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?
Boteler: What is needed less bureaucracy, more local control and better partnership with parents. Allow teachers to teach instead of teaching to tests. Encourage all forms of educations (public,private,online,and homeschooling.) Enhance vocational and trade skills training not just College. Make public schools competitive allowing parents a voucher to use. This Commission wants to increase spending by$1.9 Billion. This results in more bureaucracy in our Education system, but not necessary in better results for our children.
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?
Boteler: Long record of support for transportation improvements I was lead sponsor of four 8th District Streetscape projects.) Will not support increases in gas tax. Transportation Trust Fund has enough money for worthy transit projects not new state programs. Need to evaluate the metro bus system for cost efficiencies. Make sure the Trust Fund lockbox is not raided. I do believe that we need to look at the future to make sure we have adequate transient systems.
Do you support the legalization of recreational marijuana?
Boteler: No, I do not support legalization of recreational marijuana. I have no problem with it’s use for medical reasons. Recreational use can lead to the use of heroin and opioid painkillers as has been the case in Colorado . My concern is you will have people driving cars, operating machinery etc. and this could cause severe harm to those around them. Personally, I have seen the results of recreational marijuana use in my family.
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?
Boteler: Challenges I consider important (Chesapeake Bay, Energy Development, Bee population survival). Reducing the impact on the environment is crucial. Stop seeing people as separate from nature or necessarily harmful to the environment. Allow citizens the freedom to choose how to live, but accept the responsibility to pay to keep the environment clean. Using a cooperative and property-rights-based approach to solve problems, and resort to regulations only when it is the only effective option. This is a better solution than government mandates that rob our citizens of their right to own and use their properties.
What steps should Maryland take to ensure the broadest possible access to affordable health care?
Boteler: Our health-care system needs big reforms to bring down costs and improve access to care. The question is how do we change it? Part of the answer are market-based reforms, which will inject real competition into the marketplace, improve quality of care, and ultimately drive down costs. The truthful answer to better care is a market system that puts the patients first and not the government in charge.
What role should the state play in helping Baltimore address violent crime?
Boteler: The State has the responsibility for the public safety of it’s citizens and to insure confidence in the criminal justice system. The Governor needs to partner with city leaders to help develop strategies in dealing not only with violent crime but lesser crimes that often leads to a life of violent crime. The State should work with the city to develop a corrections mission statement. Help with locating assistance and resources that are available by foundations and federal agencies. Look at what other states have done with modernizing sentencing strategies. Lawmakers in Kentucky have facilitated court involvement to reduce the recidivism rate. In 2013, risk and needs assessments were included in presentence reports, allowing judges to review a defendant’s likelihood of future criminal behavior in considering different sentencing options. In Virginia, the courts use risk assessment to identify nonviolent offenders for community supervision, rather than prison, when appropriate. Create economic development zones where citizens living in communities that are affected by violent crime have opportunities to create wealth and jobs that pay well. Support programs that help stabilize and support the Family structure.
How would you characterize Maryland’s business climate? What can the state do to foster the creation of more family-supporting jobs?
Boteler: Private sector job growth was double the national average. Maryland’s economy is stronger than it has been in years. According to Baltimore economist Anirban Basu “This economy that has been picking up momentum in 2017 is going to pick up even more momentum in 2018.” The job growth of 2.2 percent outpaced the national rate of 1.4, and ranked the state sixth for job growth. My concern is how we go about giving incentives to businesses (being careful that we are not picking winners and losers, and not creating corporate welfare). Our goal needs to be a market approach by creating a level playing field for all. One way to accomplish this objective is by eliminating onerous regulations that plague small business along with streamlining the permit processes. This frees up capital that they can use for innovation and better wages. Reducing the tax burden on businesses is also very important in helping overall the business climate.
Do you support the creation of a non-partisan, independent body to draw legislative and congressional district maps after each census?
Boteler: It is very important that Communities should not be so divided. There are communities that have so many representatives that it makes it difficult for citizens to know whom they should call when a problem arises. The process of redistricting should be placed in the hands of an independent commission with all stakeholders represented.
Does the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights adequately balance protections for police and the public? Should it be changed, and if so, how?
Boteler: The problem with policing is how do we regulate police authority to allow officers to enforce the law at the same time protecting civil liberties and minimizing social costs. The state grants authority for police officers to restrain in order to reduce fear, promote civil order, and pursue criminal justice. Many times officers are faced with making split second decisions when faced with very difficult situations. This makes for a complex situation in disciplining or removing bad officers, including but not limited to those who have been convicted of felonies in the courts. The Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights at this time does adequately balance protections for police and the citizens.
What strategy would you adopt to address the opioid addiction and overdose crisis?
Boteler: The opioid overdose epidemic is a major threat to the public’s health. The misuse and abuse of prescription opioids are complex problems requiring a comprehensive and educational approach. The legislature needs to respond with guidelines on the responsible use of opioids. Like what they did in Ohio, we need to adopt the following guidelines: A) Emergency Department/Acute Care Facility Opioid Prescribing Guidelines, B) Opioid Prescribing Guidelines for Treatment of Chronic Pain, and C) Opioid Prescribing Guidelines for Treatment of Acute Pain. The purpose of these guidelines are to urge prescribers to consider nonopioid therapies. Secondly, Pharmacists are a crucial component to addressing opioid abuse by promoting responsible prescribing and adopting prevention practices. We need to allow them to engage in potentially difficult conversations with patients. Finally, increase naloxone distribution to first responders, with a focus on reducing the stigma associated with the use of naloxone .
What if anything should the state do to address income inequality?
Boteler: The government should not intervene by attempting to control income inequality. In a free society, income inequality is a necessary component of a productive capitalist economy. Many of the social ills that are linked to income inequality are repercussions of poverty itself and not directly related to income inequality. The Government should focus its resources on helping the truly poor ( improving public education, providing remedial training and schooling for adults, opening up opportunities for economic advancement giving them the ability to support themselves.). I believe that the real issue is not income inequality, but the level of economic mobility. The results of bad federal and state policies has resulted in an anemic economy with wage stagnation and the restriction of upward mobility.
Do the state’s Public Information Act and open meetings laws adequately ensure Marylanders’ ability to exercise oversight of the government?
Boteler: The purpose of the Public Information Act is to increase the public’s faith in government, ensure accountability to the public, and strengthen the public’s ability to participate effectively. There are explicit requirements for when meetings may be closed to the public, however there have been numerous violations with little consequences for the violators. Public shaming seems to be only punishment that is viable for the public. The Maryland Open Meetings Act itself has only the mildest of consequences for offending agencies. The legislature needs to tighten up the existing law by having tougher consequences for violators.