On transportation, Markovitz called the county’s roads “pretty crowded” and said she thought “infrastructure has to be paced a little better with development to help those public service aspects to be improved a little faster along with the increased population.”
And on transparency: “I definitely stand for transparency,” she said. “I’ve very much been in favor of trying to get communities informed.”
Royalty was unequivocal in her support for raising the minimum wage.
“That was never a struggle for me,” she said. “I know people, I see people, I talk to people who work two or three jobs and are still struggling to make ends meet.
“We’re not talking about people who are lazy,” she added. “We’re talking about hardworking people, and it’s up to us to level the playing field.”
Royalty said she was inspired by a trip to Zurich to try to find more ways to make Howard County, and Route 40 in particular, more walkable.
“I’d actually like to see us reduce the amount of time we spend in our cars, but still do the things we enjoy, such as recreational activities or even going to the store,” she said. “I know that’s a big challenge, and I’m not trying to be pie-in-the-sky about it, however, I think that’s something we can work to achieve.”
As for transparency, Royalty said she wanted constituents to know “they can come and talk to me.
“People are busy in their daily lives, they don’t have time to get involved. I would like to increase accessibility to the office,” she said, highlighting her involvement with the school community, which is part of District 1.
Weinstein said his experience as a consultant set him apart when dealing with issues like the minimum wage and transportation.
“I have worked with organizations, government in particular, on strategic issues of this nature, where interrelationships are critical,” he said.
Weinstein suggested raising the minimum wage could create savings in government spending that could be used to invest small business.
“It’s really just a simple matter of math: right now people don’t make enough money to live in the county,” he said. “There’s a threshold where if people make more money, they can come off certain parts of public assistance... With the savings, we can incent small businesses to hire more people at that wage. There is a cycle that can be done.”
Weinstein said working on affordable housing should accompany a higher minimum wage, so that county teachers, police and firefighters could live in the community where they work.
He added that “there’s a lot of opportunity” for new development in the county to focus on creating communities “that reinforce areas where people can live and work in that vicinity.”
Voters will have the chance to pick one of the candidates in the primary election June 24. Ellicott City residents Kevin Schmidt and David Blake Melton are competing for the Republican vote.
Democratic County Executive candidate and current District 1 Council member Courtney Watson also spoke at the forum Wednesday, as did candidates for the Democratic Central Committee, the other council districts, state’s attorney, sheriff, clerk of court, register of wills and orphan’s court judge.