2018 Primary election results

David Trone

David Trone
  • Democrat
  • Age: 62
  • Residence: Potomac

About David Trone

Education

I earned a B.A. from Furman University in 1977, graduating magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa. By taking out student loans I was able to continue my education, and I earned an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1985. I serve on the boards of American University, Furman University, the Baker Retail Center at Wharton, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Atlantic Council, Suburban Hospital, the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, and the Wharton Graduate Board.

Background

Starting with one store, I built my company Total Wine & More, the largest private wine retailer in the United States. We have 6,000 employees nationwide, 600 of whom are based at our headquarters in Bethesda. The key to our success is investing in our employees. That’s why we pay higher wages and benefits than our competitors. In most retail, 25% of employees are full-time and receive benefits while 75% are part-time and do not. In my business, it’s the opposite. 75% of our employees are full-time and get full benefits, which include retirement, PTO, and medical insurance. Total Wine & More invests in our employees by paying for them to earn their GEDs and has a pilot program with the University of Maryland that offers a four-year college degree paid for by the company. As and one of the lowest employee turnover rates in the retail industry. We pride ourselves on being a socially responsible employer. In 2002, a decade before Maryland legalized same-sex marriage, we offered partner benefits to same-sex couples. We have banned the box asking about criminal convictions on employment forms and hired over 100 returning citizens. We’re working with the ACLU to encourage others to follow our lead. Total Wine & More also gives back to the communities we’re in. We’ve given to over 7,000 local charities including food banks, women’s shelters, organizations that support people with Autism, the Make a Wish Foundation, Boys and Girls’ Clubs, and others that play major roles in people’s lives.

Questionnaire

1
Trump record
How do you assess the Trump administration so far?
Trone: The Trump administration has been a complete failure. Many of his proposals will aggravate existing problems rather than solve them. Rather than declaring a national emergency on opioids and following the recommendations of his commission, he proposes stiffer sentences for drug crimes. Rather than implementing bi-partisan comprehensive immigration reform, he’s trying to deport 800,000 DREAMers. Rather than working with our trade partners, he’s imposing tariffs that will be devastating to Maryland agriculture and the port of Baltimore. Good leaders find solutions that work, not just ones that appeal to their supporters. This requires a thorough knowledge of relevant facts and a dispassionate assessment of alternative approaches. Trump has shown himself not to understand the basic important facts, and his comparisons of his own proposals with alternatives depend more on exaggerated rhetoric than analysis and insights. In business school and in applying its lessons for more than 30 years since, I’ve learned that the best solutions are those in which almost every party involved is satisfied with the outcome. This contrasts sharply with the words Trump uses to excite his followers and the way he treats others. Treating others humanely and respectfully is more likely to result in successful negotiations than calling opponents “bums,” “losers,” or encouraging darker instincts. And I’m disgusted by the way that he treats women.
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2
2068 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?
Trone: I strongly oppose them. Speaking as a business owner, this was a giveaway to people who don’t need it, while hurting working families. The law is based on a series of illusions. Contrary to its proponents’ claims, the law will not generate the promised economic gains; will create long-term economic problems; fails to address a series of pressing needs; and will aggravate rather than mitigate our underlying political divisions. I draw on my training in business management and more than three decades experience in running a successful business in making this assessment. For objective information about law’s impact, I use the work of the Penn Wharton Budget Model (PWBM), a non-partisan effort of which I am a proud early supporter. In politics as in business, one cannot make good decisions without reliable information. PWBM’s assessment finds that the promise of dramatic economic growth is an illusion. Instead, 10-year GDP growth will be only 0.6 to 1.1 percent larger than growth expected with no tax bill. The law will provide a financial windfall to the very largest C corporations, but it does not include incentives for investments that will benefit the larger economy. Proponents of the tax law mistakenly believe companies will invest this windfall in new jobs, but both history and comments by top CEOs suggest otherwise. The idea that corporate tax savings lead to job growth is an illusion; history shows us that very little of corporate tax cuts “trickle down” to workers.
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3
National debt
Is the level of national debt a concern? What, if anything, should be done to reduce it or constrain its increase?
Trone: I oppose increasing the national debt to pay for tax cuts for people who don’t need them. I was an early supporter of the Penn Wharton Budget Model, a nonpartisan, research-based initiative that provides accurate, accessible and transparent economic analysis of public policy’s fiscal impact. I supported this project, in part, because I believe that we need reliable analysis to assess whether short-term spending makes sense in the long-term. As I’ve mentioned in my previous answer, the model found that the Trump tax giveaway to large corporations is not a good long-term investment. We should not be leaving our children with debt to pay for tax cuts for people and corporations that don’t need them. There are, however, investments we need to make that pay dividends in the long run. Alzheimer’s is a great example. We spend over $200 billion every year caring for people who suffer from this horrible disease. That number is only going to increase as the baby boomer generation enters old age. But we spend just over $1 billion on funding NIH research on the disease. I’ve repeatedly called for doubling the budget of the NIH to fund research for Alzheimer’s and other diseases. It’s counterproductive not to invest the money now, when it could save our nations billions in the long run.
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4
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?
Trone: Economic inequality is a serious problem. I’ve been fortunate in my life to start and grow a successful business. But I didn’t start out with much. I grew up on my family’s struggling farm, working 12-hour shifts at $1.80 an hour, cleaning hog and chicken pens, and went to graduate school on student loans. We should raise the minimum wage immediately. Increasing the minimum wage is the best way to reduce poverty and increase worker productivity. With that, we also need to pass a law tying the minimum wage to inflation. The federal minimum wage has not gone up since 2009, and it hasn’t kept pace with the rising cost of living. It would be almost $11 today if it had kept up with inflation. 35 million Americans would directly benefit from a minimum wage increase. 89% of them are 20 years or older and 30% of them are women. We also need to close the gender pay gap. Studies show that closing the pay gap for women, who make up 46% of the workforce, would be a great boon to the economy. President Trump likes to talk about economic growth, but he’s rolled back Obama-era equal pay protections. This is bad for women and bad for the economy. Congress needs to get us back on the right track by codifying former President Obama’s equal pay protections into law and by finally passing the Paycheck Fairness Act.
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5
Gun laws
Should federal gun laws be changed, and if so, how?
Trone: It’s long past time to pass reasonable gun-safety laws. Every year, there are over 30,000 gun-related deaths in America, and we must take action to stop the violence. I’m proud of the high school students from Parkland, Florida, who have started a movement of young people who are helping to force our Congress to take action. In Congress, I’ll take on the NRA and work with both sides of the aisle to pass common-sense gun safety laws. The first thing we need to do is reject political dark money. I will never take a penny from any special interest, and I’ll never back down when it comes to confronting the NRA and fighting for our families. Among my top priorities for action is expanding background checks that keep guns out of the hands of people with a history of violence or serious mental illness by closing the gun-show and internet loopholes. As part of a new effort to expand background checks, we must pass laws that keep guns out of the hands of those who have a history of domestic abuse. Violent people must not have easy access to firearms. Most of the mass shootings our country has suffered have been young people who have been able to purchase military-style assault weapons. I also favor banning so called ‘bump stocks’ that turn semi-automatic weapons into automatic weapons, like the one used by the deranged shooter in Las Vegas.
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6
ACA
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?
Trone: Quality healthcare is a basic human right, and the government’s job is to ensure that right for all Americans. With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, we’ve made great strides towards realizing the goal of universal health coverage for all Americans. Uninsured rates are at historic lows, and millions of people have gained coverage. Donald Trump and the Republican Congress want to take us backward. Their plan would cause millions to lose their coverage and make healthcare more expensive for millions more. The Affordable Care Act isn’t perfect, but we need to modify and build on it, not repeal it. We need to close the Medicaid coverage gap and expand Medicaid in all 50 states. The Republican plan takes us in the wrong direction by gutting the funding for Medicaid expansion. 31 states in the District of Columbia have expanded the program and Republican Governors who were skeptical at first are now admitting that Medicaid expansion has been good for their states. Let’s keep the funding and work with the remaining 19 states to close the Medicaid gap. We also need to bring costs down. Health care providers are incentivized to perform costly tests that aren’t necessary. We should find ways to change the incentives so that providers are rewarded for treating patients not for performing tests. Additionally, we should focus on wellness and preventative medicine. When people are empowered to make good decisions about diet, exercise, flu shots, not smoking, and getting yearly checkups, healthcare costs go down.
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7
Urban policy
What role should the federal government play in helping cities like Baltimore?
Trone: Investing in education is a major step that the federal government needs to take in order to helping cities like Baltimore. Universal pre-k is the first step. There’s no question that higher income kids start off with an advantage before Kindergarten even begins. One study shows that higher income kids will have heard 30 million more words by age three than their low-income peers. I support Congressman Delaney’s Early Learning Act, which will create universal pre-k starting at age 4. The bill establishes an Early Education Trust Fund for the program, funded by increased efforts to ensure the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share on income, dividends, and capital gains. In addition to universal pre-k there are other steps that we must take to close the achievement gap. In too many places across the country, schools are funded by local property taxes, which puts schools in poor neighborhoods at a disadvantage. That’s why I support increases in Title I federal funding for schools that serve low-income students to help level the playing field. We also need to consider innovative programs like community schools that provide programs like health and social services and community development. These schools are open outside of normal school hours and the programs are available to anyone who needs them. I also support infrastructure projects like the Red Line. Hogan’s decision not to fund it was a lost opportunity for jobs and economic development in Baltimore, which would generate tax revenue for the entire state.
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8
Opioids
What can Congress do to address the opioid epidemic?
Trone: The opioid epidemic is the most important issue facing the Sixth District right now. In 2016, 64,000 Americans died from overdoses – my nephew Ian was one of them. Every day that we don’t act hundreds of people will die. - 74,000 I’ve put together a comprehensive plan to tackle the opioid crisis. You can read it at davidtrone.com/issue/opioid-crisis I propose investing $100 million over the next 10 years. That may seem like a lot of money, but the cost of inaction is that 750,000 people, which is roughly the entire population of Baltimore city, people will die over the next 10 years. Additionally, the crisis costs our nation $80 billion every year in medical care, imprisonment, and lost productivity. My plan calls for teaching kids about the dangers of opioids from an early age, much like we did with tobacco in the 1990s. It also calls for restoring the DEA’s authority to crack down on suspicious drug shipments. A Washington Post/60 Minutes Expose revealed that in 2016 Congress unanimously voted to take away this vital tool from the DEA. Yet even after this was brought to light, Congress has not reversed this action. This is because they are in the pockets of big pharmaceutical companies, who give more to politicians than any industry in the country. I will vote to restore the DEA’s authority and I won’t be taking a dime from big pharma or any other PACs or lobbyists. I want to be your Congressman, not theirs.
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9
Immigration
What changes if any should Congress make to our immigration and deportation laws and policies?
Trone: Immigrants are an important part of American society and should have a path to citizenship. Trump’s mass deportations, travel bans, and rescinding of DACA and TPS protections are antithetical to American values. We all benefit from the rich cultural and economic diversity immigrants bring to our community. Research shows that immigrants improve the quality of life for all Americans. Immigrants and their children founded over 40% of Fortune 500 companies, including Apple, Ebay, and Google, and these companies employ more than ten million people worldwide. We also should reduce the amount of time it takes for applicants to receive work authorization. It shouldn’t take someone 10 years to get a visa if they have valuable job skills that can boost our economy. Everyone who works hard and plays by the rules should feel welcome in America.
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10
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?
Trone: We need trade for the economy to grow. The questions are whether the trade agreements will be fair and whether we will help families and communities that are hurt by trade. We have not done either of those in recent deals. Trump’s trade war will only make matters worse, though. The number one industry in Maryland has always been and continues to be agriculture. That along with the port of Baltimore means that a trade war will is not only bad for the country but will disproportionately hurt farmers and businesses in Maryland.
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11
Iran
Do you support the Iran nuclear deal?
Trone: The nuclear deal with Iran, which the US and other major powers signed, must be enforced with vigilance. The objective of the deal – as well as our broader policy – must be clear: Iran will never acquire a nuclear weapon. If Iran is found to cheat, the consequences must be swift and severe. We must maintain the ability, and the political will, to “snap back” sanctions if Iran fails to live up to its commitments. All options must be on the table to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear bomb that threatens not only Israel, but also other allies in the Middle East and beyond. Iran has tested ballistic missiles, giving rise to action by the UN Security Council, which I support. Further, the IAEA needs to make robust inspections of Iranian military sites, and we should increase sanctions for Iran’s non-nuclear activities in supporting Hezbollah with weapons, shooting ballistic missiles, and funding terrorist activities throughout the Middle East. Iran could abide by the deal, and still achieve breakout capacity in roughly the next decade; specifically, further vigilance should be paid to the sunset clauses in the deal, which seemingly put Iran on a path to acquiring a nuclear weapon in a matter of years. In Congress, I will support legislation that clarifies that Iran must be sanctioned for its missile program and maintains the sanctions architecture if they cheat on the nuclear deal.
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12
North Korea
How should the United States address the rise of North Korea’s nuclear program?
Trone: I am skeptical that the President and his administration have a well-thought-out plan to work towards denuclearizing North Korea. Trump’s decision to accept a summit with Kim Jong Un gives the dictator legitimacy on the world stage. If he fails to extract any concessions, the President will have given this away for nothing. I do agree with the President that we should negotiate with North Korea and impose sanctions when they violate their agreements. But negotiations will have a higher chance of success if they are carried out by experienced professionals and not by people who impulsively Tweet about the size of their button.
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