Election Day ws Tuesday, November 6, and to help our readers make an informed decision, we asked each of the candidates, “What are the three issues or priorities that will be most important to you in this office?” Here’s what they told us:
Education: Every child, regardless of the neighborhood they grow up in, deserves access to a world-class education. The Hogan-Rutherford administration has provided record funding, $25 billion over four years, for Maryland’s public schools. Our administration has also led the way in creating an education “lockbox,” which will increase education funding by $4.4 billion over 10 years. Finally, we've pushed for increased accountability in our schools through the creation of the Office of Education Accountability.
Jobs and the Economy: As a lifelong small-business man, I understand that high taxes, reckless spending and unnecessary regulations mean fewer jobs and lower wages for all Marylanders. That’s why I have fought for fiscally responsible budgets that keep more money in Marylanders’ pockets and allow businesses of all sizes to grow. When I took office, improving Maryland’s business climate and boosting job growth were two of my top priorities. Job growth in Maryland has seen a dramatic turnaround over the last four years, as we’ve gone from losing 100,000 jobs under my predecessor to gaining more than 100,000 over the last four years. My administration launched and enacted the More Jobs for Marylanders Act, which provides incentives for businesses to open in struggling jurisdictions.
Environment: Since taking office, I’ve made preserving and protecting the environment a major priority of my administration, especially Maryland’s most important natural asset, the Chesapeake Bay. During my first term, we have invested $4 billion in Chesapeake Bay restoration programs. Under my administration, Maryland is a proud member of the multi-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a coalition of nine states working together to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. This year, I enacted legislation to prevent future administrations from withdrawing from RGGI without legislative approval. Over the next four years, we will build upon our record funding for Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts and maintain our incredibly high clean air and water standards and goals. As a result of our commitment, the Chesapeake Bay received its highest water quality rating in a generation on its latest report card.
Education: We need a governor with a plan to ensure every child in Maryland gets a great education. I’ve put plans on the table to finally fully fund our schools and keep the broken promise on the casino money, raise teacher pay, provide universal full-day pre-k, and tackle the student debt crisis.
Health care: Every year under this governor, health care premiums have skyrocketed – hurting our small businesses and bankrupting families. Seniors are seeing their prescription costs spike, and too many Marylanders go without care all together. As governor, I’ll work to ensure every Marylander has health care they can actually afford to use through a Medicare for All system.
Economy: Right now, our economy is stuck. We’re last in the region in both income growth and job growth. As a businessman and civil rights leader, I know that we can build a stronger, more inclusive economy. I’ve proposed plans to raise the minimum wage, cut the sales tax, encourage entrepreneurship, and ensure that we tackle chronic unemployment.
You can read about more plans at www.benjealous.com.
Increase transparency and efficiency: enhance systems integration capabilities, online transcripts and assistance, secure resources and systems, and design more usable state websites
Reduce Taxes and Penalties: revamp the Offer in Compromise program, eliminate unnecessary and impeding fees, demolish retirement income tax, and improve environmental tax incentives
Better infrastructure statewide: safer roads, bike lanes and sidewalks; develop broadband in rural areas; add a third span across the Bay Bridge; expand mass transit
Taxpayer security continues to be a top priority. While we’re a national leader in combatting tax fraud and identity theft, criminals employ brazen tactics to harm taxpayers’ financial well-being. I will continue to work with policymakers and other key stakeholders to identify solutions to protect the financial integrity of Marylanders.
Customer service is a core obligation of government. I’m proud of the progress we have made in this area, but we can always do more. In the years ahead, I’ll continue to promote greater efficiencies and adopt strategies so that we can continue to deliver respectful, responsive and results-oriented service.
Procurement reform is critically needed. I’ve worked to make our procurement process a leveled playing field for all contractors, especially for minority- and women-owned enterprises. I will continue to promote transparency and accountability in the way government agencies are spending your hard-earned tax dollars.
Public safety: With Baltimore City being the murder capital of the country, with more than 2,000 opioid deaths in Maryland last year, with Maryland’s being fourth in the country in trafficking of women and children, and with gun and gang violence running rampant across the state, the attorney general should focus on public safety, not partisanship.
Work with Governor Hogan: The attorney general should work with Governor Hogan, not against him.
Protect victims of crime.
Fighting crime/opioid epidemic: We have indicted and put behind bars the most dangerous criminals in our state: violent gang members, drug traffickers, doctors operating pill mills, gun traffickers and human traffickers. We are holding opioid manufacturers accountable for the addiction and death that they have caused.
Ensuring equal protection: Our office was the first in the nation to issue guidelines prohibiting discriminatory profiling by law enforcement – making it clear that race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability and religion cannot be factors in routine police activity.
Protecting our environment: As a legislator, I sponsored the law that prohibits oil and gas drilling in the bay. As AG, I have stood up to the Trump administration’s attempts to weaken the laws that protect our air and water and protect people from toxic chemicals.
For more information, visit www.brianfrosh.com.
Getting the national government out of public education: Common Core and nationally imposed standards should have never been allowed. Parents and teachers across Maryland are frustrated with Common Core and the unnecessary burden that is placed upon teachers and students.
I believe we should put in place a balanced budget amendment, which will begin to reduce the deficit. Broken promises of career politicians have gotten us into this mess. Only a structural mechanism like a balanced budget amendment will make politicians keep their promises to the taxpayers.
The hallmark of public service is leadership; a career politician just wants to be re-elected. As a leader, I will go to the U.S. Senate to fight for individual liberty. It is past time to have real discussions on how much government should be involved in the lives of its citizens.
Economic opportunity: I am committed to seeing that Maryland receives the resources needed to grow our regional economy and create well-paying, local jobs for residents. We should modify our tax code to truly target middle-income and working families, help small businesses and make smart investments in infrastructure/green technologies.
Opioid epidemic: Facing this public health crisis will take all levels of government working with private-sector partners. More than law enforcement, our ongoing response must improve access to evidence-based treatment centers, promote prevention education, and support those in or seeking recovery. We must keep our promise of federal funding for state-led programs.
Chesapeake Bay: A healthy bay means a healthy economy. I was proud to lead the bipartisan effort to restore funding for the Chesapeake Bay program after it was cut in President Trump’s budget. Federal and regional partnerships have been crucial to the progress we have made in improving the bay's health.
I’m an active advocate of full transparency in government, including the judicial branch of government, which now operates under a cloud of secrecy, deceitfulness and deception. We must say “no” to courts and legislative branches of government being disrespectful to our Constitution and rule of law.
I advocate legislation to prevent judicial abuse and fraud on our citizens by requiring every court in the nation and every judicial proceeding be recorded on videotape, and court clerks must refuse to give these videotapes to judges to edit victim transcripts, which would limit waste, fraud and abuse.
I advocate legislation that would require all officers of the court and legislature to reaffirm their oath of office and loyalty to the Constitution every two years, and that these oaths of office and their employment contracts be made public record to stop the illegal use of unsigned court documents.
Lowering health care costs and prescription drug prices: I will fight to bring down health care costs and lower prescription drug prices by holding insurance and drug companies accountable while strengthening Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Our country and our economy are stronger and healthier when every American has access to quality, affordable health care.
Increasing Marylanders' pay through strong economic growth: We must invest in innovation industries like clean energy and build economic infrastructure like roads, bridges and ports to help our economy grow and create well-paying jobs. When working families earn more, our economy works better for everyone.
Cleaning up corruption to make Washington work: Democrats will clean up the culture of corruption in Washington, restore dignity to our democracy and give power back to the people - because our leaders should be focused on making sure our government works for everyone.
For more information on these topics, visit www.anthonybrown.com.
Education: Four years ago, our public-school system was in crisis with a bankrupt health care system, low teacher pay, overcrowding and outdated facilities. Our team launched the largest school construction effort in county history, added 300 new educator positions, bailed out the health care system and implemented four straight years of teacher pay increases.
Public safety: the opioid epidemic: Our team faced the opioid crisis head-on by initiating a three-pronged attack: stricter enforcement to put dealers and gang members in jail, more pathways to treatment through the nationally recognized Safe Stations program, and educating parents and youth through our “Not My Child” initiative. The number of overdoses has at last stabilized.
Taxes and fees: I promised to cut taxes and fees, and I have. We cut a total of $160 million, which helped our local economy grow by $6 billion (now the fourth largest in the state), reduced unemployment to 3.9 percent and cut our welfare rolls to their lowest levels in many years.
Managing growth: Steve Schuh has given away the store to corporate developers at the expense of our communities. As county executive, I will end pay-to-play politics by limiting developer contributions to candidates, reassess projects currently in the pipeline, and reinvigorate the Small Area Plan program so communities have a voice in managing growth.
Improving public services: I am supported by police, firefighters and teachers because they know I have the best plan to improve public services. I will invest in our county employees, implement data-driven service delivery methods, and focus on real challenges like combatting the opioid epidemic and protecting sensitive environmental areas.
Responsible budgeting: Steve Schuh has funded giveaways to his donors by kicking the can down the road to future county taxpayers. That will end on my watch. I know we can pass budgets that invest in the services county residents depend on while still being fiscally responsible. As your next county executive, that’s exactly what I’ll deliver.
Unserved criminal warrants: I will reallocate and expand resources, partner with other agencies, and institute best practices to reduce the number of outstanding warrants, which is currently over 12,000. My continuing experience as a police commander gives me a firm grasp on the issue of warrant reduction and implementing modern law enforcement strategies.
Courthouse security: Court security is a primary function of the sheriff's office, and I will use my experience in the area of Homeland Security to conduct a top-to-bottom assessment of security needs, so our deputies and the general public can be safer when conducting business at the Circuit Court in Annapolis.
Staffing needs: Sheriff's office employees operate at a high level to get the business of the office completed; however, requirements for the service of court documents are increasing. There must be an increase in staffing certain positions to ensure critical documents, such as domestic violence orders, are served in a safe and timely manner.
Candidate did not submit responses.
Working with Governor Hogan’s agenda: There is a spirit of cooperation being ushered in by Governor Hogan and he needs support in the Senate to accomplish his goals of holding the line on taxes, creating jobs, providing quality education, cleaning our bay and dealing with the opioid issue. I will continue to work with Governor Hogan.
Redrawing of legislative and congressional maps: The next governor and legislature will redraw the maps for Maryland. Currently, our maps are partisan and benefit political parties over the people. I will work with the governor to create a nonpartisan commission to draw the next set of maps. We must restore the voice of the people.
Helping our veterans: I will continue to address the needs of our veterans and military personnel. With more than 100 veterans committing suicide in Maryland annually, this must be addressed. I will continue to improve upon my Veterans Suicide Prevention Act, which partners with nonprofits, highly trained dogs and vulnerable veterans.
Transportation: Public transportation needs to be expanded throughout the state to help alleviate congestion, give more access to jobs for our workforce, and link rural with urban communities. Just widening roads or adding HOV lanes, which can take up to 10 years, isn’t helping and isn’t cost effective.
Job: The state and private sector can work together, giving individuals on state assistance (that lack skill sets) jobs through an intern program helping both with needs. We could fill vacant jobs and give tax breaks to companies that hire and train workers who can move into the workforce better qualified.
Education: Universal pre-k, smaller class sizes, more teachers and modern schools should be a priority, as our children are the future and should be given every opportunity to succeed equally whether in Baltimore City, Howard County or Montgomery County.
For more information, visit www.bluewavemaryland.org/scottharman.
High taxes: The biggest issue facing my district is the over-taxing 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. I want to work toward a shared vision of freedom, peace, prosperity and a limited but effective and efficient government that serves the people and not the other way around.
Wasteful spending: We now have a windfall of new revenue created by the 2018 federal tax cut, which will be swiped away by lawmakers for a rainy day, for pet projects and for personal political gain. This solidifies my conviction that we do not have a revenue problem but we do have a spending problem. We now must pass legislation that will return the excess $300 to $400 million back to Maryland taxpayers — money generated 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.
Crime violence and the opioid epidemic: I will work boldly to crack down on illegal immigration, sanctuary cities and gang-related violence, including MS-13. As a father of a 16-year-old son, as a husband for 17 years to my wife Kristie, and as a caregiver to a family member affected by Down syndrome, I believe we must protect everyone, especially those most vulnerable.
I look forward to working together with anyone willing to tackle the opioid and heroin epidemic that is now plaguing our communities. I have worked on and hosted initiatives to bring together families, law enforcement and community leaders to diminish this pandemic sweeping through Maryland.
Redistricting Reform: Politics is uglier and more dysfunctional than I’ve ever seen it in my lifetime. I believe one major cause is the issue of gerrymandering. Gerrymandering is when legislative districts are drawn to ensure certain candidates, handpicked by powerful insiders, are guaranteed victory on Election Day. These candidates often end up more loyal to party bosses than to their voters. I look forward to working with Governor Hogan to fix this, and in his second term, he’ll create our legislative and congressional maps that will be used for the next decade! This means for the first time in many years, we will have districts drawn that will put the focus back where it should be, which is on the voters.
Retirement tax relief: Maryland continues to have a serious disadvantage with our taxes on retirees being too costly and not competitive with some other states in the region but particularly with states like the Carolinas and Florida. Governor Hogan has stopped the constant barrage of tax and fee hikes and has reduced many fees, tolls and taxes. However, more needs to be done and I look forward to working with him to deliver retirement tax relief in the next term.
For more information on these topics, visit www.kipke.com.
Healthcare: I support a health-care-for-all system. I believe in this form of health care not because I’m a Democrat, but because objectively it will save people and Maryland money — and save lives. No longer will our health be a for-profit industry at the mercy of private industry practices, limited by pre-existing conditions.
Education: Pre-K should be free for 4-year-olds and qualifying 3-year-olds with full-day services for working families. Recruiting and retaining high-caliber personnel through competitive pay increases creates an environment where educators are excited to teach and students are excited to learn. I am proud to be teacher-recommended!
Gerrymandering: I am wholeheartedly opposed to politicians picking their voters. The Constitution gives state legislatures the authority to draw political districts; the state legislature also has the authority to hand that duty to an independent commission. Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana and Washington use independent commissions — so should Maryland.
For more information on our platform, visit www.harryefreeman.com. We hope to have your support on Election Day!
Women’s issues: Karen is a #metoo champion for women, children, and men who respect the rights of women and children. Many mass shooters have a history of violence or threats of violence against women. When we protect women from these abusers, we protect everyone.
Education: Education is the No. 1 issue for many voters in District 31. Karen is a graduate of Maryland public schools and supports fully funding our children’s education and our teachers’ salaries and pensions. Education is vital to the future of our state. Our teachers’ salaries should reflect their service.
Health care: Health care, specifically prescription medication, is the second major issue for our community. Surging health care costs are outpacing the cost of living and our minimum wage. Health care and prescription drugs cost too much. We must work together to find practical solutions that cut costs for families.
Limiting overdevelopment: I will ensure that any new development improves, not detracts from, the lives of current county residents. I will not support shortsighted, irresponsible, unchecked growth in our county. Any new development must be measured, transparent and carefully considered based on intensive community outreach and input.
Infrastructure/public services investment: I will support investments in our critical infrastructure and services like public education, fire, police, roads and libraries. I will work to modernize the way county government provides services and give our county employees the tools to perform their jobs and serve our citizens.
Constituent service: I intend to be a constant, visible presence in the community, serving as an outlet to hear concerns and address problems. I will show up regularly and be present to ensure I am informed on issues that are affecting the day-to-day lives of citizens in District 3.
Education: In order to have a quality education system, we must ensure that we have competitive salaries and benefits for our educators, and we need lowered class sizes. We must invest in increasing available counselors and mental health support and providing multiple learning and exploratory opportunities for students.
Public safety: We all deserve to feel safe in our communities. In addition to appropriate compensation, we must ensure that we have the appropriate staff to meet the needs of our community. We need to implement a well-developed recruitment and retention plan. And we must find a way to ensure that those who choose have the ability to live in the county that they serve.
Development: Development is important to maintain a viable vibrant community. I believe that the public should have an active voice in our growth. This could include being involved with the General Development Plan, holding community forums before decisions are made to gather input and hear concerns, as well as developing an online forum site for comments.
Disrupting violent and drug trafficking organizations: This past term, I initiated a new approach to prosecution that combines use of analytics and consolidated intelligence information to identify, investigate and prosecute the small group of people who drive the majority of crime in the county.
Human trafficking: Last year, I worked with local legislators to bring about legislation to make human trafficking offenses a felony in Maryland and will continue with that effort until that legislation is passed. We will work to consolidate our efforts with federal and local partners to build a focused investigative unit to prosecute these offenders.
Opioid/mental health crisis: We have developed a cutting-edge approach to rehabilitation and education in Anne Arundel County. We will continue to strengthen our prevention program, including instituting the Handle With Care initiative so we can continue to support trauma-informed care in our school system.
Anne Colt Leitess
Better management of office: As appointed state’s attorney from 2013 to 2015, I managed a $9 million budget, 115 employees and won tough cases. I expanded drug court and created the community outreach program. The office is $1 million over budget; 45 of 117 staff members are gone; and thousands of district court cases are dropped, including one-fifth of DUIs and 90 percent of all drugged driving cases. If elected, I will balance the budget, restore training and retain employees to prosecute, not drop, cases.
Address opioids and gangs: Fatal overdoses tripled from 54 in 2014 to 136 in 2018, and that is a tragedy. There’s been no measurable difference in long-term outcomes from Safe Stations. To fight the opioid crisis, I will dedicate staff to drug court and encourage the Ordnance Road Detention Facility be used for rehabilitation programs. I will revive the gang task force my opponent dismantled and work with police and communities to identify and deter gang activity.
Remove politics from office: I became a career prosecutor to give those who could not speak a voice in the criminal justice system. The state’s attorney should prosecute crime and ensure justice and politics have no place in the office. I will never permit registered lobbyists or political consultants to collect a county paycheck. I will restore professionalism and ethics to the office.
To learn more about me, go to www.annearundelanne.com.
Maintenance of high standards by which this office achieved three perfect state legislative audits. The staff and I work together to exceed public expectations. From 25 years of legal practice and 12 years as register, I know that attention to legal and professional detail is crucial.
Maintenance of our live, fast, personal service, answering phones and greeting you at the front desk. Our surveys indicate public and attorney satisfaction ratings of 99.29 percent and 95.5 percent, respectively. I created a website for the public for case information, credit card acceptance, and an online ordering system for documents and publications.
Being accessible to all people. I created outreach programs to inform clubs, churches and civic groups about estates. The staff and I work to have the office as accessible to the public as humanly possible through technology, cost savings and kindness. Kindness and efficiency never go out of style.
For more information on these issues, visit www.laurenparker.org.
Joseph “JJ” Janosky
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. The office needs to be revitalized with a focus on citizen services.
Evaluate cybersecurity and inefficiencies in the office and make improvements when necessary.
I have spent my life in public and private offices finding efficiencies. Little has been done toward public accessibility. I suggest using a cloud-based platform to increase public access.
Little progress has happened to create citizen outreach to gather information on the public concerns and emphasize the importance of having a valid will. This information is needed in all age groups. Increase online information available to the public.
First and foremost, the Orphans’ Court exists to serve the citizens of Anne Arundel County. We are tasked with helping families deal with the distribution of a deceased person’s assets at a time when the survivors are grieving and distressed. The ability to listen and empathize is essential to do the job well.
There are often competing interests between creditors and among creditors and heirs, so a thorough knowledge of the law is required. I am an attorney with 37 years’ experience practicing law right here in Maryland. Together with my fellow judges, we bring years of experience to the job.
We integrate seamlessly with the register of wills and her staff, who handle the administrative side of the estates we hear. Together, we manage simple estates quickly and efficiently, and the more complex matters are handled with the time necessary to ensure all parties are treated fairly in accordance with the law.
The three issues that I think are important today could be consolidated in to one word: lack. A lack of compassion, a lack of patience and the lack of understanding.
One of the most notable changes over time is the complexity of the hearings we preside over. Orphans’ Court judges are responsible for legal decisions made for estates after the death of a family member. This is a highly emotional and stressful time for a family. We need to keep a clear understanding of the situation, the applicable laws and most effective outcome while showing compassion for everyone involved with the utmost patience.
The population growth of Anne Arundel County means we see more and more cases, each one just as complex as the next, each deserving our time and attention, which can create a bottleneck of cases. By applying previous experience and acquired knowledge, we can make a difference.
Fair and efficient decision-making: As an elected judge of the Orphans’ Court, I strive to ensure all family members’ concerns are heard at our hearings and to weigh all issues before the court while considering the laws within Maryland’s estates and trust code.
Respect and compassion for those who come before the Orphans’ Court: My role as a judge is to listen carefully to all statements and testimony provided by family members, to consider all facts as provided, and to treat everyone with respect and compassion during the probate process.
Abiding by the law as provided in Maryland’s estates and trust code: Providing fairness, respect and compassion must always be balanced by the law. I approach my role as a judge of the Orphans’ Court with attention to family needs and in consideration of the laws governing estates and probate.
Professionalism, compassion and fairness: I have been a lawyer for 30 years. This strong legal background will bolster the professionalism of the Anne Arundel County Orphans’ Court.
Diversity: If elected, I would be the first African-American Democrat in the history of Anne Arundel County and the second in the history of the court, the first being the Republican Mary Sellman Jackson, who was in office almost 20 years ago. Diversity is important because our elected positions should reflect the communities that they serve.
Outreach: Traditionally, the register of wills has been involved in outreach. As an Orphans’ Court judge, I vow to personally go to communities, including those in underserved areas of our county, to increase awareness of the important role that the Orphans’ Court play’s in the transfer of wealth from one generation to the next. As part of this, I believe it is time to put the discussion on the table that, perhaps, the name of the Orphans’ Court should be changed to “Probate Court” to more clearly reflect its role in the judiciary of Anne Arundel County.
Torrey Jacobsen Jr.
My first priority will be to give the citizens of Anne Arundel County the best community constituency service. I will work with the families who are dealing with the death of a loved one at the minimum of expense to the estate and the heirs.
I have been an insurance agent and realtor/small-business owner for many years. My experience and life knowledge will be useful to help families with issues within the estate process. I have learned that to be successful, you must listen and ask the correct questions to deal with the issues in front of you.
Be a community advocate in the county.
Domestic violence: Each year, Maryland experiences more than 30,000 acts of domestic violence. Too often, families face the pain, fear and consequences of domestic violence. That’s why, as the clerk of the court, I will provide support to each person seeking a protective order and expand services in our community to prevent domestic violence.
Make communities safer: The clerk of the court helps carry out justice and contributes to safer communities. The drug court helps people overcome the horrific opioid crisis. As clerk, I will protect the rights of victims and witnesses in our community, work toward restitution, and ensure accurate and timely processing of warrants, court documents and decisions.
Support families: Every family has a story. The clerk's office brings families together every day through issuing marriage licenses, performing civil marriage ceremonies (I’ve married more than 4,000 couples), facilitating adoption services and helping families in trouble. As clerk, I will support our families through dedicated and friendly service whenever a family needs us.
For more information on these issues, visit www.dougarnold.net.
Reducing gun violence: We are losing too many innocent lives to gun violence in our schools, in our workplaces and on our streets. I will reduce gun violence by identifying offenders, aggressively enforcing the law to prevent them from having access to firearms, and working to create stronger laws.
11,000 unserved warrants: There is a backlog of 11,000 unserved arrest warrants issued by the judiciary that have languished for years. I will partner with the sheriff and other officials to identify the root causes of the issue and address them in a comprehensive and coordinated way.
Marriage at age 15 is too young: One of the duties of the clerk of the Circuit Court is to perform marriages. Under current law, it is legal for someone as young as 15 to marry. I will work with legislators to raise the minimum age of marriage in Maryland.