Maryland’s Democratic gubernatorial candidates talk economic development, crime and education at forum in Coppin State – Baltimore Sun

Many Democratic candidates for governor of Maryland pledged on Tuesday to leverage state and federal dollars to fuel economic and workforce development, revitalize public transportation, fight rising crime and implement a public education overhaul plan if elected.

In an evening forum with seven of the 10 people on the main field, the candidates often agreed on a range of issues while trying to differentiate themselves by highlighting their different levels of experience in government and the private sector.

Rushern Baker, the runner-up in the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial primary, has consistently framed his answers as coming from someone who “knows what he’s doing the moment he walks into that office.” He served two terms at the helm of Prince George’s County as chief executive, where he said he solved the problems of economic development and lagging crime.

Wes Moore, author, nonprofit leader, Army captain and member of the White House who has never held public office, described himself and his running mate, Aruna Miller, a former lawmaker from the State, as the most qualified to assume this role.

“We are the only ticket in this field that has effectively led in the executive branch, the legislative branch, the private sector, the non-profit sector and the military,” he said to the cheers of the crowd. about 100 spectators.

Tom Perez, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee who served on Montgomery County Council and as U.S. Secretary of Labor, spoke of his work pursuing civil rights cases and improving ” experiential learning” in the Obama administration as he urged the crowd to study what each candidate has done and ask themselves, “Who can I trust to solve these critical problems? »

The forum, held before an in-person and online audience at Coppin State University, was organized by the university’s Center for Strategic Entrepreneurship, part of its business school, and moderated by presenter new WMAR Kelly Swoope.

Also joining were state comptroller Peter Franchot, former nonprofit executive Jon Baron, former state attorney general Doug Gansler and retired University of Maryland faculty member Jerome Segal. the crowd of candidates on stage.

Primarily proposing broader policy goals rather than specific plans, the candidates largely aligned on everything from investing more money in job training and apprenticeship programs to restarting the light rail project on the Baltimore Red Line. Republican Governor Larry Hogan was killed upon taking office in 2015.

On education, they mostly agreed to implement the 10-year, $3.8 billion Blueprint for Maryland’s Future plan to overhaul public education, with Baker saying the need is even greater. now that the pandemic has set students years behind.

Franchot said he would go above and beyond the plan to also “free our teachers from the burden of standardized testing”.

Economic plans included Baron’s emphasis on connecting employers with workers through state-sponsored apprenticeships and employer-paid internships. And they included a repeated point from Segal – who was recently recorded as a socialist – that the state needs guaranteed full employment.

Moore, meanwhile, highlighted his time as CEO of the Robin Hood Foundation, where he said he allocated more than $650 million and worked with 1,600 organizations to fight poverty.

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“I don’t need an explanation or a white paper to understand what we’re talking about,” Moore said.

In the face of rising crime in the Baltimore area, Gansler, the former attorney general, reiterated his good faith in law enforcement.

“If you like having 400 murders a year, if you like what’s going on in the criminal justice system in Baltimore, you should seriously consider voting for one of my colleagues,” Gansler said in his closing statement.

Baron said the answers to crime will not be found in regularly practiced government programs, but with a detailed reassessment of which programs work and which do not.

“There is procedural justice training, implicit bias training, use of force training, de-escalation training. Which of those actually work? Which of these works best to increase community trust and reduce police use of force? said Baron. “We don’t really know yet.”

The forum was one of many held in the Baltimore area and beyond for what is seen as an open race for the Democratic nomination in the July 19 primary.

Hogan, a two-term Republican, is term-limited and backed Kelly Schulz, his former Commerce Secretary, in the Republican primary. The GOP race also includes Dan Cox, a state delegate endorsed by former President Donald Trump, as well as Robin Ficker and Joe Werner.

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