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?
Young: Yes, I support the findings of the Kirwan Commission and am committed to proper funding for the recommended reforms. I will work with stakeholders to create and fund the recommended diverse delivery system of universal pre-k for all 4-year-olds and work to expand the network of Judy Centers and Family Support Centers. We must invest in early childhood education and developmental services for young students so that they are best equip to succeed. Further, I will work to eliminate the pay gap between teachers and other high-status professions of similar education requirements. Teaching must be viewed and treated as a professional class occupation. Failure to do so will continue teacher attrition. Third, I will work to expand career pathways for students and provide for free community college. This allows for young adults to be able to transition more completely from high school into post-secondary education and life. I will work to increase spending in economically disadvantaged school districts. Maryland spends 5% more on wealthy districts than poor ones according to the commission. This is a regressive statistic. We must provide added support to students who need it. Finally, I believe we must also work to reduce class sizes for all grade levels. Classes should have no more than 25 students for effective instruction and learning.
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?
Young: Maryland does not appropriately balance spending for transportation. We spend more money on roads that mass transit. In Baltimore, the BaltimoreLink is at best a lateral step from the old system. The state must fund a comprehensive and integrated subway system in Baltimore to enhance economic growth and fully take advantage of Baltimore’s proximity to other major cities in the region. This system would require significant investment from the state and federal government. It would stand to connect the entire city to itself and DC. People would more easily get to their workplaces faster. Piecemeal projects are helpful but a bold plan and investment is required. Furthermore, unlike the light rail which essentially uses the honor system to collect fares, a subway system collects fares more dependably. More people, especially in the working class, are willing to use a subway system than will ride a bus or a light rail. Subway systems pay for themselves, subsidize other modes of transport, moves Baltimore into the next century of transportation, and will spur population growth as the city becomes more accessible. Additionally, the opportunity of high-speed rail should be thoroughly explored.
Do you support the legalization of recreational marijuana?
Young: Yes. Legalization of marijuana benefits the state by reducing drug offenses for residents, expands liberty, and increases tax revenue, which can be used on infrastructure, healthcare, and education.
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?
Young: I support the use of Environmental Impact Bonds to assist in the construction of “Green Infrastructure” to reduce storm water runoff from impervious surfaces. These bonds can help spur development and redevelopment of infrastructure and buildings in ways that increase green space, reduce pollution, and improve community ascetics and property value.
What steps should Maryland take to ensure the broadest possible access to affordable health care?
Young: I support a single payer health system to provide universal healthcare for all. Maryland should expand the efforts to provide telehealth services to communities. This will allow for better access to treatment, specialty care and will reduce travel, especially for seniors living in rural areas. We should also work to improve health literacy especially for communities of color. These communities still have a lower enrollment rate for those eligible for Medicaid than other communities. Maryland has experienced good improvement in access to healthcare since the ACA but must work to ensure these gains are not lost as a result of new leadership in Washington. This means prioritizing outreach and accessibility, incentivizing more small employers to provide good healthcare options, and ensuring reimbursement of services rendered by providers are competitive.
What role should the state play in helping Baltimore address violent crime?
Young: The state should look to support the city with sensible solutions that progress the city towards a safer streets and better management. The state should not impose regressive laws. The legislature did well to create the commission to investigate the Gun Trace Task Force. We can not expect crime to decrease nor community/police trust to increase when the some of the enforcers are bad actors. Restoring integrity and faith in our police department is prerequisite to reducing crime. However, the legislature failed by enhancing certain maximum sentences and mandatory minimums. We must continue the focus of removing violent repeat offenders from the streets, but we should not usurp the role of the judiciary in sentencing. These policies are regressive and do nothing to curtail violence in the city. The legislature also failed to pass legislation to redistrict the police districts in Baltimore. This legislation passed the house unanimously but failed to get a hearing in the Senate. This is necessary for a better allocation of resources. The legislature should support funding for community-based mediation and policing. The increased funding for Safe Streets will support this effort. Also, BPD’s Community Collaboration Division does great work that should be supported and expanded. We must restore programs like the Police Athletic League in Baltimore to create more opportunities for Police to engage with the community. This way officers can proactively develop relationships and thus reduce crime. We must also assist the re-entry community in their reintegration into society to reduce recidivism.
How would you characterize Maryland’s business climate? What can the state do to foster the creation of more family-supporting jobs?
Young: Maryland’s business climate is average and improving but not where it needs to be to combat Maryland’s brand of not being business friendly. We must spur Baltimore’s economic dynamism and the growth potential of the entire DMV. We must invest in infrastructure projects to increase economic connectivity between the DC suburbs and the Baltimore metropolitan area. We must raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour and keep the new minimum tied to the cost of living index. A living wage increases consumer confidence and spending. It adds significant stability to families in Maryland. It will have the effect of spurring the economy. We can further enhance economic dynamism in the state by adjusting the corporate tax rate and the combined tax rate for pass through entities. The corporate tax rate is over 2% higher than VA. To counter the balance sheet impact of the absolutely necessary $15 per hour minimum wage, we can look at reducing the corporate tax rate to 7.5%. This will help businesses pay for the labor cost increase and attract new businesses to the state. Small businesses provide most new net job growth and stabilize the economy. They must not be overburdened with taxes and costs. As such, we must reduce the combined tax rate for pass through entities. Most of these companies are small LLCs. They sometimes have a tax rate equal to the corporate rate. An excessive tax burden on small business dampens their ability to grow and kills jobs.
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?
Young: The Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights does not adequately balance protections for police and the public. It unduly prohibits certain information from reaching judicial and administrative scrutiny. If the law enforcement agency orders the law enforcement officer to submit to a test, examination, or interrogation, the results of the test, examination, or interrogation should be admissible and discoverable in a criminal proceeding against the law enforcement officer. Officers should have 5 days (currently 10) to secure representation during an investigation. This right to representation is standard for all unionized public employees; police included, but should not be used to stall an investigation as it can end up destroying public trust. Complainants of police misconduct should have 180 days, not 90 days, to submit their complaint.
What strategy would you adopt to address the opioid addiction and overdose crisis?
: I would follow the framework provided by Dr. Leana Wen, the Commissioner of Health for Baltimore City. She outlines that Baltimore’s focus is to: a. prevent deaths from overdose via expanding access to naloxone in certain hotspots in the city and expanding training on how to use naloxone to save lives, b. increase access to quality and effective on-demand treatment and provide long-term recovery support, and c. increase education and awareness in order to reduce stigma and encourage prevention and treatment. She outlines many details in her testimonial submission to the US House Oversight Committee (see https://oversight.house.gov/hearing/combating-opioid-crisis/
). I encourage everyone to read it. Dr. Wen has also helped secure a $1 co-pay for naloxone through Medicaid. This is tremendous as it increases access to the life saving drug. We must also increase education of the impact opioids can have on people, especially painkillers where people can form addiction unconsciously while recovering from a trauma. As someone who has dealt with the ramification of opioid addiction in my family, I believe Dr. Wen’s approach to the crisis makes sense. We must treat addition like the disease it is. Criminalizing addiction has only broken families and destroyed communities.
What if anything should the state do to address income inequality?
Young: The state should seek to spur investments in small and minority owned businesses. Small businesses are the economic engine of America. Most new net job growth occurs in the small business sector. Maryland should seek to incentivize entrepreneurs who start businesses in the tax code and with grants. Increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour will dramatically increase income for many Marylanders. This will directly combat poverty by putting more money in people’s pockets and will help businesses in Maryland grown due to increased consumer spending. Access to job training opportunities for skills based workers enhances the workforce and increases the opportunity for individuals to sustain themselves. These training opportunities should also be made available for the re-entry community.
Do the state’s Public Information Act and open meetings laws adequately ensure Marylanders’ ability to exercise oversight of the government?
Young: Maryland laws can be strengthened to open more meetings to the public. There have been numerous instances of decision made behind closed doors and with processes that do not allow for the public to comment adequately. We should always embrace transparency, as it is always net positive in our democracy. Elected officials should champion transparent decision-making.