2022 Voter Guide: David Lashar, candidate for Maryland Governor

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Maryland Governor

David Lashar

Christiana Logansmith



Annapolis, Anne Arundel County

IT Executive

* Public high school: Hudson, Ohio * Bachelor of Arts: Dartmouth College (NH) * Master in Business Administration (MBA): Carnegie Mellon University (PA)

* Libertarian Candidate for Congress: Stood as a third-party alternative in the grossly gerrymandered 3rd Congressional District. * Maryland Department of Health (MDH): Served as CIO, COO, and Chief of Staff responsible for technology and operations for this $14B agency, 2016 - 2018 (prior to leaving the Republican Party). * Maryland Transportation Commission: Served as a commissioner, 2015 - 2016. * U.S. House of Representatives: Served as a policy analyst with specialty in infrastructure, trade, and budgets for an idea-oriented GOP caucus, The House Wednesday Group, 1988 - 1992.

Why are you running for office?

I am standing as a principled, accomplished, and civil alternative to the candidates from the Democratic and Republican Parties, neither of which parties is representing who we really are or is taking us where we actually want to go as a people. The modern Democratic Party is practicing an illiberal and intolerant politics that is based on identity — that is hostile to traditional liberal values like free speech. The party exhibits no realism. Likewise, the modern Republican Party is practicing an insipid and divisive politics that is based on tribalism — that is devoid of any principle. The party gives no hope. By contrast, Christiana (my running mate) and I are offering a politics that is based on faith in the ability of regular people to make decisions for themselves and their loved ones — that is dedicated to expanding opportunity and choices for all Marylanders, especially those in historically disadvantaged communities.

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

The pressing issue for Maryland is the practice by Democrats and Republicans alike of politics that divide us... the imposition by Democrats and Republicans alike of policies that intrude into our personal decisions and our community preferences. As Maryland Governor, I will be different. I will be genuinely inclusive in my politics, because I respect and embrace all persons of goodwill regardless of their race, gender, sexuality, politics, or circumstances. I will be restrained in my policies, because I carry faith in the ability of individuals to make decisions for themselves and their loved ones. I will strive to restore trust where it is broken — to revive hope where it has lapsed — especially in historically disadvantaged communities. I will be devoted to persuasion over coercion, educating and advocating instead of demonizing others — instead of dictating what to think and say — instead of mandating what to do or not do.

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

For reducing violent crime, we must end the war on drugs. No other policy will make even a small difference to residents, businesses, and visitors in Baltimore — the proof of which is the speed with which gangster violence of 100 years ago ended after prohibition of alcohol was repealed. The goal is to make even addictive drugs available through certified dispensaries, much like medical cannabis today but with supports and services for those suffering addiction. We can launch harm reduction centers, as Rhode Island is doing. We can relax laws for drug possession and paraphernalia. We can use Portugal and the Netherlands as models. And to be clear: Neither more gun control per the Democrats nor more jailtime per the Republicans will make a jot of difference to those in Baltimore beset by violence and/or trapped in addiction. For these fellow Marylanders, we must end the war on drugs.

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

First priority is a modern east-west transit system for Baltimore — but *not* the high-cost, low-ridership Red Line proposal that was rightly canceled for being a massive boondoggle with its tunnel under the Inner Harbor. Instead, we should leverage modern IT to orchestrate an agile fleet of vans and buses to provide transportation where it is needed, likely including an above-ground rail solution. The question re east-west Baltimore transit is not "whether to do it" but rather "how to do it." Second priority is relief for traffic congestion along the I495 and I270 corridors, not by pouring more concrete (which only invites more traffic while harming the environment) but by adopting innovative solutions like zip lanes and re-striping (as successfully done for Rt 50 over the Severn River). Third priority is competence in spending the funds raining down from the federal government, as the Purple Line delays have demonstrated is needed.

What should Maryland schools do differently during the next pandemic?

Upon the next pandemic, the schools need to devote themselves to the on-going education and long-term mental being of the students whom they serve, not the interests and politics of the teachers' unions and the administrative elites. This means that if the data show that students are at low risk (as for COVID 19), then the option of a return to school with instruction by willing teachers is imperative. Measures to accommodate those unwilling to return to a school setting are also imperative. The key is to provide options amongst which students, families, and teachers can choose. For which, I support two critical policies. One, school choice for both students *and* teachers, especially in historically disadvantaged communities for which the government-run monopoly for public education has been an abysmal failure. Two, strict limitations on the ability of government authorities to assume extraordinary powers upon declaration of a health emergency.

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

My plan is to leave property taxes as a decision and responsibility for county and local governments, who must stand accountable to those who own the property and pay the taxes in their jurisdictions.

How equitably do police officers treat people of color?

The police might very well have the most difficult job in society. The vast majority are decent — even exemplary — fellow citizens. But for far too long, the police have far too often joined ranks to protect their worst colleagues and deny their worst excesses (too often protected by their unions in collaboration with Democratic machine politicians). Thus, the police do now need to accept measures for transparency and accountability, whether the reforms from the 2021 legislative session or measures like a well-calibrated change to qualified immunity. Moreover, the police need to return to community-based, non-militarized policing. That said, the community — every community, but Baltimore in particular in our modern day — needs to recognize the indispensable role of the police in maintaining safety and protecting the decent. There needs to be a restoration of trust — which as Maryland Governor would be in my top handful of priorities.

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

As was non-controversial until very recently, we need a voting system that is *both* accessible and secure. Otherwise, voters will rightly doubt the reported outcomes. And our democratic republic will continue its recent slide toward authoritarianism of one sort or another. Thus, in order to restore civic trust, and despite my normal skepticism about political commissions, I would in my first days as Governor assemble a commission for analysis and recommendations on ways to enhance accessibility, bolster security, and promote competitiveness in Maryland's electoral system. As part of this effort, I would insist upon examination — along with pilot or trial experimentation — of blockchain technologies as a means of expanding access and ensuring reliability of elections. Finally, in order to make my position clear: I wholeheartedly oppose legislation from Washington, DC, directing how we in Maryland are to conduct our elections. We can and must decide our own way forward.

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

Climate change does constitute a formidable challenge that does demand a move to clean energy. Our clean energy must, however, be reliable and affordable. And our policies must recognize that whatsoever we do here in Maryland, the global climate is in the hands of China and India, not us. Two implications of which are as follows. First, from a global perspective, it does not matter whether Maryland becomes net-zero in ten, twenty, or thirty years. My commitment, to be clear, is indeed to become net-zero. My timeline is in the fifteen-to-thirty window, allowing innovators to bring new options to market and allowing consumers to choose the options that seem best. Second, from an energy portfolio perspective, we cannot limit ourselves to today's favored renewables, wind and solar. We need nuclear, especially modern modular nuclear. We need low-emission fossil fuels. We can even expect fusion in a decade or two.

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

I did not leave the Republican Party solely due to the divisiveness of Trumpism. I left the party due to the emptiness of Bushism / Hoganism, too. As credit to Hogan, he did handle the Baltimore riots well, protecting property and lives while avoiding excessive government force. And he isn't Trump. That said, Hogan has not taken a position of principle on a single issue that I as a former Hogan appointee can recall. When the GOP won control of DC, Hogan could have advanced the Maryland Model for healthcare for reforming Obamacare, but he equivocated. When the Kirwan Commission released its education recommendations, Hogan could have advocated school choice instead of public monopoly, but he refrained. When he could have led us to post-pandemic normalcy, he deferred to federal and local authorities. Instead, we need principled and visionary leaders. As I will strive to be.

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.