1. Talk about where you were born, your life, where you currently live in Maryland. A short biography so to speak.
I am a lifelong Baltimorean and Marylander. I was born at the Johns Hopkins hospital and grew up in the Towson area. After graduating from law school, I moved back to the Baltimore area. My wife, Barbara, and I have been blessed with four children and two grandchildren, and we currently reside in Owings Mills.
2. Why did you decide to run for Governor of Maryland?
I have deep and varied experience in issue areas that Marylanders care about most, including education, transportation, and job creation. I have led the University System of Maryland Board of Regents, Central Maryland Transportation Alliance, and economic development zones in Baltimore, all while building my own business into a global enterprise.
Since Larry Hogan has been governor, Maryland’s schools are slipping, we sit in some of the worst traffic in the nation, and our economy lags behind neighboring states. Together with my running mate, Baltimore City Councilman Brandon Scott, we will make wise investments to get Maryland back on track and build a better future for our children.
3. What experience will you bring to the table if elected Governor?
I have spent my career running large public and private organizations, including the University System of Maryland, the Central Maryland Transportation Alliance, the Empower Baltimore Management Corporation, and my law firm, Venable. In each of these positions, I have developed the leadership experience that one needs to successfully run the state. I know how to develop, invest in, and execute a plan. In the areas of education, transportation, economic development, and public safety, that is exactly what our state needs.
4. What are FIVE (5) legislative priorities for your administration if elected Governor?
As Governor, my top priority will be to put together a legislative package in the 2019 session that implements the findings of the Kirwan Commission. That includes the building blocks, like universal and expanded pre-k, a curriculum that is benchmarked against international standards and in the hands of well-trained and well-compensated teachers, and a new funding formula that fully funds our schools and properly accounts for areas of concentrated poverty.
In the area of transportation, I will push for a package that adds more oversight and accountability to the MTA, including implementing a scoring system and creating an oversight board.
To improve public safety, in the first session, I will work to pass a package that adds some needed reforms to improve accountability of police departments, as well as putting the Baltimore City Police Department back under control of the city government.
In order to create a fairer economy, I will work to pass legislation that puts the state on the path towards reaching a $15 minimum wage.
And, to help protect our environment, I will champion legislation that targets a 50% renewable portfolio standard by 2030.
5. Why is Brandon Scott your pick for Lt. Governor?
I picked Brandon for many reasons. The first, however, is the fact that he is a leader of a younger generation of elected officials who are starting to take more control of the process and who represent the change that is necessary to move our state forward. Our differences make us stronger, and we have the vision and experience to implement the policies that so many of us in Maryland know we need on the issues that matter, including education, transportation, economic growth, and public safety.
6. I live in Baltimore, as do most my readers. What is your plan for Baltimore?
Brandon and I have each grown up in Baltimore, worked in Baltimore, and devoted a significant amount of our time and energy contributing to the civic fabric of our city. As Governor, one of my top priorities will be supporting the city. Baltimore is the economic and cultural engine of Maryland, and our entire state succeeds when Baltimore succeeds.
Addressing the problems in our state’s public education system, the lack of access to reliable mass transit, an economy that still only works for some people, and a public safety crisis that is tearing our community apart will help Baltimore flourish. Education is the surest ladder of opportunity, as it provides every child with the chance to succeed. A public transportation system that allows people to get to jobs quickly and reliably will create a more equitable society. An environment that promotes economic growth and creates good-paying jobs will give hardworking Baltimoreans and Marylanders the raise they deserve. And, none of these policies will truly revitalize Baltimore unless we solve the three inter-related problems that contribute to our public safety crisis: an epidemic of violent crime, a poor system of restorative justice, and a community that has lost its trust in law enforcement. I, along with Baltimore City Councilman Brandon Scott, will work to address each of these problems to put Baltimore on a pathway towards prosperity for all.
7. Why should Democrats vote for you in June?
This election really comes down to two important questions: Who can implement the policies we all agree are needed, and who can defeat Larry Hogan? I have a lifetime of experience across our state leading large public and private organizations, including the University System of Maryland, which has a larger budget than any county or city in Maryland. I have spent my career developing plans, investing in them, and executing them to achieve tangible and significant results. That is exactly what I will do as Governor.
I also believe that Brandon Scott and I are the strongest ticket to take on Larry Hogan in the general election. With our diverse experience and a clear vision for prosperity for all, we will be able to attract Democrats from across the state, as well as draw from the swing voters who put Larry Hogan over the top in 2014. Let’s be clear: we will not make progress in our state on the issues that matter most if Larry Hogan is re-elected.
8. How do you think the #MeToo movement has affected politics?
The #MeToo movement has brought about a much-needed spotlight on abhorrent actions of many men in our society, including men in politics. The horrible incidents that have occurred are now driving a larger discussion about the need for a change within our system, especially in the way women are treated. As Governor, I will work to ensure that the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention has the resources necessary to root out any of these instances and provide women the support they need. I will also conduct an equity assessment of each of the divisions of our state government and require each agency to construct a plan to deal with any negative findings of the audit. These steps will move us towards a more equal and inclusive environment for women in government.