Roughly two months remain before the primary election, with early voting starting on July 7 and Election Day arriving on July 19. Who are the candidates on this year’s ballot? The Voice asked each of them to submit a short bio to share their respective backgrounds and priorities.
Here are candidates for Maryland governor.
Rushern Baker III
As a former Maryland state delegate and Prince George's County executive, Rushern Baker understands state and county budgets. He helped reduce crime without increasing arrests, created record numbers of jobs through economic development, and made the hard decisions to ensure our kids have the best chance to succeed. He is running as a Democrat.
Learn more at www.rushernbaker.com.
Jon Baron is a former nonprofit executive and federal official – and longtime Maryland resident – who is running for the Democratic nomination for governor of Maryland. Baron’s career has focused on government reform, and he has been able to drive real change from both inside and outside government. As a Clinton administration official, he headed a nearly billion-dollar technology program and won awards for reinventing government. In 2001, he founded and ran a nonprofit organization that sparked a movement to advance evidence-based policymaking throughout government, and he worked with the Bush and Obama administrations and Congress to enact major reforms in social spending programs. These reforms led to significant gains in worker earnings, student achievement and other life outcomes. Most recently, he headed the largest philanthropic initiative in the country that identifies and expands proven-effective social programs. Baron has been an appointee of Democratic and Republican presidents and has twice been confirmed by the Senate.
For more information, go to www.jonbaron.com.
Delegate Dan Cox is a husband, father, Republican conservative, a candidate for governor of Maryland and believer in the goodness of God.
For more information, go to www.coxforfreedom.com.
A lifetime Maryland resident and former elected legislator, Robin Ficker has placed 25 ballot measures, which received over 2.5 million votes, to pass term limits, property tax revenue increase limits, and to bar the trenching of sewage sludge and operating garbage dumps in residential zones. He spent the summers of 2020 and 2021 meeting Severna Park residents and residents of all 23 counties of Maryland and Baltimore City on the Ocean City boardwalk. He asked how they were doing and how he could help.
The theme of Ficker’s campaign is to cut the sales tax 2 cents for a fiscal stimulus of $780 per year per household every year. No state has ever cut its sales tax, and we share an 85-mile border with Delaware, which has no sales tax.
Ficker will form a jobs strikeforce to visit large companies, all of which have shunned Maryland while the Maryland Department of Commerce was sleeping. In the last few years Amazon, Apple, Facebook/Meta, Global Foundries, Google, Intel, Microsoft, Nucor Steel, Samsung, Taiwan Semiconductor, Tesla and Texas Instruments have built multi-billion-dollar projects in other states, not Maryland. Ficker plans to reverse Maryland’s passivity and failure to bring high-paying jobs to Maryland.
Ficker believes that schools should remain open for physical learning, which he called for at the reopen Maryland rally in Annapolis in July 2020. He believes parents should have a large say in what children are being taught, whether the schools are safe, and whether any mandates could ever be necessary.
For more information, visit www.cutmdsalestax2cents.com.
Franchot serves as Maryland’s comptroller and received more votes for his 2018 re-election than any other candidate for a statewide office in Maryland’s history. A veteran of the United States Army and Maryland’s House of Delegates, as well as former staff director for then-Congressman, now U.S. Senator Ed Markey, Franchot has led the comptroller’s office to No. 1 in the nation for efficiency in the distribution of its more than 3 million tax refunds worth more than $3 billion per year with an average turnaround of 2.5 days. His office recently showcased its efficiency by distributing 98% of the COVID RELIEF Act stimulus funds — more than 415,000 payments totaling $171.5 million — within just one week of the bill’s passage. Polls show Franchot as the frontrunner in the gubernatorial campaign, with the most cash on hand at the last financial disclosure.
Franchot lives in Takoma Park with his wife of 40 years, Anne Maher. They have two children and three grandchildren. In his free time, he enjoys watching soccer, taking walks around the community, playing with his grandkids and gardening.
Learn more at www.franchot.com.
Former Attorney General Doug Gansler has 22 years of experience fighting crime – first as a federal prosecutor, then as Montgomery County state’s attorney, and finally as attorney general. In addition to prosecuting some of the state’s most high-profile cases, including the Beltway Sniper, Gansler has a record of launching innovative and successful programs to protect the public while instituting progressive reforms to the criminal justice system. As attorney general, he took on corporate polluters, securing historic settlements for clean air and clean water, and led 22 river audits to protect Maryland’s waterways and the Chesapeake Bay.
Crime is exploding across Maryland, and Gansler is running to bring crime down and justice up. His Safe Maryland plan addresses the police shortage by calling for better-paid and better-trained police, including police who are trained to de-escalate violent situations. The plan also calls for the hiring of 1,000 additional police officers across the state and 10,000 additional streetlights and cameras in Baltimore, and it sets an aggressive goal of solving every murder. Gansler will also target gun traffickers, get guns out of the hands of violent offenders, put every police shooting in front of a grand jury, and will fast-track funding for community infrastructure such as youth recreation centers to high-crime areas.
Gansler’s running mate for lieutenant governor is Candace Hollingsworth, the youngest and first Black mayor of Hyattsville. After a combined nine years of service on the city council and as mayor, Candace founded the national organization Our Black Party to wake up folks and fortify a change-making relationship between the Black community and the political system. As mayor, Hollingsworth focused on making Hyattsville a safe and just community through expanding education, economic opportunities and civic engagement for young people while supporting the long-term sustainability of her city.
For more information, go to www.ganslerformaryland.com.
Ralph Jaffe has lived in either Baltimore City or Baltimore County for all of his 80 years. He believes he is the right candidate who knows and loves “Balmore.” He attended the University of Maryland where he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science, earned teacher certification at Towson University and did graduate coursework at Loyola University.
He prides himself on being a teacher, not a politician. He has taught in both the public and private school systems in Baltimore County. During his formal teaching career, he developed a unique teaching strategy, Student Activism In The Classroom, which has been the foundation of his philosophy and practice ever since. This new methodology took students out into the real world to brainstorm an idea, convert it into the language of a bill, seek the help of congressmen to introduce the bill into Congress, lobby for it across the country, and meet with congressmen to request their support. All of these activities resulted in the passage of the bill and signed into law by President Richard Nixon. This unique experience was documented in the 1970 edition of the Readers Digest.
By 1992, he came to a stark realization that moral bankruptcy not only entered but also overtook any trace of ethics in Maryland government. Hence, he started a movement to rid Maryland of corruption and bring in real, true ethical reform. He developed a platform consisting of five principles. His candidacy in six elections has demonstrated the principles and practices for which he stands: do not take any campaign contributions because they are disguised bribes, stay away from professional lobbyists, serve for one term only - elimination of career politicians, serve free and tell the truth all of the time.
To learn more, visit www.fedupwithcrookedpolitics.com.
Ashwani Jain is a 32-year-old Maryland native, cancer survivor, son of immigrants and small-business owners, and product of Maryland public schools. He has experience working in the public, private and nonprofit sectors, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and President Obama’s White House. He is currently program director for the National Kidney Foundation and ambassador for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Jain is running for governor to make politics inclusive and accessible because he believes decisions about us should not be made without us.
That’s why the Jain campaign is fully accessible - with 100% of its events free and with Jain being the only gubernatorial candidate to personally go door to door in a different county every day of the week.
That’s why the Jain campaign is fully accountable - being the first statewide campaign in the United States to be 100% run by residents from every age, background and county.
That’s why the Jain campaign is fully transparent - having shared the most detailed policy agenda since January 2021. This includes the fully-paid-for “Maryland Now Plan,” which will eliminate your state income tax; make public transit free; create the nation’s first guaranteed jobs program; legalize marijuana while expunging records; and get money out of politics.
While Jain would be the nation’s youngest governor, he has the experience and perspective needed to serve Maryland well. He has also built one of the largest grassroots campaigns in Maryland - and accomplished this without focusing on fundraising or polling numbers. Instead, he has focused on engaging more residents in the process, empowering volunteers and one-on-one voter contact.
Learn more at www.jainforgovernor.com.
John King Jr. is a lifelong educator and a former U.S. secretary of education under President Barack Obama. He lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with his wife Melissa, and has two daughters who attended Montgomery County public schools.
King’s family has deep roots in Maryland. His great-grandfather was enslaved just 25 miles from his home in Montgomery County – and the cabin where his ancestors lived still stands. His grandmother, Estelle Livingston Stansberry King, attended the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (then called Princess Anne Academy), where she was among the first Black graduates in 1894.
Deeply dedicated to public education, King serves as president of a national education civil rights organization that works to support students of color and those from low-income backgrounds, and he is currently a professor at the University of Maryland College Park’s College of Education. King also founded Strong Future Maryland, a progressive advocacy organization that was instrumental in supporting the passage of over 20 pieces of progressive legislation.
King knows firsthand the power of public education and the important role educators play in creating a more just and prosperous future. King’s own life was saved by public school educators after both of his parents passed away by the time he was 12. He has spent his entire career fighting for a more just and equitable future, and he is now running for governor of Maryland to ensure every kid has the same opportunities he did.
King holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in government from Harvard University, a Juris Doctor from Yale Law School, and a Master of Arts in the teaching of social studies and a doctorate in education from Teachers College at Columbia University.
For more information, www.johnkingforgovernor.com.
(Candidate for General Election only)
David Lashar is a family man and an IT executive who has served with distinction in both the legislative and executive branches of government at both the federal and state levels.
Running for governor as a libertarian, he believes that neither of the two established parties is representative of who we are and who we want to become. He is committed to expanding opportunity for all Marylanders, promoting accountability among both individuals and authorities, and extending civility to all fellow citizens.
Learn more at www.davidlashar.com.
Wes Moore, a combat veteran, bestselling author, small-business owner, Rhodes Scholar and former CEO of one of the nation’s largest anti-poverty organizations, has devoted his life’s work to a basic principle: no matter your start in life, you deserve an equal opportunity to succeed — a job you can raise a family on, a future you can look forward to. He is running for governor as a Democrat.
For more information, go to www.wesmoore.com.
As the son of immigrants from the Dominican Republic, a longtime resident of Takoma Park, and a civil rights attorney, Tom Perez has committed his life to protecting and expanding opportunity and ensuring justice for all Americans. Perez is running for governor because this is a moment of generational change that requires bold, proven leadership to build a more just and equitable future for all Marylanders.
He served on the Montgomery County Council from 2002 to 2006; was appointed to be the Maryland secretary of labor, licensing and regulation in 2007; and was appointed by President Barack Obama to lead the Civil Rights Division, where he started his career, serving as assistant attorney general for civil rights in the Department of Justice.
In 2013, President Obama appointed Perez to become the United States secretary of labor. He led an agency with more than 17,000 employees, a multi-billion-dollar budget, and had a presence in every state and three territories.
To learn more, go to www.tomperez.com.
Kelly Schulz is a mother, wife and successful small-business owner who served for seven years in Governor Larry Hogan’s administration as the secretary of labor and secretary of commerce. She is running as a Republican.
Learn more at www.kellyschulzforgovernor.com.
(Candidate for General Election only)
Born and raised in Maryland, Kyle Sefcik is a political outsider who will not be accepting donations from the big lobby groups and unions. He wants to get rid of wasteful spending, reduce government overreach and ensure that education funding is used adequately and effectively.
To learn more, go to www.kylesefcik.com.
For the last 57 years, in multiple venues, in multiple roles, Jerome Segal has been pursuing social, political and cultural transformation. He is an advocate of “bread and roses socialism.”
For more information, go to www.segalforgovernor.org.
A Republican, Joe Werner is running for governor because of his deep concern for the freedom, safety, success and welfare of every citizen of Maryland.
For more information, go to www.wernerformaryland.com.
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