Douglas F. Gansler

Democrat

Doug Gansler illustration

(John Baker for The Baltimore Banner)

(John Baker for The Baltimore Banner)

  • Age: 59  
  • Resides: Montgomery County
  • Experience: Attorney. Bachelor’s from Yale; law degree from the University of Virginia. Assistant U.S. attorney, 1992-1998. State’s attorney for Montgomery County, 1999-2007. Maryland co-chair of Obama Campaign, 2008. Maryland attorney general, 2007-2015. Unsuccessful bid for Democratic nomination for Maryland governor, 2014. 
  • Personal: Married with two children
  • Candidate website
  • Read The Baltimore Banner's profile of Doug Gansler
  • Read more election coverage

Running mate:

Candace Hollingsworth

  • Age: 41  
  • Resides: Hyattsville
  • Experience: Activist and politician. Member of the Hyattsville Town Council, 2011-2015; council president 2013-2015. Mayor of Hyattsville, 2015-2020. Founded Our Black Party in May 2020. 
  • Personal: Married

Questionnaire:

Jump to key issues:

Do you support the financial and policy requirements of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future (Also known as the Kirwan recommendations)?

Yes.

I fully support the Blueprint. As the most experienced candidate in the field, I understand how to work the levers of government to get it fully implemented. Education is empowerment, so we do not have a day to waste. The most important aspects of the Blueprint include universal pre-K and recruiting and paying the best and the brightest teachers, from all backgrounds. We also need to keep our children and teachers safe by placing a well-trained SRO [school resource officer] in every school. To ensure the future of the Blueprint, we need to nominate the one pragmatic Democrat who can beat the Republicans in November.

Do you believe that parents have adequate input into public school curriculum choices?

Yes.

Along with trained educators, students, and school boards, parents should have an integral voice in curriculum choices.  For example, we need to ensure that the implementation of vocational training and financial literacy are incorporated into the curriculum. We must provide teachers with the freedom to teach our students to want to learn and not teach to a standardized test. Parents should certainly be heard as curriculum is developed and updated. 

Are you satisfied with the ways Maryland schools teach the history of Indigenous, Black, Latino, Asian or other communities of color and systemic racism?

No.

Schools should teach history as it truly happened and from every perspective of those who experienced it. There is nothing more important than speaking truth to power. History itself provides lessons from which students may learn.  

Does the governor have a role in reducing the level of violence and crime in our communities?

Yes.

The number one job of government is to keep people safe, and right now the government is failing at that job. I am running for governor because crime is exploding, and I have 22 years of experience bringing crime down while lifting justice up. There is nobody else running that has any experience in criminal justice whatsoever. I will hire 1,000 police across the state, install 10,000 more lights in Baltimore, put an armed school resource officer in every school, and give law enforcement officers the resources they need. I will be laser-focused on gun crimes and removing guns from our streets. 

Do you support efforts to reform or restructure the ways policing is funded?

No.

As the only pro-business, pro-law enforcement true Democrat in the field, I oppose defunding the police. As governor, I will fund 1,000 more police officers across the state and ensure all police are better-paid and better-trained, including in de-escalation tactics.  Right now homicide is the number one cause of unexpected death of Baltimore children, and only about 41 percent of murders are solved in the city. That means you literally have a better chance of getting away with murder than you do of getting caught. I will make sure police have the resources they need to solve every murder. 

Do you support efforts by state’s attorneys to reduce or eliminate prosecution of nonviolent or low-level offenses?

No .

It is the job of legislators to define crimes and the job of prosecutors to prosecute crimes. I was the first candidate to call for the legalization of cannabis. I do not think every person who is prosecuted for a low-level offense should go to jail. As state’s attorney, I instituted the first drug courts in the state so that people had a chance to get the help they needed instead of dealing with an addiction while in a cage. As governor, I will ensure every jurisdiction has drug courts, domestic violence courts, and a family justice center. 

Would you propose changes to Maryland’s gun control laws?

Yes.

Guns have more rights than women in America right now. Our gun control laws need to be as strict as possible. We need to get guns off our streets and out of the hands of violent offenders. I will also work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to prosecute gun crimes in federal court. I will never bend on my belief that there is no legitimate reason whatsoever for any civilian to be in possession of an assault weapon.

Do you think Maryland is doing enough to address racial disparities in the criminal justice system?

No.

I have been fighting for criminal justice reform since I was the chair of the NAACP Criminal Justice Committee in 1989. As state’s attorney, I instituted progressive criminal justice reforms, including the first drug court and domestic violence court in the state. I also led the office in becoming the first in the nation to successfully implement community prosecution. I also put every police shooting in front of a grand jury so that the community could decide if a police shooting was justified. I was a champion for diversity in my 16 years in office. I will do the same as governor.

Would you invest more state resources in Baltimore?

Yes.

As governor, I will restore work on the Red Line, invest in Baltimore public schools, fast-track funding for youth recreation centers to high-crime areas, and make sure that minority-owned businesses are getting the contracts, loans and grants they need to succeed. I will hire 1,000 police officers across the state — with a heavy focus on Baltimore — and I will install 10,000 lights in the city. I also believe that government should be a partner to Baltimore’s nonprofits, which I have long supported. I founded Charm City Youth Lacrosse and sat on the boards of Year Up and CollegeBound. 

Do you support changing state tax laws to require high-earning Marylanders and corporations to pay more?

No.

What taxes should change?

I support closing tax loopholes and instituting combined reporting so that corporations pay their fair share. But Maryland is sitting on a historic surplus. So I am a NO on raising taxes. I am also in favor of suspending the gas tax as long as necessary. 

How would you spend additional revenue?

We should invest additional revenue into our schools and into police to enhance public safety. We should also invest in universal child care, mass transit projects, and affordable, transit-oriented housing.

Are you concerned about the affordability of housing and home ownership in Maryland?

Yes.

In Baltimore, there are entire blocks of vacant houses in distressed neighborhoods. To address the housing shortage, we must begin by making every community safe so that people will actually want to live there. Across Maryland, we will work with developers and localities to make it easier to build dense housing near transit centers so that we don’t have unmitigated sprawl that threatens our environment and the Chesapeake Bay.  We will also ensure that low-income Marylanders have access to vouchers.

Which of the following public health restrictions would you consider imposing statewide in response to increased coronavirus cases, hospitalizations or deaths?

[Candidate's response in bold]

  • Vaccine passports
  • Mask mandates
  • Capacity limits
  • None of the above

“Vaccine passport” is a term thrown around by anti-vaxxers to scare people, so no, I don’t support fearmongering. Businesses should be able to require proof of vaccination if they so choose. I would also support instituting any mechanism necessary to keep children in school, including adding COVID to the list of required immunizations. Our children simply cannot afford more learning loss that will inevitably result from a return to remote learning.  

Would you propose changes to the ways Maryland limits, regulates or funds abortion?

Yes.

As attorney general, I took on the Bush administration when they tried to chip away at abortion access through the federal rule-making process. We need to expand access and funding and make Maryland a leader not just in abortion rights but in the equitable provision of abortions. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, my Lt. governor Candace Hollingsworth and I will be a brick wall against any attacks on abortion access. We also need to make sure Maryland is prepared to welcome women from Republican-controlled states who are in need of abortion care.

Do you agree with the scientific consensus that global climate change is influenced by human activities?

Yes.

This is a no-brainer. Humans are contributing to the warming of the planet and it is in our power to stop it. As attorney general, I took on corporate polluters to secure historic settlements for clean air and clean water. I will bring that same focus to taking on climate change. 

Do you believe that Maryland residents and businesses have a responsibility to reduce their contributions to climate change, which could include greenhouse gas emissions, waste or energy use?

Yes.

I was known as the “Environmentalist Attorney General” for taking on corporate polluters and securing historic settlements for clean air and clean water while also conducting 22 watershed audits of the Chesapeake Bay. I will take climate change head-on by appointing a climate czar and implementing my 32-point plan called “Green Maryland,” which has been dubbed “ambitious” by the publication Maryland Matters and which you can read in full on my website. While only the beginning, it includes massive investments in clean energy, public transportation and infrastructure. 

Do you support additional energy production in Maryland?

Yes.

If so, which forms of energy production do you support?

[Candidate’s response in bold]

  • Wind
  • Offshore wind
  • Natural gas fracking
  • Solar
  • Nuclear
  • Other forms not listed here

At a time of climate crisis, we need to do everything we can to bring down the cost of energy so that it is in the interest of every Marylander to do what is right. That means energy abundance. Our administration will invest in offshore wind in Ocean City; solar in commercial, residential and state-owned properties; and an electric vehicle infrastructure. I will also work with the poultry industry to build a state-of-the-art plant to convert the 2 billion pounds of chicken manure that is currently being dumped into the Chesapeake Bay into a clean energy source. 

Do you believe that climate change will disproportionately impact poor and minority communities?

Yes.

We must invest in green infrastructure to help poor and minority communities deal with the effects of climate change while remaining in their homes. That means investment in storm runoff, greening the streets to provide for more shade, investing in air conditioning in schools, and other changes in physical infrastructure to reduce the harms of climate change and eliminate the harms of flooding. We must also move to a system of examining the cumulative impact of pollution on overburdened communities in the permitting process.

Do you plan to vote IN FAVOR of the statewide ballot question to legalize adult recreational use of marijuana?

Yes.

I spent 22 years fighting crime. I started out as a federal prosecutor focused on homicides under Eric Holder. After that, I served as Montgomery County State’s Attorney for eight years, during which I prosecuted many violent criminals, including the Beltway Snipers. Then I was your attorney general for eight years, during which I kept a child sex offender behind bars by winning a case before the U.S. Supreme Court by a vote of 9-0. In all those years, I never thought it made sense for marijuana to be illegal, and its criminalization has disproportionately harmed communities of color.   

Do you support the Red Line east-west rail/subway project in Baltimore?

Yes.

One-third of the people in Baltimore do not have cars. What Governor Hogan did to the Red Line was akin to taking a sledgehammer to the people of Baltimore. The Gansler-Hollingsworth administration will work in partnership with the city to restore the Red Line, which is vital for the local economy. But restoring the Red Line is just the beginning of Baltimore’s transit revitalization. We must also create a Baltimore regional transportation authority to give Baltimore more control of its transportation future. 

What mode of transportation should be used for the project?

[Candidate’s response in bold]

  • Light rail
  • Buses
  • Mix of the two
  • Something else

Would transit vehicles have to share their lanes, rails or intersections with other drivers?

No.

Would you support changes to Maryland’s public transportation systems?

Yes.

Our administration will: expand suburban bus connections throughout metropolitan Baltimore; improve MetroAccess and MTA Paratransit services; eliminate the waiting list for community-based transportation services; create a network of transit circulator routes within communities across Maryland; extend light rail from Branch Avenue to White Plains; extend light rail from Shady Grove to Frederick; double Maryland Transit Administration funding for locally operated transit systems throughout Maryland; complete the Purple Line; extend Metro over the Wilson Bridge to connect Virginia and Maryland.  

Which of the following public-private partnership projects would you complete?

[Candidate's response in bold]

  • Interstate 270
  • The American Legion Bridge
  • The Capital Beltway
  • None of the above

Would you use toll lanes to fund these projects?

Yes.

The reality is that these projects are happening and we need to make sure they are being done in a way that mitigates environmental impact and is in accordance with proper procurement protocols. We must also invest heavily in public transportation and electric vehicle infrastructure to reduce the pollution from the cars that are driving on these roads. Optional toll lanes are the very nature of a P3 project. It is how the project will be funded. 

Do you support the proposed high-speed maglev train between Baltimore and Washington, D.C.?

No.

While I support the concept of high-speed rail, the proposed maglev has not earned the local support of the diverse communities its construction would impact, from Baltimore to Prince George’s County. Nor would the majority of people in those communities be able to afford the cost of a ticket. We cannot leave people behind as we transition to greener and cleaner transit. We need the buy-in of local leaders and the people they serve before we move forward with such a plan.

Do you believe that Maryland’s elections are generally accurate, fair and well run?

Yes.

I do not believe election administration needs a large overhaul, but I do believe we should invest heavily in election security to prevent and thwart foreign threats. 

Would you propose any changes to the laws governing how voters cast their ballots?

Yes.

We should have ballots mailed automatically to every voter in every election.

Should Maryland do more to ensure minority-owned businesses have a fair opportunity to secure state contracts or business?

Yes.

The state’s procurement system is generally problematic and needs a comprehensive deep dive with a fresh set of eyes to ensure the system is fair. It is atrocious that Maryland is nowhere in the ballpark of reaching its 29 percent procurement goal for minority-owned businesses. Our administration will do active outreach to encourage MBEs to bid, but we will also make sure entrepreneurs of color are able to access loans to start businesses. We will also ensure Black-owned cannabis and sports betting companies have a fair shot to succeed. 

Gubernatorial candidate Doug Gansler, center, speaks with audience members before a candidates forum on healthcare issues sponsored by the Maryland Democratic Party at BC Brewery on May 31, 2022.

Doug Gansler. (Kaitlin Newman for The Baltimore Banner)

Doug Gansler. (Kaitlin Newman for The Baltimore Banner)