2018 Maryland election results

Jesse Colvin

Jesse Colvin
  • Democrat
  • Age: 34
  • Residence: Perry Hall

About Jesse Colvin


-The Park School (High school) -Duke University (B.A. in history and Arabic) -Columbia University (Master of International Affairs in International Security Policy, the Middle East, and Arabic)


-English language teacher (Damascus, Syria) -Intelligence officer and Army Ranger (US Army; deployments to Afghanistan and year forward-stationed near the demilitarized zone in South Korea) -Internal fraud investigator (Barclays Capital) -Management consultant (Toffler Associates)


Trump record
How do you assess the Trump administration so far?
Colvin: This administration, like Andy Harris, has failed to end the divisiveness that has recently marked our country. And no matter what you believe about specific policies, ultimately we cannot lead this country to greater heights unless we end the “us vs. them” attitude that has infected our body politic. As Nelson Mandela once said, it is easy to break down and destroy; the heroes are those who make peace and build. That is why I chose to run for this office. I’m not a career politician trying to climb higher on the political ladder. I am running because I see the self-inflicted wound of divisiveness from which our society is presently suffering and feel obliged to try to staunch it. We don’t have time to waste. Washington is wholly lacking in common-sense, civility, and courage. The world is going through big changes. Some leaders want us to hide from those changes. Others want to pretend we can simply turn the clocks back to yesterday. Many want to blame others to distract from the fact that they offer no solutions and lack the courage to speak truth to power. I refuse to do any of that. Unlike Andy Harris, I won’t hide from the big issues that face our district, our state, and our country. I will talk to anyone in Washington who is willing to work together to solve our problems with fair, long-term solutions. And I will always do what I believe is right, not what is convenient.
2017 Tax cuts
Do you support or oppose the federal tax cuts passed in 2017? What effect do you believe they will have on the economy?
Colvin: The 2017 tax bill championed by Andy Harris has proven—as expected—to be a historic mistake. Or, as Republican Senator Bob Corker put it, it will be remembered as “one of the worst votes” he has made in Congress. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office recently found that Andy Harris’ tax bill will explode the deficit by $1.9 trillion. The bill also erased much of the tax deduction for state and local taxes that hard-working Marylanders have depended on. Andy Harris voted to transfer that money into the bank account of the ultra-rich in the form of stock dividends and buybacks. In fact, CNN found that workers have received only $6 billion, while shareholders have lined their pockets with $171 billion. And now comes word that Andy Harris and his congressional buddies want to cut Medicare and Social Security from the folks who earned these benefits after a lifetime of work. We must create a tax system designed not to help the richest, but, instead, one that looks out for regular folks and helps the middle-class and those seeking to enter it. A tax system that does not pad the pocket of private jet owners but instead supports school teachers who buy supplies for their students. A system that does not give tax breaks to hedge fund managers, but instead supports working parents, small business owners, and burgeoning entrepreneurs. A system that does not encourage businesses to hire overseas, but instead rewards us for investing in ourselves and our communities.
National debt
Is the level of national debt a concern? What, if anything, should be done to reduce it or constrain its increase?
Colvin: The national debt is a looming crisis. And as interest rates rise, we will be forced to devote a growing proportion of our tax dollars not to building roads or researching the next great medical discovery, but to servicing that debt. Andy Harris brought Speaker Paul Ryan to our district to stump for the tax bill, which will add $1.9 trillion to the national debt. That is money our children and grandchildren will be paying back. And the bill has failed to stimulate economic growth, especially for those of us who don’t have millions of dollars in the stock market. One easy way to address the national debt is a no-brainer: end the so-called “carried interest” tax loophole that we give to hedge fund managers. Why does a hedge fund billionaire get to pay a lower tax rate than a nurse who works double shifts? Further, we must permit Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices which will help reduce federal healthcare spending. Why can private insurers negotiate but Medicare cannot? There is no good reason besides pure politics. We must get our fiscal house in order by sending more adults to Washington who are ready to make the hard choices that protect the vulnerable, the regular hard-working folks, and understand the long-term importance in investing in our infrastructure and economy while also trimming wasteful programs and tax giveaways to billionaires.
Income inequality
Is the level of economic inequality in the United States a problem, and if so, what should the federal government do to address it?
Colvin: Economic inequality is an enormous problem and one of the great challenges of our time. That’s why Andy Harris’ tax bill was a terrible mistake for which our kids and grandkids will be paying (literally and figuratively) for a long time. The bill gave permanent tax cuts to big banks and major corporations and their shareholders (CNN estimated that workers got $6 billion, while shareholders were rewarded with $171 billion) and more incentive for them to send money and jobs overseas, while tossing a few peanuts to regular Americans (and limiting their ability to deduct state and local taxes). Now, Andy Harris will attempt to use the $1.9 trillion in deficits incurred by this bill to cut Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, which will only exacerbate inequality – the rich will retire thanks to their newly-raised dividends, while average Americans will struggle to pay medical bills and buy groceries. How does this make sense? And how is it sustainable? To address this issue, Congress must (1) remake the tax system so it works for regular Americans, (2) invest in things like traditional and digital infrastructure to create jobs that cannot be outsourced and improve our daily lives, (3) strengthen, not weaken, programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and (4) invest in our children’s education, so each child (rich or poor) has the ability to reach her highest potential. By doing these things, and more, we can help to address inequality and make our national success more sustainable.
Gun laws
Should federal gun laws be changed, and if so, how?
Colvin: It is chilling to imagine my newborn son cowering in a classroom, exposed and frightened, listening to the sound of screaming and gunshots. I served as an Army Ranger and am trained in the safe, proficient use of weapons. My wife, Jordan, served as a police officer. She also knows quite well how to handle firearms - as well as the dangers of gun violence. We must reconcile the facts: (a) the Supreme Court has ruled that the Second Amendment protects gun ownership for individuals and (b) we must protect the public from gun violence. There are bipartisan, common-sense legislative ideas that we can pass. Some of those ideas are (a) universal background checks, (b) banning bump stocks and high-capacity magazines like the one used in the Las Vegas shooting, © better information sharing between federal and local law enforcement agencies, and (d) gun violence restraining orders that keep those with a history of domestic abuse from getting their hands on a gun. These are ideas that the great majority of Americans support. These are reforms that most gun owners support: 97% of Americans, for example, support universal background checks. I want to have serious conversations about every single potential way to solve this crisis. We owe it not merely to ourselves, but to those children whose last moments were spent cowering behind their desks. To the children and teachers who ended their lives to save their friends and students. They deserve no less.
What should Congress do with respect to the Affordable Care Act? Should it be strengthened, and if so, how? Should it be scrapped? If so, what if anything should replace it?
Colvin: Health care is a right. The ACA was an important step to ensure all Americans have access to comprehensive health insurance. With the growing opioid epidemic, that access is crucial: as the Kaiser Family Foundation noted, “Medicaid plays a central role in nation’s efforts to address opioid epidemic”. I believe people and business should have the right to purchase Medicare or private insurance if they so choose. My healthcare plan is two-fold. First, convert Medicaid and CHIP into branches of Medicare. Politicians have treated these programs as ways to score cheap political points. States spend approximately 25% of their budget on Medicaid and CHIP. Let’s bring the programs under the Medicare rubric with a standardized set of rule for all enrollees. Every person—rich or poor—deserves quality, comprehensive, and accessible health care. And children’s health must no longer be a political pawn. Second, I want to make Medicare available to any individual or business that wants to buy-into the program. Any adult who is interested in joining Medicare should have the right to buy-into it, and businesses should have that same opportunity for their employees. If you leave your job to start a business, you would keep your Medicare card and simply start making the payments yourself. This portability will give more people the confidence to create the next great start-up or simply take a chance on themselves.
Urban policy
What role should the federal government play in helping cities like Baltimore?
Colvin: As the son of a district court judge and public defender, I am acutely aware of many of the issues leaders and citizens in Baltimore confront daily. The federal government can play an important role in helping all cities or towns that want to invest in things like education, health care, and infrastructure. We need the federal government’s financial support and technical know-how to do that. But while the federal government can help, communities must take the lead role (and the responsibility) to make sure policies are enacted and administered that make sense locally. Because what works in Baltimore may not work in a small town like Bel Air or Berlin. Andy Harris is fond of using the challenges of Baltimore City as a political punching bag or a means of distracting from his dismal record on bringing solutions to major problems in our district. Most immediately, as the Representative from Maryland’s 1st Congressional district, I can bring cohesion to the federal delegation from our state.
What can Congress do to address the opioid epidemic?
Colvin: Future generations will judge our leaders by their response to the opioids epidemic. Under Andy Harris’ watch, our district’s drug-related deaths trend nearly 50% higher than the national average. And opioids don’t care about your political affiliation. So we must join together—regardless of our differences—to face this challenge. There is simply no time to wait. Congress must invest in prevention, treatment, and recovery - and there are some steps Congress can take. As to prevention, we must: (1) stop doctors from over-prescribing opioids; (2) help insurers better oversee opioid prescriptions; and (3) hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for the supply of prescription opioids. As to treatment, we must recognize that addiction is a public health issue and we must, therefore, integrate treatment into the rest of health care. That means we must (1) treat addiction when an addict comes into contact with emergency rooms, hospitals and clinics; (2) stop stigmatizing the medications that have been proven to help people recover; and (3) do a better job of analyzing data to understand where illicit versions of opioids are doing the most damage. The federal government’s main role in this crisis is funding and its role in Medicaid, which covers 40% of nonelderly adults who are addicted to opioids. And congressional candidates need to be honest: the work will cost a great deal of money. But, in the final analysis, it’s an investment in our families and our communities – and one that is worth making.
What changes if any should Congress make to our immigration and deportation laws and policies?
Colvin: Like every other non-Native American in this country, I am a descendant of immigrants. My great-great-grandfather arrived as an immigrant to this country through the Port of Baltimore in 1899. I remain awestruck by the courage it takes for each generation of immigrants who risk it all to make a better life for themselves and their families. Who often arrive with nothing and no one, but, within a generation or two, have a descendant running a Fortune 500 company, making medical breakthroughs, running for high office – or simply working hard and instilling that ethic in their children and grandchildren and adding to the fabric of this wonderful country. We need a comprehensive immigration plan that honors our “nation of immigrants” history, creates a path to citizenship for those who were either born here or came as children, offers a pathway to citizenship to aspiring Americans, and secures our border from criminals. Most of us agree with these goals: the only thing that has prevented it is Congress’s inability to make it happen. I will work with any other representatives to find common ground on these issues.
Free trade
Should the United States continue with the free trade policies it pursued for the last several decades, or should it enact restrictions in an attempt to help domestic industries?
Colvin: Any candidate can write here that he or she would oppose an imperfect trade agreement. But I seek to be a better candidate than that: to always be honest about my views and to always substantively consider issues and potential positive and negative effects of each bill before casting a vote. Because if elected officials and constituents fail to honestly and openly discuss issues, we each fail to do our part for our country. We must fight for better trade deals. Ones that protect workers and the environment better than existing trade agreements do. But we cannot hide from the fact that trade deals improve each nation, as a whole, that is party to a deal. NAFTA has created jobs throughout Canada, the United States, and Mexico and has opened up markets for farmers, which has been enormously beneficial to farmers in our district. And, as with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, trade agreements are often in our geopolitical interest and give us the opportunity to set the terms of trade for entire regions. TPP, for example, would have opened up markets to our businesses and farmers, set the strongest environmental standards of any trade agreement, improved worker protections for NAFTA countries, and set the region’s terms of trade - without China’s input and at China’s expense. Instead, we ended our involvement and the remaining parties got those benefits without us. We must not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
Do you support the Iran nuclear deal?
Colvin: I do support the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The Iranian nuclear deal, while imperfect, took important and concrete steps toward containing the threat posed by Iran through sanctions and smart, but firm diplomacy. I believe this remains the best path forward. The agreement has, so far, effectively stopped Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon. If the US were to unilaterally withdraw from the deal now, it would serve to embolden the regime in Tehran, antagonize our allies, and the tenets of the agreement would carry on with Washington now looking on from the outside. Living in Syria and serving four combat deployments to Afghanistan as an intelligence officer in the Army Rangers, I understand first-hand the threat the Iranian regime represents to our country, our allies, and our national interests. I believe very strongly that we must counter the Iranian regime across the Middle East and beyond, be it within the context of the Syrian civil war, support to Hezbollah, Yemen, or weapons programs such as the Iranian ballistic missile program.
North Korea
How should the United States address the rise of North Korea’s nuclear program?
Colvin: I have yet to meet one person on the campaign trail who is in favor of going to war with North Korea. I am encouraged by this because I know what war on the Korean peninsula would mean. Before my first deployment as an Army Ranger, I served as the sole intelligence officer for a combat unit forward-stationed in Korea, near the DMZ. You don’t need to be the intelligence officer to know that nuclear war or full-scale hostilities with North Korea would be an unmitigated disaster. It is because of this, my experiences in Afghanistan, and my wife’s experiences leading a nonprofit whose mission is to prevent military veteran suicide that I speak so fervently about using my candidacy to do everything in my power to help us avoid a reckless war of choice on the Korean peninsula. Washington can - and should - employ every tool available in our diplomatic and intelligence toolkits to avoid combat at all costs. The first steps are obvious to those paying attention: we have critical posts related to the Korean peninsula within the Department of State that are still unfilled by the Trump Administration. Related, we need to ensure hostilities do not erupt as a result of reckless saber-rattling on social media platforms.

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