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?
Hines: The Commission on Innovation and Excellence establishes new programs and makes funding recommendations for the following: Provide strong support systems for children and their families before students arrive at school Provide more resources for at-risk students than for others Develop world-class, highly coherent instructional systems Create clear gateways for students through the system, set to global standards, with no dead ends Assure an abundant supply of highly qualified teachers Redesign schools to be places in which teachers will be treated as professionals, with incentives and support to continuously improve their professional practice and the performance of their students Create an effective system of career and technical education and training Create a leadership development system that develops leaders at all levels to manage such systems effectively Institute a governance system that has the authority and legitimacy to develop coherent, powerful policies and is capable of implementing them at scale In addition, I think we must do all we can to increase the pay of our teachers, fund their pensions (so they do not have to) and provide them with the resources they need. I believe we must find additional avenues of revenue to fund our schools. I would advocate for the legalization of cannabis and use the majority of the tax revenue gained to support our teachers. Out teachers are hour heroes and they should be given the same professional respect and pay as similar professionals with equal education.
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?
Hines: I would like to see Maryland expand their bus lines and provide more transportation across the counties. I would like to see expanded bus service to hospitals, places of worship, and educational centers like community colleges, technical schools, and colleges. I recently heard of some students in Edgewood Maryland taking 3 hours to get to Harford Community College and 3 hours to get home using our current transit system. We should find cost-effective means to provide this transportation. Can our school buses that sit unused most of the day be contracted to provide additional services at a reasonable rate?
Do you support the legalization of recreational marijuana?
Hines: Yes, I do and I would like to provide our farmers in Baltimore and Harford County and the rest of the counties in this state an opportunity to benefit from the growth of cannabis. In addition, I would like to allocate all tax monies gained from the sale of cannabis to go towards paying our teachers significantly more, funding their pensions and providing them with the resources they need. In addition, any money not going towards education should be allocated to our health care system.
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?
: The Chesapeake Bay is our most precious resource. It is the largest estuary in the United States. It is a true wonder of the world and it lies in our backyard. We must do everything we can to counter the regulations that the federal government is rolling back. The health of the Chesapeake Bay has improved over the past 5 years creating real potential for growth to the crab and oyster population. Our local seafood industry will thrive if these efforts are continued. We must keep clean water and clean air front and center on the agenda. Recent proposals by Trump along with many of his Republican leaders give the states rather than the EPA the ultimate decision-making authority over our national waters is a BAD IDEA. Under Trump, there are 67 environmental rules on the way out. Please see this article: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/10/05/climate/trump-environment-rules-reversed.html
. I believe this is not a bipartisan issue and I will reach out to all legislators to identify which of the above rules have been rolled back and propose measures to counter the effects of this anti-EPA movement. Let save the bay. Let’s save our Drinking Water. Let’s protect our air.
What steps should Maryland take to ensure the broadest possible access to affordable health care?
Hines: I think this is such an important issue. I have been helped significantly by the Affordable Care Act. I believe the State of Maryland does an effective job of taking care of its citizens. Good health care should not be dependent upon your earnings and wealth. Everyone deserves good health care. Chris Rock, in one of his stand-up routines, said that if you are poor then you are sent home to die. If you have money, you can live a few more years. The mother of a coworker of my husband was sent home to die because she had cancer and she did not have health care. This was in a different state, but I do not want that to happen here. I am for universal health care. I am for doing whatever can be done to ensure the greatest number of Marylanders are insured. There are ways to take care of our citizens without increasing taxes. First, I would tax the pharmaceutical companies and take those proceeds to apply to our health care system. I would also fund health care with a portion of the revenue from the legalization of cannabis. I would also support the litigation being initiated to sue the pharmaceutical companies involved with opioid epidemic and use some of the proceeds to also fund our health care system.
What role should the state play in helping Baltimore address violent crime?
Hines: I believe there should be close cooperation between our state police, our local police and Baltimore city police. I think we should have a task force, possibly as part of the State Police, to coordinate policing efforts and intelligence across the state. I believe a great deal of the crime in the city and the violence that surrounds it is a result of drug distribution. This task force would focus on curtailing the distribution of these drugs. I would support Mayor Pugh’s recent programs to focus on specific drug areas. She has started a new program to provide support to certain high crime areas. Rather than focusing on just arresting criminals, she is bringing the Massachusetts-based ROCA program to the city. This program focuses on providing job training and job opportunities to at-risk youth aged 18 to 24 and has been very successful elsewhere. In addition, she has identified 4 areas as part of the transformation neighborhoods initiative where the city is beefing up resources to address high crime areas. In additon to policing they are focusing on trash removal, social services, job creation etc. I believe the state should assist the city in funding these programs.
How would you characterize Maryland’s business climate? What can the state do to foster the creation of more family-supporting jobs?
Hines: I believe we need far more non-governmental jobs in Harford County. We have a wonderfully large area on our Route 40 corridor that is ripe for development and jobs. I would like to provide incentives and low-cost loans to promote small businesses in this area. In addition, I would like to utilize our technology resources from Harford Community College and elsewhere be used to assist new businesses in their expansion.
Do you support the creation of a non-partisan, independent body to draw legislative and congressional district maps after each census?
Hines: Yes. Our current maps do not make much sense. You have various districts like mine that cross from one county to another. I think it would make far more sense to base these districts within specific counties instead of spreading them across.
Does the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights adequately balance protections for police and the public? Should it be changed, and if so, how?
Hines: I would like to establish a board that includes a number of citizens that review the actions and behavior of our police departments. Allowing only the mayor, or county executives to oversee police behavior does nothing to encourage the police to perform self-reflection and to address issues before they get out of hand.
What strategy would you adopt to address the opioid addiction and overdose crisis?
Hines: I think that Harford County is doing a superb job of fighting the opioid epidemic. They are actively training recovery coaches, holding training seminars, conducting plays, sending their representatives to schools and are active in educating the community. I would follow the lead of Harford County. I would like to see more people who are trained in recovery, be required to provide some type of volunteer service to give back to the community. Most of the people who work in this field are just too emotionally drained to give more at the end of their day. So, I encourage training people outside of the field. What else can we do in the state of Maryland? Provide training to students (do not give this task to teachers) on how to cope with the terrible issues we face in life such as being ugly, called fat, stupid, etc. How to deal with rejection and life’s ills. This is what causes people to turn to drugs. We must teach coping skills. This will help with addiction and violence. I am going to be self-serving here. My husband and I started Quit The Habit to provide recovery support to people in recovery from heroin and opioid addiction. I want this site to be the hub for people in recovery, anywhere in the nation to come and get and give support. We should train more recovery coaches and get them to my site to help the public. It is self-funded and free.
What if anything should the state do to address income inequality?
Hines: We should provide free community college. In addition, we should bring back vocational training in high school and we should also provide vocational education after high school. We should either add these classes to community colleges or set up new vocational schools. In addition, we should provide tax incentives for people in the trades to bring on paid interns to train them in their field. Additional incentives should be given to high-risk members of society who are trying to rebuild their lives.
Do the state’s Public Information Act and open meetings laws adequately ensure Marylanders’ ability to exercise oversight of the government?
Hines: No. There is inadequate coverage of the bills that are proposed and what is enacted in Annapolis and in our local jurisdictions. In the past, our local papers had sufficient resources to cover all state and local events. I would like to see the state and quite frankly our nation, provide funding to our most valuable resources - our national, state and local reporters. Their ranks have been diminished yet they, to a large degree, keep us informed and educated about the workings of our government. I believe we should find a way to fund our reporters and support our newspapers. This is critical to our democracy.