2022 Voter Guide: Mary Washington, candidate for Maryland Senate District 43

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Maryland Senate
District 43

Mary Washington



Ednor Gardens-Lakeside, Baltimore City

Party-time Faculty Member, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA)

M.A. & Ph.D. in Sociology and Social Demography, The Johns Hopkins University School of Arts and Sciences

3rd District Democratic State Central Committee (Appointed 2008, Served 2 Years) Maryland House of Delegates (Elected 2010, Served 8 years) Maryland State Senate (Elected 2018, Currently Serving)

Why are you running for office?

I have a fervent desire to serve, and to be effective. I have a history of taking leadership on the issues where the current policies and politics are not serving the interests of like-minded Marylanders. The Covid-19 pandemic has heightened the demographic, economic, and healthcare disparities that drive the inequities in outcomes of every measure of well-being, such as physical health, personal safety, and financial security. I am running because I want to continue the work to move our State and the Baltimore Region forward by ensuring that every person has an opportunity to succeed. We do this by making a college education more affordable, repairing, and upgrading our aging streets, roads, and bridges. We do this by revitalizing our commercial corridors and growing a neighborhood-based economy that works for everyone. We do this by fixing what is broken in our educational, criminal justice, healthcare and social safety net systems.

What is the most pressing issue in your district?

Broadly speaking, the people, institutions, and businesses of the 43rd District share concerns about a range of challenges facing the Baltimore Region and that are of equal importance because of their perceived and actual impact on the quality of life, health, and economic security of our communities: violent and property crime, education, climate change, and financial and mental health hardships associated with Covid-19.

How will you help your constituents deal with inflation?

It is my understanding that an appropriate way to control inflation in the short term is for the federal government and the central bank to keep control of aggregate demand to a level consistent with the Nation's productive capacity. While these are outside of the control of the state legislature, I have and will continue to support policies that address the inflation spike such as the package of tax relief bills and support the return to work post-covid by stabilizing child-care facilities and options in Maryland. In addition Maryland should introduce direct controls on some prices and wages. For example, the prices of some utilities such as water bills and energy are subject to regulatory control. We can change the price capping regime, this one action would have a short-term controlling effect on the rate of inflation and on the family and individual's pocketbook.

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

In our metropolitan community, amongst the highest of priorities for our transportation system is ensuring the mobility and safety of our transit riders and workers. Therefore, establishing efficient bus routes, reliable transit programs, collecting and reporting data about the safety and efficiency of the system and implementing an East to West transit plan can lead to greater opportunity and improved access to work and school. A dependable and well-funded transit program can connect every pocket of Baltimore to each other easily. Investing in our local infrastructures and regional systems benefits both motorists and pedestrians alike and can create both drivable and walkable areas.

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

Students have experienced nearly three years of disrupted schooling. National family survey data reports reveal how the pandemic increased existing inequities among students on achieving state standards by 33%. Low-income, rural and predominantly Black and Brown communities have been impacted by decades of disinvestment and were the least able to keep students connected to school during school closures due to issues like lack of internet and technology and the disparate economic and health care inequities that affected student's engagement in learning. Schools with the greatest disparities should be fully funded at the level necessary to ensure that every student realizes a quality education. School systems should apply an integrated, whole child approach that is inclusive of deep partnership with their families. Finally, provide resources to expand the impact of the community school strategy and integrated school health, expanding the number of school and community based after-school and summer programming.

How equitably do police officers treat people of color?

There's a great deal of statistical and documented evidence of racially disparate policing. A CATO institute survey found that de facto segregation remains in both urban and rural areas, and many White Americans are unaware of how police operate in spaces that are racially heterogeneous. The survey says that Whites may not understand how people of color incur unwarranted negative contact with police officers based on the color of their skin. A person's race or ethnicity playing a considerable role in the way the criminal justice system and individual officers treat them is a genuine policy problem that impacts all Marylanders. Inequity erodes the public's trust, a trust that is needed to effectively "protect and serve". Therefore, as a matter of public safety and security, state and local governments must require law enforcement in ceasing negative behaviors and invasive practices that engender distrust among people of color.

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

Election officials in dozens of states representing both political parties said that there was no evidence that fraud or other irregularities played a role in the outcome of the 2020 elections. Maryland's legislature and election administrators have implemented processes to protect voting systems from cyber-attack, detect and remedy any errors, and ensure our citizens' right to cast a ballot for the person of their choice. We can however improve upon these by 1) reengineering the absentee process to ensure timely election results. Address the extra training and labor local boards of elections need to process these absentee ballots to avoid delays meeting the certification deadline; and 2) manually check election results against a sample of voters' actual ballots, to efficiently confirm that election outcomes match what a full hand count of those ballots would reveal, before results are certified

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

We must swiftly transition to a clean energy economy that works for all communities, reduce the harmful pollution created by burning fossil fuels, and invest in strategies that help us prepare for the impacts of climate change, many of which are underway. The Climate Solutions Now Act sets ambitious carbon reduction goals, reduces emissions from transportation and buildings, and takes bold steps to correct environmental injustices. Maryland can address carbon pollution from state and industrial facilities by supporting carbon capture as well as new sources of hydrogen — produced from renewable energy to power industrial facilities. The government can use its procurement power to support early markets for these very low and zero-carbon industrial goods. Maryland must lead these carbon pollution free critical industries and fuel an economic recovery that is equitable, expands supply chains, bolsters manufacturing, and creates millions of good-paying, union jobs, while building a more sustainable, resilient future.

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

Because of long-standing racial and economic inequities that worsened during the pandemic, recovery planning must focus on equity. ARRA Funds provide local governments with an unprecedented opportunity to both recover from COVID-19 and address historical inequities and build a shared prosperity. Together, because of the ability to have direct engagement with residents, Maryland in partnership with local governments are uniquely situated to make investments that respond directly to specific concerns in communities. Businesses are being shuttered and millions of Marylanders are struggling. The road to a sustainable recovery requires aid for households and families, lifelines for struggling businesses, and investment in infrastructure. It is therefore vitally important for Maryland to prioritize transparency and collaboration with counties and municipalities in planning for how funds will be spent. Opening robust and meaningful avenues for feedback will help ensure that short and long-term needs and interests of our constituents and tax-payers are met.

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.