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Heather Mizeur 2013 Progressive Neighbors Candidate Survey

Heather Mizeur 2013 Progressive Neighbors Candidate Survey

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Published by David Moon
http://www.marylandjuice.com - Heather Mizeur responses to 2013 candidate survey from Montgomery County advocacy group Progressive Neighbors.
http://www.marylandjuice.com - Heather Mizeur responses to 2013 candidate survey from Montgomery County advocacy group Progressive Neighbors.

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Published by: David Moon on Oct 18, 2013
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01/06/2014

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Progressive Neighbors
Questions for Maryland Gubernatorial Candidates2014
DELEGATE HEATHER MIZEUR 
Better government
1.
 
Progress has been made in improving transparency in the General Assembly over the past four years, with greater access to online tools for the public, the posting online of committee votes,and increased audio and video coverage of legislative deliberations. Much still remains to bedone, however, including posting of subcommittee votes, committee amendments and votes,and the institution of a system to allow constituents to sign up to testify online the day before acommittee hearing so they don't have to spend all day in Annapolis waiting to testify. Do yousupport these improvements, and do you have others you’d like to offer? What would you do tomake the Assembly a more democratic institution? Do you support stripping the party centralcommittees of the power of appointment, which ultimately lies with the Governor, and are youwilling to support special elections to fill legislative vacancies?
Open government is a cornerstone of democracy, and Annapolis has a long way to go beforeit is considered the most accessible and transparent capital. As governor I will include morevoices and opinions in the conversations and solutions, which is why I strongly supportimproving open access and government transparency in state government.I have been dubbed by the
Baltimore Sun 
as “the Transparency Queen” in Annapolis forlegislation I advanced with Progressive Neighbors in 2010 called the Maryland OpenGovernment Act (MOGA). Our advocacy led to posting committee votes online, webcastingcommittee hearings, and eliminating the $800 access fee for the General Assembly website.We followed that up in 2011 with creation of the Joint Committee on Transparency and OpenGovernment, a permanent legislative body tasked with promoting transparency and opengovernment.These advancements were just a first step - we have a long road ahead to achieve fulltransparency. The original version of MOGA would have enabled constituents to sign uponline to testify at public hearings and would have required standing committees to publishtheir bill hearing order in advance. Sometimes we have to crawl before we walk before werun. As Governor, I will work with the legislature to adopt these and other reforms,including the posting of budget, subcommittee, and amendment votes online; strongerdisclosure rules for lobbyists with personal and professional relationships with currentlegislators; and streamlining budget and other legislative documents to make them morereadable and accessible to the general public.We live in a representative democracy, and we should always look to voters to choose theirrepresentation, which is why I support special elections to fill legislative vacancies. I believeany move in this direction must first involve considerations about the best approach toensure strong voter turnout and limit the costs of a special election.
 
 
2.
 
Maryland is one of the wealthiest states in the US. Unfortunately, some of our state’s wealthiestresidents and most successful corporations avoid paying their fair share of taxes. Assessingluxury taxes and requiring that businesses file combined tax reports would generate revenuesand help small and local businesses compete.Would you support combined reporting and luxury taxes? Please explain briefly.
I strongly support closing the combined reporting tax loophole and restoring themillionaires’ tax, and have been a supporter and lead co-sponsor of both efforts. It isshameful that Maryland allows some of our largest corporate titans like Verizon, Pepco, andComcast to not pay a penny in corporate tax. Thousands of small businesses based here inMaryland operating with far tighter margins and without the resources to seek tax avoidancemust pay this tax every year. I introduced the Main Street Employer Tax Rebate Act in 2013to close the combined reporting loophole and use the revenue for targeted tax breaks forour local businesses. This approach levels the playing field and puts money back in thehands of small businesses, which are our proven job creators. This will be one of my toppriorities as Governor.
3.
 
The juvenile justice scandal in Baltimore raises immediate concerns, and Maryland’s prison population has nearly tripled to over 22,000 since 1980. People of color are disproportionatelyarrested, convicted, and incarcerated. This is a civil rights issue.Would you advocate for legislation and policies establishing creative approaches to crime andrehabilitation--alternatives to incarceration? Please explain briefly.
Yes, I will advocate strongly for criminal justice reform and plan to make it a central piece of my campaign policy platform.To take on the issue, I want to us tackle generational problems affecting our strugglingcommunities, like improving every school; ending racial bias within the criminal justicesystem; reforming drug laws that incarcerate non-violent offenders; offering better access tore-entry and workforce programs; expanding more afterschool opportunities; endingrestrictions on voting for ex-offenders; and improving access to jobs and housing.
4.
 
In 2013, the General Assembly passed a law providing for same day voter registration, but onlyduring the early voting period. The State Administrator of the Board of Elections objected to providing same day registration on Election Day itself, when the vast majority of votes are cast,claiming that it was not feasible. Do you support expanding same day voter registration toElection Day, and if so, what steps would you take to see it become law?
Protecting the right to vote is one of the most sacred duties we have, and I take the act of voting very seriously. On my 18
th
birthday, I requested an excused absence from school so Icould register to vote. As a legislator, I was a strong advocate for adoption of early voting,expanding our early voting sites, and same-day registration during early voting, and believewe should act immediately to expand same-day registration to Election Day. As Governor, Iwill use the power of the office to win its passage, regardless of the support or opposition of the State Administrator of the Board of Elections.
5.
 
Do you support enacting state campaign finance reforms and laws that curtail corporateinfluence on elections, and laws that enable voluntary public financing of campaigns for stateoffice in a manner that would allow candidates to receive funding after demonstrating
 
significant community support?
Money plays far too great a role in state and federal politics. I am a strong supporter of campaign finance reforms that curtail the level of spending on our elections. I haveconsistently supported state bills seeking to turn back the impact of the
Citizens United 
decision here in Maryland. I have also been a strong supporter and co-sponsor of legislationseeking to establish public campaign financing in Maryland.
Human Rights
6.
 
The transgender community has been fighting to be included in statewide civil rights protections since 2007. While there are ordinances in Montgomery, Howard and Baltimorecounties, as well as Baltimore city, there is no statewide law (as there is in 17 states, DC andPuerto Rico) to go along with the sexual orientation antidiscrimination law passed here in 2001.Do you support a comprehensive gender identity law for Maryland, including publicaccommodations protections, and will you actively lobby the legislative leadership to make ithappen?
I strongly support a comprehensive gender identity law for Maryland that includes publicaccommodations, and have long been a co-sponsor of this legislation. I will commit thesame level of passionate, committed advocacy for passing the gender identity bill that I didduring our fight to pass marriage equality, and will make it a legislative priority for myadministration.
7.
 
After the passage of federal legislation (ACA
aka
Obamacare), it falls to the Maryland Stategovernment to establish “exchanges” to provide healthcare to people in our state; therefore thenext governor’s actions will be critical on this issue.Do you agree that healthcare is a human right? How would you lead efforts to improvehealthcare in Maryland? Would you support legislation and policies to begin a transition to astate-financed public health system? Please explain briefly.
Access to quality, affordable health care is a right, not a privilege. I’m determined to chart apath forward that best meets the needs of all Marylanders in both the short-term and long-term as we continue to expand affordable health care. There is no silver bullet to solve thecrisis of underserved communities, but if we collaborate and ensure this remains a priority,we can successfully ensure affordable and comprehensive care for all Maryland families.I will bring nearly two decades of health policy experience to the governor’s office. Duringmy seven years in the legislature, I advanced a number of bills to expand health care accessto a range of vulnerable communities. These efforts include allowing young adults to remainon family health plans to age 25; covering uninsured children and former foster youth;expanding access to family planning; and improving coverage for amputees.My experience and record will inform how Maryland proceeds in the coming years on healthcare. I will push Maryland to use every lever available through the ACA and elsewhere toexpand coverage, lower costs, and improve access. That includes expanding coverageoptions for low-income women and children to draw down more federal resources;expanding provider flexibility and support to improve access to services; reforming long-term care; and exploring universal coverage options similar to Vermont’s approach.

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