- Age: 74
- Resides: Takoma Park
- Experience: Army veteran and lawyer. Bachelor’s in English from Amherst and Law degree from Northeastern University. Staff director for then-congressman Ed Markey, 1980-1986. Represented Montgomery County in the Maryland House of Delegates, 1987-2007. Maryland comptroller, 2007-present; reelected three times.
- Personal: Married to Anne Maher with two children, three grandchildren
- Candidate website
- Read The Baltimore Banner's profile of Peter Franchot
- Read more election coverage
- Age: 51
- Resides: Prince George’s County
- Experience: Bachelor’s in international studies from Emory University; master’s in political science and government from Howard University; master’s in real estate development from Johns Hopkins University. Professional realtor since 1999. Principal broker, Fleur de Lis, LLC, commercial real estate brokerage and development advisory services. Member of the Prince George’s County Council, 2018-2021.
- Personal: Married to Del. Jay Walker (D-Prince George’s) with three children
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)?
I will also introduce policies such as an experiential learning model, and reducing standardized testing so students and teachers are empowered. We need sustainable funding and curriculum reform to prepare our students to engage in an evolving society. We will implement education policies that create a pathway for sustained educational development for our students from cradle to career.
Do you believe that parents have adequate input into public school curriculum choices?
There are areas in our curriculum where we need to encourage more parental involvement, such as when it comes to addressing mental health to ensure that kids are equipped with the proper coping skills. I recognize this requires parents to have the resources to do so, and that is why I am dedicated to creating 100,000 family-supporting jobs to ensure that no parent has to work multiple jobs to make ends meet, leaving less time for their family. I will be a champion for appropriate parental involvement so parents can help their children be successful in and out of the classroom.
Are you satisfied with the ways Maryland schools teach the history of Indigenous, Black, Latino, Asian or other communities of color and systemic racism?
Our classrooms and curriculums must be reflective of our society and I will work with parents and education professionals to prepare students to engage in our diverse and modern world. I have pledged to appoint a secretary of diversity, equity and inclusion who will work with the secretary of education to help us achieve this goal by publicly issuing a report outlining priority action items for the administration. More info can be found under our Level Playing Field Agenda on our website.
Does the governor have a role in reducing the level of violence and crime in our communities?
I have zero tolerance for crime or police misconduct. I will work with local governments to coordinate local, state and federal resources to target violent repeat offenders. I will regularly enforce arrest warrants in partnership with U.S. marshals and state troopers in criminal hot zones statewide, to ensure that every person feels safe in their communities. I will also promote community policing, and pilot a statewide, pre-arrest diversion program for arrestees who suffer from addiction.
Do you support efforts to reform or restructure the ways policing is funded?
I believe that funding for public safety includes adequately funding our law enforcement professionals, and increasing our budget for social workers to keep Marylanders safe and cared for.
Do you support efforts by state’s attorneys to reduce or eliminate prosecution of nonviolent or low-level offenses?
I believe resources are better spent on addressing repeat violent offenders and making sure they are not in a position to cause further harm. I will work to ensure that nonviolent offenders, especially those who have challenges with addiction and trauma, receive care that gets to the root of their problems while keeping our communities safe. I believe a core part of the solution is job training and placement, particularly in concert with organized labor.
Would you propose changes to Maryland’s gun control laws?
I believe we must hold gun dealers and manufacturers accountable for harms committed with weapons that are designed to cause mass harm, especially when they are attained with far too much ease. I will require dealers to uphold best practices, such as record keeping of who purchases a gun as well as ammunition, whether they have updated training and licensing, and ensure that gun dealers who violate the law and endanger public safety are prosecuted.
Do you think Maryland is doing enough to address racial disparities in the criminal justice system?
The legislature has taken steps to address racial disparities on quality of life outcomes, but more must be done. I will appoint a secretary of diversity, equity and inclusion who looks at how we can programmatically improve all elements of state government, rather than treating issues of equity as stand-alone problems. Moreover, I will ensure that once ballot approval of the legalization of recreational cannabis passes, we implement it in a way that is restorative to the communities of color that have borne the brunt of law enforcement.
Would you invest more state resources in Baltimore?
We cannot have a great state without a great city. Baltimore City will be the focal point for economic, social and infrastructure development. I am committed to projects such as reviving the Red Line project, updating the schools with modern facilities, and investing in local community organizations that provide the social infrastructure of the city. I am a believer in vibrant neighborhood main streets that are transit-friendly and built around small businesses owned by and employing local residents making family-supporting wages.
Do you support changing state tax laws to require high-earning Marylanders and corporations to pay more?
What taxes should change?
I will work with local jurisdictions to reduce property taxes for seniors on fixed incomes. We need to decouple ourselves from the “inflation tax,” which ties tax increases to automated measures rather than a more nuanced appraisal of the state’s financial condition, revenue needs, and the tax burden for the families who call Maryland home. I have been a fiscal steward of Maryland’s resources, and I will ensure that Maryland is seen as a smart investment under my tenure. As governor, I will maintain that same commitment and evaluate our entire tax system to ensure equity across the state.
How would you spend additional revenue?
I will work with local governments to determine the areas for priority investment on a county-by-county basis. I have been a strong advocate for increasing access to affordable child care, as well as investing in infrastructures like federally qualified community health clinics that offer affordable primary and preventive care to Marylanders within a 15-minute commute of their homes. Moreover, we must invest in statewide high-speed internet and public transportation. Finally, these investments in infrastructure should be tied to project labor agreements and community benefits agreements.
Are you concerned about the affordability of housing and home ownership in Maryland?
I will facilitate greater access to home ownership so that more Marylanders can create generational wealth. One of my flagship policies is introducing a program that offers the state of Maryland as a guarantor of mortgages in collaboration with community banks, local credit unions, and other community-focused lenders. This will also attract young families to move to the state in collaboration with our program to forgive student loans for recent graduates who live and pay taxes in Maryland for five years after graduation. I will also support renters by piloting an eviction diversion program.
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
I trust in the science: vaccines remain the best way to prevent contraction and/or death from COVID-19. I published an op-ed in the Washington Post highlighting why the state should implement vaccine passports. We cannot continue in this climate where the small percentage of the unvaccinated determine our course of life for the overwhelming majority of people who did the right thing and are vaccinated. I am committed to working collaboratively, and if necessary, I will support mask mandates and capacity limits. However, vaccines are the surest way to prevent that need from arising again.
Would you propose changes to the ways Maryland limits, regulates or funds abortion?
I recently called on Gov. Hogan to release $3.5 million to train advanced medical clinicians to provide abortion care services to care for the influx of women who will come to the state to receive care due to the potential of rollbacks on Roe v. Wade. I will always advocate for a woman’s right to choose. I am committed to training more medical professionals to provide abortion care and will enshrine access to abortion in Maryland’s constitution. Medicaid should also cover abortion access, and we must make funds available for undocumented women to receive safe abortion care services.
Do you agree with the scientific consensus that global climate change is influenced by human activities?
I will continue to build on the progress that the legislature made by passing the Climate Solutions Now Act. I am committed on day one to taking action by signing an executive order that requires all energy consumed by state government entities to be created by 100% renewable energy where possible, with a mandate for full conversion by the end of my first term. I believe that Maryland should seek to become the first net-zero state in the country. I will also work to convert the state government’s entire fleet of vehicles to electric.
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?
As the federal government does with its climate envoy, I am committed to creating a cabinet-level position that will work hand-in-hand with our state agencies, businesses and local government to develop a vision for Maryland’s environmental health and aid in the implementation to tackle climate change, both in the state and regionally. I will also sign an executive order that requires more renewable energy be created within Maryland than all energy consumed within the state. Finally, I will require the entire fleet of state vehicles to convert to electric by the end of my first term.
Do you support additional energy production in Maryland?
If so, which forms of energy production do you support?
[Candidate’s response in bold.]
- Offshore wind
- Natural gas fracking
- Other forms not listed here
I will explore subsidizing renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and geothermal.
Do you believe that climate change will disproportionately impact poor and minority communities?
I was the first candidate to come out with a dedicated policy proposal, titled “A Level Playing Field” to address the systemic discrimination across a range of areas, including environmental injustice. One of the pledges I have made within this proposal is to create an office for the secretary of diversity, equity and inclusion to ensure equity is included in our decision making. Addressing issues such as pollution and clean water are essential for achieving equity and ensuring that ALL Marylanders can thrive in ecosystems that are not tarnished with bad air or lack of clean water.
Do you plan to vote IN FAVOR of the statewide ballot question to legalize adult recreational use of marijuana?
I will ensure that the legalization of cannabis contributes to economic growth in communities that have disproportionately borne the brunt of enforcement for cannabis-related offenses. I will set a floor of 40 percent participation for MWBEs. We will achieve this, in part, by creating an application process for cannabis licensing that is not unduly cumbersome. We should also offer restorative justice for those who have suffered past criminal proceedings from nonviolent marijuana-related offenses.
Do you support the Red Line east-west rail/subway project in Baltimore?
In the Baltimore region only 9% of jobs are accessible by public transit in an hour or less. I believe we must do better for our residents, and the thriving economy and good quality of life they deserve. This will be a top priority for my administration, and beyond the Red Line, we will seek to provide fast, safe, sustainable and reliable transit throughout the Baltimore region.
What mode of transportation should be used for the project?
[Candidate’s response in bold.]
- Light rail
- Mix of the two
- Something else
Would transit vehicles have to share their lanes, rails or intersections with other drivers?
Would you support changes to Maryland’s public transportation systems?
On a case-by-case basis, I would work with the local government and community and ensure both their input and buy-in. The strength of any economy is in the number and quality of its connections. That reality is especially evident when it comes to transportation. World-class transportation would give all Marylanders the freedom to experience everything the state has to offer. We can also utilize innovative funding mechanisms, like regional transportation authorities, to make this happen.
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?
I would use a variety of funding streams to support these projects. With all major construction projects, I take into consideration the impact on the environment and Marylanders’ quality of life. For the [Capital] Beltway project, I fought to ensure that buses and carpools are given free access to toll lanes to ensure they are given transportation priority and, in the process, help give these modes of transportation a competitive advantage that helps further facilitate their usage.
Do you support the proposed high-speed maglev train between Baltimore and Washington, D.C.?
I support the concept of maglev but have some reservations about the route, and I will explore all options. I am committed to working with local governments and the community to build transit options that will benefit the entire community, and provide them true access.
Do you believe that Maryland’s elections are generally accurate, fair and well run?
Though we often decry gerrymandering at a national level, Maryland’s federal and state legislative districts demonstrate this practice is not some far-away specter. We need a more fair process for drawing district lines. I will also embrace all aspects of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act in Maryland.
Would you propose any changes to the laws governing how voters cast their ballots?
Unaffiliated voters are a rapidly growing population in Maryland. I believe unaffiliated voters should be able to participate in primary elections by affiliating with the party of their choice for that election. We must do a better job of engaging them in our political process. I will embrace all aspects of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act in Maryland; ensure ballot access via vote-by-mail ballots proactively mailed to every registered voter, and improve access to poll locations proximate to public transportation.
Should Maryland do more to ensure minority-owned businesses have a fair opportunity to secure state contracts or business?
I will increase the state’s MWBE goals by 50%. I will prioritize the allocation of state contracts to Maryland small businesses wherever possible. Just as important, I will crack down on the practice of allowing contractors to waive out of MWBE requirements, which is a tactic many currently use. I will also create a dashboard that allows subcontractors to see when the state’s prime contractor has been paid, in order to prevent subcontractors from getting the runaround on their payments.