For the last three years, Maryland, and Baltimore in particular, has been suffering from a public safety crisis. Every single day, our news channels and newspapers are flooded with the stories of those whose lives have been taken too soon. During this time, Governor Hogan has done nothing but strain relationships with critical partners and pay lip service to the problem. As Governor, I will work alongside my Lt. Governor, Brandon Scott, to design and implement a robust public safety plan for the state that cures the disease of gun violence and restores trust in law enforcement. Brandon and I have decades of experience, yet we have a fresh perspective to combat the toughest problems our state faces. We can end Maryland’s public safety crisis, but in order to do so, we need leaders in the state who are willing to take on challenges and design, implement, and execute a real plan.
Since 2015, when Governor Hogan took office, violent crime in Maryland has skyrocketed. Baltimore has suffered record numbers of murders over the past three years. Instead of taking steps to stop the carnage, Governor Hogan cut public safety budgets and canceled projects like the Red Line that would have brought relief from poverty and unemployment – the root causes of the violence. Governor Hogan’s belated response has combined Trump-style “law-and-order” policies, including increased mandatory minimums that have eroded and alienated families and communities while failing to reduce crime, with lip service to the plans of his predecessors, which he defunded in the first place.
Despite the chronic problem of crime in our state, and the Governor’s failures in addressing the issue, we can still institute change. As a society, we must not become complacent and accepting of the hundreds of murders that take place on our streets. We must demand action from the state leadership to solve this problem.
As Governor, I will work on four different tracks. If we are going to solve the public safety crisis in our state, we must enhance the community’s trust in law enforcement. To do this, I will end the war on drugs, oversee the successful implementation of the federal consent decree, and bring law enforcement, community leaders, and citizens together to share ideas and work cooperatively using tried and true techniques like community mediation. We must implement community-focused crime fighting strategies and public health-based crime reduction programs to end the violence. This including filling holes in our gun laws, targeting criminal organizations, and reinvigorating programs like Ceasefire and Safe Streets. Third, we must develop our crime prevention and rehabilitation programs by bringing more job training opportunities to our jails and prisons and identifying youth who may be on the wrong track. Finally, we must address the root causes of crime in our community, which include a lack of access to a fulfilling education, lack of economic opportunity, and other inequities found in communities throughout or state.
My running mate, Brandon Scott, has been twice elected to the Baltimore City Council, and for the past year, has served as chair of the Baltimore City Public Safety Committee with honor and integrity. He is the leading voice in the city on reforms that will make our communities safer, and he is an integral part of my team. Along with Councilman Scott, I will develop and implement a large-scale and statewide plan to fix the public safety crisis in our state. Throughout my career, I have led large public and private organizations and accomplished tangible and significant results. I have done so by devising a plan, outlining metrics, executing, and holding people accountable for results. That is exactly what I will do here. These strategies will not work in a vacuum, however. In order to truly address and solve our state and city’s public safety crisis, we need to implement strategies to restore faith in our police, end the violence using community crime fighting strategies, bolster crime prevention and rehabilitation techniques, and tackle the root causes of crime in Maryland.
GOVERNOR HOGAN’S FAILURE TO ADDRESS THE PUBLIC SAFETY CRISIS
The rise in violent crime in Maryland since Governor Hogan took office has been shocking. In 2014, the year before Governor Hogan took office, the violent crime rate in Maryland was 448 incidents per 100,000 citizens. In 2015, the violent crime rate jutted upward to 457 per 100,000 people.1 Likewise, in 2015, the number of murders in Baltimore increased to 344, up from 211 in 2014.2
These spikes had many causes, including the death of Freddie Gray and the subsequent unrest and a more general lack of opportunity. What is plain is that in response to them, Governor Hogan did nothing but cut the budget for crucial programs. As a result, the rate of violent crime in Maryland and the number of homicides in Baltimore remained unacceptably high in 2016 and the city set a per capita record for homicides with 341 in 2017.3
After three years of heartbreaking violence, Governor Hogan finally released proposed measures to combat the crisis. Much of his plan is ill-conceived. Governor Hogan introduced a series of bills that attempted to inject Trump-style law-and-order policies into Maryland law by increasing mandatory minimums for drug crimes and requiring juvenile defendants charged with certain crimes to be tried as adults.4 5 As has been proven time and time again, in study after study, these policies do not reduce crime.6 But “tough” sentencing is worse than just being ineffective. It ruins the lives of not only the defendants but the families who rely on them. Punishment of wrongdoing is necessary and just to a point, but to punish excessively for no benefit merely breaks down the family structure that a community needs to thrive. Further, when citizens see their friends and family members unfairly sentenced, mandatory minimums erode any faith in our criminal justice system.
Other measures Governor Hogan introduced, again at a late hour, are simply repackaged projects championed by his predecessors, which Governor Hogan had underfunded and neglected in his first three years in office. Governor Hogan cut funding in his FY2017 budget to the Safe Streets program and the Department of Juvenile Services, two critical programs proven to reduce violence. 7 8
Governor Hogan’s response to the opioid crisis has been completely inadequate. While he was running for Governor in 2014, he claimed that he would declare a state of emergency to respond properly to the opioid epidemic.9It took him over two years to fulfill his campaign promise, and since he has been in office, opioid deaths have increased every single year.10 In fact, Maryland has had one of the highest rates of overdose deaths in the nation since Governor Hogan was elected.11
Rather than partnering with Baltimore City and Mayor Catherine Pugh, Governor Hogan continues to snipe at and pass blame onto the city and its mayor. His administration has cast blame on, to a name a few, (1) Mayor Pugh for failing to take the same knee-jerk, “tough on crime” reaction to crime that has failed for the past decades12; (2) Maryland judges for failing to give the type of sentences that have led to an epidemic of mass incarceration throughout the country13; (3) the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, a two-decade-old body that consists of the top law enforcement officials in Baltimore, which Governor Hogan defunded last year in a shallow attempt to grandstand and score political points14; (4) judges and prosecutors, rather than the Department of Juvenile Services, after a teenaged boy allegedly killed Baltimore County Police Officer Amy Caprio.15 16
Despite these repeated attempts to pass blame, the Governor of Maryland has significant control of public safety outcomes across the state given the fact that each of parole and probation, the corrections system, the Department of Juvenile Justice, and the Maryland State Police are state entities. Each of these must be more proactive in coordinating with local jurisdictions to confront the public safety crisis in our communities. We need federal, state, and local authorities working together as one team. Real leadership means taking responsibility for problems and working hard to solve them. Governor Hogan’s response to the public safety crisis, in contrast, is to pass the buck and blame others, and to do nothing himself to work towards a solution.
ENHANCING COMMUNITY TRUST IN LAW ENFORCEMENT
Sadly, many aspects of our criminal justice system have alienated our communities, rather than protecting them. These policies need to be eliminated or reformed.
The time has come to end the War on Drugs in Maryland. It has failed and, worse, is counter-productive. Drug addiction, particularly opioid addiction, is an enormous problem in our state. But it is primarily a health problem, not a criminal one. Those suffering from drug addiction need an appointment in rehab, not a jail cell. I will work with local jurisdictions to see that drug users are diverted to treatment rather than sent to jail by investing in programs like Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion. Further, the War on Drugs has predominantly and disproportionately targeted communities of color. For example, studies show that African Americans account for 62 percent of drug offenders sent to state prisons, yet they only represent 12 percent of the US population. Black men are sent to state prisons at 13 times the rate of white men.17
I will work to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana. I will also work to commute the sentences and clear the records of those with nonviolent marijuana offenses. Finally, as we legalize marijuana, I will work to ensure that permits are directed towards people who have been targeted by the unjust War on Drugs, particularly minority communities. Taking these steps will allow us to avoid saddling young men and women with criminal records that prevent them from getting a job. Our law enforcement will be able to dedicate more time and resources towards violent crime. And, legalization will generate $165 million in tax revenue each year, which can be used to improve our schools, confront the opioid epidemic, or properly fund necessary and successful public safety programs.18
Second, as Governor I will ensure that the consent decree between the City of Baltimore and its police department and the United States Department of Justice successfully creates a new and improved Baltimore Police Department that fights crime effectively the right way. This means creating a police force that employs a community-oriented approach that is focused on protecting citizens. It means ensuring that police are accountable to the citizens they serve through support for civilian oversight mechanisms and fair and timely investigations of police misconduct. Finally, this means supporting Baltimore City (and other local governments) to ensure that police have the training and equipment they need to do their jobs successfully. The consent decree applies to Baltimore, but as Governor I will make sure that the same best practices in the consent decree are employed throughout Maryland so that we have the most effective, ethical, and experienced police forces in the country.
President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing provides a blueprint for developing the policing practices that Marylanders deserve. One recommendation from the task force is that “law enforcement culture should embrace a guardian mindset to build public trust and legitimacy.”19 Transparency and accountability, positive engagement with communities, and proactive monitoring of the community-police relationship are critical to building this culture. Community policing must be a modus operandi infused throughout a police force, not just the responsibility of one unit within that force. Other recommendations from the task force that merit adaptation and implementation in Maryland are reducing law enforcement practices that marginalize the participation of vulnerable youth in their schools and communities, involving community members in law enforcement training, and focusing on police officer wellness and safety. The Governor has a key role to play in setting statewide rules and policies and ensuring that local police forces have the resources and training necessary for success.
The recent corruption scandal and subsequent prosecution of six former members of the Baltimore City Police Department’s Gun Trace Task Force (“GTTF”) has proven that we need to do more to enhance police accountability and oversight. One straightforward solution to the problem of overtime fraud, one of the many crimes committed by the corrupt GTTF officers, is to begin state audits of police department spending. Stiffer penalties for police misconduct and laws providing for compensation for police corruption are also needed. Full control of the Baltimore City Police Department, which remains on the books as a state agency, should be handed over to the city with increased civilian oversight, so that the city can enact reforms and provide a nimbler system of checks and balances that is not limited to a 90-day session of the state legislature. Finally, efforts by police departments to protect against corruption, such as the Baltimore City Police Department’s decision to subject specialty units to polygraph and integrity checks, should be supported.
We must put an end to cash bail, a policy that unjustly and counterproductively jails poor defendants. I will work to replace it with the type of pretrial supervision model that has proven more effective and humane in the federal system and other states. For many years, state courts in Maryland have used a system in which an individual is allowed to be released after arrest for a criminal offense before trial only if they provide the court a sum of money, known as bail, that is forfeited to the government if the individual does not appear for subsequent court hearings. If the defendant can’t pay the whole sum, they pay a fee – that unlike bail he or she never gets back – to a bail bondsman to put the money up for the defendant. If the defendant can afford neither, they sit in jail until trial, no matter how small the risk that they flee, or how minor the charge or weak the evidence. A November 2013 study showed that this effect – causing poor people to be jailed simply on account of their poverty – makes those individuals more likely to commit subsequent criminal activity, as their brief (and many times unwarranted) period of incarceration causes them to lose their jobs or suffer other negative economic impacts.20
Maryland’s current Attorney General, Brian Frosh, has led the charge in educating the public on the facts about cash bail to combat the powerful lobby of the bail bond industry that profits off the old system. In the District of Columbia, where pretrial monitoring is used rather than bail, fewer people are in jail without a drop in court appearance rates or an increase in subsequent crime by those released.21. Maryland’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, took a major step in the right direction last year to overhaul the bail system by requiring judges to consider whether defendants are able to pay bail when they set conditions of release.22 There is more to do, however. We need to improve pretrial services to provide more options to detention – such as house arrest with location monitoring and scheduled phone calls – which are effectively used in the federal system.
COMMUNITY-FOCUSED CRIME FIGHTING STRATEGIES
As Governor, I will deploy a comprehensive strategy, working with local and federal authorities, to attack violent crime through community policing strategies that restore public trust. These strategies will be results-oriented and will target the removal of guns from the streets and the dismantling of the gangs that are driving the violence. I will make sure that federal, state, and local authorities are all communicating, working together, and using the latest technology to achieve these goals. Stopping the violence, however, is just the first step. My education, transportation, and economic development plans will achieve long term reductions in crime, once we stop the violence in the short term.
No crime fighting strategy, no matter how well conceived, can succeed unless the community trusts the police force and actively works with them to combat crime. Recently, our political leaders have deployed strategies that often create an unnecessary gulf between our dedicated law enforcement officers and the communities that they serve. I will work to bridge that gulf by bringing law enforcement, community organizations, and businesses together to share ideas and work cooperatively. Community organizations and businesses can be a powerful force to connect citizens with police officers. As chair of the Downtown Partnership in Baltimore, I represented Baltimore’s business community and worked with local law enforcement to make Baltimore a safer place while respecting the rights of the people who lived and worked downtown. As chair of the Empower Baltimore Management Corporation, I connected small business owners, government, and communities together to create economic development. As Governor, I will leverage my experience as a civic leader in Baltimore to connect communities with the police and enhance trust.
The Governor can fight gun crime by working to pass tougher gun laws. For over a decade, federal authorities have targeted illegal gun possession by violent repeat offenders through the Maryland Exile program. I will take the successes of that program and expand them to the state level. I will also reinvigorate a gun violence prevention database in our state. In collaboration with local jurisdictions, the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention and the Maryland State Police will properly track the guns and bullets that are being used to commit crimes in the state. Legislation can also help this effort. We should pass laws to make the illegal possession of a loaded handgun a felony, to ban guns from college campuses, to prohibit individuals from openly carrying a firearm, and to require a permit for any gun, not just a handgun. Finally, we must be on the cutting edge of technology to work to reduce gun violence. For example, we must expand the use of gunshot detection technology in our cities to properly monitor violence. And, when I am Governor, I will prioritize legislation and practices that will spread the use of smart guns in our communities.
I will target the gangs and criminal organizations that generate violence throughout the state. Gang crime is a statewide problem. It has been well publicized in Baltimore City. But gangs also afflict Anne Arundel County, Prince George’s County, Howard County, Western Maryland, and virtually every other area of our state. We need to target violent offenders rather than engaging in dragnet policing that does nothing but alienate the populations in need of protection from violent criminals. Targeted enforcement works. A combination of indictments under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (“RICO”) statute and the rollout of the Safe Streets program led to a drop in the number of homicides in the Cherry Hill neighborhood in Baltimore from 35 in 2006 to 4 in 2014.23 With Maryland’s passage of a state version of the RICO statute, as Governor, I will work with the Attorney General of Maryland on the state level to replicate and expand what federal authorities have been able to accomplish. The RICO statutes allow law enforcement and prosecutors to target entire organizations rather than individual defendants. These statutes, if used as part of an intensive, large scale investigation, can hold the most culpable accountable and dismantle criminal organizations that cause the violence, rather than simply adding to the prison population without addressing root causes.
We need our federal, state, and local authorities to work together seamlessly as part of an integrated operation. That isn’t happening under Governor Hogan, who has pulled back the state police, having them operate in a silo, while providing Baltimore City nothing but blame and soundbites rather than leadership and teamwork. I will ensure that agencies at all levels of government are connected and complementing each other while pursuing a common goal.
I will reinvigorate the Ceasefire program in Baltimore and elsewhere. The Ceasefire program focuses on the relatively small portion of the population that is responsible for most violent crimes, and, among other things, confronts those individuals in meetings attended by police, prosecutors, clergy, and community members to communicate the message that the community and the police force will crack down swiftly on those groups engaged in violent crime.24 Developed by world-renowned criminologist David Kennedy, who I had the chance to meet during my time on the Greater Baltimore Committee, the Ceasefire program has succeeded in reducing crime in at least 60 cities around the country.25 Although this program foundered in Baltimore after some initial success, we cannot discard it so easily. With the right leadership and execution, this program will succeed as it has in so many other cities. It is yet another example of how the state needs more than just the right policies; it needs leaders who can execute those policies by adapting them to Baltimore’s realities and get things done. I have proven throughout my career that I am that kind of leader.
Finally, I will ensure that our state’s police forces are well funded and are deploying cutting edge technology, techniques, and strategies to attack violent crime. At a minimum, this will include funding and commitment to the following programs:
- Maryland Offender Management System: This program allows law enforcement to track individuals who are on parole or probation and use that data to develop suspects of crimes. A large portion of violent crimes are committed by individuals who were on parole or probation at the time of the offense – for example, one third of those convicted of violent crimes in Baltimore City are under state supervision on parole or probation at the time of the offense – making this data incredibly useful in solving crimes.
- Predictive Policing Nerve Centers: The City of Baltimore recently announced that it would be hiring Sean Malinowski from the Los Angeles Police Department to institute a program of “predictive policing” which uses data such as weather patterns, bus routes, paydays, and school dismissals to pinpoint where violent crime is likely to occur.26 “Nerve centers” would operate in East and West Baltimore to deploy police based on the analysis of the predictive policing technology. This program and those like it will help focus law enforcement on violent crime. This is also the type of forward-thinking evidence-based program I will nurture and promote as governor.
- Maryland’s license plate reader program: This program uses high-speed cameras that can locate the license plates of stolen vehicles and other automobiles involved in crimes as they pass through the state. Effective and committed use of this program can greatly reduce auto theft, catch fugitives, and solve a host of other crimes in which a car is used.
- Cell phone signal interception in state jails: Federal authorities have now brought two massive prison corruption cases, one at the Baltimore Detention Center and the second at the Eastern Correctional Institution. The cases brought to light massive corrupt operations in which prison guards worked with inmates to smuggle cell phones into the prisons and to allow gang members to continue their criminal operations from behind bars. A straightforward, common sense solution to this problem is to deploy cell phone jamming technology in our state prisons and jails. Deployment of this technology has begun, but I will ensure that all our institutions use these systems.
These innovations are just the beginning. I will ensure that our state’s law enforcement agencies have the funding and direction to stay on the cutting edge of policing technology.
INVESTMENT IN CRIME PREVENTION AND REHABILATION
While effective police forces, supported by the community, are essential in the short term to stop the violence afflicting our state, in the long term we must invest in the rehabilitation of ex-felons and help them re-enter society. I plan to do both by reforming parole and probation to close the revolving door of crime, by reinvigorating important programs like Safe Streets and Ceasefire that have proven effective in changing criminal behavior, by investing in drug treatment, and by intervening with high risk young people to help them avoid a life of crime.
A large portion of those who perpetrate violent crime – in Baltimore City, one third of those convicted of violent crimes – are on either parole or probation at the time they commit the offense. This means that the state of Maryland is directly responsible for supervising these individuals. This is unacceptable. As Governor, I will use parole and probation, a state-level responsibility, as well as the corrections system and the Department of Juvenile Justice as tools to focus on the drivers of the violence by providing proper programs of rehabilitation.
The best way to ensure that those on parole and probation, in the juvenile system, or in the corrections system don’t reoffend is to help them re-enter society. We spend too much money punishing ex-offenders and not enough helping them to become productive members of society. These agencies must provide “wrap around services” that include job training, education, and employment rather than merely punishing ex-felons when they falter. Re-entry programs work. They not only prevent crime and the harm it causes, but they save millions of dollars that would otherwise be spent on the prosecution and incarceration of the ex-offenders.27 We need to double-down on these essential programs.
One important program that I will expand is Safe Streets. This program works on the principle of changing community norms to emphasize that violence is no longer acceptable. The program also incorporates and emphasizes a strong street outreach component, with outreach workers canvassing neighborhoods and connecting with high-risk youth and young adults during evenings and weekends to diffuse situations and connect people to services. A rigorous study conducted by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that the program has reduced violence in the four neighborhoods in Baltimore City where the program was implemented.28 Despite the proven success of the program, in 2016 Larry Hogan cut $1 million in state funding for Safe Streets, imperiling its continued implementation.29 Key programs like Safe Streets need a steady stream of funding because they work, but also because they must be able to have the financial stability to invest in longer-term initiatives. Any policy, especially one with a proven track record of success, needs clear support from political leaders and reliable funding. Local leaders need support and partnership, not blame and unreliable flip-flopping. I will provide that strong leadership. We can and should expand this program throughout the rest of Baltimore and to other parts of the state with similar problems.
Tragically, many violent offenders start on a path to crime at a young age. No child, however, is beyond saving. Early child intervention is a proven way to save these vulnerable youths, turn them from a life of crime, prevent crimes they would otherwise commit later in life, and add another productive member to our society. The Governor has the power to impact these at-risk young people through the Department of Juvenile Services. I intend to roll back the cuts Governor Hogan has made to this essential agency and use it to save at-risk young Marylanders.30 I will also help import programs that have succeeded elsewhere in the country. In Baltimore, Mayor Pugh has announced that the Roca program, which has been operating successfully for 30 years in Boston, is coming to Baltimore.31 The Roca program is a public/private/non-profit partnership in which law enforcement refers high risk youths to an intervention program which involves training and employment. A private fund covers 85% of costs, repaid only if projected reduction in incarceration goals are met. With a job and a set of skills, young Marylanders can turn away from a life of crime.
Another program that has achieved significant successes is Operation Safe Kids – a collaborative effort between the Baltimore Health Apartment, the Department of Juvenile Services, and other city and state agencies. Operation Safe Kids directs resources towards high-risk juvenile offenders to prevent them from becoming victims or perpetrators of violent crimes. They do this by employing case management services through a youth worker who develops a relationship with the at-risk youth and provides counseling and mentorship. These types of programs, which identify and provide resources to at-risk youth, are crucial levers of a successful crime prevention effort.
Finally, as Governor, I will attack the drug epidemic that is driving crime. Since 2010, opioid related deaths have more than tripled.32 I will treat addiction as a health issue, not a criminal issue. An addict needs treatment, not incarceration. As Governor, I will work with the legislature to implement the Heroin and Opioid Prevention Effort and Treatment (“HOPE”) Act, a bipartisan bill that contains provisions to expand the scope of drug court programs, educate those afflicted with addiction, and expand treatment and access to the life-saving drug naloxone.33 I will also develop a comprehensive approach to addressing the opioid epidemic, stressing communication between different jurisdictions and a continuum of care that provides inpatient and outpatient services for Marylanders depending on what they need. I will ensure that naloxone is available to all first responders and that our jails and prisons have drug treatment programs, including medication-assisted treatment. Finally, I will work to expand access to community health centers across the state so that treatment is more readily available for those who need it. If we can defeat addiction, we will not only help to save lives, but we will also limit the demand, control the illegal drug trade, and reduce crime.
ADDRESSING THE ROOT CAUSES OF CRIME AND INEQUALITY
While it is crucial that we work to make progress in stemming the violence and restoring trust in law enforcement now, we must work on a separate and equally important track to address the root causes of crime and injustice in our society. The root causes of crime are each tied to a lack of opportunity, including economic inequity, an inadequate public education system, and a lack of access to public transportation. I will work to solve all three of these systemic problems.
My most rewarding professional experience was serving as Chairman of the Empower Baltimore Management Corporation. In that capacity, I worked to revitalize East and West Baltimore with job training programs for zone residents and capital programs for small and minority owned businesses. In this capacity, on a daily basis, I saw the interconnectedness between economic opportunity and crime. And studies routinely support my anecdotal conclusions, including one from Columbia University professors and another from Georgia Tech professors.34 35
In order to expand economic opportunity and address some of the root causes of crime, Brandon Scott and I will prioritize expansive economic growth that boosts wages and creates more jobs. In order to do that, we will invest in infrastructure projects across the state that will create jobs and promote the flow of commerce. We will build on our strengths, including our leading research facilities, major military facilities, and first class educational institutions and medical research facilities, each of which could see pronounced growth in the future. As we build on our strengths and high-tech businesses flourish, we must make sure that they create opportunities for all Marylanders, particularly those without a four-year degree. We will support small businesses and start-ups, which I did as Chairman of the Empowerment Zones in Baltimore, with greater access to capital and job training. And, we will invest in our renewable energy sector, which is an industry that will continue to grow in the future. These strategies, and more, are addressed in our Economic Development plan.
We must create an economy with robust and inclusive growth, but we also must create an economy that works for everyone. If Marylanders are working a 40-hour week, they should not be living in poverty. Brandon and I will work to pass legislation that targets a $15 minimum wage and ties it to inflation. The Republicans’ tax reform bill from last year provides the state with the opportunity to take a closer look at ways to take some tax burden off of working class Marylanders. In the most recent legislative session, the General Assembly passed an expansion of the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit. This is an example of sound policy that truly makes a difference and creates a fairer economy. However, we can do more. We can expand the Child Care Subsidy Program to eliminate a waitlist and, eventually, offer it to more families. We can also build on the success of the Paid Sick Leave Bill passage to work towards more family-friendly policies like expanded Paid Family Leave. Prioritizing robust economic growth, as well as policies that promote a fairer and more inclusive economy, will address one of the root causes of crime: a lack of economic opportunity.
A more robust and fairer economy is a start, but Marylanders will not be able to equally participate and benefit from it without an improved public education system and a mass transit system that connects people to jobs centers.
Education is the surest ladder of opportunity. If properly administered, it provides every child with the tools they need to succeed and realize their full potential. Unfortunately, in Maryland and across the country, educational outcomes and opportunity are strictly tied to a child’s zip code. This must change. As Governor, improving our public education system will be my top priority, and in my first legislative session, I will present a package that increases funding and improves our system to allow each of our children to compete on the global scale.
The steps to improve the system will fall in line with the Kirwan Commission’s anticipated final recommendations later this year as well as my Education Plan, which I released last year. I will prioritize universal access to pre-kindergarten for four year-olds, as well as access to pre-kindergarten for disadvantaged three year-olds, because we know that educational inequity cements itself before children currently first step foot in the classroom. I will work with local jurisdictions and my Secretary of Education to develop a curriculum that is benchmarked against international standards, and we will put it in the hands of qualified and properly compensated educators. I will develop a funding formula that properly accounts for concentrated areas of poverty and expand initiatives to assist disadvantaged students, including community schools and summer and after-school programs. And, I will ensure that our high schools graduate students who are college or career ready, align our vocational and apprenticeship programs with the jobs that are and will be available, and make our community colleges free of charge for those who cannot afford it. By taking each of these steps, we will develop a system of public education that provides a foundation upon which every Marylander can build an economically stable life.
Finally, in order to expand opportunity, we must provide residents across the state with reliable forms of public transportation to connect them with job centers. We are not currently succeeding in this area. For example, after Governor Hogan cancelled the Red Line, he rolled out BaltimoreLink, a “new” bus system that was supposed to improve public transportation in the city. On BaltimoreLink’s first weekday, I went to Sandtown-Winchester to try to catch a bus to the Amazon Distribution Warehouse on Broening Highway, where good jobs may be available. Although I only traveled about 10 miles, after almost 2 hours, I still had not arrived. As the inaugural Chairman of the Central Maryland Transportation Alliance, and a member of the Greater Baltimore Committee’s Transportation Committee, I have spent over a decade working on our regional transportation issues. We consistently focused on key metrics like commute times and access to jobs. While we had some successes, including expanding MARC service on weekends, we need to do much more. The Central Maryland Transportation Alliance’s most recent report gave our region a D in access to jobs by transit, a D in reliable transit, and an F in disconnected communities.36
In order to address this problem, last year, I rolled out my statewide Transportation Plan that is specifically focused on improving transportation outcomes across the state. In the Baltimore region, we must work to get the Red Line back on track. Not only would it provide a transportation lifeline for those in East and West Baltimore, but it also would connect the Light Rail and Metro infrastructure and serve as a spine upon which other lines and spurs could be built. Reviving the Red Line will take time – potentially decades – so in the meantime, we must look for shorter-term solutions that expand access to jobs, including Bus Rapid Transit. In the Washington, D.C. area, I will oversee the completion of the Purple Line and ensure that it is fully integrated into our existing transit system. I will also look for opportunities to reduce congestion by investing in projects like the Corridor Cities Transitway and taking steps to put other Light Rail proposals, including the Southern Maryland Light Rail, on track. I will work with interested parties to create a stronger link between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. by increasing the frequency of MARC trains and adding non-stop service. And, in Western Maryland, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, we must look for opportunities to use transportation infrastructure to connect more people to job centers, including bus systems.
Our communities suffer from four inter-related problems that are currently contributing to our public safety crisis: 1) an epidemic of violent crime, 2) an inadequate system of crime prevention and rehabilitation, 3) a lack of community trust in law enforcement, and 4) economic inequity in stratified and isolated communities. In order to solve the problem of excessive crime in our community, simply addressing one or two will not suffice. We must develop a comprehensive plan that addresses each of the problems in a methodical way.
Throughout my career, I have led large public and private organizations and accomplished significant successes. I have done so by devising a plan, defining metrics, executing the plan, and holding people accountable. In the area of public safety, that is exactly what we need: a plan that coordinates properly with local jurisdictions, publicly targets tangible goals, and is held accountable by the citizens.
My Lt. Governor candidate, Brandon Scott, is the sitting Chair of the Public Safety Committee on the Baltimore City Council. He is the leading voice in the state advocating for the reforms we need to address the public safety crisis in Baltimore and across the state. With my experience of leading large organizations and achieving tangible results, and his expertise in the public safety issue in our state, we are the team that is most equipped to make our communities safer.
¹“2015 Crime in the United States.” Federal Bureau of Investigation. 2016. https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2015/crime-in-the-u.s.-2015/tables/table-4.
²Marton, Adam. “Graphic: Baltimore Homicides By Year.” Baltimore Sun. 17, November 2017. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/crime/bal-baltimore-homicides-by-year-20161202-htmlstory.html.
³Rector, Kevin. “Baltimore Double Fatal Shooting In December Ruled Justified; 2017 Homicide Count Drops To 341.” Baltimore Sun. 2, February 2018. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/crime/bs-md-ci-justified-homicides-20180202-story.html.
⁴Lash, Steve. “Hogan’s Mandatory Minimum Bill Thrills Prosecutors, Riles Defense.” The Daily Record. 30, January 2018. https://thedailyrecord.com/2018/01/30/mandatory-minimum-crime-hogan-baltimore-sentencing/.
⁵Dresser, Michael. “ACLU, Allies Vow To Fight Against Maryland Gov. Hogan’s Proposals To Get Tough On Crime.” Baltimore Sun. 30, January 2018. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/politics/bs-md-hogan-crime-opponents-20180130-story.html.
⁶Golash-Boza, Tanya. “Column: 5 Charts Show Why Mandatory Minimum Sentences Don’t Work.” PBS. 1, June 2017. https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/5-charts-show-mandatory-minimum-sentences-dont-work.
⁷Dresser, Michael; Massey, Wyatt. “Advocates Rally For Baltimore Safe Streets Program After Funding Cut.” Baltimore Sun. 4, August 2016. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-city/bs-md-ci-safe-streets-funding-rally-20160804-story.html.
⁸Connor, Vickie; Greenspan, Robbie. “Maryland Board Approves $82 Million Cut In State Spending.” NBC Washington. 3, November 2016. https://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Maryland-Board-Approves-82-Million-Cut-in-State-Spending-399741361.html.
⁹Turque, Bill. “Maryland Governor Declares State Of Emergency For Opioid Crisis.” Washington Post. 1, March 2017. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/md-politics/hogan-declares-opioid-state-of-emergency/2017/03/01/5c22fcfa-fe2f-11e6-99b4-9e613afeb09f_story.html?utm_term=.1ed90a45024d.
¹⁰“Unintentional Drug And Alcohol-Related Intoxication Deaths In Maryland.” Maryland Department of Health. 2017. https://bha.health.maryland.gov/OVERDOSE_PREVENTION/Documents/Quarterly%20Drug_Alcohol_Intoxication_Report_2017_Q3_20171210%20(2)%20(1)%20(1).pdf.
¹¹“Opioid Overdose Death Rates And All Drug Overdose Death Rates Per 100,000 Population (Age-Adjusted).” Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. https://www.kff.org/other/state-indicator/opioid-overdose-death-rates/?currentTimeframe=0&sortModel=%7B%22colId%22:%22Opioid%20Overdose%20Death%20Rate%20(Age-Adjusted)%22,%22sort%22:%22desc%22%7D.
¹²Broadwater, Luke. “Governor Hogan Announces Plan To Fight Violent Crime In Baltimore.” Baltimore Sun. 5, December 2018. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/politics/bs-md-ci-hogan-crime-plan-20171204-story.html.
¹³Broadwater, Luke. “Judges Say They Won’t Meet With Hogan About Baltimore Crime.” Baltimore Sun. 24, August 2017. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/crime/bs-md-ci-judges-reject-hogan-meeting-20170824-story.html.
¹⁴“Hogan and the CJCC: Lots Of Politics, Not Must Policy.” Baltimore Sun. 19, September 2017. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/editorial/bs-ed-0920-hogan-cjcc-20170918-story.html.
¹⁵Anderson, Jessica; Prudente, Timl. “Juvenile Services Secretary Says Baltimore County Officer’s Killing Shows Youth Justice System Failed.” Baltimore Sun. 23, May 2018. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/crime/bs-md-co-harris-juvenile-record-20180523-story.html.
¹⁶“Officials Trade Blame After Teen Arrested In Baltimore County Officer’s Death.” Fox5. 24, May 2018. https://www.fox5dc.com/news/336040694-video.
¹⁷Kain, Erik. “The War On Drugs Is A War On Minorities And The Poor.” Forbes. 28, June 2011. https://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2011/06/28/the-war-on-drugs-is-a-war-on-minorities-and-the-poor/#122fa3ab624c.
¹⁸Bishop-Henchman, Jospeh; Scarboro, Morgan. “Marijuana Legalization And Taxes: Lessons For Other States From Colorado And Washington.” Tax Foundation. 12, May 2016. https://taxfoundation.org/marijuana-taxes-lessons-colorado-washington/.
¹⁹President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. 2015. Final Report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. Washington, DC: Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
²⁰Talbot, Margaret. “The Case Against Cash Bail.” The New Yorker. 25, August 2015. https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-case-against-cash-bail.
²¹“Bail System Reform FAQ.” Maryland Office of the Attorney General. http://www.marylandattorneygeneral.gov/Pages/BailReform.aspx.
²²Dance, Scott. “Since Bail Reform, Maryland Holding Fewer People Who Can’t Afford Bond, Assembly Panel Told.” Baltimore Sun. 16, January 2018. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/politics/bs-md-bail-reform-statistics-20180116-story.html.
²³Fenton, Justin. “Cherry Hill Looks Forward After Resolution Of Massive Federal Gang Case.” Baltimore Sun. 10, April 2016. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-city/bs-md-ci-cherry-hill-racketeering-case-20160410-story.html.
²⁴Rodricks, Dan. “Baltimore Had Its Own Version OF Ceasefire Before, It Could Again.” Baltimore Sun. 12, June 2017. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/dan-rodricks-blog/bal-baltimore-had-its-own-version-of-ceasefire-before-it-could-again-20170611-story.html.
²⁵Rodricks, Dan. “Anti-Violence Program Operation Ceasefire Another City Fail.” Baltimore Sun. 10, June 2017. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/dan-rodricks-blog/bs-md-rodricks-0611-20170610-story.html.
²⁶Pruedente, Tim. “Baltimore Mayor To Bring In Crime Fighting Strategiest With High-Tech Policing Model.” Baltimore Sun. 31, Janaury 2018. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/crime/bs-md-ci-sean-malinowski-20180123-story.html.
²⁷Wenger, Yvonne. “Court Program Helps Criminal Defendants Enter Job Training, Forge New Paths.” Baltimore Sun. 5, December 2017. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/crime/bs-md-court-jobs-program-20171201-story.html.
²⁸“Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake Announces Expansion Of Program Credited With Reducing Gun Violence In City Neighborhoods.” The City of Baltimore. 11, January 2012. https://health.baltimorecity.gov/sites/default/files/011112%20Safe%20Streets%20Release.pdf.
²⁹Dresser, Michael; Massey, Wyatt. “Advocates Rally For Baltimore Safe Streets Program After Funding Cut.” Baltimore Sun. 4, August 2016. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-city/bs-md-ci-safe-streets-funding-rally-20160804-story.html.
³⁰Connor, Vickie; Greenspan, Robbie. “Maryland Board Approves $82 Million Cut In State Spending.” NBC Washington. 3, November 2016. https://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Maryland-Board-Approves-82-Million-Cut-in-State-Spending-399741361.html.
³¹Duncan, Ian. “Anti-Violence Program Roca, Funded By Private Donors, Coming To Baltimore, Mayor Pugh Says.” Baltimore Sun. 13, December 2017. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/politics/bs-md-ci-roca-violence-funding-20171213-story.html.
³²“Unintentional Drug And Alcohol-Related Intoxication Deaths In Maryland.” Maryland Department of Health. 2017. https://bha.health.maryland.gov/OVERDOSE_PREVENTION/Documents/Quarterly%20Drug_Alcohol_Intoxication_Report_2017_Q3_20171210%20(2)%20(1)%20(1).pdf.
³³“SB0967. Marlyand General Assembly. 2017. http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frmMain.aspx?pid=billpage&stab=01&id=sb0967&tab=subject3&ys=2017rs.
³⁴Annan, Jeannie; Blattman, Christopher. “Can Employment Reduce Lawlessness And Rebellion? A Field Experiment With High-Risk Men In A Fragile State.” NBER. June 2015. http://www.nber.org/papers/w21289.
³⁵Ajimotokin, Sandra; et. al. “The Effects Of Unemployment On Crime Rates In The U.S.” Georgia Institute of Technology. 14, April 2015. https://smartech.gatech.edu/bitstream/handle/1853/53294/theeffectsofunemploymentoncimerates.pdf.
³⁶“2015 Transportaiton Report Card.” Central Maryland Transportation Alliance. 2015. http://www.cmtalliance.org/reportcard/.