Wes Moore

Democrat

Wes Moore illustration

(John Baker for The Baltimore Banner)

(John Baker for The Baltimore Banner)

  • Age: 43
  • Resides: Baltimore
  • Experience: Combat veteran, author and entrepreneur. Associate's degree from Valley Forge Military Academy. Bachelor’s in international relations and economics from Johns Hopkins University. Master’s from Wolfson College in Oxford. Rhodes Scholar. Captain, 82nd Airborne, U.S. Army. Author, “The Other Wes Moore.” CEO of Robin Hood Foundation, 2017-2021. Former investment banker with Deutsche Bank and Citigroup. White House Fellow in 2006-2007 serving in the State Department. Has never held public office. 
  • Personal: Married to Dawn Moore with two children
  • Candidate website
  • Read The Baltimore Banner's profile of Wes Moore
  • Read more election coverage

Running mate:

Aruna Miller

  • Age: 57
  • Resides: Montgomery County
  • Experience: Civil engineer and politician. Immigrated to the United States at age 8. Bachelor’s in civil engineering from Missouri University of Science and Technology, 1989. Traffic engineer in Los Angeles County, Calif. and Montgomery County, Md., 1989-1994. Montgomery County transportation planner, program and project manager, 1996-2011. Represented Montgomery County in the Maryland House of Delegates, 2010-2019. 
  • Personal: Married with three children

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.

My top priority will be fully funding and implementing the Blueprint because failing to create a world-class public education system isn’t just failing our children, but our future as well. I recognize that there are local jurisdictions that are challenged by the increase to the local share under the Blueprint, and as the next governor I will bring every jurisdiction to the table to make the difficult decisions that need to be made, but we will not retreat. I’m proud to be endorsed by Maryland’s teachers because they know I won’t stop fighting until every child has the opportunity to succeed.

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

Yes.

As a parent myself of two school-aged kids, I believe that parents should be very active in the decisions made at their kids’ schools. We have very strong parent associations across the state and I’m committed to ensuring that parents are fully engaged and seen as partners as we work together to build a world-class public education system. As Maryland’s next governor, I would bring everyone — parents, teachers, students, everyone — to the table to develop solutions that are in the best interest of our students.

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 need spaces for our students to develop into critical thinkers. And as a Black man who was trained on military bases named after Confederate generals, I believe we have to love our country enough to tell the hard truths about its history. Our incredible educators have been trained to teach our children, and I trust their ability to teach challenging topics in age-appropriate ways. 

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

Yes.

As the first candidate to release a comprehensive public safety plan, I recognize that keeping people safe is a governor’s highest responsibility. I believe in policing with absolute integrity and appropriate intensity, bringing together federal, state, and local resources to prevent crime. As governor, I will tackle the surge of illegal guns flooding our streets, invest in proven community-based violence intervention programs, reform our broken parole and probation system, and invest in reentry services that connect people to behavioral health treatment, housing, and employment.

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

No.

While I believe we need to invest more resources into things like mental health and substance use disorder treatment, it cannot be at the expense of resources for law enforcement agencies, especially when people are dying in our streets every single day. We can increase access to essential programming AND ensure our law enforcement partners have the resources they need to identify, interrupt and prevent crime. Our administration will address the root causes of crime in our communities and we will better partner and collaborate with law enforcement to keep our streets safe.

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

Yes.

While I absolutely believe in prosecutorial discretion, I do not believe we should completely eliminate prosecutions of all nonviolent or low-level offenses. We need sensible and smart approaches to every level of our criminal justice system, and not a one-size-fits-all approach. I believe in law enforcement with absolute integrity and appropriate intensity, focusing our resources on ensuring that people who commit violent offenses are held accountable.

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

Yes.

Too many families have experienced the agony of having a loved one taken too soon because of gun violence. It is unacceptable and it has to stop. I was proud to be named a gun sense candidate by Moms Demand Action and as governor, I am committed to strengthening our gun laws, expanding background checks, implementing extreme risk protective order laws, getting ghost guns off our streets, and using a data-driven approach to address crime with the urgency and intensity it demands. The number one priority of our administration will be keeping our schools, churches, and communities safe.

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

No.

True and lasting public safety is built on trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve through communication, transparency and accountability. As governor, I'm going to leverage federal dollars to support local community policing initiatives, strengthen our decertification law so when a law enforcement officer violates the law they cannot continue to be a police officer, address the impact of the criminalization of cannabis on Black Marylanders, and improve diversity in the field so law enforcement is truly representative of the communities they serve.

Would you invest more state resources in Baltimore?

Yes.

We cannot have a strong Maryland if we do not have a strong Baltimore. Baltimore is the city where I live, where I came of age, and where my wife and I are raising our children. I love this city, and as governor, I will be committed to its future. As governor, I am committed to ensuring that the Red Line is built and connected to other forms of transportation, fully funding and implementing the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future to give every child a world-class education, and directing resources to prevent the crime and violence plaguing our city.

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

What taxes should change?

I support reforming Maryland’s tax system to implement a more progressive tax policy that ensures that everyone pays their fair share. The legislature has been considering reforms to Maryland’s tax code to increase the tax rate for higher income levels which I believe needs to be seriously considered and I am also open to working with all stakeholders and the legislature to examine options to reform our corporate tax codes to ensure that companies are paying their fair share.

How would you spend additional revenue?

My top priority is ensuring the full funding and implementation of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future but I also recognize that Marylanders are hurting and we must support our communities struggling to deal with the effects of inflation by building stronger economic infrastructure. That means investing in transportation like the Red Line and Purple Line that connects Marylanders to new opportunities, creating credentialing and apprenticeship programs that give people the skills needed to get good-paying jobs, fixing our broken child care system, and addressing the affordable housing crisis.

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

Yes.

Maryland is short 85,000 rental units for its lowest-income households and the cost to rent a home here is the third-highest in the nation. We must focus on producing more affordable housing, preserving existing affordable housing units, and protecting renters. As governor, my administration is going to expand Maryland’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund and create a dedicated source of revenue for organizations to build and maintain affordable housing units. We will also fund the Right to Counsel program for renters and provide clear and consistent enforcement of rent regulations.

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

[Candidate did not answer the multiple choice question.]

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

Our pathway out of the pandemic is by following the science and the advice of experts. Our administration will always follow the guidance of the CDC and public health experts in response to future waves of the pandemic. One thing we have learned from this pandemic is how important it is to keep businesses open and students in school — it is simply too vital for our well-being, educationally, physically, and emotionally. As governor, I will always work with our public health experts to ensure that we are resourced and prepared to respond to the crisis before there is a need to shut down.

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

Yes.

I believe that abortion is health care and we must fiercely protect this right by enshrining it in our constitution and making access to reproductive care more affordable and accessible. Governor Hogan is refusing to release critical funding that will train providers and expand access to abortion. This is why governors matter and why I am running. Our administration will release this funding on day one and work with broad coalitions and organizations like NARAL and Planned Parenthood to advance access and ensure Maryland always remains a safe haven for reproductive health care.

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

Yes.

Three issues will determine the success of our state over the next decade: making our state more competitive and also more equitable, closing the wealth gap, and protecting our climate. None of these are new issues, they are all now issues. We see the effects of climate change everywhere in Maryland, from the $10 billion it’s cost us over the past decade to the schools closed due to extreme heat and weather to the 100-year storms we see every five years. Now is the time to live up to the principle that I learned leading soldiers in combat — if we want different, we have to do different.

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.

Everyone has a role to play in addressing the climate crisis, because this crisis is impacting everyone. Our administration will set aggressive targets to reach 100% clean energy by 2035 and net-zero emissions by 2045 with strong accountability measures. We have to electrify our grid so we are running on clean energy sources, but we also have to ensure Marylanders, whether in residential or commercial settings, are using cleaner, more efficient technologies like electric heat pumps and smart thermostats. We must engage all stakeholders and have strong accountability measures in place.

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

Our administration will set aggressive targets to generate 100% clean energy by 2035, and turbocharge our investments in solar and wind developments, as well as clean energy technologies and battery storage. When it comes to nuclear energy production, we must recognize it is a major component of our energy portfolio and will have to remain so until we can make the advancements in energy storage and generation needed to maintain grid stability. Until we can safely transition away from nuclear energy, we will focus on strong safety precautions and proper waste disposal practices.

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

Yes.

Every aspect of our climate response — from our investment in tree canopy cover to clean our air and cool our climate, to our investments in clean public transit that connects people to opportunity — must prioritize and protect the communities that have been impacted the most by climate change. That is why our administration is going to revive the Environmental Justice Commission to ensure that every community — especially our most vulnerable ones — is engaged in addressing climate change and benefits from the transition to a clean energy future and green economy.

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

Yes.

Absolutely. We must take steps to address the destruction the war on drugs has inflicted on many Maryland communities, and people of color in particular. I support legalization of recreational cannabis and if the people vote in favor of this ballot measure, we must also begin the process of reconciling the impacts of criminalization, including automatic expungement for low-level possession charges, evaluating employment restrictions for cannabis-related convictions, and ensuring Black-owned cannabis businesses are given meaningful opportunities in this new industry.

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

Yes.

Governor Hogan returned $900 million in funding for the Red Line, which is unacceptable. As governor, I will never return federal funds and will supplement funding from the bipartisan infrastructure bill to expedite essential transit construction. In addition to fully building the Red Line project, we will ensure it is connected to other modes of transit as well, including bike lanes, buses, and more that will bring new opportunities and ensure our residents’ transportation needs are met.

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.

As a result of the billions of federal infrastructure dollars coming to Maryland, we must recognize the value of transportation, not only as a means of mobility but as an economic engine and as a vehicle for helping lift people out of poverty. Our administration will focus on providing mass transit options like fully building the Purple Line and Red Line in Baltimore and ensuring it is connected to other forms of transit, examining discounted or free transit programs, and updating commuter rail stations and other transportation services in historically neglected communities.

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?

We are opposed to the plan for I-270 and I-495 as proposed by the Hogan administration and oppose the toll lanes as proposed in the current P3 plan. Little collaboration occurred with local jurisdictions, and the current P3 procurement process is deeply flawed with minimal public oversight and transparency. The original I-270 plan also had a mass transit option which is no longer there. Improving transit in the state and region will be a top priority for the Moore-Miller administration in a manner that prioritizes equity, community voice, and increasing economic opportunity.

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

I’m not for or against magLev at this time. We feel that much more research needs to be done so that anything we decide doesn’t harm the environment or residents. We do support developing true high-speed rail capacity. Connecting Baltimore and Washington with efficient, high-speed rail would open up housing, employment, and office real estate between the two hubs. Our administration will focus on a variety of options to bring high-speed service to this vital corridor, including working with Amtrak to remove the bottlenecks and curvature limitations on the Northeast Corridor.

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

Yes.

Absolutely, but that doesn’t mean that we should stop fighting to make voting more accessible to Marylanders. As governor, I will ensure that we do not roll back any policy ensuring that our residents are able to register and vote as easily as possible.

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

Yes.

Voting should always be easy and safe for everyone and we have to fight for support in early voting systems, mail-in balloting, and making sure people can vote without fear of intimidation or retribution. I am proud of the legislature for recently expanding access to voting for voters currently incarcerated for a misdemeanor and formerly incarcerated people, as well as passing a law greatly expanding voter education. As governor, I will stand as a brick wall against any attacks to voting rights and will work to continue the progress of the legislature in making voting rights more accessible.

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

Yes.

While agencies are supposed to be meeting a 29% goal for Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) procurement, nearly half of all state contracts are not meeting their required MBE goals. Our administration will improve enforcement and accountability by: 1) streamlining and modernizing the process for tracking compliance and enforcement; 2) making it harder for repeat offenders to win future state business; and 3) increasing state support for MBE businesses to bring it in line with the federal 8(a) Business Development program, including by providing mentoring and technical assistance.

Wes Moore

Wes Moore. (Pamela Wood/The Baltimore Banner)

Wes Moore. (Pamela Wood/The Baltimore Banner)