October 19, 2018
Politics & Opinion
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Questions And Answers With The Candidates

Dylan Roche
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June 12, 2018

Last month, we were pleased to introduce to our readers the many candidates running in the upcoming primary election on June 26. This month, we had three broad questions we wanted to put forth to each of the candidates. We wanted to know from each of them:

 

1. What would be your three biggest priorities upon taking office?

2. What would be your greatest challenge you would face in this office?

3. What aspect of your background or your experience sets you apart from others running for this office?

 

Although we did not hear from all candidates, many of them were able to provide insight. Here’s what they shared with us — we hope this helps our readers make an informed decision when they head to the polls.

Check back with us in October right before the general election, when we’ll compare and contrast where candidates stand on each of the issues.

 

County Executive

 

Steuart Pittman

1. What would be your three priorities upon taking office?

  • Redirect our General Development Plan process with a community-driven model that will manage growth in a fiscally and environmentally responsible way
  • Launch a budget process that shows taxpayers the challenges we face and presents spending and revenue options
  • End the pay-to-play culture that has infected our local politics by passing campaign finance reform measures that limit big-money influence

2. What would be the greatest challenge you would face in this office?

Our top challenge is fiscal. We were told that spurring growth through taxpayer-funded development incentives would create the revenues we need to fund schools, public safety and infrastructure. It did not. We must re-assess the fiscal impacts of various kinds of development while making tough decisions about how to meet the needs of our students and our communities.

3. What aspect of your background or your experience sets you apart from others running for this office?

My opponent is an investment banker turned politician. I am a community organizer turned farmer and small-business man. The contrast is stark. My business experience is in an industry where resources are scarce, so I spend carefully. My political experience is as an outsider, where success is determined by bringing people together and party affiliation is irrelevant.

 

Steve Schuh

1. What would be your three priorities upon taking office?

Second-term priorities will be accomplished without raising fees or taxes and are to:

  • Continue record investments in education to reduce class sizes, improve salaries and accelerate school construction
  • Increase support for public safety to build on first-term successes of combating the opioid crisis, gangs and crime
  • Facilitate major investments in our state and county infrastructure to relieve traffic and bottlenecks in our road systems

2. What would be the greatest challenge you would face in this office?

The opioid epidemic continues to challenge us at the county, state and federal levels. Despite gaining ground through our multifaceted approach that includes our nationally recognized “Not My Child” and the Safe Stations programs, opioid addiction continues to claim too many lives. We must attack this problem on all sides and address over-prescription, drug dealers, access to treatment and prevention.

3. What aspect of your background or your experience sets you apart from others running for this office?

I have served as Anne Arundel County executive since 2014. I am a lifelong Anne Arundel County resident and small-business owner. I know the county, its people and what they care about. My career in financial services and as a small-business owner, coupled with my 12 years in public service as county executive and Maryland state delegate, has given me a multifaceted perspective into how to manage county government operations, build coalitions, solve problems on behalf of citizens and make Anne Arundel County the best place to live, work and start a business in Maryland.

 

County Council

 

Debbie Ritchie

1. What would be your three priorities upon taking office?

  • Public service: ensuring a strong workforce, competitive compensation, recruitment and retention of county public servants
  • Infrastructure and GDP: developing and implementing; outreach for community input along the entire process; strengthening environmental protection by enforcing current laws
  • Mental health: increasing accessibility to mental health services through schools as well as public access; continuing and strengthening addiction intervention, prevention and treatment

2. What would be the greatest challenge you would face in this office?

As a former member of the Board of Education as well as an active advocate, I have learned a great deal about the budget and the process over the years. However, I do not have as strong a knowledge on the revenue side. Understanding the revenue side will be a priority.

3. What aspect of your background or your experience sets you apart from others running for this office?

Through my profession as a VA nurse and my involvement with PTA, I have a strong history of teamwork, and I have learned the effectiveness of working together for a compromise. Listening and being inclusive of all voices helps to bring different ideas forward and allows for decisions that will have stronger community support.

 

Dana Smallwood-Friia

Candidate did not submit responses.

 

Nathan Volke

1. What would be your three priorities upon taking office?

  • Limiting overdevelopment and protecting the character of our community, including our waterways
  • Keeping taxes low while maintaining the quality of core government services that our citizens want and deserve
  • Improving the quality of education that our children are receiving and provide the capital improvements needed for a safe and healthy learning environment

2. What would be the greatest challenge you would face in this office?

Allocating scarce resources. We have competing desires — we want low taxes and great services. Finding ways to ensure essential services get the funding they need while maintaining a light hand of regulation and low taxes is a huge challenge.

3. What aspect of your background or your experience sets you apart from others running for this office?

I grew up in Pasadena and my family has lived here for decades. My wife and I love this area. That love, combined with my advocacy skills honed as a trial attorney, give me the background and skills to fight for what is right and protect our community.

 

State's Attorney

 

Wes Adams

1. What would be your three priorities upon taking office?

In addition to building on the accomplishments of this administration, my focus will be on developing our intelligence-driven prosecution model (STING) in order to develop our ability to disrupt the flow of drugs into and gang activity inside the county, developing our partnership program with the school system in order to address how adverse childhood experiences drive crime, and pursuing legislation to enhance the penalty for those who cause overdose deaths.

2. What would be the greatest challenge you would face in this office?

While we are succeeding in prosecuting drug dealers and violent criminals, there are still large amounts of fentanyl being pushed into our streets. The biggest challenge we face is disrupting the criminal network that allows these substances to be trafficked across county lines.

3. What aspect of your background or your experience sets you apart from others running for this office?

My proven track record of success and innovation. I was endorsed by the Anne Arundel County Fraternal Order of Police because of my broad range of experience, my leadership in developing a trial-ready prosecution team, my focus on community safety, my commitment to education and crime prevention, and my ability to develop partnerships among the agencies. For example, our unique Safe Stations collaboration (of which I was the first prosecutor in the country to join) has helped stem the increasing tide of opioid overdoses, leading to a 10 percent decrease in overdoses in 2018; the introduction of our STING Unit (which targets criminal gangs and drug dealers) resulted in the solving of multiple gang homicides and the indictment of eight MS-13 gang members. And our student drug prevention education and outreach program earned my office the 2018 AACPS Excellence in Education Business Partner of the Year Award.

 

Ann Colt Leitess

Candidate did not submit responses.

 

Kathy Rogers

Candidate did not submit responses.

 

 

Clerk of the Court

 

Doug Arnold

1. What would be your three priorities upon taking office?

  • Support Families: We issue marriage licenses, facilitate adoptions and help families navigate complicated matters.
  • Grow Businesses: Our efficient service issuing licenses and recording deeds contributes to an environment for job growth.
  • Safer Communities: As a criminal justice partner, we contribute to safer communities through our mission of fair, equitable and accessible justice.

2. What would be the greatest challenge you would face in this office?

People need to feel that they have access to the court. Providing access to justice and building trust and confidence in the court are critical to leading a well-run clerk's office. The clerk serves a critical function in ensuring equal access and assuring the integrity and independence of the court.

3. What aspect of your background or your experience sets you apart from others running for this office?

I am the only candidate with court experience. I have a deep understanding of the technical needs of the office. I have worked to cultivate a culture of customer service. I’m passionate about bringing our community together. As clerk, I will serve you with fair, equitable and accessible justice.

 

Scott Poyer

1. What would be your three priorities upon taking office?

My top three priorities would be eliminating the backlog of 11,000 unserved warrants that are issued by the judiciary but have been languishing for years; increasing support to victims of domestic abuse cases, which have more than doubled in five years; and streamlining the process for issuing business licenses.

2. What would be the greatest challenge you would face in this office?

The greatest challenge and greatest opportunity is that to be effective, the clerk must work with other organizations. These include other parts of the judiciary, the sheriff’s office, state’s attorney and many others. I am up for this challenge because I have successfully worked across organizations for my whole career.

3. What aspect of your background or your experience sets you apart from others running for this office?

I have more than 30 years of experience in law enforcement and public safety as a federal employee. I have worked successfully with criminal courts, civil courts and administrative law judges, and I have run operations like those of the clerk’s office but on a much larger scale.

 

Bonnie Shepke

Candidate did not submit responses.

 

 

Register of Wills

 

Joseph Janosky

1. What would be your three priorities upon taking office?

The office is unknown by the public, but it tells the life and death story of every citizen. We should educate the public of the importance of a valid will and what to expect when a will needs to be executed. Evaluate cybersecurity and inefficiencies in the office and make improvements when necessary. Develop a culture of compassion for both the deceased and the family members required to close the estates.

2. What would be the greatest challenge you would face in this office?

Getting the office prepared to educate the public. Little progress has happened in many years. Create a citizen outreach to gather information and emphasize the importance of having a valid will in all age groups. Develop a larger online presence. There is little online information available to help citizens navigate the process. Little has been done to modernize the office to support this access. Review what can to be done to support this access.

3. What aspect of your background or your experience sets you apart from others running for this office?

I have spent my life in public and private offices finding efficiencies and providing services to help my community. I have personal experience, and those of others, who feel this office needs compassion and innovations. The office has stagnated and needs to be revitalized. This will be my passion.

 

Lauren Parker

1. What would be your three priorities upon taking office?

Continuing my tradition of excellence in constituent service by providing you the well-trained, compassionate, efficient staff, guaranteeing you warm, caring service and no waiting time; remaining welcoming in person and immediately available live by phone; transitioning to paperless to save storage costs. “Efficiency and kindness never go out of style.”

2. What would be the greatest challenge you would face in this office?

The office mission is to “advise and assist” anyone needing our services during the death of a loved one. Preserving the high level of service takes constant attention, teaching of professional customer service and latest legal procedures to the staff for family needs that arise in today’s complicated living arrangements.

3. What aspect of your background or your experience sets you apart from others running for this office?

A lifelong resident, I was a practicing attorney for 25 years, managing attorney for five years and need no on-the-job training. As register for 12 years, I have three perfect legislative audits. I have initiated programs such as accepting credit cards and serving copies online 24/7, as well as negotiating cost-effective contracts.

 

Judge of the Orphans’ Court

 

Maureen Carr-York

1. What would be your three priorities upon taking office?

Since accepting appointment as a judge of the Orphans’ Court, my first priority has been to provide prompt, excellent service to citizens who are dealing with the death of a loved one, and to do so in accordance with the highest standards of the legal profession. My second priority has been to do so with a minimum of expense to the estate and the heirs. Third, I have sought to ensure that our oversight of the guardianship of property of minors has been prudent, thorough and reasonable.

2. What would be the greatest challenge you would face in this office?

The greatest challenge we face as judges of this court has been a marked increase of cases presented and hearings on issues arising in those cases, as well as the complexity of issues presented. Often, these matters are brought before us by individuals and families acting pro se, without legal counsel, which means we must be patient and fair in taking evidence and applying the law while addressing persons who are, as laypeople, acting in unfamiliar territory.

3. What aspect of your background or your experience sets you apart from others running for this office?

My dual background in nursing and the law serve me well in the Orphans’ Court. First, as a nurse, I learned to listen, to ask questions and to carefully draw out the information needed to deal with individuals’ needs. I also learned to explain and teach unfamiliar matters to folks under stress and fearful of what lies ahead. I am also the only attorney in the race who is fully qualified to practice law in the state of Maryland. I bring that to my service on the court, and it blends well with the experience and knowledge of my colleagues.

 

Vickie Gipson

Candidate did not submit responses.

 

George Holland

Candidate did not submit responses.

 

Torrey Jacobsen

Candidate did not submit responses.

 

Nancy Phelps

1. What would be your three priorities upon taking office?

Since my job has been to make decisions on estates for the people of Anne Arundel County, my priorities are:

  • Compassion for the people who come before me
  • The knowledge that 20 years of experience has given me to make sure my findings are legal and fair
  • To respect and acknowledge the people who come before me

2. What would be the greatest challenge you would face in this office?

Estate laws are complex but important. I have the most experience of any judge in the county, but I do spend a lot of time with the education processes to retain the needed expertise.

3. What aspect of your background or your experience sets you apart from others running for this office?

I've held this position for more than 20 years. And I've been chief judge for the past 10 years. My experience and knowledge are invaluable to help people solve issues within the emotional upheaval during the estate process. I'm the past president of the Maryland Association of the Judges of the Orphans’ Court (MAJOC) and received numerous citations from the Maryland General Assembly and the delegates and senators for Anne Arundel County.

 

Alan Rzepkowski

Candidate did not submit responses.

 

Sheriff

 

Ron Bateman

1. What would be your three priorities upon taking office?

  • Continue to provide the fastest, most prompt service of all domestic violence orders, immediately followed up by a personal notification of service to each victim by the deputy sheriff. This top-notch form of customer service keeps the victims properly informed and ensures them my agency is there for them in their time of need.
  • Continue to provide the safest circuit courthouse in the state for all who work and have business within. This will be done through the use of our state-of-the-art, high-definition Ocularis security camera system, and from my highly trained, well-equipped sheriff personnel.
  • Continue with our innovative and multi-layered approach to serving all arrest warrants, with priority given to violent felony warrants, domestic violence warrants, heroin-related warrants, and warrants involving gang members, to name just a few. My agency has instituted more ways to serve arrest warrants than any other sheriff's office or police department in the state of Maryland. Some of our creative ways to serve warrants include arrest stings, fooling criminals to turn themselves in, withholding Maryland state tax refunds until one's arrest warrant has been served, using highly trained deputy sheriffs to locate and apprehend wanted individuals, by way of social media to include our sheriff's office website and Facebook page, and by holding failure-to-appear forgiveness operations by way of our partnership with the District Court. We are proud to say that under our administration, we have experienced the largest reduction in arrest warrants in more than 40 years, because of our unique, efficient and effective multifaceted tactics.

2. What would be the greatest challenge you would face in this office?

The greatest challenge that has continuously faced me since serving as sheriff for the past 11 years has been convincing the last three county executives to increase our personnel budget to allow me to hire more deputy sheriffs. As it currently stands, the sheriff's office has only grown by six deputy sheriffs in the past 19 years. That is truly sad, considering the growth of the county and the other public safety components. This relatively stagnant growth has highlighted my management style by doing more with less while still never overspending my allotted budget.

3. What aspect of your background or your experience sets you apart from others running for this office?

What sets me apart is I am the only candidate that works in the sheriff's office in a management function. Having been elected as your sheriff in 2006, 2010 and 2014 and still proudly serving as the "people's sheriff," I have a long list of proven results and 11 years consistently as being a fiscally responsible and conservative leader of an agency with a $9 million budget and more than 115 sworn/civilian personnel. Under our administration, we have achieved the largest reduction in arrest warrants in more than 40 years; we have improved upon the security of the circuit courthouse, making it a model for others to emulate in the state; we have provided our deputies with cutting-edge mandated training to include tactically sound procedures on how to deal with those with intellectual disabilities; and we have equipped the agency with the latest state-of-the-art technology for building security and to enhance our criminal apprehension tool box.

 

Jim Fredericks

1. What would be your three priorities upon taking office?

  • Immediate changes to antiquated, pre-9/11 security procedures at the Circuit Court building to ensure the safety of citizens and employees.
  • Complete a full review of management practices exposed by recent, failed audits conducted by the county auditor.
  • Implement modern law enforcement best practices to stem the tide of unserved warrants. There are currently over 11,000 unserved warrants in the county.

2. What would be the greatest challenge you would face in this office?

To complete a thorough top-to-bottom review of both operational and court-based procedures to begin the process of modernizing the sheriff’s office. Immediate changes are needed in operations, training, child-support enforcement, technology and court security. These changes are necessary to ensure the safety of both citizens and deputies.

3. What aspect of your background or your experience sets you apart from others running for this office?

I am the only modern, practicing law enforcement leader with 26 years of experience in homeland security, emergency management, budget, hiring and retention, operations, media relations, and corruption and gang investigations, who can move the sheriff’s office forward. My unblemished career, commitment to family, and unwavering integrity and accountability are examples of high personal and professional standards to ensure public trust in the office of sheriff. As a Republican primary election candidate, I am the only lifelong Anne Arundel County conservative Republican in the race. I am a strong supporter of gun rights and the protection of the Constitution, and I will vehemently oppose any efforts to make Maryland a sanctuary state.

 

Damon Ostis

Candidate did not submit responses.

 

Beth Smith

1. What would be your three priorities upon taking office?

  • I will immediately request an independent audit of the entire office.
  • I will immediately take steps to secure the Circuit Court.
  • I will immediately bring the child support unit into compliance under federal standards.

2. What would be the greatest challenge you would face in this office?

The biggest challenge to be faced will be reversing years of questionable and ethically challenged leadership. Never in the history of the sheriff's office has there been such negligence and dereliction of duty as exists today. Correcting this will not happen in one day, but I am going to try. I am an innovator and have a proven record of serving with honor, distinction and dedication.

3. What aspect of your background or your experience sets you apart from others running for this office?

I am the only candidate who has a complete, accurate understanding of the actual duties of this office. My experience as a deputy sheriff in Anne Arundel County is extensive. Not only did I work every unit as a deputy, but also, I then supervised each one as I moved through the ranks. Additionally, I am the only veteran. I bring four years of honorable, distinguished service as a military police officer to the table. I am the best candidate for sheriff.

 

James Williams

1. What would be your three priorities upon taking office?

My first priority would be to review all results from a recent audit of the sheriff's office and make sure all recommendations are addressed and implemented. Other priorities would be to build stronger ties with the community, and, over the next four years, to expand agency personnel positions.

2. What would be the greatest challenge you would face in this office?

The greatest challenge is to reduce the number of open warrants that face the sheriff's office. There are more than 11,000 open warrants in Anne Arundel County. There has to be a multi-prong approach to include cooperation between agencies within the Circuit Court, improved public transportation and improved community relations.

3. What aspect of your background or your experience sets you apart from others running for this office?

Being a deputy with strong community values is what sets me apart from other candidates. Having current experience with the sheriff’s office and being a retired captain from the Prince George’s County Police Department will help me make our sheriff’s office a respected part of our community.

 

U.S. Congress

 

David Bishop

1. What would be your three priorities upon taking office?

  • Election reform, including congressional term limits; removing the “winner take all” from the Electoral College; and ending gerrymandering nationwide.
  • Remove the corporate oligarchy controlling our government through campaign finance reform.
  • Gradually limit federal responsibilities to only enumerated powers in the Constitution. Most aspects of life are not “one size fits all.”

2. What would be the greatest challenge you would face in this office?

Being potentially the only or one of the very few congress members from my party could be challenging. However, it also provides me with the opportunity to not toe a party line in the office. I can think freely for the people of Maryland without being forced one way or another by a party position.

3. What aspect of your background or your experience sets you apart from others running for this office?

I am an average citizen of Maryland, not a career politician. Unlike opponents, I strongly believe in keeping corporate money out of politics and ensuring we have more local and individual control over our governments. We need to remember the purpose of limited federal government and I am fighting for that purpose.

 

Anthony Brown

Candidate did not submit responses.

 

William Devine

Candidate did not submit responses.

 

George McDermott

Candidate did not submit responses.

 

State Delegate

 

Brian Chisholm

1. What would be your three priorities upon taking office?

  • Protect the taxpayers: My top priority is to fight against the overtaxing of individuals, families and businesses. We are blessed to have a local economy of opportunities provided by small businesses, entrepreneurs and mid- to large-sized companies. We must resist the prevailing dangers of driving too many of the producers, workers and retirees out of Maryland and District 31B with heavy and burdensome taxes.
  • Cut wasteful spending and allow more Marylanders keep the money they earned: We must pass legislation that will return the excess $300 to $400 million back to Maryland taxpayers that were created by the 2018 federal tax cut. This would be a jolt back into the Maryland economy and would return the hard-earned income back to the people who worked for it.
  • Stop the gerrymandering that produces career politicians and one-party majority rule: This leads to the probability of abusive career politicians entrenched with power and influence, evidenced by countless reports in our current political environment. This can assuredly tip the scales of justice and equality against the true producers, taxpayers and small-business owners that are the lifeblood of our economy and future as a thriving state.

2. What would be the greatest challenge you would face in this office?

I am deeply concerned that with each calendar year, legislative session and law passed, we are slowly eroding away at our basic freedoms, liberties and future. We far too often imprudently yield to an ever-expanding government with false hopes it will provide us with more security, prosperity and happiness. I believe this mentality can lead to the destruction of ambition, motivation and the self-reliance we all need to positively fulfill our destiny. I believe 2,500 to 3,000 laws introduced by the Maryland General Assembly every year have the unintended or intended consequence of trampling our God-given individual freedoms.

3. What aspect of your background or your experience sets you apart from others running for this office?

I have been in Anne Arundel County the majority of my life and worked in the private sector my entire career as a small-business owner and a professional with a passion to help veterans with home ownership. This experience has blessed me with a close relationship with my large family, community leaders and friends from all walks of life — teachers, coaches, small-business owners, co-workers, veterans and public service members. I have learned much from all of them, but most importantly, I have learned that all people are truly a miracle with unimaginable power and potential, but they must first have freedom.

 

Harry Freeman

1. What would be your three priorities upon taking office?

  • Work with Republicans and Democrats to establish a truly affordable health care program that satisfies all Marylanders
  • Work to exceed our state of education and foster a leading system for our children, adults, workforce and those who educate them
  • Work to empower an independent commission for fair legislative districts. Regardless of party, safe-seat gerrymandered districts disenfranchise our electorate

2. What would be the greatest challenge you would face in this office?

My biggest challenge is going to be convincing those who may not have voted “Freeman” that I will be their champion too. It is the duty of our citizens to challenge their officials, and it is the duty of our public servants to be held accountable — I will always embrace these challenges and continuously deliver to the people.

3. What aspect of your background or your experience sets you apart from others running for this office?

District 31B has never elected a Mexican-American as state delegate. I am a veteran, multilingual, and multicultural. As an outsider, the relationship I have with the electorate is one where we are both the students and the teachers — making me dependent on the people.

 

Nic Kipke

1. What would be your three priorities upon taking office?

I will continue to work with Governor Hogan to reduce the cost of health care in Maryland. Without federal health insurance reform, Marylanders are forced to pay higher and higher premiums and deductibles. Many people who tell me that their health insurance costs are nearly unaffordable. We passed legislation in 2018, which will help, but much more needs to be done.

I will continue to work with Governor Hogan to reduce taxes on retirement income. Many Marylanders flee our state at retirement because of high taxes. Many states are more welcoming to retirees, including nearby states like Delaware and, of course, the Carolinas and Florida. We've passed sensible retirement tax reductions for the military, first responders and corrections officers, and I support Governor Hogan's effort to expand the same tax relief for all retirees.

I will continue to work with Governor Hogan to create greater accountability within our public school systems. I support creating an independent office with the power to investigate corruption and increase accountability. This idea is opposed by local school systems, but I believe it is the best idea on the table to help whistleblowers safely expose wrongdoing and mismanagement. In recent years, (fortunately not in Anne Arundel County) we've seen the superintendent of Baltimore City Schools convicted in what appears to be a pay-to-play scheme; in Howard County, students and teachers forced to work in moldy classrooms with inadequate action from the superintendent; and recently in Prince George's County, a "grade fixing" scandal. There are far too many examples of school system scandals, and greater scrutiny will help classroom teachers get the support they need to better educate students.

2. What would be the greatest challenge you would face in this office?

If Governor Larry Hogan is not re-elected, it would make getting positive results more challenging. Since he took office, we’ve blocked all new taxes — a big change for our state! We’ve even cut taxes, cut fees, lowered tolls, repealed the state mandate to collect the notorious “rain tax” and blocked attempts to make Maryland a sanctuary state for criminal illegal immigrants. We are making real progress cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay, have supported record funding for schools and are fighting for greater accountability in how those funds are spent, repaved 50 percent of state roads, and more! We have a lot more work to do, and as the Republican House leader, I can confidently tell you that Governor Larry Hogan has much more planned for his second term to improve the lives of Marylanders.

3. What aspect of your background or your experience sets you apart from others running for this office?

Because I have continued to work in my private-sector job the entire time I've been elected, I am well aware of the challenges and needs of small businesses in Maryland, and as my family has grown, I've become more keenly aware of the relief even a small tax cut can bring to middle-class families. Like Governor Hogan and my running mate Brian Chisholm, our private sector experience gives us the ability to solve problems instead of kicking the can down the road, which has become too common among many career politicians, especially in Washington, D.C. But the thing that sets me apart from everyone else running for delegate in this district is my experience in this office and credibility that I have with the governor and political leaders of our state. If I'm fortunate enough to be re-elected, I will return to a position I am deeply familiar with, and I will be able to continue the work I've been doing on behalf of our community and the people I am honored to represent.

 

John Leopold

1. What would be your three priorities upon taking office?

  • I intend to introduce legislation to require companies doing business with the state to certify that they employ only legal immigrants, similar to the executive order I signed as county executive.
  • I will sponsor and support legislation that provides a balance of prevention, treatment and enforcement to attack the opioid scourge by creating a state-county funding formula that increases payments for behavior health services, crisis treatment centers, naloxone distribution and enhanced parental awareness programs such as the one I created at Anne Arundel Community College.
  • I will support the establishment of a nonpartisan, independent redistricting commission and the creation of single-member legislative districts, which will help reduce the cost of political campaigns and provide more direct accountability between constituents and their elected representatives.

2. What would be the greatest challenge you would face in this office?

I intend to sponsor legislation that provides incentives to counties that make sensible land-use decisions that keep population growth within designated areas already served by infrastructure such as roads, schools and sewers. The builders and developers have been an impediment to this legislation, but the overdevelopment and increased traffic congestion in our area requires action.

3. What aspect of your background or your experience sets you apart from others running for this office?

I have a deep understanding of the Pasadena community and a proven ability to get things done and provide prompt and effective constituent service. I have a strong record of building bipartisan coalitions and enacting legislation of substance, such as panhandling prohibition and radium reduction in residential wells.

 

Karen Simpson

1. What would be your three priorities upon taking office?

  • As a domestic violence survivor, I would continue to champion legislation to protect women and children.
  • The financial security of women is integral to the health of our economy. I would support and sponsor legislation to make wages transparent, establish wage equality oversight, prohibit employers from requiring pay history, and set requirements for equal pay.
  • Our opioid epidemic is a mental health and substance abuse priority. I would champion legislation that gives mental health and substance abuse communities the resources they need to lead us to recovery.

2. What would be the greatest challenge you would face in this office?

The biggest challenge for all delegates is getting everything that needs to be done during Maryland’s short 90-day session. I would work to overcome this by extensively researching policy debates and challenges over the interim to ensure that my bills are in the strongest form possible when I submit them.

3. What aspect of your background or your experience sets you apart from others running for this office?

I am a Maryland native and Maryland public servant with extensive experience working in state government and Annapolis.

As a mental health professional, I understand the problems facing our community and will be a voice of change to solve those problems.

We need someone who can pull our community together by providing opportunity, equality and fairness to everyone in our community. I am that someone.

 

David Therrien

Candidate did not submit responses.

 

State Senate

 

Bryan Simonaire

1. What would be your three priorities upon taking office?

My first priority has always been to restore the voice of the people back into their government. My second priority is to listen to my constituents’ concerns and be a champion on their behalf. My third priority is to be an approachable and effective representative who provides excellent constituent services.

2. What would be the greatest challenge you would face in this office?

The greatest challenge is overcoming the disconnection between politicians and everyday Americans. Too often, politicians push agendas that are out of alignment with the people, and it is challenging to change that normal course of politics. That said, I continue to challenge leadership in Annapolis and push for reason.

3. What aspect of your background or your experience sets you apart from others running for this office?

I am a hardworking engineer with a master’s degree in computer engineering. I thrive on problem solving and providing real solutions for the people. I have a proven track record of being effective in passing good laws and repealing ineffective laws. I concentrate on solutions, not partisan grandstanding or bickering.

 

Scott Harman

Candidate did not submit responses.

 

Circuit Court Judge

 

Claudia Barber

1. What would be your three priorities upon taking office?

My first priority would be to assess any backlogs in cases through the assignment office to determine what cases I am assigned require immediate attention. This means issuing status conference orders in open cases that have not progressed or are on hold for uncertain reasons. Justice delayed is justice denied.

My second priority would be to complete a careful and thorough evaluation of the existing caseload so that pending cases move closer to trial or disposition. It may involve ruling on discovery motions, or pre-trial motions to dismiss, if assigned the motions docket, or motions for summary judgment. During my 10-year tenure as an administrative law judge, I rarely allowed cases to stay in a pending status longer than 30-90 days.

My third priority would be to hire and organize my support staff. I intend to have a diverse support staff that loves and respects people and that would consider it a privilege to interact with the citizens of Anne Arundel County.

2. What would be the greatest challenge you would face in this office?

Judges have little control over who gets charged with a crime in an unfair manner. Judges must be able to ferret out the truth to prevent wrongful convictions. Judges are important gatekeepers to ensure that relevant and credible evidence comes in, and non-credible evidence, such as hearsay, stays out. There are far too many innocent people being vindicated by The Innocence Project and The Equal Justice Initiative programs. They are honorable programs. But they shed light on the failures of the judicial system. I am mindful that many litigants have limited financial resources to uncover the truth and pursue justice. I am also mindful that many litigants may have a compelling case but lose the case on a technicality, which should not be held against them in future cases going forward. My challenge is, nonetheless, to dispense justice in a fair and equitable manner so wrongful convictions don't happen and credible evidence is not overlooked.

3. What aspect of your background or your experience sets you apart from others running for this office?

For more than 10 years, I successfully adjudicated cases as an administrative law judge. I received top performance evaluations as a jurist. I know what justice looks like and how it can be manipulated and denied because of systemic problems. I authored more than 5,000 decisions. I also maintained a good affirmance rate. This means if any cases were appealed, usually to the highest appellate court, the appellate court often agreed with and affirmed my decisions. My judicial experience also afforded me the opportunity to work on the National Association of Women Judges' programs to help women ex-offenders transition into the community. I will continue this work. I am a lifetime member of this important organization.

 

Robert Burton

1. What would be your three priorities upon taking office?

I would discourage excessive plea bargains, which can undermine the hard work of our law enforcement officers when used inappropriately. I would work to address the lack of diversity in the courthouse in terms of racial and geographic representation. Finally, I would work to streamline administrative agency appeals to bring faster resolutions to those matters which can easily get bogged down in the system.

2. What would be the greatest challenge you would face in this office?

Adjusting to the tenets of the code of judicial ethics that necessarily require judges to isolate themselves from political activity or issue advocacy will take the most getting used to, but I’ve had to make that change as a judicial candidate, so I’m ready for it.

3. What aspect of your background or your experience sets you apart from others running for this office?

I am a lifelong resident of Anne Arundel County. My extensive trial experience in all levels of the Maryland judiciary as well as diversity of subject matters I’ve handled throughout my legal career distinguishes me from most of the other candidates and particularly from the sitting judge.

 

Mark Crooks

1. What would be your three priorities upon taking office?

Anne Arundel County, with its’ strong military ties, requires a military veterans court within circuit court. Veterans honorably discharged from the military deserve a robust veterans court that addresses the special needs and opportunities of former servicemen and women who now find themselves in harm’s way. These courts are proven to greatly reduce recidivism rates and turn lives around, which, incidentally, costs taxpayers less money in the long run. More importantly, sponsorship of veterans court is a moral imperative.

I also believe that we must expand our drug treatment court (of which I am a presiding judge at present) to help combat the heroin/opioid epidemic and in order to save lives.

I also plan to address seriously the gang menace, as well as predatory drug dealers, who are making Anne Arundel citizens feel unsafe in their own backyards. I will continue to apply my years of prosecuting the worst criminals in now deciding which defendants should be especially deterred.

2. What would be the greatest challenge you would face in this office?

Anne Arundel County faces an increasing violent crime rate, an opioid/heroin epidemic, a growing gang menace, distrust in public officials and a sharply divided vision of land-use and development. Voters deserve a judge who is tested in the face of these challenges. Citizens must know that their judge will have the experience required to hold violent persons and drug dealers accountable in criminal cases. Citizens must also have confidence that their judge will not play favorites nor be beholden to outside interest groups or individual classes of persons in all cases. Judges must strictly interpret the law so that the citizens can properly hold their legislature accountable. Anne Arundel County residents deserve a fair, patient and honest judge who has served in the courtroom for many years and who, before becoming judge, led many jury trials. Justice prevails when judges carefully apply the rules of evidence, listen patiently to litigants and strictly interpret the law. The stakes are too high today for inexperienced or activist judges. I have been tested greatly. As a military combat veteran, I underwent a crucible that strengthened my character and resolve. As a state and federal prosecutor, I brought nearly 2,000 defendants to court. I investigated and tried murderers, drug dealers, white-collar conspirators, bank robbers, gang leaders and corrupt officials. As a judge, I have earned a reputation as a thoughtful, hardworking, honest and patient courtroom leader who treats all litigants fairly. I have also earned a reputation as a judge who thoughtfully and strictly applies the law — not what I or any interest group thinks the law should be. I am a judge who understands that every person’s day in court is usually the most important day in the world to that citizen.

3. What aspect of your background or your experience sets you apart from others running for this office?

I am the only candidate who spent an entire career as a trial attorney, prosecuting more than 2,000 cases in both state and federal courts, before becoming judge. I am the only candidate to have served as a circuit court judge, presiding over every type of case: criminal, civil and family law matters. Also, I am the only military veteran and lifetime public servant. Finally, unlike my six opponents, I was appointed by the governor to the bench after a very lengthy vetting and nomination process that included many interviews with bar committees, a nominating commission and, ultimately, Governor Larry Hogan himself. Many of my opponents applied to become a circuit court judge previously and none were among the candidates nominated for the governor’s consideration.

 

Annette DeCesaris

Candidate did not submit responses.

 

Kathleen Elmore

1. What would be your three priorities upon taking office?

My first priority is to uphold the public trust and keep all persons safe from harm. I want to work to establish programs to foster the strength of familial relationships and to solve the substance abuse problem. Finally, I intend to actively seek to improve the perception of the public of the judicial system by working with other judges and attorneys to assure high ethical standards and to assure that all litigants are treated fairly and with dignity.

2. What would be the greatest challenge you would face in this office?

My greatest challenge would be in attempting to assure that the decisions made are not only legally correct but also delivered timely, clearly, firmly, respectfully and with compassion for those who will be most impacted.

3. What aspect of your background or your experience sets you apart from others running for this office?

First and foremost, I have 30 years of legal experience in Maryland and an excellent reputation in both the legal community and in my personal life. I am stable, healthy, firm and compassionate, and I have the ability and temperament to be fair and impartial. I have an exceptionally strong work ethic and respect for all persons and life in general, having grown up on a small farm with loving working-class parents of meager means. Perhaps best of all, I have a good sense of humor and common sense.

 

Rickey Nelson Jones

What would be your three priorities upon taking office?

  • Assure that all people, from all communities, are heard, respected, and in receipt of just adjudication of their affairs according to law
  • Assure out-of-court interaction with our community by attending community events
  • Assure our laws are respected to keep our communities civil, safe and secure

2. What would be the greatest challenge you would face in this office?

Restoring faith and trust in our judicial system, and resisting all efforts to undermine my strong sense of love for my fellow man, justice for all and recognition of differences as something to be respected, not condemned.

3. What aspect of your background or your experience sets you apart from others running for this office?

  • Practicing in a diverse, multi-state law office for 25 years in state and federal courts
  • Several legal articles published nationwide
  • Deemed “qualified” to be a Maryland judge by bar associations
  • A life of serving others
  • Free from any and all controversy concerning finances or associations

 

Nevin Young

Candidate did not submit responses.

 

Governor

 

Rushern Baker

1. What would be your three priorities upon taking office?

Education: As governor, my top funding priority will be to fully fund education. For me, education is personal. I know that education can change lives because it changed mine. As a kid, I struggled with reading, got into fights often, and was kicked out of many schools. If it weren't for my loving parents and dedicated teachers, I would not have had the opportunity to be the first in my family to graduate from college. I know that fully funding schools is the first step to ensuring that every student in our state has the same opportunities I had.

Our public schools are the heart of our communities. A good school is the sign of a healthy community, providing students with a lifetime of opportunity and a signal to families and businesses that this is somewhere they should move to and invest. As a county executive, I have consistently fought for increases in school funding for higher teacher salaries; dual-enrollment programs; and expanded universal pre-K and full-day kindergarten. As governor, I will prioritize fully funding our school systems.

Transportation: As stated above, if you want to bring jobs and economic development to Maryland, you start by investing in mass transit projects. Baltimore, which has been historically underserved with transit options, deserves the kind of economic prosperity and improved quality of life that accompanies mass transit, like the Red Line.

We need 21st-century solutions to our transit problems that will not only connect more people to jobs and take more cars off the road but projects that will spur economic development in the communities they serve.

Criminal Justice Reform: In order to reform our criminal justice system and make communities safer, we need to invest in short-term and long-term solutions. In the county, we were able to achieve historic reductions in crime in part because we had a partner in Governor O'Malley. That support is no longer there for counties.

The recidivism rate in Baltimore City is staggering — estimates by the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services place it at 70 percent. Public Safety Compact, an innovative public-private partnership that finances in-prison drug treatment and comprehensive transition services upon release, has worked in Maryland. The recidivism rate for the program after three years is less than 10 percent and saved $2.5 million. Governor Hogan stopped the program; I would reinstate it immediately because investing in these programs not only saves money but also makes communities safer.

We will look at ways to address the systemic issues that perpetuate crime (including poverty, lack of jobs and poor education), reduce prison populations, address racial disparity and eliminate barriers for formerly incarcerated individuals to return to their communities.

The state must work to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline by investing in programs like Roca that provide job training for at-risk teenagers, and provide educational opportunities in juvenile facilities. Investing in long-term solutions that address the root causes of crime and reforming our criminal justice system will be a top funding priority of mine.

2. What would be the greatest challenge you would face in this office?

The biggest challenging will be turning around Maryland's stagnant economy and returning our education system back to No. 1 in the country.

3. What aspect of your background or your experience sets you apart from others running for this office?

I’m the only person in this race who has served as a chief executive of a major jurisdiction, served in the Maryland General Assembly and run nonprofits. I’ve knocked on doors and managed a $1 billion budget.

 

Larry Hogan

1. What would be your three priorities upon taking office?

Every Marylander deserves the dignity and security that comes with a good job. During the O’Malley administration, high taxes and overregulation drove businesses away and killed jobs. Our administration will build on the work we have done during my first term by expanding economic opportunity and job creation to all Marylanders. We will continue to hold the line on taxes, pass balanced budgets and make critical investments in education, transportation and environmental protection, all of which are vital to continued economic prosperity.

2. What would be the greatest challenge you would face in this office?

I believe very strongly that every single child in Maryland deserves a world-class education regardless of what neighborhood they grow up in. Parents and students deserve to know that their schools will be first-class centers for learning and opportunity development.

Over the past four years, our administration has been proud to invest a record $25 billion in K-12 education and that level of support will not only continue but increase during my second term. I have also proposed stronger accountability in our local school systems through higher academic standards, improved safety and aggressive measures to root out corruption and mismanagement.

3. What aspect of your background or your experience sets you apart from others running for this office?

I’m not a politician. I’m a lifelong small-businessman who ran for governor because I was frustrated with years of never-ending tax hikes and the blatant disregard for everyday Marylanders by out-of-touch politicians in Annapolis. I wanted to change Maryland for the better, and over the past four years, we’ve made incredible progress and we can’t turn back now. Our administration will continue to protect taxpayers, restore fiscal responsibility, and open Maryland’s doors to increased economic opportunity.

 

Ralph Jaffe

Candidate did not submit responses.

 

Ben Jealous

Candidate did not submit responses.

 

James Jones

Candidate did not submit responses.

 

Rich Madeleno

Candidate did not submit responses.

 

Jim Shea

Candidate did not submit responses.

 

Krish O'Mara Vignarajah

1. What would be your three priorities upon taking office?

I'm focused on three things: providing free cradle-to-career education, building an inclusive economy and protecting our environment. My administration will fully fund our education system, add 250,000 new jobs to our economy and protect our state's treasured natural resources — particularly the Chesapeake Bay. Maryland needs a governor willing to help everyone reach their full potential, regardless of their age, income, race or zip code.

2. What would be the greatest challenge you would face in this office?

The greatest challenge facing any governor remains addressing systemic wealth and income inequality. We need to reduce the regulatory burden on small businesses, reinvest in education and transit infrastructure, and ensure everyone has a chance to succeed.

3. What aspect of your background or your experience sets you apart from others running for this office?

I was Michelle Obama’s policy director and served as senior adviser to two secretaries of state in the Obama administration, after spending several years working in law and business. I’m a lifelong Marylander, the daughter of two Baltimore City public school teachers and the only K-12 product of Maryland public schools in this race.

 

Shawn Quinn

Candidate did not submit responses.

 

Alec Ross

1. What would be your three priorities upon taking office?

We must reset how education is funded in the state, prioritizing quality, 21st-century programs for all students. We need to re-evaluate transportation options and focus on mass transit options that reduce commute times. Lastly, our environmental policy must protect our resources, while creating jobs for Marylanders.

2. What would be the greatest challenge you would face in this office?

The greatest challenge any organization faces is how to innovate and collaborate while still carrying out the essential functions that need to get done. As governor, I will seek to make our state’s government as efficient and innovative as it has ever been, while working closely with legislators and state employees.

3. What aspect of your background or your experience sets you apart from others running for this office?

My career has been spent in public service, whether as a public school teacher, nonprofit founder or Obama administration official. I have experiences that many other candidates for office don’t, and although I have worked in government in senior positions, I have always been focused on innovation and how we solve real-world issues.

 

Ian Schlakman

Candidate did not submit responses.


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