Darlington, Harford County
Harford County Executive
Harford County Public Schools, Havre de Grace High School, Washington College BA Political Science
Harford County Council, MD House of Delegates, MD State Senate, Harford County Executive, Retired from Baltimore Gas & Electric Company
Why are you running for office?
As the leader of one of Maryland's largest counties, I believe I am uniquely qualified to carry on the tradition of strong independent Maryland comptrollers. My Administration has earned praise for strong fiscal management and innovation with a fully funded pension obligation and 24 AAA bond ratings, a distinction earned by only 2% of counties nationwide. The next comptroller will need to be tested with governmental experience and someone who has advocated to protect the state's taxpayers and small businesses.
What is the most pressing issue facing the state of Maryland?
Currently, the most pressing issue facing Maryland's families is the spiking inflationary pressures on food, services and goods. Energy prices continue to strain the budgets of our working families and small businesses. The cost of housing along with this increased cost of living threatens the next generation of Marylanders who want to live and raise a family here in our State. I have led a local government back to fiscal strength from the prior recession and through the recent pandemic and have the fiduciary skills to be Maryland's top fiscal official through these difficult times.
What should be the future of the Red Line through Baltimore?
As chair and member of the Baltimore Metropolitan Council, I have supported expanded transit in the region. Since the Red Line was cancelled in 2015, a lot has changed so that any new look at that corridor would need to consider alignment, technology, community needs and new developments, which may be different from back in 2010-2015. I am supportive of BMC member Del. Bridges' House Bill 1336, which will create a commission to make formal recommendations to the legislature and Governor on options worth pursuing.
Should the state continue to redevelop State Center in Baltimore or do you consider that project dead?
Although the Board of Public Works has voted not to move on the current proposal, I do think the redevelopment of the State Center area warrants that all parties revisit the opportunities to work together to develop another plan if necessary to move forward. The redevelopment of State Center offers some tremendous opportunities to both improve government operations and revitalize the surrounding communities; however, cost needs to be a consideration, and it is essential that viable alternatives for space needs are analyzed. In Harford County I was able to consolidate properties/leases for an annual savings of $275,000.
Do you support the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System divesting itself of socially problematic assets?
As a trustee and a fiduciary, my obligation would be to the members of the retirement system — both currently retired and active workers. It is not my money; it is theirs. The 412,000 individuals who work or worked for the State of Maryland, including our teachers and other school system employees, as well as participating county and municipal governments, need to know that their pensions are safe and secure both today and tomorrow. I would not let my personal ideology put their retirements in jeopardy.
What criteria will you use to evaluate capital projects as a member of the Board of Public Works?
The Comptroller's role on the Board of Public Works is perhaps the most important responsibility of the office. As the only candidate for Comptroller who has chaired a similar body, the Harford County Board of Estimates, I worked with my procurement office to save the taxpayers $26.4 million over the past seven years. And while cost is an important component of government contracts, it is not the only factor. I believe in and instituted Best Value Procurement practices that take into consideration a wide range of factors, such as quality and expertise in addition to price. The cheapest option isn't necessarily the best option. As the taxpayers' representative, the Comptroller should strive to make sure every dollar is spent wisely.
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