BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Two candidates for Maryland’s governor’s race spent Tuesday in WJZ-TV‘s studios for a taping of the first gubernatorial debate, which later aired on WJZ and online.
Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and Mr. Larry Hogan faced off on topics that Maryland residents submitted as questions on WJZ. The debate was co-hosted by The Baltimore Sun.
Vic Carter moderated the debate alongside Andy Green, the Editorial Page editor with The Baltimore Sun.
Below is a round up of the topics that the candidates discussed.
Brown began the debate by reviewing the accomplishment of Gov. Martin O’Malley and his administration, but said the election was more about Maryland’s future. Hogan, however, said he was running because he was “fed up’ with politics as usual in Annapolis, tax hikes and the state’s unemployment rate.
The candidates’ opening statements:
Brown said he doesn’t see the need to raise taxes saying he’ll fight for middle class families. He said there won’t be any new taxes in a Brown-Ulman administration.
Hogan said that for the past 8 years, the O’Malley and Brown’s administration has increased taxes, calling it a “record of failure.” He said people that have the lowest income are being hit the hardest by taxes.
Brown rebuts saying Under Armour is a business success story in Maryland that has done well regardless of taxes.
Next up: Education
Hogan said Maryland has spent a lot on education, but we need to make sure every child is getting a great education regardless of socioeconomic status.
Brown said in order to give every child in Md. a world class education they need to invest in pre-K. He said Hogan is against pre-K.
But Hogan said Brown doesn’t have a plan for education that will work for Maryland.
Next: Shortfall of Revenue
Brown said he disagrees with the comptroller’s assessment. He will not raise taxes, but his administration will look at the state’s spending.
Hogan said that what’s been done in Gov. Martin O’Malley’s administration will affect Marylanders in the future. It’s their spending that’s caused the deficit.
Hogan said that cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay will be a top priority of his administration, but he won’t blame farmers. Instead he would look to the federal government to make sure Pennsylvania and New York’s runoff doesn’t affect Maryland’s waterway.s
Brown said MD needs to take responsibility for its environmental issues. Brown says “We have to take a balanced approach to protecting our environment.” He said working with farmers to reduce runoff and coming up with a stormwater management plan will benefit the Bay.
Next: Tone of the Race
Brown said voters need to know where a candidate stands on issues. It’s fair to present a contrasting side on issues.
Hogan said that the Maryland gubernatorial campaign has been negative, but says it’s not coming from his side. He said Brown isn’t talking about the issues, he’s “twisting” the facts. Adding that Brown’s commercials are “misleading.”
Hogan takes a moment to rebut Brown’s earlier comments about Hogan’s record of opposing abortion and taking away birth control, saying it’s not true. Hogan said he thinks Brown should “apologize to Maryland women for trying to scare them.”
Back to Immigration, Hogan said his wife is an immigrant and understands why Americans should be open to others coming to the U.S. But he blames Washington for not coming up with a plan that prevents undocumented minors to come into the country and therefore Maryland.
Brown said Maryland cannot fix the nation’s immigration issues, but he thinks that the nation has an obligation to protect the children. In Maryland they can be put into foster care until they can be reunited with their families in their home countries. Maryland should demand the federal government pays the cost of the care in the interim.
Although Hogan said he does care about children, he doesn’t believe Maryland should be taking in undocumented children and providing for them.
Brown discussed his cousin who was gunned down after a domestic dispute. He said Maryland still has more work to do, which is why they cannot roll back the provisions of the firearm safety act. He reviewed his record saying recent crime statistics show a decrease.
Hogan said Maryland has the toughest gun safety laws in the nation, yet it is one of the most violent states in the country. He believes heroin could be the culprit, blaming drugs and gangs for the violence.
Hogan said he’d change how the congressional districts are designated to stop the partisan redistricting. He take the redistricting out of politicians hands and put it in the hands of an independent group.
Brown said he’d also create an independent commission to look at the districts, but that it might not happen right away.
Both candidates agree that bipartisanship has slowed down Washington and created issues.
Brown says that Maryland needs to strengthen certain aspects of the state’s business climate, like it’s regulations — it’s his number 1 priority. He admits there’s a debate about whether or not Maryland’s business climate it “hostile.”
Hogan blames Brown for the anti-business attitude that’s driving businesses out of the state. He said things have to change in Maryland to make businesses want to stay, like decreasing the taxes and making the regulations more business-friendly.
Next: How do you differ from the previous administration?
Hogan said that unlike his predecessors he wouldn’t hike tuition.
Brown said there have been times he’s disagreed with O’Malley, like on mortgage reduction.
Next: Women’s Issues
Brown said although the poverty rate for women in Maryland is low, he’s supported raising minimum wage. He said the average minimum wage earner is a 33-year-old single mother. He also points says he has worked against domestic violence issues, pointing to reducing the standard of proof needed by victims to get a protective order.
Hogan said women make most of the financial decisions in households and are suffering because of tax hikes. He said he’s not going to do anything about minimum wage because in the ideal economy it’s for young kids looking to earn some money at their first job. Instead if we boost economy, everyone will naturally earn more.
Hogan adds that he won’t change regulations around contraceptives and supports over-the-counter birth control paid for by insurance.
The closing arguments: