Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Democratic challenger Ben Jealous met Monday for the only scheduled debate in the 2018 governor’s race. Recorded at Maryland Public Television studios, the debate was moderated by MPT's Jeff Salkin.
Ovetta Wiggins of The Washington Post, Pamela Wood of The Baltimore Sun, Tamela Baker of the Herald-Mail and Ryan Eldredge of WMDT formed the panel of journalists questioning the candidates.
This transcript was generated through a mix of automated software and human editing.
ANNOUNCER: The 2018 Maryland gubernatorial debate recorded at the studios of Maryland Public Television and broadcast without editing in its entirety.
SALKIN: Welcome, everyone, to the Maryland gubernatorial debate. I'm Jeff Salkin at Maryland Public Television. Joining us in the studio are the two leading candidates for Governor. The Republican nominee, incumbent Governor Larry Hogan, and the Democratic nominee, Ben Jealous. Today's debate is being produced live to tape, meaning you will see it in its entirety with no edits and no stoppages. We’ll get first to the opening statements. Each candidate will have 90 seconds. First to speak is Mr. Jealous.
JEALOUS: Thank you. Hi, I'm Ben Jealous. I'm the former national president of the NAACP, and the dad to two Maryland public school kids. And the son of two Maryland Public School teachers whose marriage was against the law here 52 years ago because she's black and he's white. I'm running for governor because I have a vision, a vision that comes out of my experience building small businesses into big businesses across our state and across our country. A vision and a plan, a plan to make sure that we finally fully fund our schools. Keep the broken promise on the Casino money. Make sure our teachers are respected and paid better. A plan to make sure that we finally get health care costs truly under control. Build a system that's sustainable, and make sure that no one's driven to poverty just for using their healthcare. And a plan to get our economy going again. And do what I do every day: build a more inclusive, robust 21st century economy.Now folks will tell you that the things that I want to do are hard. And they're right. Nothing worth doing is easy. I was named Person of the Year by The Baltimore Sun, because in one year, I led the successful effort to abolish the death penalty while co-chairing the successful effort to pass the DREAM Act while helping pass marriage equality. I pull people together to get big things done. That's why I've been endorsed by the teachers and the nurses and business people all across the state. I hope to earn your vote, too.
SALKIN: Mr. Hogan.
HOGAN: Well, first of all, I want to thank the sponsors of tonight's event and I want to especially thank all of you for watching at home. Four years ago, Maryland was way off track and heading in the wrong direction. We had lost 8,000 businesses and a 100,000 jobs after 43 consecutive tax hikes had crushed our economy. I decided to step up and try to do something about that. I promised to put Maryland on a new path. And we have done exactly what we said we would do. We've cut taxes, tolls and fees four years in a row by $1.2 billion.We put all that money back into the pockets of hard-working Marylanders, retirees, and small businesses, and back into our growing economy. We now have more businesses open and more people working in our state than ever before in the history of the state. The economy is turning around, and we're investing more record funding in education, record funding in transportation, and in cleaning up and protecting the Chesapeake Bay. We've made tremendous progress, but there's still a lot more hard work to be done. That's why tonight, I'm asking for your vote so that we can keep making progress, keep moving forward and continue changing Maryland for the better.
SALKIN: Gentlemen, thank you. Let's introduce the four reporters who will be asking the questions tonight from The Washington Post joining us is Ovetta Wiggins, Pamela Wood from The Baltimore Sun, from the Hagerstown Herald-Mail, Tamela Baker, and from WMDT-Salisbury, Ryan Eldredge. I’d like to thank those four organizations for participating, also our other partners including WBAL-Baltimore WJLA-Washington, WYPR radio and the League of Women Voters. Here's how the questions will work. Each candidate will get to respond to each question, we’ll alternate the order. The answers will be 60 seconds. We'll have time for 60 second rebuttals as well. I should note that while this debate began in an unusual manner - it was negotiated directly between the campaigns in a bilateral agreement. Now that we're on the air, this is a production of Maryland Public Television and the reporters and I are under no restrictions whatsoever in terms of the questions that can be asked. Let's go first to go Ovetta from the post.
WIGGINS: Governor Hogan, although the economy has rebounded and wage growth remains stagnant in Maryland, many people across the state have not seen their paychecks grow. What specific policies would you enact to grow the private sector and to raise wages?
HOGAN: Well, first of all, wages are up in Maryland, all across the board, up 9%. So you're not right on the facts there Ovetta, but look, I have - my entire focus of my governorship has been to grow the economy, to put more people to work and to turn our economy around. Wages have grown at every level, more people are working. My first year as Governor, we got more people hired than any other time in the past 15 years. We've continued to have more people working at higher salaries that we're going to continue. The only way to do it, is to continue to grow our economy, continue to get small businesses and big businesses to grow and hire more people, and we're very proud of the record we’ve got. It’s -- we've had one of the best economic turnarounds in America.
JEALOUS: Yeah, actually, I think that Ms. Wiggins is right about the facts, Governor.
HOGAN: I don’t think so.
JEALOUS: We have the lowest job growth lowest income growth in the region.
HOGAN: That's not true.
JEALOUS: If we had the job growth of Virginia, sir, if we had the job growth of Virginia, we’d have 40,000 more jobs right now.Here's the punchline sir: Virginia's job growth is lower than the national average. Studies have shown there's 49 states with a positive outlook on the economy for this in this country in the next year. We're not one of them. As a small business person in this state, I've put together a plan to make sure that we put our government on the side of small business people, that we back the state's entrepreneurs. We take the office of tech transfer out of the Department of Commerce. We put it in the Governor's Office because unlike you, sir, who didn't return Discovery’s call for four months, I'll be actively involved in building a more inclusive robust economy every day.
SALKIN: Mr. Hogan —
HOGAN: Let me just say that sounded really good, but not a single word that you said was true. So we went from losing a 100,000 jobs to gaining 100,000 jobs. We had some of the fastest job growth in America. We went from last place in the Mid-Atlantic region to first place. Just last month we added another 8,000 jobs and brought our unemployment rate down again to 4.2. When you keep talking about these things, that I don't know where you get these talking points from, but they're absolutely false. Look, I'm a lifelong small businessman spent my entire life in Maryland running a small business.It's the reason I ran for governor, because I was so frustrated with what was happening. The state that I loved, that I spent my entire life here, was way off track. We have grown. We have more businesses open in Maryland ever before in history. Small businesses are growing like crazy. We're number one in America in startups.We created more jobs in the first year than they had done for 15 years, they hadn't met that mark. So I don't know where you get these stats, how you play with the numbers. But my four-year record is clear. We've led the nation. We've increased jobs, increased wages and you just can't keep making up these stories.
SALKIN: 60 seconds, Mr. Jealous.
JEALOUS: Governor, please, you can go to BenJealous.com. All the reports are there.
HOGAN: I'm not going to go to benjealous.com
JEALOUS: All the facts are there and also all of my plans are there. When I actually tell the people say I'll do I will do something. I put a plan there, it's transparent. The paper was - my staff doesn't have to walk things back. Like you say, ‘oh, we’re going to give someone to a tax cut but we don't know how we're going to pay for it,’ and your staff says ‘well, it's aspirational.’ Governor, the people of the state deserve to have a plan to move forward. You don't have any plans.
HOGAN: We've moved forward at one of the fastest rates in America. Your only plan is to double the state budget and increase taxes by a hundred percent, and you're not honest enough to tell people each taxpayer in Maryland's going to have their taxes go up 12 percent. Under the O'Malley Administration, they raised taxes on the average taxpayer $4,800. It nearly crushed our economy. It cost us 8,000 businesses and a 100,000 jobs. I can't imagine what would happen under a plan like yours.
SALKIN: Last word on this, Mr. Jealous.
HOGAN: But it's not going to be friendly to businesses.
JEALOUS: You know what convinced me to advocate to bring medicare-for-all to our state? I tried to move a factory here to South Baltimore from northern Canada, and the deal fell apart because the costs of HealthCare in our health exchange kept surging under Governor Hogan, up 120 percent in four years.That company ended up moving to Toronto because they could not come into this country because the healthcare costs keep surging. That would have created three hundred new jobs in South Baltimore where we need them. Sir, but you have no plan. You just put in a one-year fix. We can't run businesses not knowing what's going to happen to our healthcare costs year to year.You're choking small businesses because you won't lead on health care because you won't stand up to the pharmaceutical companies. I put a plan out there to bring our pharmaceutical costs down. You could have put in place four years ago, sir.
SALKIN: Well, I'm going to move on here just because, we’ll be back to healthcare, I'm sure and I want to get all the reporters on the air. Pam Wood from The Sun, this question goes first to Mr. Jealous.
WOOD: On June 28th, five of my colleagues were murdered at the Capitol newspaper in Annapolis by a man who had a legally owned gun. And on Thursday a person with a legal gun opened fire at a Rite Aid Warehouse in Aberdeen, killing three co-workers. Wendy, Rebecca, Rob, Gerald, John, Sunday, Brindra and Hayleen are far from the only Marylanders to be killed by legally-owned guns. What can you do to prevent these kinds of killings in the future?
JEALOUS: My heart goes out to you and you, and your colleagues are heroes. I know what it's like to work in a newsroom that's been attacked. The Jackson-Advocate newspaper where I was an editor when I was young was attacked before and after my tenure there. I know how we were on pins and needles all the time. We have to act with courage, and my heart goes out to the Rite Aid workers and the students at Great Mills, who, as soon as they asked me to meet with them, I met with them. And I'm oddly proud to receive an F-rating from the NRA because of my lifetime of standing up to them, and I'll continue to do that as Governor.We need to make sure that we stem the flow of illegal guns into our state. We need to close the AR-15 loophole, but we also need to make sure that we treat this as a Public Health crisis that it is. There's a public mental health crisis, and we have to make sure that people get the mental health care that they need. Medicare for all also means mental health care for all. And in our schools, we don't need more guns. We need more social workers and psychologists to work with young people who are experiencing a mental health crisis as well. Thank you for your courage.
HOGAN: Well, I my heart was broken that day. This is our hometown newspaper in Annapolis. I was on the scene within five minutes as they were still taking people from the building, and I was thanking our police officers who responded so quickly and so bravely, and there's tremendous cooperation and coordination between the city of Annapolis, Anne Arundel County Police, State Police and the Sheriff's Department. More lives could have been lost had it not been for the quick response.But, yes, this is a tragedy that we have to continue to do everything we can about. I also was down in Great Mills immediately after the shooting there. Well, I've long been a strong supporter of tougher laws to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill and people with a criminal background. We have made it even tougher with legislation that's going to take place next week, seven days from today.We sponsored red flag laws to make sure that we can have more of an ability to take away guns from people that are mentally ill. I also passed tough mandatory sentences on people that commit crimes with a gun. It's tragic, and there's no easy answer. We have the toughest gun laws in America, but I've moved to make them even tougher and to try to make sure that we cover some of these loopholes.Now, would it have stopped this tragedy at the Annapolis Capital? I'm not sure but it certainly would give us better, stronger ability to keep the guns away from somebody like this in the future. And this is a tragedy that we're going to have to keep focused on. I put $200 million into school safety to add more school resource officers and mental health counselors to try to find and address these problems before they... before it's too late.
SALKIN: Mr. Hogan, your time is up. Let's go next to Tammy Baker of The Herald-Mail.
BAKER: The Division of Corrections spends millions every month because of a lingering shortage of staff at state prisons. Correctional officers are forced to work long hours, and there are safety concerns as well. The state has taken steps to try to recruit more officers, but the union that represents them says it's not enough. How far are you willing to go to fill those positions?
HOGAN: Well, you're absolutely right. We do have a staffing shortage and the entire state has been working hard to fix that. But let's go back to the root of the problem. Under the previous administration, gangs and criminals were running the entire state prison system.We said we were going to come in and clean up the entire operation. It resulted in 139 indictments of correctional officers, other people working in the correctional facilities, and the people they were coordinating with in the private sector. We decided that we needed to make sure we had background checks and lie detectors, and make sure that we weren't hiring more criminals into the system. And that's what we've done.It's made it more difficult to fill these positions. We need to pay these positions better. What we've done to help recruit: We put sign-in bonuses. We gave them...we will pay for, take care of their student debt up to $20,000. We've been having a major marketing campaign to address them. We've been hiring more people. But under my opponent’s plan, his plan, it's the only place he wants to cut. He wants the fire thousands of correctional officers, public safety officers and put thousands of dangerous criminals out on the streets.
JEALOUS: First of all, Governor, it’s not the only place that I want to cut. I put a bigger tax cut on the table than you ever have, actually put a proposal for it. And that's to cut our sales tax. And I've put a plan on the table based on my work, working with bipartisan leaders across the state to shrink prison systems in a way that's smart and safe, gets more killers off the street, stops our bloated spending on our criminal justice systems. I said we want to bring our incarceration rate in line with states like New Jersey, where violent crime is down, as opposed to being up here on your watch, sir. We can be safe or we can be smarter. But when we do that, we have to do it with working with the officers. When I rolled out the criminal justice strategy for the NAACP, I had every civil rights leader you might expect. I also had noted republican leaders and the president of the largest corrections officers union in the country standing right next to me. We all want to be safer. We all want to make sure we're spending more and more in public higher education and not mass incarceration. Even the officers who want the kids to have a better deal when they go to our state's public universities, and that's at what's at the heart of my plan, is shrinking our prison system in a way that makes it safer, saving money and sending those monies to our public colleges and universities so that we also end the massive student debt crisis.
HOGAN: Mr. Jealous might not be aware of what's been happening here in Maryland, but we actually passed the most intensive criminal justice reform act in a generation and been praised by almost every single elected Democrat in Maryland. We've reduced our prison population more than the other 49 states. We’re number one in America at reducing the prison population. We've reduced it by nine percent. We've gotten rid of all the people that were simple possession misdemeanors and other things. He now wants to take another 30 percent of the violent criminals. These are murderers and rapists and repeat violent offenders, and put them back onto the streets. It just is absolutely not - some of your proposals are reckless, but this one is downright dangerous, and it doesn't make any sense whatsoever.And we're if we were to let...fire thousands of public safety officers and put thousands of violent criminals on the streets, that's going to help you lower the crime situation? I just don't think that makes sense.
JEALOUS: Governor, From Willie Horton to Donald Trump, your party plays by the same playbook. We see it on the hateful ads that you've been running now for months.You try to scare people, sir. Because you don't have a plan and when you don't have a plan--
HOGAN: Wait, wait, wait, I just said our plan was recognized as the best in America. We’ve already published it.
JEALOUS: That was the Democrat’s plan that was passed that you had to sign because there was a supermajority.
HOGAN: No, that's not true. We actually introduced it and worked very hard to get everybody on board.
JEALOUS: As has happened so many times, I mean earlier you were talking about guns and you've seemed to forgot the fact that you bumped... that you mocked the idea of bump stock bills.
HOGAN: That’s not true.
JEALOUS: Oh no, you laughed about it.
HOGAN: I said it immediately the day after the shooting in Las Vegas. ... you’re making that up.
JEALOUS: No, no so we can go back and play the tape on that one. But on this issue sir. I really take umbrage. I've had two family members shot in Maryland in the last 10 years, one in Howard County one in Prince George's County, and on your watch murders are up in our state 42 percent. As of today, excuse me, revised down 34 percent and the 23 counties outside of Baltimore City and more than 50 percent When you do include Baltimore City. I've worked with Governor Deal. I've worked with Governor Schwarzenegger. I've worked with the mayor of New York City as president of the NAACP to put through strategies that make a safer, that make our prison system smaller, and for you to suggest that I would allow violent criminals out early is straight out of the old playbook.It's from Willie Horton to Donald Trump.
HOGAN: That's just nonsense. Look, it's right on your website. You want to reduce the prison population by 30 percent. We've already reduced it at a higher rate than any other state in the country. You want to cut, the major cut is the only cut in spending. You want to cut 660 million dollars out of public safety that would fire two or three thousand public safety officers.That's not going to help violent crime. Now, let's talk about the situation in violent crime and how that plan would help and how what we've been doing might help. Baltimore City, first of all, we had the worst violence breakout in 47 years 89 days after I was governor. I brought in the National Guard, 4,000 members of the Guard, a thousand police officers, and I've been there ever since trying to backup the city.We sent in 500 state and federal law enforcement officers into the city a couple of months ago, served 14,000 warrants, arrested 500 people and took 260 of the most violent repeat offenders off the streets. We then passed the comprehensive crime bill through the legislature which they supported. Our plan, that while we've already lowered sentences for smaller offenses on these repeat violent offenders, and the people that are shooting people on the streets of Baltimore and elsewhere.They need to do time. And now they will, starting in October one week from today.
SALKIN: Last word on this, Mr. Jealous.
JEALOUS: Absolutely. Sir, from Willie Horton to Donald Trump, your party--
HOGAN: I don't have anything to do with Willie Horton or Donald Trump.
JEALOUS: Please, let me speak governor. I've given you a lot of respect. I would simply ask for the same, sir. From Willie Horton to Donald Trump, your party plays by the same playbook. You lie, and you scare people. I have not said anywhere that I would do what you are suggesting. What I have said is I would do what I worked with. Frankly, governors have more courage than you, Republican governors have more courage than you, to help bring their prison systems in line with states like New Jersey where violent crime has been falling.
HOGAN: Again, we’re number one in America. It doesn’t matter how many times you say it, it’s not going to be true. It is not going to be true. And Willie Horton and Donald Trump don't have much to do with this.
JEALOUS: Please stop, sir. That is the playbook that you're playing by.
HOGAN: I'm not playing by any playbook.
JEALOUS: Folks have been subjected to two months of your ads trying to scare them. They need to hear the truth.
HOGAN: They're not my ads, but I think they're completely factual. It's on your website.
JEALOUS: When it's my time, do I get to speak or…?
HOGAN: You’re … you’ve just been addressing me, so I’m responding.
SALKIN: Let’s finish this up and move on. All right, next question, Ryan Eldredge. This will go first to Mr. Jealous.
ELDREDGE: Mr. Jealous, the question is the opioid epidemic puts a strain on law enforcement medical personnel and our labor force, in addition to other things. We can't deny we need a fix. We need fixes. I want to know where the state can get the money to pay for treatment options or facilities that are sorely needed in places like the Eastern Shore and across Maryland.
JEALOUS: Let's play the tape on this. My opponent ran for office saying that this was an emergency in December of 2014. He said on his first day of office, he would declare a state of emergency. He then didn't do it for two years while thousands of our neighbors die. Deaths from opioids under his watch are up 160 percent. The leaders of our state had a plan to fund crisis response centers, 10 of them across the state.He only funded one. It was in Baltimore, and that one's been underfunded, where they’re rationing the life-saving drug, naloxone, and people are dying because the the doctors say we just don't have enough for the city. He now says that he's gotten some money from the federal government. That's great. But what should we have done in the meantime? This is why we have a rainy day fund. If this was a natural disaster, we would have used it right away. Then you go and you sue the pharmaceutical companies, and you win back the funds. You hold them responsible. They're not funding my campaign like they're funding his campaign. I have no problem taking on these companies, suing them and making them pay for the pain and the havoc that they've wreaked in our state.
HOGAN: Well look, I when I was running for governor four years ago as I traveled around the state, I went to every single community and everywhere I went I said, ‘What's the number one problem facing your community?’ And they said heroin and opioids. It surprised me, quite frankly. We promised when I was elected. I promised that we were going to focus on this problem because it had not been focused on before, people were sweeping it under the rug. Immediately after becoming governor, I appointed Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford to chair the Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force, which went around the state and got input from people all across the state.We then implemented all of the 36 recommendations of that, passed things with the legislature, did the things that we could do through executive order. I became the first governor in America to declare a state of emergency on this crisis, because we, you know, we were losing more people than shooting and traffic fatalities added together.So I promised to do something about it. First one to turn it into a state of emergency. We invested $600 million in state money. We've gone after it from every direction, from prevention to treatment to interdiction and to stopping the crime in the dealing of these drugs. Now, It's a terrible crisis.We’re one of the only states to have bent the curve downward on prescription drug opioids, on prescription opioids, on heroin, but we have this new synthetic Fentanyl and Carfentanil that's 50 times stronger and more deadly. We're now fighting that one as well. But for you to try to use the deaths of these people these 2,000 Marylanders that died...This is tearing apart families and communities, from one end of the country to the other. I never go talk in Washington, because I don't think they ever get anything done, but they asked me to come down to speak before a senate committee because I'm a nationally recognized expert on this subject.And, you know, I went down and testified. The Senate has now passed a bill. We desperately need federal funding to assist, but it's going to take the state, the feds, and local governments all working together.
JEALOUS: Man, I have a cousin who's in rehab for heroin right now.
HOGAN: I didn’t hear what you were saying.
JEALOUS: I said, I have a cousin who's in rehab for heroin right now. All right. This isn't about—
HOGAN: I have a cousin who died of a heroin overdose.
JEALOUS: This about real family, sir.
HOGAN: Yeah. I know it is.
JEALOUS: I've sat with 13-year-old girls in Talbot County who buried three classmates in the 12 months before, I've sat with pastors in Baltimore City who feared that their at their high school reunions would have to be at the cemetery because they’ve buried so many classmates. And for you to sit here certain suggest this is about politics...This is about lives, and to say that you did a study when the Democrats gave you a plan and you refuse to champion it, we needed those 10 crisis response centers all across our state this entire time, sir. And you have not led. I get that you're an expert but we needed you to use that expertise on day one, and you waited till something like day 730 to declare a state of emergency while our neighbors died, and that is not leadership. It is not acceptable. Don't tell me this is politics. This is about people and lives.
HOGAN: Okay. We were the first state in America to declare a state of emergency. I know it's about lives. I'm the one that brought this issue to the forefront. We're now nationally recognized as the leader in America on the subject.Yes, people are still dying and it's tragic, and I lost my first cousin to a heroin overdose myself, but to get up here and talk about I'm responsible for the deaths of these people? Imagine had we not spent this. Imagine if...
JEALOUS: You said we would declare an emergency. You waited two years, you said day one, you waited two years.
HOGAN: I was the first one in America. We started at three weeks after I started.
JEALOUS: You said day one and it was two years.
HOGAN: It's not true. We've done a lot. It is a tragedy.
JEALOUS: It is true.
HOGAN: We've made great progress on certain aspects of it.
JEALOUS: December 2014, when you would take office in January 2015, you said on the first day that you would declare a state of emergency and you never did.
HOGAN: In February, I started the Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force.
JEALOUS: You studied it while Democrats had a plan. You should have backed Democrats.
HOGAN: That’s not true, and let me address your the other made-up story about the 10 centers.We've doubled the number of treatment beds. We've spent more money, the center in Baltimore City, we increased from 2 million to 5 million. We've made naloxone available everywhere across the state, and it was the state legislature, your friends the Democrats in the legislature, that cut, that took the wording out for those ten centers. Not me. I had nothing to do with that. I thought it was a mistake.
JEALOUS: Sir, you said to - the governor controls the budget, sir. We all know that.
HOGAN: No, no, that’s not true. We make suggestions and then the legislature moves the money around. They took the centers out.
SALKIN: Let’s move on. Next question, Pam Wood, goes first to Mr. Hogan.
WOOD: The Baltimore region lacks a comprehensive mass transit system, and many people believe this holds back the city and its residents from economic opportunities. Please describe what your vision is of the importance of mass transit and, Governor Hogan specifically, can you please explain your decision to cancel the red line project?
HOGAN: Sure. I have invested more in transit than any other governor in the history of the state. We just put up a proposal that we finally got Virginia and DC on board to save the Metro.We're moving forward on the $5.6 billion purple line project. My plan is balanced. We have $15 billion in transportation improvements. We put $3 billion into Baltimore City. We revamped the entire transit system in the city where we just were recognized and won a national award as the best revamp of a transit system.But the red line is something that I know your newspaper and others have criticized us for. It's something that the Washington Post editorial board said it never made any economic or transportation sense whatsoever, which is why Governor O'Malley didn't do it for eight years. But we've done everything possible moving forward on the top priority projects and every single jurisdiction across across the state.We put more money into transit, more money into roads, because traffic congestion and getting people from where they lived or where they work is critically important, and we're going to continue to do so.
JEALOUS: If you take Larry Hogan's approach to transit, you turn it on its head, you get pretty close to mine.He wants us to have big, fancy, privatized lanes for rich people that you can pay $45 at peak times to try to get on there like they do down in Virginia. What he doesn't want to do is invest more in MARC invest more in Metro, make it run more often and longer and extend the lines out. And for the Baltimore region, he killed the red line.We had $900 million, worked for 10 years, people of the city, people of the region to get that going, and you took it away, sir. And you hamstrung us in the city and the county. I was with people in the chamber in Anne Arundel County, and they are upset over it. You get on the bus in Baltimore City. I don’t know the last time you were there. And you ask folks and you say, you know five years ago, how many buses did you take? One. How many do you take now? Two. How many did you take then? Two. How many do you take now? Four. And their time with their children gets eaten up because it's doubled their time. I was with an eight-year-old boy in the McCulloh homes housing project where my mom grew up and I said, ‘What do you want the next governor to know?’ And after he told me he’d seen too many dead men, he said, ‘Fix the bus system because this one broke it.’ My mom and I used to have to walk two blocks to the bus station. Now, we have to walk six and somebody chimed in and said, ‘And the only people have profited are the criminals who prey on us in the next four blocks. A reminder that public transportation is often a prerequisite to good public safety.
HOGAN: Again, We put $3 billion in the transportation in Baltimore City. We've revamped the entire bus system. It's working much better for most people and the red line never made any sense to almost anyone.
HOGAN: And most people in the state were totally opposed to it.
JEALOUS: I would invite you to ride the bus in Baltimore City with me. I just ...
HOGAN: I have, I was there when we opened the entire system.
JEALOUS: You know... But I mean, just casually walk through and ask people, it’s really quite amazing, and you say this about education, you say about transportation, sir. If we have record funding, why don't we have record results.
HOGAN: We do have record funding, but we'll get into that in the next question.
SALKIN: Next question from Ovetta Wiggins goes first to Mr. Jealous.
WIGGINS: Mr. Jealous, both you and the governor have said one way or another that where a child lives should not determine their destiny, despite that Maryland has one of the sharpest achievement gaps in the country. MSD Statistics show that 45 percent of students who don't receive free and reduced meals are proficient, for example, in Algebra 1. Meanwhile only 13 percent of students who come from poor families are proficient in the subject. What three concrete actions would you take to close the achievement gap, and please be specific.
JEALOUS: Absolutely, and thank you for that question. Over the last four years, our schools have fallen in the national rankings. Every year Governor Hogan's been in office, they’ve fallen from first to sixth. And what has he done? He's toured the state with Betsy DeVos and sent millions of dollars to private schools in the form of vouchers, while cutting funds for our schools almost $100 million, and now we're seeing the fruit of that. The majority of children in our state are not proficient in reading or writing or math. Best way to close that achievement gap is to make sure that there's a high-quality teacher in every classroom, and that's why I have proposed for us to increase teacher pay 29 percent over seven years so we can recruit and retain the best teachers in the country. We also have to make sure that every child shows up to kindergarten ready to learn and that's why we need to have universal full-day Pre-K. I proposed that and to pay for it by legalizing cannabis for adult use. Finally, we have to make sure that every child comes out of our schools ready for a career, not just for college. It will also keep more in as they can see how school adds up, and when I'm governor, we will make sure that we put more vocational education into our high schools, giving every child a path to a rewarding job. Not just to college, because we know many of them decide that they won't ever get there, and they drop out early.
HOGAN: Well, I believe very strongly that every single child in our state deserves access to a world-class education, regardless of what neighborhood they happen to grow up in, and that's what we've been focused on for four years. Why we put $25 billion in the K-through-12 education. No governor in the history of the state has ever invested more. We went over and above the legislatively mandated formulas and put more money in spite of declining school populations, because we think we need to reinvest in our kids. I've also proposed a lockbox to make sure that all the casino revenues go directly $4.4 billion more goes into the schools. Mr. Jealous wants to take 100 percent of that casino lockbox money and use it -- he says he's going to give teachers a 29 percent raise, that would eat the whole 4.4 billion dollars up. I think we do need to pay our teachers better, but 4.4 billion, he has nothing to do with teacher salaries, the governor. They don't work for the governor. There's these are local employees that work for the local school systems and he has no ability to deliver on this promise whatsoever. But we're going to continue to fund education. We're going to continue to try to make improvements. Why I've record funding and school construction, and we just opened five schools in Baltimore City, just within the past two weeks. We built 28 schools there, 124 schools across the state. We're trying to get our teachers better. We've lowered class sizes four years in a row. I know some people in some places, we've got to still work on. What, the average is down to 20 students, 20.46 students per classroom. And let me go back to this often repeated, phony story at The Baltimore Sun. Totally says it's false. Martin O'Malley, the previous governor, cheated on the test scores. It's everybody, it’s already been investigated. He didn't include special needs kids, or kids for kids that have had English as a second language. And as result, he inflated the numbers much like Prince George's County just did by cheating 5,000 kids and and giving them higher grades and he should have gotten. When I first be-- I talked about this all during the last campaign, we're not telling people the truth. When I first became Governor, we adjusted the real numbers down to six. We didn't bring the school's down from number one to number six. They never were number one. We were just the first ones to be honest about it.
SALKIN: Sir, your time’s up.
HOGAN: But we are sixth in the nation, number one in the nation in Howard County number three in Montgomery County, and we're going to fight till we get every school system up to par.
SALKIN: Mr. Jealous, rebuttal time.
JEALOUS: The governor went to 2 minutes and 45 seconds and never told us what his plan was because he doesn't have one. Governor, if we don't have record if we had record funding, why don't we have record results? If we have record funding, school construction, why were the kids freezing last winter? Why would they broiling this this fall? Why do I, as a public school parent, have to carry in jugs of clean drinking water, be afraid of my child drinking out of the the water fountain? Why are kids crammed into trailers now? They call them learning cottages, but they're still just trailers. We can do much better by the school children of our state. It means, sir, that you've got to be willing to lead, that you got to be willing to put a plan out there. I put my plan out there. It's on my website. I've explained how we will get the teachers raises. You should look into it, happy to help you on that one. They need them now, not just when I'm governor, but sir, let us be really, really clear here. Our kids suffer when our leaders don't lead. You keep sending money to private schools in the form of vouchers and touring around with Betsy DeVos, and you don't put a plan on the table. She asked you for a specific plan. Please tell us what your plan is.
HOGAN: Okay, great. Well, thanks. There's a number of things I’d like to address in that. Let's talk about Betsy DeVos. Betsy DeVos is the Secretary of Education. She came out to a school in Montgomery County to read books to kids. I sat there in a first grade class and read books to kids. I've been with the last three education secretaries, two of them under President Obama. One under President Trump. We weren’t going to just tell her she can't come into our state to read with kids. That's about as far as the connection goes. The Betsy DeVos-Trump-Voucher Program wasn't my idea. It was Mike Busch's idea. He worked it out with the teachers union, was passed almost unanimously by Democratic legislators. I had a proposal that would give tax incentives for any donation of an individual or company that donates to a public or private school. Legislature shot that down. They switched it to scholarship programs for needy kids. I went along and signed the bill, but it wasn't my bill, and it's not the Hogan-DeVos voucher program. It's the Mike Busch-DeVos program.
JEALOUS: All right. So now it's been three and a half minutes and you ask for very specific answers how to close the achievement gap for kids who are in schools with free--
HOGAN: Let me address that then.
JEALOUS: Free and reduced lunch from Western Maryland to the Eastern Shore. What's your plan, sir?
HOGAN: So, I don't know if you know how the education system works in Maryland. I know you just recently moved here from California. It may be different there. But here...
HOGAN: Sir, I ran the NAACP…
HOGAN: But here...
HOGAN: It started 10 years ago. You never came to meet with me. I run the only Baltimore office of a Silicon Valley-based firm. You think you might reach out, sir, other governors did and I would have been happy to help you. But when your...If you're not familiar with the nation's largest civil rights organization. The NAACP is headquartered in our state.
HOGAN: I know, I think -- [multiple talking over each other] HOGAN: to New York, but let's get back…
SALKIN: You get the last word on this and then we'll move on.
HOGAN: I lost track of even what the heck we were talking about now.
HOGAN: Your plan, sir.
HOGAN: So so look, why isn't why isn't it...
JEALOUS: And you keep taking credit for the teachers plan...
HOGAN: Here’s the plan. Here's the plan…
JEALOUS: It’s not a lockbox, because you’ve raided it like my six-year-old raids \a cookie jar for four years in a row. That's why the teachers…
HOGAN: The legislature makes the final decisions on that…
JEALOUS: And then you try to steal their emblem and pretend like they had endorsed you. They endorsed me because I meet with all of them. You won't even call them. You call them thugs.
HOGAN: Okay, well, nearly every other union in the state has endorsed me. And thousands of teachers are supporting me as well. But let me talk about. So the local school systems make all those decisions about us, how to spend money, how to pay teachers, what to do with the funds. We provided the record funding, and Peter Franchot and I, the Comptroller, have been pushing these local school systems for four years to take care of some of these issues in some of these problems, but they're completely unaccountable. So I have a plan, we're trying to get...we're now the second least accountable school system in America because of actions by the legislature, not by me. We're trying to make... I want to be number one in accountability. We want to get these local school systems. We want to pay the teachers better. It's outrageous and disgraceful that after we gave them $60 million in Baltimore City that they weren't able to fix the air conditioners and the heat, but that's not the role of the governor, its the local school board, all we can do is pressure them.
SALKIN: Gentlemen, we need to move on, Ryan Eldredge has the next question.
ELDREDGE: It's my understanding that a Beacon Quarterly Trend study suggests the Eastern Shore has yet to fully recover from the most recent recession. Now that was about a decade ago. It's alarming when you take a look at the numbers Somerset County still has an unemployment rate at 7.2 percent and others in the area are still well over five percent. Pair that with the labor participation rate, which is also low in the area, according to this study, and you have a recipe for disaster if we have another downturn. How are we preparing ourselves for another downturn in these areas? And how are we working to lift these counties, specifically Somerset County, out of poverty?
SALKIN: Mr. Hogan first.
HOGAN: So, thank you Ryan. We, as I said earlier, you know, we've turned our economy around, and unemployment is down statewide down to 4.2 percent. But I've said we're not going to rest until every single county has met that, gotten to that point. We are down in Somerset County, was down from ten to seven, 10.9 down to seven, every single one of our 24 jurisdictions has more jobs, less unemployment. And our labor participation rate is the best in the region and one of the best in the country, but you're right. That's why I passed the More Jobs for Marylanders Act, and I got let the legislature, the Democrats in the legislature, get on board with me because there were certain areas, Baltimore City, the lower shore, Western Maryland and Prince George's County that weren't seeing the tremendous gains in jobs that the rest of the state was. And so we passed the More Jobs for Marylanders Act which will incentivize businesses to go into those areas where we need jobs the most, and we'll waive state taxes for 10 years for those business to encourage them to come in. We've got now I think 2,000 jobs hundreds of different companies that are taking advantage of this, and that we just passed the More Jobs for Marylanders Two, act two, this past legislative session, which hasn't even taken effect yet. But I've spent as you know, tons of time on the Eastern Shore. I promised when I was running for governor that I was going to not ignore any part of the state, and I've been to every single County on the shore multiple times, and we're doing everything we can. We're bringing high speed internet down to Somerset County and we're working with their economic development folks.
SALKIN: Sir, time.
HOGAN: We’re going to make sure they all get more jobs. SALKIN: Mr. Jealous.
JEALOUS: The governor's had for years. And we're dead last in the region in job growth and we're dead last...
HOGAN: We’re actually first.
JEALOUS: ...in income growth and there's 49 states with a positive outlook for their economy and we are not one of them. And part of what’s dragging down the Eastern Shore is the fact that our state on whole under his leadership is held back. On the Eastern Shore, we need to make sure that every kid who wants to go to a community college can go for free, and every worker wants to retrain can retrain. The governor's worked with Democrats to make for some, we need to do it everybody. We need to make sure that young people and they find a job can get to the job, bring on demand technology into public transportation. So that vans can go point-to-point, right, because buses going in straight lines won't work in most areas. We have to make sure that workers are also paid a fair wage for a fair day's work. We got to raise the minimum wage. Oftentimes in coastal communities, quite frankly, rents are high because you have to compete with tourists. And we know that in our state we’re the most expensive state to try to rent a one bedroom apartment. A minimum wage job will take 101 percent of your income. And we also have to stand up to Donald Trump as Governor Hogan failed to do every time he tried to assault Obamacare, because in many of those counties the healthcare industry is a major employer, and if it implodes further as it would have done this fall…
JEALOUS: It would have been a temporary fix. And it would definitely do if Trump is successful, and what your party’s trying to do to our health care system.
SALKIN: Mr. Jealous, time is up.
JEALOUS: It would devastate folks in rural areas.
SALKIN: We can go back and forth. I just want to say we have about 10 minutes left in the Q&A.
HOGAN: Well, I'd like to at least respond to some of that.. SALKIN: I’m going to get a little more serious about enforcing the clock ...
HOGAN: He just said a whole string of things, none of which were true …
JEALOUS: I gave you four minutes for education. You, you never got to your point.
HOGAN: But you talk about 49th out of… We've had one of the greatest economic turnarounds in America, we’re leading the region, we are, unemployment is down employment is up. There's more businesses, more jobs. We already passed the Promise Act, allowed people that were in need to get to attend Community College for free. I'm proposing expanding that to four years. As far as job training and workforce development we’re again a national leader. We just reached the point of 10,000 apprenticeships. We're putting more money, more funding, more effort into trying to teach people the skills that are needed, because we could hire another 80,000 people if we get them trained and up to speed. And with respect to Trump and Obamacare. Look, I've came out against the House plan the Trump plan, and the Senate plan. I've been standing up because Washington has failed.
JEALOUS: Where’s your plan?
HOGAN: Both parties have failed, the Democrats and the Republicans. So we took it upon ourselves to try to address that directly, right here in our state, just a week ago. We stopped 91 percent rate increases, and we're going to have for the first time in 20 years, our largest insurance carriers lowering rates. And for the first time since Obamacare passed 10 years ago, every single insurance rate is going down in our state.
SALKIN: Sir, time. Mr. Jealous last word on this.
JEALOUS: Yeah,might go down next year, after going up four years in a row.
HOGAN: It’s gone up 10 years in a row.
JEALOUS: Surging 120 percent. You taking credit for our economy being slightly better years after the end of the recession in some places not all is like taking credit for the for the sun rising, sir. Let's run on your record. Not on mythology. We have the lowest job growth in the region.
HOGAN: That’s not true.
JEALOUS: We have the lowest income growth in the region. If we had the growth of Virginia, we would have 40,000 more jobs right now, 40,000 more jobs right now. Their growth is below the national average. If we had the income growth of Virginia, the average worker right now would have $8,000 more in their pocket. If we had the income growth of Delaware, the average worker right now would have $15,000 more in their pocket over your time in office, sir.
HOGAN: I think he must be thinking of his home state of California.
SALKIN: Gentlemen, we need to move on here. Next question.
Hogan, Jealous, Salkin talking over one another
SALKIN: Gentleman, Tammy Baker.
HOGAN: Nothing you’ve said is even remotely true.
SALKIN: Governor, Tammy Baker has the next question.
HOGAN: It’s just like you’re living in a dream world.
SALKIN: Tammy, go ahead.
BAKER: I'm going to draw us back if I could see those parts of Maryland outside the population centers that Ryan just alluded to. These counties have some of the state's highest unemployment rates. They have a higher percentage of children in their public school systems who do qualify for free and reduced meals. They've historically had fewer opportunities for economic development, and sadly, they seem to be posting some of the higher overdose numbers. They also have fewer resources for dealing with all of those things. Over the next four years, what will your commitment be to those marylanders who live outside the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area, and please be specific if you could.
JEALOUS: We’ll make sure that all their kids can go to a good school and get a great education by finally fully funding our schools, stopping the $2 billion of underfunding, budgeting our schools first, keeping the broken promise on the casino money. We’ll make sure that all of them have health care, that nobody has to line up for free dental care at a amphitheater at six o'clock in the morning, by passing Medicare for all. We will make sure that we grow in all regions of the state by bringing universal Broadband. We will make sure that we hold onto the jobs that are there, as far as the health economy, by defending Obamacare from the Republican attacks again, and again, and again. Going further, we will make sure that we bring big data into ag hubs, and build 21st century ag hubs that help our farmers get ahead of the ravages of climate change so that they can anticipate what crops what livestock will flourish better as our climates change. And we will make sure that we solve the public transportation conundrum by bringing on-demand technology into vans to move them from point-to-point. Just as we do on the Eastern Shore… We need to be doing in Western Maryland as well. SALKIN: Sir, your time is up.
JEALOUS: If I may...
SALKIN: We’ll be back to it. Mr. Hogan.
HOGAN: Well, four years ago, when I was running for governor, we visited every single corner of the state, and I've done it ever since I became governor. I’ve been to all 24 jurisdictions, and I can tell you that the people in Western Maryland and the people on the shore who we were just talking about, really felt for eight years that they were being completely ignored and neglected and forgotten. And I promised that we were going to just turn that around completely, that no longer wear those areas of the state going to be left out. That's why I've focused almost as much time there as I have anywhere else in the state. I've been to Western Maryland more times than any governor in history the state. I've been there more than people, the governor that was from Western Maryland. We brought in more Transportation money, more education money, more community development money. We've got projects for the redevelopment of Hagerstown, Cumberland, Frostburg. We just built...I just opened a new school in Allegany. Allegany high was the oldest school in the country, in the entire state, 93 years old. Got a beautiful brand new school, but there's no question that they have issues and problems that are facing them that other areas of the state do not have. I'm very familiar with it. We're going to keep working and continue to invest in Western Maryland and the Eastern Shore as well. SALKIN : You want to continue?
JEALOUS: Yeah, I just want to go back to something earlier the governor's lying again saying I just moved here from California, sir. Let's just talk for a second. All right. I was named Person of the Year by The Baltimore Sun five years ago because of my leadership and civil rights in our state. My dad was one of the few white guys to go to jail repeatedly for desegregating lunch counters, lunch counters in downtown Baltimore. My mom sued Western High School for Girls when she was 12 so she could desegregate when she was 15. My grandma is a proud 101-year-old retired, Maryland social worker, who helped train Barbara mikulski. My granddad came here to work on the B&O Railroad and went on to be a probation officer. And there are POs, ones who have endorsed me, who I’m fighting for, that he helped train, who are still on the job today. If you're wondering why I didn't grow up here, sir, it's because my marriage, it’s because my parents’ marriage was against the law in 1966. They fell in love as school teachers at Harlem Park Junior High, and they had to leave. I was sent back here every summer, because this is home, and I've come back here every chance I got, because this is home. I'm fighting for the promise of our state which my family has fought for since at least 1941. I'm proud of our history in the state. I'm proud of my history in the state and I won't let you or anybody else lie about who I am or where I'm from.
HOGAN: Well, first of all, Mr. Jealous, I have tremendous respect for your life story and what your parents had to go through, and I wasn't trying to, in any way, disparage them or what you went through growing up. It's just a simple fact that you registered here for the first time to vote in 2012. And that the first time you ever voted in the gubernatorial Democratic primary was for yourself. You were living in California, even when you were the president of the NAACP in Baltimore City, you tried to move it to New York and you lived in D.C.
HOGAN: So, I mean, it's the fact that you haven't been here. I know you've spent a lot of time. I admire your service at the NAACP. I respect you for that. But you just don't know the Maryland issues because you haven't spent enough time here. And by the way, I was the Marylander of the Year by The Baltimore Sun four years ago, but--
HOGAN: So we have something in common.
SALKIN: We have time for one more question from Ovetta Wiggins. WIGGINS: This is a very concise question. You have a minute in the Oval Office with President Trump. What do you tell him?
HOGAN: Well, I you know, I would tell him that he's his own worst enemy, and that he should stop tweeting, and that we don't need this kind of divisive rhetoric. And I would tell him that he needs to get his administration focused on the problems and the people out there that need help. I did not like this one one thing that Mr. Jealous and I have in common, neither one of us endorsed or supported or voted for Donald Trump. He likes to bring his name up a lot. But I've stood up time and time again. I led the fight when he tried to cut Bay funding. I would tell him that was a mistake. We got the bay funding back in, I stood up to him on DACA. I stood up to him. I was the only governor in America to withdraw troops from the border when he was separating families. So there's not a whole lot of things that I have in common with the president. But if I had a chance to sit down with him, I would just... it's hard to put into one minute all the advice I would try to give him, it would take longer than that.
SALKIN: We have one minute for your answer on this and then do closing statements.
JEALOUS: You know, if I had one minute with him, I would say to him that I wouldn’t aid and abet him the way that our governor has. Our governor sent troops to the border to enforce his policies before he pulled them back. Our governor gave Betsy DeVos a tour of our state and then parroted her policies and millions of dollars of private schools in the form of vouchers while cutting funding to public schools as our students performance has fallen. And our governor aids the abets Donald Trump on issues of how we treat immigrants in our state all the time. He wouldn't even stand up to the Muslim ban when a four-year-old was caught in the middle of that. So I would tell Donald Trump that the days of the governor of Maryland aiding and abetting a strategy in everything from the Chesapeake Bay to immigration have ended. There's a now a civil rights leader as governor, and I suspect that might make his blood pressure rise.
SALKIN: Gentlemen will have 90 seconds for each of you to give closing statements. The order was determined randomly, and first to speak is Mr. Jealous.
JEALOUS: Thank you. ‘What do the people want?’ Barbara Jordan asked. They want an America as good as its promise. And What's the promise of Maryland? The promise of our state has always been that this place would be a place where it's a little easier for your children to achieve the American dream, and a little easier for you to not worry as you approach your golden years that your life will turn into a nightmare. Let's talk about the state the promise of Maryland under four years of Mr. Hogan. Our schools have fallen from first to sixth in the national rankings, health care costs have surged. He said we might get a little bit of a discount next year. But the last four years of a hundred 20 percent, choking small businesses driving families into poverty. Our job growth is so low that we’re dead last in the region in job growth, dead last in income growth, if we had the growth of Virginia right now, we would have 40,000 more jobs and their growth is below national average. And we are not safer. Murders are up 42 percent in the 23 counties, and when you factor in statewide, and when you factor in Baltimore City, up more than 50 percent. We can do much better. I have a plan to restore the promise of our state to fully fund education and keep the broken promise on the casino money. Make sure our teachers are respected and paid better. To pass Medicare for all. To build a more inclusive and robust economy, like I do as a tech investor every day.
SALKIN: Sir, your time is up. Mr. Hogan...
JEALOUS: To raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour.
SALKIN: ... has 90 seconds.
Maryland Policy & Politics
JEALOUS: And to end this...
Jealous and Salkin talking over one another
JEALOUS: ...by ending mass incarceration.
SALKIN: Mr. Hogan.
JEALOUS: I hope that you will vote for me. Thank you.
HOGAN: Well, first of all, I want to thank our moderators and our sponsors tonight, and I want to thank all of you at home for watching. Four years ago,I stood on the steps of our historic State House in Annapolis. And as I was giving my inaugural address I said, ‘Let's not have the divisiveness that has affected our nation, divided our state.’ I said that I wanted to try to bring people together, to bring in and usher in a new era of bipartisanship. I said, I wanted to seek that middle ground where we could all stand together. I think people today are fed up with the divisive rhetoric and extreme politics. I think we're actually setting an example for the nation about what can be accomplished when you put aside the party politics and the divisiveness. I think we're getting things done. Maryland is in a much much better place than it was four years ago on by any standard whatsoever. We're making a lot of progress, but there's still much more work to be done, which is why tonight, 'm asking for your support, so that we can continue to make progress continue to move Maryland forward and continue changing Maryland for the better. Thank you.
SALKIN: Early voting starts one month from tomorrow. This would be a good time to update your registration. And remember you can see a replay of tonight's debate on the websites of our partners. Not only mpt.org, but the Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, The Herald Mail, WMDT-TV, YouTube and pretty much everywhere else. Thanks to the panel. Thanks to the candidates. Thank you for watching for all of us at Maryland Public Television. Have a good night. This program was made by MPT to serve all of our diverse communities.