of marijuana is inevitable due to the regulated roll out of medical marijuana and the legalization of recreational marijuana in bordering areas, such as, Washington DC. I will support a responsible and sensible solution to the legalization of marijuana but I will adamantly fight to ensure the wealth created by it’s presence is proportional spread out in the areas that have been disproportionately impacted by over enforcement.
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?
Mosby: As Marylanders, we understand the vital role the Chesapeake Bay represents to our economy and environment and regardless of what the federal governments stance is on Chesapeake Bay restoration regulations, Maryland must maintain to current level of effort of restoring and sustaining the bay and our waterways.
What steps should Maryland take to ensure the broadest possible access to affordable health care?
Mosby: Maryland must continue down the path of having open and accessible heath care exchange opportunities regardless of the federal administrations attempts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. Healthcare in our country should be viewed as a civil right and we must ensure we provide access to all Marylanders.
What role should the state play in helping Baltimore address violent crime?
Mosby: The state has a vital role in supporting Baltimore’s attempt at addressing violent crime. We must learn from mistakes of the past, particularly as it relates to the explosion of opioid usage and all the violence that has resulted from it. We have to do a better job as a state to cut the root out of this epidemic and hold the pharmaceutical companies, drug distributors, and healthcare professionals who are engaging in “Pill Mill” operations and illegal drug trafficking to our streets, accountable in the same proportion that we hold to street dealers. Without the state sending a serious, severe, and firm message to the medical institutions who have created, perpetuated, and sustained this epidemic, we will not see the level of usage, overdose, and violence decrease that we desire. The explosion of drug usage has always caused an explosion in violence and applying mandatory minimums to street dealers will not stop it.
How would you characterize Maryland’s business climate? What can the state do to foster the creation of more family-supporting jobs?
Mosby: For far too long we have become accustomed to focusing in big business as opposed to supporting and learning the intricacies of small business. Small businesses are the engine to our states economy. The more we do to protect small businesses successes and trajectories, the stronger our working families and communities are in the long run. Maryland is an amazing state with a tremendous amount of natural assets and resources, amazing geographical location, and educated workforce. Those characteristics provide an amazing foundation that can be used to synergize small business growth. We must identify tax incentive programs that work for small businesses the same way we consistently develop unsuccessful programs in an attempt to lure big business.
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?
Mosby: The Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights (LEOBOR) does not adequately address balance of protections for the police and the public. The one thing that we have learned through recent police involved incidents, such as the tragic deaths of Freddie Gray and Det. Sean Suiter and the GTTF racketeering and corruption convictions is that police officers should not be placed in the position to solely investigate their own members. One main concern in the LEOBOR is the protection to have only sworn law enforcement officers participate in the initial interrogatory of an officer. That is even more problematic when the officer is interviewed by their peers who they have come up through the ranks with and worked side by side with. There should be an indepedent body to investigate such cases. The current arrangement of having officers invistigating their peers is unfair to those officers and drives increased concerns around transparency and crediability to the general public. The LEOBOR should also mandate the change of administration trial board compostion to require the inclusion of non sworn officers participation.
What strategy would you adopt to address the opioid addiction and overdose crisis?
Mosby: The healthcare system and healthcare providers are supposed to add value to our communities and not participate in the nefarious practice of using someone’s addiction as a means of gaining wealth. We must do a better job of holding “Pill Mill” practices accountable for their actions to ensure we cut the problem out at the root. I propose applying stiffer criminal penalties for individuals who facilitate in the practice of running “Pill Mill” operations. I also support the concept of augmenting the reach and services of the newly created stabilization center and proactively providing additional diversion services, resources, and incentive in Drug Court. Lastly, we must continue to expand the awareness and education of the disease to all Marylanders, including our children.
What if anything should the state do to address income inequality?
Mosby: I support a statewide mandate of increasing minimum wage.
Do the state’s Public Information Act and open meetings laws adequately ensure Marylanders’ ability to exercise oversight of the government?