Issues

Save Our Failing State Pensions

Maryland has over 400,000 active and retired state employees who depend on the $49 billion in assets that are invested in the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System. Unfortunately, my opponent, Clarence Lam, who sits on the House of Delegates’ pension oversight committee, has failed to protect the performance of these assets. According to the Washington Post and the Maryland Public Policy Institute, my opponent, along with the rest of the General Assembly and the Pension Oversight Committee, have allowed hedge fund managers to make over $400 million per year in management fees, even though the state pension fund is grossly underperforming. The mismanagement of our state pension fund has cost Maryland retirees billions in lost revenue. We cannot allow our state pension fund to underperform by 1.5% annually ($600 million) or to underperform by an average of 1.26% as it has over the previous 10 years which has resulted in a loss of $5 billion.  

I believe that we need to eliminate the over $400 million that the state pays annually to overly priced hedge fund managers, and instead utilize a low cost, passive management system as several other states have successfully done. The state pension fund has lost at least $1 billion over the past 2 years. The savings in fees to the overly priced hedge fund managers could instead be used to restore the state pension fund’s lost earnings, build new schools like Lansdowne High School or even fund the social cause of our choice. The fact is, by the pension oversight committee deciding to do nothing about this crisis, my opponent Clarence Lam has let us down and he doesn't deserve a promotion to the State Senate. As your state senator I will order a transparent accounting of all management fees paid and I will put a stop to the waste. Our retirees deserve security, our tax payers deserve protection from higher taxes and our children deserve new schools.  

See for yourself!

The Washington Post:

  1. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/md-politics/maryland-pays-more-than-320-million-in-fees-to-manage-pension-funds-whats-it-get-in-return/2016/06/12/add4319a-2c39-11e6-9de3-6e6e7a14000c_story.html?utm_term=.312d9688c542
  2. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/marylands-procrastinates-on-pension-fund-fixes--again/2017/02/08/65cda6b6-ee1b-11e6-9662-6eedf1627882_story.html?utm_term=.792d47b5ba73

The Maryland Public Policy Institute:

  1. https://www.mdpolicy.org/research/detail/marylands-20b-pension-punt
  2. https://www.mdpolicy.org/research/detail/2018-state-pension-fund-investment-performance-report

 

Crime and Public Safety

We need to protect and support our police and fire fighters so that they may better protect and serve us. Our sworn servants should never have to worry about frivolous lawsuits or internal policies that prevent them from executing their duties. I am committed to better pay, housing, training, working conditions and legislative protection for police and fire fighters.

Schools and Education

I support the construction of new schools, and the implementation and expansion of vocational technical programs. In addition, we must require new school construction to keep pace with rural development and expansion.

School Safety

As Marylanders and Americans, our greatest responsibility is to keep our children safe. In our schools we must maintain a secure and unified learning environment. We all have a story about a special teacher who may have made a key difference in our lives and I believe that we need more of those teachers. In addition, we need better surveillance, security and cooperation with law enforcement. And, we should never allow a student to feel rejected or cast out of our communities. We must have teachers that are trained to recognize dangerous behavior before tragedy strikes and we must have the resources to act. I believe that there is a place in society for everyone and that it is our duty to help each student find their best place.

The Economy & Taxes

In Maryland, truly anyone can achieve the highest level of individual accomplishment. Communities such as Lansdowne are in desperate need of revitalization; however, what they need most is a multi-faceted approach to helping them rebuild. First, we need our legislature to create tax incentives to rehabilitate homes and communities. Second, we need senators who can build partnerships with the business community to put as many people to work as possible, which will help end the culture of poverty and violence that is destroying the sense of community needed to provide the best opportunities for the people who need them the most, especially our young people who are currently simply trying to survive everyday life in their own neighborhoods. Annapolis needs to strengthen and enforce public corruption laws, so that all local government officials and employees are held accountable to the people they serve. And finally, individuals need lower taxes. What government can do to help this process is to stop raising taxes on individuals and instead find ways to reward businesses to provide as many incentives as possible to succeed.

Healthcare

I believe we need to make improvements to healthcare by making sure that all insurance is affordable, and that all insurance is accepted at each and every hospital or treatment facility of a patients choosing.Hospitals should not be allowed to "cherry pick" the services that they provide, and patients should not be bounced from one location to the next because of inconsistencies in coverage. I support complete "One Stop" healthcare.

Job Creation & Education

I believe that we need to develop more apprenticeship programs that allow businesses to hire employees at lower wages and develop them into skilled workers worthy of higher market wages after a specific period of time. Employer-sponsored apprentices would gain access to valuable on-the-job training and “earn while they learn.”

Immigration Reform

Our federal legislators have failed to make significant progress on today’s most pressing issues: comprehensive reform of healthcare, immigration and energy policy, especially as those issues relate to individual well-being and security. I have developed a comprehensive immigration "Pay to Work" reform plan that will raise billions of dollars for our state and local governments. This revenue can be used to reduce tax payer burdens, fund failing programs, rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and build new schools.

Energy

We should move toward supporting more state alternative energy programs and by extension supporting our farmers, who are vital to achieving the goal of energy independence in the future. Protecting our state's resources must become a priority. Businesses can be the leaders in this field with attractive incentives and efficient economic strategies.

Redistricting

Gerrymandering is, in my opinion, one of the most offensive practices in politics and all voters should be incensed at the mere mention of the word. Unfair redistricting has kept numerous highly qualified public servants from getting into office and improving the problems we all face, while it has allowed many unproductive politicians to stay in office and exploit their positions of power. We need a redistricting process that places communities in common sense, fair and symmetric boundaries so that no person, public servant or community leader is unfairly deprived of the opportunity to help make a difference.