Richard Madaleno is a Democrat vying for the governor’s seat in Maryland. He must face off with seven other candidates in the Maryland primary. These are his unedited answers to WJZ’s questionnaire.
Name: Richard Madaleno
Hometown: Silver Spring, Md.
Current Town/City of Residence: Kensington, Md.
On the critical issues facing the people of our state we need a bold, tireless governor who can set an agenda of progress for all Marylanders. I will be that governor. From education to transportation, from economic development to economic justice, from sustainable healthcare to environmental sustainability, Larry Hogan has not served the people of Maryland. I will. I will advance the rights and address the needs of ALL Marylanders. From jobs, wages and tax fairness to education and the environment, I am looking to ensure that our great state is ready and prepared not just for the next four years, but for the next forty years, to ensure Maryland will be a beacon for the future.
We need a change in the Governor’s office. We need a governor with a vision of progress for the future of Maryland, to move our state forward. We need a governor who fights for Marylanders and for progress, who says Maryland is open to the future and ready to lead again. Maryland can be a great, diverse, prosperous, welcoming community that works together for the good of our families and our neighbors.
Tell us about your experience
I have had the honor of serving the people of Maryland and the people of my district in the House of Delegates and the Senate for the past sixteen years. I served in the House of Delegates from 2004 to 2008 and in the State Senate since 2008. I have an extensive record of public and community service, including my current positions as Vice Chair of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee and Chair of its Health and Human Services Subcommittee. As State Senator I am proud to have championed the ban on assault weapons as well as increases in our minimum wage and the fight to enact Maryland’s sick leave law, which passed over Larry Hogan’s veto. I also currently serve on the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education (Kirwan Commission) which has made preliminary recommendations to improve education in Maryland; and I am Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Ending Homelessness. Prior to my election to the legislature I served as a legislative analyst in the Office of Intergovernmental Relations in Montgomery County and as a senior analyst in the Department of Fiscal Services of the General Assembly.
Tell us about your family:
I feel very fortunate to have a wonderful, loving family. I live with my husband Mark Hodge and our two children, Katie, age 14, and Jackson, age 11, and our dog Pete, in Kensington, Maryland. Katie and Jackson attend Montgomery County Public Schools. Mark and I married each other in a church ceremony in 2001 and were officially recognized as married in Maryland in 2013 following legislative passage and voter approval of Maryland’s freedom to marry law which I championed in the General Assembly. I was raised in Silver Spring, Maryland, attended Maryland public schools through eighth grade, and then graduated from Georgetown Prep School where my family’s values of caring for and helping others were taught and reinforced. My parents also live in Montgomery County and are proud grandparents — and who I am very grateful are able to spend a lot of time with me and my family.
What do you view as Maryland’s most pressing issues?
1. Education. As a member of the Kirwan Commission, which is looking at ways to improve and fund education in Maryland, I will as Governor:
– Invest more in high-quality early childhood education, including full day preschool;
– Significantly increase spending for at-risk children, including those living in poverty;
– Increase compensation and support for educators, and improve new teacher education and training programs; and
– Make college- and career-readiness a priority, strengthening the curriculum and expanding pathways in high school to ensure every student graduates prepared for success.
2. Health Care. In light of the repeal of the individual mandate in the ACA, I will be the strong leader Maryland needs to protect health care quality, coverage and affordability and create an insurance down payment plan to ensure Marylanders have access to affordable, quality health care. I will work to ensure Rx drugs are more affordable and to prevent price gouging by drug companies.
3. Economy. Too many Marylanders work full-time but still live paycheck to paycheck. I have led successful efforts to raise our state minimum wage and have been leading the fight for a $15-per-hour minimum wage. As Governor I will champion this legislation.
How important is bipartisanship in state government?
What is important to me is achieving results for the people of Maryland. My leadership and proven record of accomplishment shows that we can make progress in critical areas such as preventing gun violence and fighting for civil rights for all. One of the hallmarks of my work as State Senator is that I am always ready to listen to and consider all arguments. As stated by Senator Mike Miller in the recent profile of me in the Washington Post, I have led “by being a budget expert, and by working with all sides, Republicans as well as conservative and moderate Democrats.” When it is possible to achieve a positive outcome on an issue with the support of all parties — Democrats, Republicans, moderates and conservatives and liberals — I am ready to do so. However, there are times when these parties are not able to agree, and I believe it is important to stand up for progressive values and for working people — and that is what I have done throughout my career — getting progressive results for Marylanders, enacting the Maryland DREAM ACT and the Firearms Safety Act — and will continue to do as Governor.
Are there personal experiences that have contributed to your decision seek office?
Yes. When I started kindergarten, my parents were worried I wouldn’t speak due to a speech impediment. Fortunately, I attended a public school in Maryland with the resources to provide me with speech therapy to correct my challenges. If not for those services, I am confident I would not be pursuing this path. I strongly believe I have an obligation to ensure that the children today get the same opportunities to overcome barriers and dream big. I went on to have a successful career in public service, working for the state and Montgomery County. As legislative analyst for the General Assembly, I found creative and effective solutions to critical public needs, such as providing adequate, fair education funding. In 2002 I ran for Delegate in the General Assembly to serve my neighbors in Montgomery County. I won and went on to run successfully for State Senator where I have served since 2006. Since Hogan’s election, I have been proud to stand up to fight to restore education funding cut by Hogan. Since Trump’s election, I have fought to keep funding Planned Parenthood. These experiences have made me ready to be Governor and to make Maryland a beacon for the nation.
What sets you apart from the other candidates in the primary race?
I am the only candidate in the race with a proven record of progressive accomplishments — in areas critical to Maryland families such as education, civil rights, labor, and the environment — and a true progressive vision for our future. There is no other candidate in the race – including the incumbent – who brings a track record of leadership and real results for the people of Maryland. I have served as an effective and unrelenting champion for the entire state — its children, its educators and its workforce. From education to transportation, from economic development to economic justice, from sustainable health care to environmental sustainability — no other candidate has taken on so many of the toughest fights from the inside – and won them. On the critical issues facing the people of our state, we need a bold, tireless governor who can set an agenda of progress for all Marylanders. I will be that Governor. I urge you to support my campaign for governor because I will provide real results and proven progressive leadership on these critical issues of importance to Maryland families.
What are voters telling you they want to see more/ less of in the state?
As I travel the state, speaking with and listening to voters, voters have told me they want the state to be actively involved, solving our most pressing problems — from ensuring public safety in Baltimore and throughout Maryland to building a world class education system to ensuring affordable, quality health care and prescription drugs, and finding solutions for the opioid crisis. As governor I will be the leader who will actively assist improving public safety and stabilizing communities now, so that we can achieve long-term economic development. Voters want us to focus on school construction. I have proposed the innovative BEACONS (Building Educational Achievement through Construction Of New Schools) program to provide financing for school construction in the largest counties and in Baltimore City. Voters want a new focus on opioid prevention and treatment. I would support the Attorney General’s investigations, so that the State can proceed expeditiously to initiate lawsuits against manufacturers and distributors of opioids. I propose establishing an Opioid Addiction Restitution Fund for funds recovered by Maryland in these cases. These funds would be dedicated to the crisis to pay back the State for costs incurred and to provide needed health, education, prevention, treatment and recovery services.