2022 Voter Guide: Rushern L. Baker III, candidate for Maryland Governor

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Rushern L. Baker III has suspended his campaign for governor. Baker’s name will still be on ballots, as the deadline to officially withdraw from the primary was April 18.

Maryland Governor

Nancy Navarro

Mark Greben



Cheverly, Prince George's County

Principal, Baker Strategy Group

Bachelor's and Juris Doctor for Howard University

MD House of Delegates 1994-2003, County Executive of Prince George's 2010-2018

Why are you running for office?

Last year, on an afternoon like many others, I was sitting with his wife watching the news. Together, like the rest of us, we watched the devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic: tragic loss of life, disruption of livelihoods, and the exacerbation of long-existing inequities in healthcare and education. However, on that day, Cis turned to me and gave a silent glance that asked, "Well, what are you going to do about this?" With my wife's reminder that I am the right leader for this moment, I felt compelled, once again, to answer the call to public service.

What is the most pressing issue in Maryland and what are your plans to address it?

The violent crime epidemic that has swept the State has had devastating consequences for all communities, but especially Black and Latino families in Baltimore, where murders are at a near record rate, and robberies have jumped 25% in the past year. More than 2000 mostly young, Black men have been killed in the last 8 years. This is an unacceptable state of affairs that is tearing apart families, destroying economic opportunity, and entrenching the already enormous gulf between the haves and the have nots in Baltimore. That is why we have a comprehensive plan to reduce crime and bolster the communities hardest hit by this pandemic of violence.

What should the state do to reduce violent crime in and around Baltimore?

To expand further on the two initiatives mentioned above below are the specific policies that our administration will implement to end this crime wave and rebuild the communities hardest hit. An unprecedented investment in community-based policing The placement of Maryland State Police patrols in retail and commercial centers throughout the city Grants and loans to small businesses for investment in security officers, safety cameras and loss prevention technology The largest per capita commitment of any state in the nation to mental health care, from preventative care and diagnoses to prescribers, inpatient services and ongoing therapy Increased contributions to non-profit and community-based homeless services A generational commitment to safer schools, which will include investment in more school nurses, licensed and certified mental health care professionals, safety infrastructure and technology Establish a Baker/Navarro Black Business Agenda to Increase Business Opportunities in Maryland These are just a few of our policies.

What are your top three priorities for transportation in Maryland, and how would you fund them?

Marylanders deserve transportation initiatives that provide solutions now, while moving toward a future that is accessible, sustainable, and driven by the communities that it proposes to help. More than anything else, this means expanding our public transportation infrastructure and reducing our reliance on personal transportation. With this goal in mind, we can tackle many of the issues that face us with regard to transportation, including safety, traffic congestion, environmental impact, and cost of travel. Below are our primary goals: 1. Public transportation: revive the Red Line, complete the Purple Line, launch the Southern Maryland Regional Transit Rail Line and expand MARC service 2. More Integrated Transit System in Baltimore: establish a regional transit authority to better meet the needs of residents in the region 3. Transition state vehicle fleets and school buses to electric vehicles in order to reduce emissions

What should Maryland schools do differently during the next pandemic?

First, it's important to note that we are still in the current pandemic, and schools continue to grapple with its effects. That said, we have learned a lot so far, and one of the most important lessons to take from this pandemic is that there are very clear resource and staffing inequities between schools and districts. As Governor, I am committed to closing those gaps so during the next pandemic we do not have students falling years behind in reading and STEM skills. This will require State funding to give underfunded schools the tech they need to keep students learning even when they have to be out of the classroom. Additionally, we saw unprecedented rates of mental health emergencies in schools and we will require massive investments in mental health services in schools for both students and faculty alike if we are going to be prepared for the next pandemic.

What are your plans for the state’s property taxes?

Part of the reason Baltimore has faced a declining population crisis and slow economic growth is because it is so difficult for communities to build wealth through property ownership, and because it is too expensive for new residents to move into the city. Both Rushern and Nancy supported lowering property taxes, and were only willing to raise them in the case of desperate need in the school system. Our administration would support the lowering of property taxes, especially in Baltimore, with a promise that the revenue would be made up with State funds.

How equitably do police officers treat people of color?

Inequitably, but it doesn't have to be this way. The systemic racism that has been such a prominent part of policing can, and must be fixed, and the way to accomplish this is through a robust program of community policing. That is what we will put into place under our administration, and we will continue to hold those responsible who do not meet our rigorous standards.

What would you do to make sure Maryland’s voting system is secure and accurate?

First, we need to be clear that instances of voter fraud are few and far between. What is far more concerning to me is voter suppression, and our electoral system's historic disenfranchisement of minorities. If we want to protect our elections, we need to protect voting rights and end efforts to overturn valid election results. We have a slate of policies that we will implement to achieve these goals that includes extending early voting, protecting mail-in voting and automatic voter registration, and funding voter education programs so Marylander know their rights and the steps they need to take to ensure their ballot is counted.

What are the right goals and deadlines for Maryland to reduce carbon emissions and develop renewable energy sources?

Right now we have the most ambition plan for combating climate change in the race. Despite what special interest groups and Dark Money lobbyists will tell you, it is possible for us to reach 100% renewable energy by 2030. This goal is particularly important for our State which has seen devastating flooding and coastal erosion in recent years, and will continue to be one of the most at risk states when it comes to climate change.

What are Gov. Larry Hogan’s best and worst policies?

To Governor Hogan's credit he has done a good job holding Baltimore officials accountable for failing to keep the city safe. Unfortunately, he has refrained from taking concrete action to solve these problems himself, and has otherwise left the city out to dry. Under a Baker-Navarro administration, we will move our office to Balimore and take personal responsibility for the safety and prosperity of our state's largest city because we know that if Baltimore thrives, Maryland does as well.

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, or read more about the questionnaire process here.