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?
Carter: Yes, Of course. The Kirwan Commission has released its initial recommendations to create a world class education system in Maryland through a new statewide funding formula. The Commission endorses a funding formula that considers the needs of at risk students, which include low income students, students with language barriers, students with disabilities and students living in high concentration of poverty. I am fully supportive of a funding structure that takes these factors into consideration. Baltimore City Public Schools have been historically, unconstitutionally, underfunded. I will advocate legislation to implement the full recommendations of the Kirwan Commission which hopefully will reflect an adequate funding formula for the students across Maryland, and Baltimore City in particular.
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?
Carter: Maryland is unique compared to other states because the state’s investment in transit is almost as much as highways (approx; $8 Billion for transit, $10 Billion for highways). However, the share of transit funds dedicated to the Baltimore Metropolitan Area, although it is the largest metro area in the state, has always been secondary and insufficient for the Baltimore region and Baltimore City in particular. The state has some of the oldest infrastructure in the nation. Historic funding methods do not produce revenues needed to perform the massive reconstruction programs needed to upgrade bridges, roads, transit systems and more as well as to invest in new construction and technology. Baltimore’s transit needs are not being adequately served. Nearly, one-third of our residents are transit dependent and the travel time, from the most impacted areas to major job centers, can be up to 2 hours each way. Baltimore Link has begun to upgrade the network and technology but there is more that needs to be done to properly serve the transit dependent population as well as making transit a viable first choice for all travelers. Transit in the city is not interconnected and it only serves specific areas or pockets. The state has funded a transit study and this study needs to be integrated with a comprehensive transportation plan for the city to ensure a complete transportation system that provides for connectivity and access from all modes to all people. The metro should be expanded in all directions.
Do you support the legalization of recreational 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?
Carter: Legislators should continue to advocate for strong environmental protection legislation, utilize the best technology to deal with storm water runoff, especially in Baltimore with so much impervious surface, and invest in educating youth regarding the health of the Chesapeake Bay, our role in it, and its impact on our lives. For more than 4 decades, the Inner Harbor has been Baltimore’s thriving center of entertainment and tourism. It needs upgrades, however, to remain a draw for local residents and millions who visit Baltimore. There is a goal of making the harbor safe for swimming and fishing by the end of the decade. The state should partner with the Baltimore City Department Public Works to provide funding to upgrade our aged sewage system.
What steps should Maryland take to ensure the broadest possible access to affordable health care?
Carter: The Maryland General Assembly passed bipartisan legislation (HB 1795/SB 1267) intended to stabilize health care insurance rates for the next several years. I support a single payer, healthcare for all, system. Slowly, but surely, I believe we will get there.
What role should the state play in helping Baltimore address violent crime?
Carter: Legislative leaders should allow the passage of legislation to end and prevent lead poisoning of children; adequately fund the schools; provide funding for community based up-lift, conflict resolution, and anti-violence programs, such as: expansion of the Safe Streets initiative, Operation Ceasefire, expungement eligibility and access, expand Ban-the-Box to make it actually work, and increase resources and authority for civilian governance and oversight of police, and expand pre-trial services and diversion programs. The solutions to violence reduction require a cultural shift that can be achieved through policies intended to uplift and repair damage of decades’ long discrimination and disinvestment
How would you characterize Maryland’s business climate? What can the state do to foster the creation of more family-supporting jobs?
Carter: Baltimore has world class institutions of higher learning, innovative healthcare companies, and the thriving Port of Baltimore. There are great opportunities in Baltimore, but structural barriers and historic inequities make it difficult for many of our residents to obtain economic opportunities. We must encourage and incentivize employers to increase their investments in local neighborhoods and continue to support the RISE Zone program. We must also ensure our educational institutions adequately train and prepare our residents for the 21st century workplace.
Do you support the creation of a non-partisan, independent body to draw legislative and congressional district maps after each census?
Carter: Absolutely. It is essential democracy to ensure a fair and impartial process in determining congressional and legislative district boundaries.
Does the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights adequately balance protections for police and the public? Should it be changed, and if so, how?
Carter: The only effective way to improve police misconduct and the culture of corruption within the Baltimore Police Department is to legislate expanded authority for adequately resourced civilian oversight. The ability to independently investigate incidents of police misconduct is essential to ensure accountability and restore the public’s trust and confidence in the Baltimore Police Department. The legislature just established a temporary commission to investigate BPD Gun Trace Task Force. The better approach would be to authorize the Civilian Review Board, a permanent agency, to have unlimited investigatory and governance power. I was the legislative leader on law enforcement reform and changes to the LEOBR. If not repealed altogether, it should be amended to carve out exemptions for civilian oversight agency to have broadened authority
What strategy would you adopt to address the opioid addiction and overdose crisis?
Carter: Legislation that would make a difference in the opioid crisis includes funding of evidence based treatment on demand through 24⁄7 crisis centers, and supporting efforts to protect and strengthen the Affordable Care Act. I support the availability of naloxone and continuing funding for diversion programs such as LEAD (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion) and require treatment in our jails. The city, in partnership with the state, will be opening its first ever Stabilization Center. The center will provide 24⁄7 specialized, on demand treatment for individuals with substance abuse disorders and mental health concerns. All community health matters must include ending lead poisoning
What if anything should the state do to address income inequality?
Carter: We must ensure a state wide approach to pass legislation to raise the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour to improve life for all of our residents. We must assist and uplift those that struggle to survive and struggle to provide for their families and pay for housing and living expenses. Maryland is one of the wealthiest states in the country with one of the highest costs of living. Increasing the minimum wage, working to ensure a living wage, and legislating and enforcing anti-discrimination laws and policies to ensure gender and racial pay equity is essential to support working families and improve our economy.
Do the state’s Public Information Act and open meetings laws adequately ensure Marylanders’ ability to exercise oversight of the government?
Carter: No, I sponsored legislation to create a Public Information Act Compliance Act Compliance Board. Maryland’s transparency rating has been among the lowest in the country. All persons should be entitled to have access to information about the affairs of government and the official acts of elected officials. There is room for improvement in the area of government transparency and oversight.