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?
Holliday: I do support the finding to the commission and would be committed to funding the reforms with the money we already have first, the current administration has become way too generous in giving public funds to private schools. When our teachers and public schools are being underfunded and do not have access to the resources needed for both teachers and students alike I think we need to reevaluate where we are sending public money. Secondly we need to continue to ensure money intended for education is locked in the education budget, I would be in favor of legalizing sports betting in Maryland with all tax revenue going to our public schools, and unlike with what happened with the casino money it will be done correctly.
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?
Holliday: The Governor’s decision not to approve the Red Line was a huge mistake for the future of Baltimore and Maryland. Transportation is at the top of the list when businesses look to relocate or expand to other cities. Amazon’s decision not to choose Baltimore was widely based on our lack of transportation options and the systems inefficiency. I would be in favor of a line that would connect both sides of Baltimore County and Baltimore City. The new bus system has been a disaster according to daily commuters who I have spoken to, many saying their trip times have increased. Improving transportation options and systems in the Baltimore metro-area would be my top legislative priority in regards to transportation, it is important that this problem is resolved sooner rather than later if we want the Baltimore area to appeal to businesses. Transportation will be a key piece to bringing employment back to the area. I would also be in favor of investing in a high-speed rail that would connect Baltimore-Washington, D.C. and beyond. By creating a high speed rail we would be cutting commuters trip to the two cities while also lowering our carbon emissions.
Do you support the legalization of recreational marijuana?
Holliday: I would vote in favor of a bill legalizing recreational marijuana in Maryland. While I do not encourage drug use of any kind I do not see marijuana as being any more harmful than alcohol, cigarettes, or other harmful tobacco products that are legally accessible to the public. Law enforcement officials and residents alike I have spoken to believe it is time to clear our criminal justice system of marijuana related cases, especially at a time when much harder and more dangerous drugs like heroin and opioids are killing over a thousand of our fellow citizens a year. Law enforcement efforts should be diverted to targeting opioid dealers and violent criminals.
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?
Holliday: We have come far as a state over the last few decades but there is still much work to be done. With the Trump Administration’s decision to cut nearly 90% of federal Chesapeake Bay cleanup funding Maryland must come up with the funding to continue to restore and protect the progress we have already made in protecting the Bay. Among holding corporate polluters accountable I would like Maryland to enforce a statewide ban on plastic bags and Styrofoam containers/cups. Another environmental challenge facing our state is deforestation and overdevelopment which attributes to runoff, we must more responsibly and carefully manage development in the state especially of areas within the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
What steps should Maryland take to ensure the broadest possible access to affordable health care?
Holliday: Healthcare is one of the top issues voters would like to see addressed. With many Marylanders premiums skyrocketing up to 100% and the Affordable Care Act under attack, now more than ever Maryland needs to offer healthcare security for its citizens. If it can in fact be funded and sustained I would be in favor of a state-funded Medicare for all system. That would still take some time to implement if passed. In the meantime I am in favor of a reinsurance program. Under a reinsurance program that state would pick up costs of many of the high risk enrollees who are currently flooding the marketplace resulting in skyrocketing premiums on the lower risk customers. The biggest issue is the Trump Administration repealing the individual mandate. It is keeping many low-risk customers from voluntarily entering the marketplace. So the main goal of the state would have to be encouraging greater, more diverse enrollment into the market.
What role should the state play in helping Baltimore address violent crime?
Holliday: I believe the state has an integral role in assisting Baltimore City address the violent crime that has plagued the city for decades costing thousands of lives. The state should continue to offer resources to law enforcement and hold repeat violent offenders accountable. Establishing healthier police-community relations is also key to ending violent crime, citizens are the eyes and ears of neighborhoods. The more trust between law enforcement and citizens the less power violent criminals have over communities. The state should offer funding to hold seminars for officers on how to best build relations with the community and also hold annual meet and greets in partnership with state and city officials to introduce police and the people they serve. Another approach is to invest in more programs that protect our youth from the streets and set them on a straight path forward through mentors, sports, and other extracurricular activities. Offering state funding to the city’s YouthWorks program which connects Baltimore’s youth to summer jobs would be another way to keep them off the streets. We as a city and state must do more than just “cleaning the streets” the problem lies deeper than that and until we get to the root problems that allow violent crime to flourish it will be sure to continue.
How would you characterize Maryland’s business climate? What can the state do to foster the creation of more family-supporting jobs?
Holliday: Maryland has a healthy business climate but we can do better. We need to ensure that we are making the proper investments for our future by investing in areas such as transportation and infrastructure, particularly in the Baltimore metropolitan region. The first thing large employers look for when relocating or expanding is a state or cities transit system, this is an area we must improve especially if we want to remain competitive with our neighbors in Virginia. My top legislative priority in reference to jobs would be introducing legislation that would make private companies that receive tax breaks from the state be required to agree to a Labor Peace Agreement. Such legislation would give employees an opportunity to unionize should they vote to do so. Tax breaks can be useful in terms of competing with other states but they too often benefit the companies and CEO’s than they do workers. This legislation would ensure working families higher wages and benefits.
Do you support the creation of a non-partisan, independent body to draw legislative and congressional district maps after each census?
Holliday: Yes, Maryland voters should have a fair opportunity to elect the candidates they wish to serve them not the other way around, for too long elected officials have chosen their voters through the process of gerrymandering. In a democratic society I find that to be unacceptable. If elected I would support and vote for legislation that would reform our current redistricting policies and put the power of elections in the hands of voters, not politicians.
Does the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights adequately balance protections for police and the public? Should it be changed, and if so, how?
Holliday: At the current time I would not be in favor of changing the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights though I would be open to further reviewing the matter as a legislator.
What strategy would you adopt to address the opioid addiction and overdose crisis?
Holliday: The biggest healthcare issue facing our state is without a doubt addiction and the opioid crisis. Having lost my father a little over a year ago to his battle with addiction this is an issue that has been the center of my campaign and the reason I am running. If elected I would introduce legislation that would require additional oversight over pharmaceutical & medical industries, implementing tighter regulations over opioid manufacturers and distributors, who often push and bribe doctors to prescribe their product, under such legislation these companies will be held accountable. I would also advocate the state sue any pharmaceutical companies involved in deceptive marketing practices and hold them liable for the costs incurred by the state relating the epidemic. Finally we must offer more individualized treatment for addicts by abandoning the one size fits all approach and offering services that apply to the individual by integrating substance use treatment into primary care. I would also push to establish state funded residential treatment centers that include outpatient as well as inpatient services.
What if anything should the state do to address income inequality?
Holliday: It is no secret as CEO’s wages have increased dramatically for the few decades average workers wages have remained almost stagnant. This is why I am in favor of a $15 minimum wage for the state of Maryland with protections for our local small businesses.
Do the state’s Public Information Act and open meetings laws adequately ensure Marylanders’ ability to exercise oversight of the government?
Holliday: Without transparency in government there is no democracy. I do not believe Maryland’s Public Information Act and open meeting laws are adequate enough. Some departments and areas are government are better than others in providing information but others not so much particularly from the criminal justice system. It should not be a hurdle for the press and concerned citizens to have access to public information of any kind. As a state we must prioritize expanding transparency and accessibility of government functions and records.