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Maryland Voter Guide 2022

2022 Voter Guide: Brooke Lierman, candidate for Maryland Comptroller

Maryland Comptroller

Brooke Elizabeth Lierman

Democratic

43

Fell's Point, Baltimore City

Civil Rights & Disability Rights Attorney / Maryland State Delegate

Dartmouth College, B.A.; University of Texas School of Law, J.D.

State Delegate, District 46, from 2015-present

Why are you running for office?

After serving on the Appropriations Committee, working as a civil rights & disability rights attorney, and chairing the Joint Committee on Pensions, I know the potential that exists in the Comptroller's office to drive change for Marylanders. As the elected CFO for the State, our Comptroller must be a leader who embraces creative ideas and has the know-how to put those ideas into action — from big ideas on wealth-building policies to the little details that make it easier for families and businesses to pay taxes and access state programs and benefits. As Comptroller, I look forward to helping our state tackle the economic challenges it faces, like the racial wealth divide, climate change, and transportation & public school funding, as well as making government work better. I want to ensure we use the resources of the office to create financially resilient families, prosperous communities, and thriving small businesses.

What is the most pressing issue facing the state of Maryland?

As Comptroller, I will work to confront the economic challenges facing individual Marylanders and our state as a whole and that includes the rising cost of goods and the persistent racial wealth divide. The Comptroller's office is about creating economic opportunity and uplifting families, communities, and small businesses. The racial wealth divide in this state inhibits our economic growth, keeps communities of color from reaching their full potential, and inhibits the future success of the state. The disparities in our economy were both exacerbated and exposed by the pandemic, and I will put the weight of the Comptroller's office behind creative and bold solutions to ensure that we build more inclusive, financially-resilient, and prosperous communities and small businesses in every corner of the state moving forward.

What should be the future of the Red Line through Baltimore?

As the founder of the Transit Caucus in the General Assembly and past member of the Red Line Citizen's Advisory Council, I have a keen awareness of the importance of expanding transit in Maryland. As Comptroller, I will support the implementation of the Red Line project and the expansion of a more robust MARC system. Losing the Red Line was truly devastating not only to our region but also to the many people who spent years working on it and made investments based on its promise. In 2021, I sponsored and successfully passed groundbreaking bipartisan legislation to guarantee funding to the Maryland Transit Administration for its many overdue capital needs. My record in the General Assembly demonstrates my ability to elevate transit as an essential issue and to build broad coalitions to pass essential legislation.

Should the state continue to redevelop State Center in Baltimore or do you consider that project dead?

Rebuilding and modernizing the State Center complex is a top priority for me. The State should be the best landlord in the City of Baltimore - developing projects that add to the fabric of the City, creating walkable and inclusive neighborhoods and also providing work environments that are safe, healthy, and attract and retain the best talent. The State Center site has incredible potential and should be an economic hub. In this year's operating budget, the legislature required the State's Department of General Services and Baltimore City to work on redevelopment plans for the State Center complex — with opportunities for input from the community. I support those efforts.

Do you support the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System divesting itself of socially problematic assets?

The Trustees to the Pension System must be true fiduciaries of the savings of our retirees. As chair of the Joint Committee on Pensions, I have worked to improve our Pension System - and we are now in a much more stable place than we were 8 years ago. The greatest future risk to our investments is climate change. Because of this, as co-chair of the Committee, I was sponsored legislation that considers climate risk as an investment risk and requires the Pension Board to consider and report on the impact of climate change on our State's pension investments. In addition, when major world events happen that will put our pension investments at risk, we must act decisively. That is why I sponsored bipartisan legislation to divest our funds from Russia - which passed unanimously and will give our Pension system the ability to move money away from bad actors.

What criteria will you use to evaluate capital projects as a member of the Board of Public Works?

As Comptroller, I will strive to secure the "best value" for taxpayers - that means ensuring every dollar we spend comes with a double bottom line — the State uses taxpayer dollars to invest in critical infrastructure but does so in a way that keeps money local and meets or exceeds MBE requirements, while also factoring in sustainability and climate resilience. I will seek to allocate funding to the most promising and proven solutions and will support projects to ensure all communities across the State have equitable access to health facilities, parks, quality housing, transit, and a clean environment. Getting the "best value" means using the purchasing power of the State to keep dollars in Maryland: to build generational wealth and build for generations. In other words, tackling the racial wealth divide and meeting the challenge of climate change must be part of every contract we approve on the Board.

Baltimore Sun Media's voter guide allows candidates to provide their background, policy and platforms on issues, in their own words. Any questions or feedback can be sent to elections@baltsun.com, or read more about the questionnaire process here.


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