2022 Voter Guide: Tom Perez, candidate for Maryland Governor

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Maryland Governor

Tom Perez

Shannon Sneed



Takoma Park, Montgomery County

Co-chair, American Bridge 21st Century

Brown University (BA) Harvard University (JD, MPP)

Montgomery County Councilmember, 2002-2006; Maryland Secretary of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation, 2007-2009; Assistant U.S. Attorney General for Civil Rights, 2009-2013; U.S. Secretary of Labor, 2013-2017; Chair of the Democratic National Committee, 2017-2021

Why are you running for office?

I am running for governor to deliver jobs, justice, and opportunity for every Marylander in every community. Throughout my career in public service as a prosecutor at the Department of Justice, on the Montgomery County Council, as Maryland's Secretary of Labor, as head of the Civil Rights Division under President Obama, and as U.S. Labor Secretary, I have brought people together, effectively managed complex organizations, and delivered not just rhetoric — but results. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to move the needle on the core issues that define who we are. To meet that moment, Maryland's next governor must be a "multitasker-in-chief" with a proven track record of getting things done. Together we can ensure every student has a world-class education, ensure our neighborhoods are safe, continue the fight for racial justice, and transform Maryland into a clean energy leader so we can combat the existential challenge of climate change.

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

As President Obama's Secretary of Labor, I was a key member of the administration's economic team that created millions of middle-class jobs across the country. Under my leadership, we will do the same here in Maryland. We will transform our state into a green energy economy epicenter by investing in solar and manufacturing offshore wind turbines. We will work with educators, businesses, and others to address nursing and teacher shortages by increasing the pipeline of professionals in high-demand jobs. We will ensure that small and minority-owned businesses have the resources to become our country's next business leaders. And we will work directly with emerging businesses to provide the capital, talent, and resources they need to thrive. Growing jobs also means growing our workforce by fully implementing the Blueprint for Maryland's Future and supporting emerging industries to ensure they hire local, provide apprenticeships, and support efforts to organize and collectively bargain.

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

As a former federal prosecutor, I understand how to build meaningful partnerships between federal, state, and local officials to reduce violence. As head of the DOJ's Civil Rights Division under President Obama, I know how to lead police reform because I've done it by recognizing that the most important tool officers have is the trust of the community. As Governor, I will put these skills to work and make the state a partner — not an adversary — to the City. I'll work closely with Mayor Scott and others to get illegal guns off our streets, support Safe Streets and other community-based efforts to interrupt violence, and provide staffing and resources so parole or probation officers can prioritize efforts to address those shown to commit a significant portion of violent crime. And we will work upstream by investing in educational access, transportation, employment opportunities, housing security, mental health supports, and beyond.

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

Maryland needs a balanced transportation system that finally prioritizes investments in public transit, walking, and biking infrastructure — while ensuring competent, effective governance. We cannot pave our way out of gridlock. This administration's singular focus on cars and highways has neither improved traffic congestion nor protected natural resources. Our administration will make public transit more dependable, accessible, and affordable through efforts like reviving the Red Line, spearheading the long-overdue creation of a regional transportation authority, expanding bike lanes, and increasing MARC ridership by making the system more interoperable and expanding service in historically-neglected communities. Marylanders deserve better than this administration's 'ready, fire, aim' approach to transportation projects, like the shortsighted cancellation of the Red Line and mismanagement of the Purple Line — now $1.4 billion over budget and years behind schedule. Our administration will sweat the details of governance so that Maryland delivers projects on time and on budget.

What should Maryland schools do differently during the next pandemic?

Even as we prepare for the next crisis, we must first acknowledge the current COVID-19 crisis is not yet over and recognize that the pandemic has exacerbated disparities that have existed — and remained unaddressed — for far too long. Our approach to schools and learning must be swift, agile, and student-centered. Currently, one in four Marylanders lack access to broadband in their home, robbing them of economic, educational, and cultural opportunities and closing them off from the world. Broadband should be like water — an essential public utility that is affordable and accessible to everyone. As governor, I'll expand access to this fundamental tool. We must also spearhead policies that bolster our state's educational resiliency by expanding the opportunity for schools to offer year-round learning and alternative school schedules, integrating afterschool and summer programming into the existing educational systems, and allowing optional additional grades to address learning loss.

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

At a time when the state has a historic projected budget surplus and when so many Marylanders face continued financial hardship as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, I believe the state's property tax should remain unchanged. I believe we can expand our tax base by growing middle-class jobs. Investing in modern infrastructure projects, such as the renewed Red Line and clean energy jobs in the solar and wind energy industries, will expand our economy and create strong, union jobs. As governor, I will also focus on sustaining and bolstering homeownership for Marylanders through efforts like using federal funds from the Homeowner Assistance Fund to support those who may be behind on their property taxes and expanding programs to encourage first-time homeownership for residents across the state.

How equitably do police officers treat people of color?

Not nearly enough. Civil rights remains the unfinished business of America and our state. Trust and confidence in law enforcement has eroded as the result of decades of unfair treatment of people of color and a systemic lack of accountability. As a former federal prosecutor who worked to root out bad actors in police departments and to reform policing across the country, the murders of George Floyd and so many others have served as reminders of how deep the problems run, and how far we still have to go. I am proud of the General Assembly for passing groundbreaking laws that can transform policing in Maryland and address longstanding, deeply rooted trust gaps. But we have much more work to do. As Maryland's next governor, I will work with local, state, and national leaders to continue addressing the injustices of the past so we can create a more equitable future.

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

Investing in our election system is a direct investment in our democracy. As head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division under President Obama, I helped lead efforts to protect the sacred right to vote. There is a relentless campaign underway by foreign and domestic actors to make it harder for people to vote and to attack our election systems. As Governor, I will protect voting rights by fully-funding our election process to ensure accessible voting centers and equitable voting resources. We will also take the necessary measures to protect the security of our voting systems. We'll also support Boards of Elections to meet the demands of increased vote-by-mail and ensure that incarcerated Marylanders, who can vote thanks to the Value My Vote Act, have easy and protected access to the polls. And we will advocate for automatic voter registration to make voter registration "opt-out" rather than "opt-in."

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

Climate change is the ultimate existential threat facing our neighborhoods, our state, our country, and our planet today — and we're running out of time to do something about it. As governor, I will work to combat the cumulative impacts of climate change on our vulnerable communities and develop solutions to this crisis that can provide lasting solutions, create good-paying, union jobs, and spur economic growth. Our administration is committed to making Maryland's electrical production 100% carbon-free by 2035 and cutting Maryland's greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030. To ensure Maryland meets these aggressive goals, our administration will appoint a cabinet-level Climate and Resilience Coordinator who will lead a multi-departmental and multidisciplinary approach to identify vulnerabilities in Maryland's current approach to climate and break down silos so that Maryland can take better advantage of opportunities for investment in the green energy economy.

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

I appreciate that Governor Hogan, unlike so many of his Republican colleagues, spoke out against Donald Trump. Undoubtedly, one of the Governor's worst mistakes was canceling the Red Line, rejecting hundreds of millions in federal funding and setting Baltimore's transportation infrastructure back a generation. That decision is symbolic of many other shortsighted efforts, including the hollowing-out of state agencies which has led to disastrous results — like a broken unemployment system that forced people to wait months for benefits amid a global economic crisis. His failure to lead on clean energy, including offshore wind, has enabled other states to take the lead. A number of Maryland's best policies were passed over Governor Hogan's veto or without his signature. From the Blueprint for Maryland's Future, to landmark police reform, to long-awaited paid family and medical leave, so many accomplishments were done in spite of — not because of — the Governor.

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.