The first 100 days: Maryland candidates for governor lay out early priorities

This content was republished with permission from WTOP’s news partners at Maryland Matters. Sign up for Maryland Matters’ free email subscription today.

As candidates for governor continue to wind their way along the campaign trail in the final weeks before the 2022 primary elections, voters are likely to hear that they’re dedicated to many of the same principles.

For Democrats, it’s a commitment to responding to climate change and a range of other issues.  Republicans promise to rein in taxes and government spending, among other priorities.

As the primary election season unfolds, Maryland Matters is committed to illuminating the policy priorities — and policy differences — among the candidates for governor.

As one way of helping to inform voters about candidates’ policies and goals, we asked candidates to explain how they would spend their first 100 days in office, if elected.

It’s a bit unconventional, but we hope the answers will help voters understand the distinct visions and priorities of Maryland’s next potential gubernatorial administration.

Twelve of 16 candidates for governor responded, including one third-party candidate, who will be on the general election ballot in November.

Mail-in ballots for the primary campaign were recently mailed to voters. Early voting begins July 7. Primary election day is July 19.

Candidates’ answers in full are below, in alphabetical order by party. You can also read answers one-by-one on Maryland Matters’ election guide.

Democrats

Jon Baron

My first 100 days will focus on addressing longstanding problems that damage millions of lives — and we’ll bring a fundamentally different approach.

In education, more than 1/4 of Maryland middle school students can’t read at basic level — same as 20 years ago. The bottom 40% of Marylanders have seen stagnant wages since the 1980s, as income inequality has soared. Our state’s made no progress reducing poverty in over 30 years.

Fellow Marylanders, we can’t just keep doing the same thing we’ve done for decades — rolling out one unproven government program after another — and expect a different result. To make progress, we must expand solutions that have actually been tested in the real world and shown to improve lives.

Solutions like providing high-quality tutoring to every struggling first and second grader in Maryland — which has been shown to move them up toward grade level early, before their problems become serious in later grades. To do this, we’ll recruit an army of tutors from the community, including retirees and recent college graduates, to become tutors for a modest stipend as a public service.

We’ll also partner with Maryland businesses to provide effective job training to every adult who wants to advance. Done right, job training can raise earnings as much as 40% — but the key is to focus the training on fast-growing industries, and work closely with local employers who provide paid internships to trainees. Under our plan, the state pays for the training, employers pay for the internships, the economy gets skilled workers — everyone benefits.

Here’s the bottom line: If we continue on our current path, we’ll be here in another 20 years and nothing will have changed. To make progress, we have to zero-in on solutions that have actually been tested and shown effective.

Let’s do what works, Maryland!

Peter Franchot

All of my pledges (located at Franchot.com) respond to Marylanders’ needs, and produce tangible results that truly impact their quality of life. I was also the first candidate to develop a Black Agenda, titled “A Level Playing Field”, which seeks to acknowledge and address our state’s shortcomings by implementing institutional reforms that promote equity and inclusion.

In my administration’s first 100 days, I will begin to rebuild trust in the competence of state government and its ability to ensure every Marylander shares in the prosperity of the state. I will publicly audit the performance of agencies; produce measurable, outcome-based goals for each agency; and publicly track agency performance against their established goals. Early, visible benchmarks will be to fill every pothole on state roads; clean all trash on state roads; and answer every Marylander’s call to state agencies within 60 seconds with a live, friendly, trained professional. This will build trust for bigger, bolder plans that include:

The Franchot/Anderson-Walker ticket has the experience and track record to deliver concrete solutions that address Marylanders’ kitchen table issues. Marylanders know I never overpromise and under-deliver, and I will work every day to improve their quality of life.

Doug Gansler

As your two-term attorney general and the most experienced candidate in the field, I know how to work the levers of government to accomplish bold policies.

The top priority of government is to keep its people safe and that is precisely what I will do.

As a federal, state, and local prosecutor for 22 years, and the only person in the field with any background in bringing crime down and lifting justice up, I am uniquely qualified to make Maryland safe. Among other things, we will hire 1,000 new police officers for the streets, all of whom will be trained in de-escalation; place a school resource officer in every school to keep your children safe; put 10,000 lights on the streets of Baltimore; laser-target the prosecution of gun crimes; establish drug and domestic violence courts in all 24 jurisdictions; and fully implement community prosecution and community policing throughout Maryland.

As I did when I spearheaded the state effort for marriage equality, I will demonstrate the courage to be a brick wall in our defense of the reproductive rights of women.

Together with the first Black woman to serve as Maryland’s lieutenant governor, former Hyattsville Mayor Candace Hollingsworth, we will ensure access to opportunity for all Marylanders through affordable housing, mental and public health care, jobs, and a first-rate education.

Finally, the environment was my top priority as attorney general; we will catapult Maryland to be the East Coast leader in the fight against climate change. This includes supporting mass transit projects such as the Red and Purple lines, the Southern Maryland and the Shady Grove/Frederick light rail, and Metro crossing the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.

For any of this to happen, we need to nominate a pragmatic, pro-business and pro-law enforcement Democrat who can actually defeat Republican Kelly Schulz.

Ralph Jaffe

1. Implementation of Jaffe Tutor-Mentor TEAM Program throughout Maryland — designed for  students in all walks of life in need of help — special focus on students a step away from dropping out of school, turning to the streets, and resorting to criminal activity.  Revolutionary, never  been done before, the program has the potential for strengthening bonds between young and old alike, giving students attention, love, care and help that enable them to be productive citizens.

I would call a conference comprised of major religious leaders in Maryland to help get the program off the ground.

2. Specific plan for dealing with unrelenting surge in violence in Baltimore City — Among things I would consider is calling out the National Guard,  temporary basis, but also an extended period of time.

Because it’s essential to listen to constituents I would work with community activist, Markida Walker, who has 20 years of police experience.  Her plan — place  more of an authoritative presence of federal and state government agencies — Department of Justice, FBI, MD State Police, Sheriff’s Office of Baltimore City — instead of the National Guard, on to Baltimore City streets. Although skeptical of the outcome, I would be willing to try her proposal for 3 months because again, listening to constituents is imperative.

No question about it — there’s severe shortage of police. Constituents are saying more need to be patrolling streets. The media are always claiming they are part of our community and are working for us.  Therefore, I would ask all forms of media — TV and radio stations, newspapers, magazines, etc. – to participate in rotating annual telethons — with the money raised going toward the hiring of more police officers.

3. Introduction of a bill, SIX TO ONE — That is, no more than six patients receiving care from 1 nurse’s aide, to improve quality of life for people in nursing homes.

Ashwani Jain

My name is Ashwani Jain (he/him) and I’m running for Governor to make politics inclusive and accessible.

That’s why I’m fully accessible (100% of our events are free; I don’t take donations from developers, businesses, PACs or polluters; and I’m the only Governor candidate to personally meet voters in a different county each day of the week).

That’s why I’m fully accountable (we are the first statewide campaign in the U.S. to be 100% run by residents — from every age, background and all 24 counties.

And that’s why I’m fully transparent (we’ve shared the most detailed, comprehensive and fully paid-for policy agenda since last January 2021).

Furthermore, each of the 150 policies detailed on our website (JainForGovernor.com) were created by residents (not consultants) who will be impacted by those policies.

One of our signature programs that tackles issues comprehensively and will provide residents more disposable income and a decreased cost of living is called the “Maryland Now Plan”, which will eliminate the state income tax for 95% of Maryland workers (anyone making less than $400,000); make public transit free; create the nation’s first guaranteed jobs program; legalize marijuana while expunging records; and get money out of politics.

Full details can be found here.

And while I would be the nation’s youngest Governor, I have the experience, perspective and detailed policy solutions needed to serve you well.

More at JainForGovernor.com.

John King

In my first 100 days, I will take aggressive executive action to reverse the damage of the Hogan administration.

I will appoint a well-qualified, diverse team and begin to fill the thousands of positions left unfilled in state government.

I will immediately release the funding for medical training for abortion care provided by the Abortion Care Access Act that is currently being withheld.

I will work toward my promise to advance racial equity by launching my task force to fix racial health disparities and directing immediate reforms to state procurement.

I will release my budget that fully funds and expands on the Blueprint for Education (including universal child care birth-to-5) and allows for a greater student loan tax credit and a state higher education tuition freeze.

My administration will also begin replacing state fleet vehicles due for replacement with electric, zero-emission ones to reach my goal of having all of the state fleet be zero-emission vehicles by 2030.

I will also use my vote on the Board of Public Works to approve school infrastructure spending, expand public transportation spending, like approving the all-rail Baltimore Red Line finally, and vote against approving spending on ill-advised projects like the I-270 toll lanes plan.

Wes Moore

As I travel across Maryland, I hear from families worried about how our kids are finishing the school year, feeling unsafe both in their communities and their own skin, and their health and wellbeing from a lack of access to health care. Our administration will act swiftly in our first 100 days to tackle the challenges Marylanders are facing and I invite you to visit WesMoore.com/issues to read about my comprehensive vision to create a brighter future for our state.

Education — The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future was a tremendous legislative victory and we must ensure it is fully funded and implemented. As governor, I will build robust pathways to good-paying jobs, support our educators and students, ensure universal pre-K for every child in need, and drive more students into STEM fields. I was proud to be named the education candidate by the Maryland State Education Association, and I will not stop until every child is set up for success.

Public Safety — Violent crime is on the rise and Marylanders deserve a governor who will address it with urgency. As governor, I will tackle illegal guns flooding our streets, invest in proven community-based violence intervention programs, fix the Department of Parole and Probation, and invest in local re-entry programs. I believe in policing with absolute accountability and appropriate intensity, bringing together federal, state, and local resources to prevent crime while building trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

Health Care/Access to Abortion — I will work to ensure universal access to affordable health coverage, lower the costs of prescription drugs through innovative new initiatives, and expand access to mental and behavioral health care. I believe that abortion is health care and we must protect this right by enshrining it in our constitution and expanding training for providers.

Tom Perez

From the ongoing challenges of COVID-19, to assaults on Marylander’s fundamental rights, to the scourge of violence, Maryland’s next governor must be the multitasker — and implementer — in chief. A proud member of the “GSD” wing of the Democratic Party, I’m ready to get stuff done.

Maryland continues to grapple with the public health and economic fallout the pandemic has wrought. As President Obama’s labor secretary, I was a key member of the team that created millions of middle-class jobs following the Great Recession. We will help build Maryland’s middle class by fully-funding the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, investing in critical transportation projects — including the Purple Line, the Red Line in Baltimore, and Southern Maryland Rapid Transit — creating a statewide climate and resiliency coordinator to work across government and support clean energy job creation, and continue Maryland’s public health response.

We will fulfill the vision of Dr. King, who said “of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.” Right now over 370,000 Marylanders remain without coverage. We need to get to 100 percent — and I have a plan to do it. With the Supreme Court poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, we will introduce a Constitutional amendment to further enshrine the fundamental right to abortion into the fabric of our laws and work with the Attorney General so Maryland defends any provider sued by other states for providing care.

A former federal prosecutor, I understand how to build meaningful partnerships to reduce violence — because I’ve done it. As governor, I’ll ensure the state is an ally, not an adversary, by serving a collaborative partner to bring local, state, and federal leaders — and resources — together to ramp-up staffing and support for parole or probation officers, combat the gun violence epidemic, and reduce violence.

Jerome Segal

1. Blueprint/Education

Divide all Blueprint recommendations into 2 groups:
1)Social justice: closing funding gaps/free pre-k, funding formula, etc.
2) Education itself, the missions of public schools.
Full implementation of (1). Full suspension of (2).

Open a genuine conversation with Marylanders on diverse missions of our public schools. Totally abandon “world-class” conceptualization, and reliance on standardized testing as a metric of international comparisons, progress, or accountability.

– Set “love of books,” “ability to add to the beauty of the world,” “knowledge of history,” “conflict resolution” and “critical thinking” as the five fundamentals of a new plan for public education.

– Free 4-year in-state tuition.

2. Establish Division of Global Affairs

– End Hogan’s order prohibiting boycott of Israeli West Bank settlements.

 Enact  state-to-state cooperation agreement with the State of Palestine.

– Establish International School of Public Service and personnel sharing to help the failed, corrupt states of Central America.

– Establish Camp David Peace Center in Frederick County as Global Center for Conflict Resolution.

– Host an international conference on Global Warming and Alternative Conceptions of Development.

3. Launch: Graceful Simplicity Option

– Legislation:

– A legal right to a job of 32 hours a week.

– “Time Liberty” law: employees after 3 years can opt for either 1/2 time or 32-hour work-week.

– Zero Interest Mortgages (ZIMs) for modest homes for families in the bottom 1/3.

– Progressive property taxes: 0% for low income and higher rates for McMansions.

– Negotiations with General Motors for sale in Maryland of electric vehicles under $10,000 (they sell one in China under $5,000).

– Prohibit gasoline sales at pre-tax levels above just-price: cost of production from oil well to gas pump plus 10%.

– Criminal felony for any executive to conspire to not supply gasoline to Maryland consumers at just-price levels.

Republicans

Robin Ficker

On Day 1 I’ll meet with the speaker and senate president to implement a schedule to promptly implement the Maryland voters’ mandate to cut the sales tax by 1/3 or 2 cents = $780/yr/household.

Next, we shall form our Jobs Strikeforce to pursue the Billion $ companies that have recently shunned Maryland to put their multiBillion expansions elsewhere, like Amazon, Apple, Boeing, Facebook, Global Foundries, Google, Hyundai, Intel, Microsoft, Nucor Steel, Samsung, Taiwan Semiconductor, Tesla, Texas Instruments, and Toyota. I’ll ask Mr. Franchot, and Baker to join our financial experts and planners and will replace as many of the Maryland Department of Commerce employees as possible.

Our new Nuclear Strikeforce shall approve a plan to immediately double the clean electrical output of Calvert Cliffs.

Lieutenant Governor Yegge will finalize our Monday am Open houses to give voters a direct day. Dan Cox will assist him.

I meet with all concerned to get our long-stalled highway projects up and moving ahead!

Kelly Schulz

Our campaign is about opportunity and ensuring that all Marylanders have a chance to succeed. We have made a lot of progress over the past 8 years and I am the only candidate in this race who will continue to build upon the smart and pragmatic leadership of Governor Hogan. Every other candidate will take us in a completely different direction.

Safe: Without safety, nothing else matters. We will treat law enforcement like heroes and criminals like criminals. We will invest more funding to hire hundreds of new officers and ensure they receive the training and support to perform their jobs effectively. We will fight to keep repeat violent offenders behind bars and increase penalties on those who commit crimes with illegal guns.

Steady: As a mother and grandmother, I want all Maryland children to grow and prosper, that starts with a world class education. My Parental Bill of Rights will empower parents and give every single child an opportunity to succeed. We will continue to record fund schools, while also providing parents and students with more choices, like public charter and P-TECH Schools. And we’ll make sure that there’s accountability and transparency in our school systems.

Prosperous: Fighting to make Maryland more affordable is a centerpiece of our campaign. Runaway inflation and record high gas prices are causing real pain — it’s important to have a governor who understands these burdens.

The gas tax is set to increase by 18% due to legislators indexing it to inflation. The Inflation Tax hurts hardworking families and I’m the only candidate who will repeal it in my first year in office. The other candidates openly support new, massive government programs, more tax hikes, and will do nothing to make Maryland more affordable.

Third party

David Lashar, Libertarian

In my first 100 days, my top priority will be to set both a new tone and a new approach for Maryland politics.

My tone will be one of respect and care toward all Marylanders, not only regardless of race, gender, sexuality, and religion… but also regardless of politics, wealth and other sources of division under the identity-driven politics of the modern Left and the modern Right. My approach will one of reason and calm on all issues, educating and persuading instead of denouncing and coercing.

Specifically, I will assemble a Cabinet that is genuinely inclusive, with members from both of the big parties as well as independents and fellow Libertarians. I will actively and respectfully engage with representatives in the General Assembly. Most important, I will regularly visit with our disadvantaged and distressed communities, so that I can be an informed and effective agent for reviving hope and bringing change.

On policy, my Lt. Governor (Christiana) and I will divide our attention between shorter-term actions and longer-term efforts.

Shorter term, we will move to roll back the gas taxes and sales taxes that bite hardest on lower-income Marylanders, especially during inflationary times. We will promote a vibrant democracy by protecting free speech, advancing term limits, limiting emergency health powers, and creating a commission to find the right balance between access to the ballot and confidence in election outcomes. We will redress injustices in the racial impact of the war on drugs by undertaking a review of non-violent drug offenders in state prisons.

Longer term, we will prioritize school choice, criminal justice reform, affordable housing, clean energy (and Bay!), and a favorable investment environment for small businesses and large corporations alike.

For more, please see our campaign website.  And please watch for summertime policy statements.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partners at Maryland Matters and republished with permission. Sign up for Maryland Matters’ free email subscription today.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up