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Maryland Voter Guide 2022

2022 Voter Guide: Ashwani Jain, candidate for Maryland Governor

Maryland Governor

Ashwani Jain

LaTrece Hawkins Lytes

Democratic

32

Montgomery County

Program Director - National Kidney Foundation

2 Bachelor Degrees from the University of Maryland, College Park (Business Management and Political Science) and 1 Master's Degree from GW University (Political Management)

I've worked in the public, private and non-profit sectors. I've helped manage the political appointee process in the Obama White House; worked to get more than 400K Marylanders access to healthcare at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; worked on affordable housing at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; and helped get the NIH and the FDA billions of dollars when I was then-Vice President Biden's Director of Outreach for the Cancer Moonshot.

Why are you running for office?

I'm running for Maryland Governor to make politics inclusive and accessible because I believe decisions about us should not be made without us.

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

When you speak about any issue, if residents are not given a seat at the table, then none of those policies will be equitable. And we see this in every election. That's why - unlike other candidates, I am fully accessible because 100% of our events are free. And I'm the only Governor candidate to personally go door to door in a different county each and every day of the week. I'm fully accountable because 100% of our campaign is run by residents from every age, background and county. And I'm fully transparent because we've shared the most detailed and comprehensive policy agenda (at JainForGovernor.com) since last January 2021. This includes the fully paid for "Maryland Now Plan" which will eliminate your state income tax; make public transit free; create the nation's first guaranteed jobs program; legalize marijuana while expunging records; and get money out of politics.

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

When black and brown kids are being disproportionately killed by public servants - there is a severe problem with our system. And since there is no singular solution to keep communities safe and improve community trust? — ?I believe we need to tackle this issue in a comprehensive and sincere manner. It's also important to note that increasing accountability does not negate the great community work and safety provided by a majority of our officers. That's why my Criminal Justice plan - shared in full transparency since last January 2021 - includes everything from treating opioid/drug abuse as a disease not crime; removing SROs from public schools; investing in more mental health professionals; ending the money bail system and for-profit prison contracts; ending extreme sentences for children; legalizing marijuana and expunging records; and preparing those in prison for life outside prison. Full details can be found here: https://jainforgov.medium.com/criminal-justice-reform-42a0c6a91033

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

I support a comprehensive infrastructure plan that reduces congestion, pollution, and provides greater security, accessibility and connectivity for all around our state. This will also connect people to jobs (thus fostering greater economic security) and connect businesses to their employees (thus helping our local economy). My full plan (found here: https://jainforgov.medium.com/transportation-c96c3f396c1) goes into detail my plans to making public transit FREE for every resident; ensuring environmental impact studies for all transportation projects; expanding Metro (Red and Purple lines, in addition to the Southern Maryland Rapid Transit Project); expanding MARC Train services; expanding ridesharing; more designated bus lanes; smarth growth and mixed-use development; and sustainably expanding the Bay Bridge (using the findings of the environmental impact studies that were conducted).

What should Maryland schools do differently during the next pandemic?

When I speak with students, parents and educators, biggest concern is safety. That's why my focus has been (and would be) getting everyone fully vaccinated and mandating masks until that happens. In the short-term, we should have our School Boards do an analysis of each school in their districts to determine where the riskiest schools are and if its safer to isolate those who are sick or move to virtual learning. And while remote learning is definitely not the preferred option, if the decision is to move virtually for a specific school - again, with the sole intent of keeping everyone safe - we must provide equal and full broadband access to every student and educator.

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

Not to increase them. Instead - my fully paid for "Maryland Now Plan" which will eliminate the state income tax for 95% of Maryland workers (anyone making less than $400,000); make public transit free; create the nation's first guaranteed jobs program; legalize marijuana while expunging records; and get money out of politics. By eliminating the state income tax for 95% of Maryland workers - my plan saves the average Marylander about $2,000 a year; Increases your take-home pay and disposable income (and ties into creating more jobs through my Guaranteed Jobs Program); Enables greater economic mobility and stability for Marylanders who are struggling to get by; Strengthens our economy by encouraging more people to move here and retirees to stay here; and does all this without increasing property taxes. Full details can be found here: https://jainforgov.medium.com/the-maryland-now-plan-eliminating-the-state-income-tax-and-a-guaranteed-jobs-program-8ed25788ec47

How equitably do police officers treat people of color?

As noted in question 11 - there is much more work that needs to be done. Right now there is a lack of trust between communities all around Maryland and our law enforcement professionals. We must change that. This means we need to implement policing standards that will show our communities that officers who abuse their power can and will be held accountable. This is why I want to ban the use of chokeholds and require de-escalation efforts in any confrontations and creating real consequences for officers that fail to live up to these standards. We should also reallocate public safety funding to expand necessary services that would reduce police officer's need to respond to incidents with a mentally ill individual. This involves growing our workforce of social workers and ensuring that those suffering from addiction have access to professionals that can support them.

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

From universal distribution of vote-by-mail ballots, to expanding early voting locations, to restoring voting rights of felons, to making election day a state holiday, we must protect and expand the right to vote, and I will do whatever is in my power as Governor to ensure it.

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

We must get to 100% clean energy by 2035. To get there - as detailed in my full Climate Change policy memo shared since last January 2021 (https://jainforgov.medium.com/climate-change-f3a093f3b9bf) - I would focus on everything from Climate Justice; stopping the subsidization of trash incinerators and paper mills; mandating Environmental Impact Studies; Protecting and Investing in the Bay (including increasing poultry farm inspections, investing in stormwater detention systems and assisting with oyster restoration); Investing in Clean Energy (solar, community solar programs for residents, hydro and wind); Improving our state's RPS; making public transit free; increasing access to public transportation projects; smart growth and mixed-use development; ban single-use plastic bags; ending state funding of synthetic turf on playgrounds; and improving composting throughout the state.

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

Governor Hogan vetoed the Kirwan Commission, vetoed the 2020 bill to expand Marc Train services in Western Maryland, stopped the Red Line project, and declared a state of emergency with COVID without mandating vaccines and masks. But I support his appearance of being bipartisan and having a Maryland House and Senate to override his vetoes.

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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