Voter guide: Allison Galbraith, Congress, District 1
For The Baltimore Sun|
May 18, 2020 at 6:33 PM
Democratic candidate for Congress, D1
Residence Abingdon, Harford County
Occupation Consultant, federal acquisition/program management
Education BA in Philosophy, University of Maryland at College Park; Graduate coursework in Public Policy, UMD CP; Certificate in FDA Regulatory Affairs (RAPS), Certificates in Program Management, Life Cycle Logistics, Test and Evaluation, and extensive further professional training in federal program management.
I am currently the 2nd Vice Chair of the MD Democratic Party. I ran for this same Congressional seat in 2018.
Why are you running for office?
I met Andy Harris, concerned that repeal of ACA protections would make it impossible for small business owners to obtain private insurance. He told me he didn’t think that “most people” would mind if women paid more for health insurance.
Since “most people,” by a small margin, are women, I disagreed. Representation matters in office. The residents of the First deserve a member of congress who has lived their challenges and knows what it’s like to struggle, or to run a small business, or raise kids as a single working mom. Representatives must work for all of us. I will.
How do you assess the Trump administration so far? Name at least one positive and one negative.
The Trump administration is undermining our status on the world stage. The United States should be leaders in combatting climate change, expanding civil rights, advocating for diplomacy, and leading the global economy. Under the Trump administration, we are falling behind in all of these areas because of the Trump administration’s failure to fight for average people across this country. I will work for all Marylanders, not just the billionaires.
On the good side, the Trump administration has tried to build on the strong economy it inherited from the Obama administration. And also, this administration has galvanized an unprecedented number of citizens to become engaged in the political process, and track the ways in which government can affect their lives—for better or for worse.
2017 TAX CUTS
What effect do you believe the federal tax cuts of 2017 have had on the economy thus far or will have in the future and why? Do you support the cuts?
The 2017 tax cuts have done wonders for the very richest people and corporations among us, but the benefits for working and middle class Americans have been very small in comparison. I support fairer, more equitable tax reform to help the middle class achieve financial security. We should provide tax relief for the working people of this country.
Economic growth is crucial in our state and our country. When people have good-paying jobs, they benefit, and so does the economy.
Is the level of economic inequality in the United States a problem, and why or why not? What, if anything, should the federal government do to address it?
Yes, of course it is. We have the strongest economy in the history of the world. America is a land of opportunity, yet a disgraceful number of Americans live in poverty. Every American deserves equal opportunity to live a full and satisfying life. We should all be able to raise a family, own a home, save for the future, grow a business, serve our communities, and retire in comfort.
We must ensure that the very wealthiest among us are paying their fair share—your weekly grocery bill shouldn’t be more than Amazon pays in federal taxes. We must raise the minimum wage to a living wage. And we need to address all areas of inequality in our society—economic-, racial-, and gender-based. I will work to assure equal pay for equal work.
Should federal gun laws be changed, and if so, how and why?
Like the great majority of Americans, I support responsible gun ownership. At the same time, federal regulations block our local police departments from using federal crime databases to track guns used in crimes. We can protect the Second Amendment and still allow police and researchers to find better ways to protect us.
Most Americans favor universal background checks and closing loopholes that allow criminals to easily get guns. It is well past time that Congress listens to us and passes universal background checks. Also, domestic abusers and suspected terrorists on no-fly lists should not be able to obtain firearms.
What should Congress do with respect to the Affordable Care Act, how and why? If you believe it should be scrapped, what, if anything, should replace it?
The Affordable Care Act made health coverage more affordable for many people in our district. But it’s far from perfect, and we can make it better. Healthcare costs are increasing twice as fast as wages. We must reduce costs, from premiums and deductibles to prescription costs and copayments. Some people in our district have to decide whether to pay for their prescription drugs or their electricity—this is intolerable. If you send me to Congress, I’ll work to fix the problems with the Affordable Care Act and find a cost-effective way to extend health care coverage to every citizen in the First District.Healthcare is a human right. I will support any legislation that increases access to quality health coverage. Universal healthcare will improve health outcomes, and remove wasteful overhead. You will be able to change jobs without losing health coverage. When the time comes for you to retire, health coverage will still be there for you. Universal healthcare will make it easier for you to start your own business. We must improve access to safe, effective low-cost prescription medications. We must include whole-person coverage for vision, dental, mental, and reproductive health. I will work to make our healthcare the best in the world without adding hundreds of billions to the deficit.
What role should the federal government play in helping cities? What, if anything, would you do for Baltimore, specifically?
Many local issues can’t be easily solved at the federal level, but the federal government can assist cities with financial assistance for infrastructure, schools, and healthcare. Washington can help put high speed internet in everyone’s home and business. If I’m elected, I will work to help Baltimore reduce its tragic murder rate with improved funding for schools and community programs that are driven by the residents, who know best how to impact their community. Opioid addiction strikes everywhere, and I will work to help solve that problem with an approach that is measured, caring, and reflects the best advice of medical and addiction professionals. Federal dollars and partnerships will help with these issues. Importantly, Maryland cannot deal with climate change in a silo—and clean energy jobs improve economic opportunity, as well.
The First District’s concerns get less attention than the more urban and suburban parts of the state. I’ve worked to give voice to the many issues that affect our people’s quality of life. We can fix environmental policies or we can continue to have chronic flooding and leave good-paying clean energy jobs on the table. Reliable high-speed internet is as essential to our homes, schools, and businesses as water and electricity.
Our children deserve high-quality schools. Our roads and transportation—indeed, our entire infrastructure—needs to expand to allow our district to experience greater economic opportunity. I will work to deliver those to you and all of us.
Do you back Elijah Cummings’ bill -- which Republicans say is too expensive -- to provide $100 billion over 10 years to fight the opioid epidemic? Why or why not?
Yes. We have all been impacted by the opioid crisis in one way or another, and we must work together to stop this epidemic. Sometimes this comes with a big price tag, but there is no price tag bigger than the continued loss of life. We need to expand healthcare coverage—including mental health—in order to help those among us struggling with addiction to opioids.
What changes, if any, should Congress make to our immigration and deportation laws and policies? Should the DACA program be preserved? Why or why not?
We need sensible, humane policies that treat immigrants with respect and compassion. The Eastern Shore relies on foreign workers and H-2B visas to sustain MD’s $355M seafood industry. Each foreign worker helps to create 2.5 jobs, while shortages devastate the economy.
DACA should be preserved in order to protect those dreamers who know only one home: America. It is inhumane to deport those who have no other home bur America. Dreamers start businesses, become doctors and teachers, and pay taxes. Why would anyone want to remove their contributions to this great country we share?
We need a more adaptable and responsive visa system and expanded pathways to citizenship.
How would you rate the Trump administration’s trade stance with China and why?
We must pursue fair trade deals that don’t harm the middle class of this country. The Trump administration’s volatility in this regard is particularly alarming—trade deals should not be subject to the whims of the moment, but rather should be structured in such a way to promote a more harmonious and economically advantageous world for everyone.
Do you support the president’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal? Why or why not?
Absolutely not. The Iran Deal, while not perfect, did what both Republicans and Democrats had been saying we needed to do for a long time—put measures in place to stop Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons.The fact that the Trump administration withdrew from a deal that achieved, in part, what both parties ostensibly said that they wanted speaks to the unfortunate polarization of our times. We can’t undo an administration’s efforts that advance our shared goals just because they were accomplished under another party.
How should the United States address the rise of North Korea’s nuclear program?
Diplomacy, diplomacy, diplomacy. We must work to stop (or at least slow) North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons, but any military aggression should be an absolute last option. Continued sanctions are only a part of a comprehensive strategy that must be adopted—diplomatic channels must remain open, but real diplomacy requires both a carrot and a stick, unlike what we have seen from this administration.
How should the United States address climate change?
Pollution, global warming, sea level, and extreme weather events do not respect political boundaries. They are symptoms of an urgent global crisis. The United States, with the strongest economy in the world, must lead. Let’s rejoin the Paris Agreement, move to clean, renewable energy, build sustainable communities, strengthen environmental laws, curb climate change, and protect our planet.Additionally, if elected, I’ll work for federal policies that encourage states to pass laws favoring carbon-free energy production.Clean energy jobs provide economic stimulation and opportunity. Our state cannot continue to materially benefit from our farmlands or the beauty of our beaches and the Chesapeake Bay without preserving them.
GREEN NEW DEAL
Do you support the Green New Deal? Why or why not?
A qualified “yes.” The Green New Deal is an idea without detailed legislation, without which I can’t commit to it.We can meet the urgency of this moment with legislation to help stop man-made global warming. Time is running out, and inaction is not an option. An effective solution will slow the rise in oceans that threaten coastal Maryland and all parts of the state touched by the Chesapeake. Plus, the process will stimulate the economy more than any Trump tax cut.