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?
Roland: Yes and yes. By implementing the Fix the Fund Act, which should reallocate the revenue from the casinos, and also legalizing the recreational distribution and sales of marijuana. By doing so we can follow the model of Colorado, using revenues gained from the tax of the sales to establish adequate educational programs and reforms.
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?
Roland: No, it is not appropriately balanced, there is a clear emphasis on roads over transit. The cancellation of the Red Line shows an obvious disconnect from impoverished communities from the holder of the funds for those projects. The Red Line would have employed new populations and made jobs more easily accessible to those communities. Cities, communities, particularly impoverished communities, are in desperate need of improved public transit. They are an invaluable resource, they are worth the investment. They are a credit to the people and the environment instead of lining the pockets of a select group like focusing on the roads does.
Do you support the legalization of recreational marijuana?
Roland: Yes, as mentioned above, we should use the tax revenue to bolster our education system. I also believe the legalization of recreational marijuana would relieve many facets of the heroin epidemic. Our elderly, our mentally ill, our children deserve that.
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?
Roland: Say no to the Keystone XL pipeline. Shutdown any and all ties with fossil fuel. No extraction projects, look into storage. Streamline all energy projects to renewable energy. Funnel research into renewables: Hydrogen, particularly battery cells and storage projects. Stay away from hydro-electric. Focus on solar and wind power and broadening our current projects Using algae as a source of power. We need to preserve all of our water resources that feed the Bay and encourage our surrounding States to do likewise. As for cleaning up the current damage, we can consider implementing cleanup projects like Baltimore’s Mr. Trash Wheel and encourage volunteer cleanup efforts.
What steps should Maryland take to ensure the broadest possible access to affordable health care?
Roland: We can show the rest of the country what Single Payer looks like, especially if we legalize recreational marijuana, and have the extra revenue.
What role should the state play in helping Baltimore address violent crime?
Roland: There is no easy answer to this. Clearly there is institutional racism happening in positions of power, on the police force. Certain groups have recognized it and are rightly angry. Add in the fact that poverty is criminalized that what has happened is transpiring. If I am elected, I want to make it clear that this is something that I want to hear from the people of Maryland about, what they want the States involvement to be and what they think the best options for involvement are. Even if I am not elected, I really hope they will not remain silent and speak up, because something needs to change.
How would you characterize Maryland’s business climate? What can the state do to foster the creation of more family-supporting jobs?
Roland: There are entirely too many corporations involved in entirely too many industries. But there is a lot of hope because there are a lot of entrepreneurs out there. We need to hold corporations to a higher standard and insist that they pay their workers a living wage. We need to give small businesses, family businesses, and startups better tax breaks, tax incentives, and help with funding.
Do you support the creation of a non-partisan, independent body to draw legislative and congressional district maps after each census?
Roland: Yes, I support anything that rids the world of gerrymandering.
Does the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights adequately balance protections for police and the public? Should it be changed, and if so, how?
Roland: It seems fair. However, I am not a lawyer, and the document is long and has complicated terminology, and without someone with a legal background explaining each subsection to me, it’s difficult for me to draw a definite conclusion. I need more information.
What strategy would you adopt to address the opioid addiction and overdose crisis?
Roland: We need more clinics, better access to those clinics, that those clinics accept Medicare, eliminating entrapment outside or near these clinics for the purpose of catching the people utilizing the services “under the influence”. Further, improved mental health services, better alternatives to pain management, better community inclusion, and decriminalizing poverty and addiction. Single Payer and legalized recreational marijuana would go a long way to help the crisis.
What if anything should the state do to address income inequality?
Roland: Corporations need to be held accountable for paying their employees a living wage and paying for the welfare programs their employees are forced to use. Small businesses need to be given better tax cuts, tax incentives, and funding. We also need improved social programs for low-income families. Everyone wants to work or do something meaningful. We need to stop punishing people for living in poverty, not having access to education, or knowing what resources are available in their community. Making higher education more accessible and more affordable is something we need to work on as well.
Do the state’s Public Information Act and open meetings laws adequately ensure Marylanders’ ability to exercise oversight of the government?
Roland: Seemingly, provided that the overseeing bodies are honorable.