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Maryland Voter Guide 2022

2022 Voter Guide: Ken Kerr, candidate for Maryland House District 3

Maryland House
District 3

Ken Kerr

Democratic

65

Frederick, Frederick County

Retired community college English Professor

Woodlawn High School (Baltimore 1975) AA General Studies, Frederick Community College (Frederick 1978) BA Music, Hood College (Frederick 1981) MS Professional Writing, Towson University (Baltimore 1995) EdD Leadership, Morgan State University (Baltimore 2003)

Frederick County Board of Education (2016-2018)

Why are you running for office?

After a 25 year career teaching community college students how to write and craft an argument, using valid data and from a social issues perspective, I had become well-versed in policy and the thinking that goes in to crafting it. As my teaching career came to a close, I felt a desire to continue to serve my community, county, and state in a meaningful way. I am at a point in my life where my finances and responsibilities are such that I can make the commitment to serve a 90-day legislative session and provide high quality constituent services throughout the year.

What is the most pressing issue in your district?

Crowded roads lead to a diminished quality of life, lengthy commutes, frustration, difficulty carrying out daily chores, and impedes local economic expansion. Specifically, I270 in both directions, RT15 between I70 and RT26, MD144, and RT85 — parts of each are in my district.

How will you help your constituents deal with inflation?

At the state level, there is little we can do to affect inflation. Monetary policy is controlled by the federal government through interest rates, price stability, and maximizing employment. At the state level, the biggest help to my constituents is to invest in affordable child care which is often more expensive than a college education. This would expand the labor pool by relieving child care pressures on working families making it possible for parents, caregivers, and older siblings to enter or return to the workforce.

What do you see as the top transportation priority in your district, and how would you address it?

The most pressing transportation issue is a 3-mile stretch of RT15 that bisects Frederick City, and is a daily problem making it difficult to travel in all directions. Each year it is our top transportation request to the state. We are also working with our federal partners to secure the necessary funds for amelioration.

What should schools do differently during the next pandemic to help students, families and teachers?

We learned a lot — both positive and negative — from our recent experience with continued school operations during a pandemic. One advantage we will have next time is that the technology necessary for remote learning is largely already in place. We have learned a great deal about mask effectiveness and physical distancing to reduce infection rates. We need to provide teachers with additional opportunities to develop the skills needed for effective learning over distance and develop protocols for getting students back into buildings as quickly and safely as we can.

How equitably do police officers treat people of color?

A study carried out between 2012 and 2018 by the American Journal of Public Health revealed that police, on average, kill about 2.8 people (mostly men) each day and are responsible for about 8% of all homicides with adult male victims during that 2012 and 2018 timeframe in which the study took place. African-American men's mortality risk is between 1.9 and 2.4 deaths per 100?000 per year, Latino risk is between 0.8 and 1.2, whereas white men's risk is much lower between 0.6 and 0.7. Additionally, a 2020 study from NYU of nearly 100 million traffic stops across the United States, found that African-American drivers were about 20 percent more likely than white drivers to be stopped; furthermore, black drivers were searched about 1.5 to 2 times as often and were less likely to be carrying drugs, guns, or other illegal contraband compared to their white peers.

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

I believe Maryland's voting system is secure and accurate.

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

I believe the right goals were set by the Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022. This law, which went into effect without the Governor's signature, requires the Maryland Department of the Environment to submit a plan by June 30, 2023, that reduces statewide Greenhouse Gas emissions from 2006 levels by 60% by 2031. By December 31, 2023, the Maryland Department of the Environment must adopt a final plan to meet the goal that sets Maryland on a path toward achieving net-zero statewide GHG emissions by 2045. By December 31, 2030, MDE must adopt a final plan that achieves net-zero statewide GHG emissions by 2045. These are the goals and deadlines worked out by both chambers over years of negotiations and appear to be reasonable and reachable.

What's Maryland's best use of federal COVID relief money?

First, the relief money should be used to cover direct costs incurred during the pandemic. We should also invest in technology and infrastructure that showed itself to be inefficient and obsolete during the crisis — specifically, the Department of Labor's unemployment insurance division. We should also provide direct assistance to landlords whose tenants were unable to pay rent during the state of emergency. Finally, we should use relief money to develop and establish a low-cost/no-cost pipeline and associated education and training for frontline and healthcare workers whose numbers were insufficient during the crisis.

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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