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?
Larkin: I support excellence in our schools. I agree with some of the findings of the Kirwan Commission, but disagree with others. I think there are multiple ways to improve education in Maryland. Each year the school system requests and receives additional funding. I think we need to evaluate the rate of return on the dollars and make sure the dollars are going into the classroom for students and teachers. I also believe we need to make sure students who are on the college prep path have the classes needed to be successful in college and make sure schools are offering the right amount of job training and other vocational programs for students who do not plan to pursue college.
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?
Larkin: I drive the Baltimore Beltway and I-95 daily and I believe we need to look at all matters of transportation in the region. Again, I go back to are state taxpayers getting a worthy rate of return on the public transportation needs in the region, particularly light rail. The current Administration in Annapolis has worked to improve bus routes in the region and this is a step in the right direction.
Do you support the legalization of recreational marijuana?
Larkin: No, I do not support legalized marijuana.
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?
Larkin: The Chesapeake Bay is one of the state’s greatest natural resources and draws people from all over the region to our state to enjoy. Many in our State rely on the Bay for their livelihood, while others simply enjoy its recreational opportunities. I am committed to making sure the Bay is safe for all Marylanders and others to enjoy. The state has made significant progress over the last twenty years cleaning up the Bay and I support efforts to maintain the health of the Bay.
What steps should Maryland take to ensure the broadest possible access to affordable health care?
Larkin: Health care is too costly. I’m focused on lowering the price of insurance premiums for hard working families. The costs associated with Obamacare are not sustainable to Maryland taxpayers and my priority is lowering the cost for Marylanders so they can afford the care they need.
What role should the state play in helping Baltimore address violent crime?
Larkin: The leaders of the City of Baltimore must get tough on criminals. It is the murder capital of the country. That is not a statistic anyone wants Maryland to be known for. All levels of law enforcement must work together to make the streets of Baltimore safer. We cannot ignore the impact that the opioid epidemic is having in our city and its correlation to higher crime. Instead of talking about stricter gun laws, let’s try focusing on enforcing some of the ones we have on the books.
How would you characterize Maryland’s business climate? What can the state do to foster the creation of more family-supporting jobs?
Larkin: The business climate is improving but there is still much to be done in order to make the business climate stronger in the state. For too long, leaders in Annapolis have made it difficult with burdensome overregulation and increased taxes/fees. Small businesses are the economic engine in my district and the state. We need to remove barriers to help businesses grow and thrive. The legislature continues to be of the mindset that big businesses drive the economy, but it really is small businesses. My priority is repealing unnecessary taxes/fees and regulations so small business owners can thrive, not just survive.
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?
Larkin: Our men and women who work everyday to keep Marylanders safe and arrest criminals need to know we support them. I believe the Law Enforcement Bill of Rights is a step in the right direction. It does not protect law enforcement officers who commit crimes from prosecution, like the ones people read about in Baltimore City.
What strategy would you adopt to address the opioid addiction and overdose crisis?
Larkin: First get tougher on the drug dealers and producers. Increase the penalty for jail and fines for these individuals who are dealing death in our communities. This crisis knows no geographic or socioeconomic bounds. We also must teach children earlier about the harmful repercussions with opioid use.
What if anything should the state do to address income inequality?
Larkin: The state should not be telling its citizens where they need to live or work. Individuals in difficult circumstances or low-income areas can be and are successful. We must celebrate, advocate, and highlight these success stories to continue to inspire others.
Do the state’s Public Information Act and open meetings laws adequately ensure Marylanders’ ability to exercise oversight of the government?
Larkin: If the open meeting laws are properly followed then yes I believe they are appropriate. When I’m in the legislature I will push for online viewing of committee hearings and floor debate.