The Baltimore County Progressive Democrats sent out a questionnaire to all of the candidates for District 8 Delegate in order to determine where they stood on our priority issues. Both Carl Jackson and Nina McHugh returned the questionnaire, and their answers are below in alphabetical order. We appreciate the time that they took to educate us on their views on these critical questions. Some answers have been lightly edited for length (150 word maximum), formatting, and small typos.
- What are your qualifications for this position?
Carl Jackson (CJ): I worked full time while I went to college and graduate school. I know what it’s like to juggle family life also while pursuing an education and career. I hold a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Business Administration.
I ran for Maryland State Delegate in Legislative District 8 during the 2018 campaign, knocking on over 20,000 doors along with my running mates Delegates Eric Bromwell and Harry Bhandari. I have a pulse on the politics of District 8. I have built relationships with our community associations and community leaders, and our business associations. I have built relationships with elected officials at the local, state, and federal levels. I served on County Executive Johnny Olszewski’s Transition Committee as Co-Chair of the Public Safety work group. I was also appointed by Councilwoman Cathy Bevins to serve on the Baltimore County Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee.
Nina McHugh (NM): I’m a single mom & former foster child, robbed of a formal educational, I was told too many times that I wouldn’t graduate high school. I graduated from college on the dean’s list with a Bachelors degree in Science. I wasn’t given the choice to pick my own path or else I’d be an attorney. I say that, to say this; I didn’t survive everything to grow up and not be a voice for change. I had to make myself believe that this was my destiny so that I could be a voice. Your vote could give kids a fighting chance, they otherwise will not have. Your vote allows for legislation to be put forward for the first time, in an amazing way that creates discussion needed for change.
I have 3 years of constituent services working in Annapolis. I know the process of creating bills & seeing it through.
- Given that Baltimore County is among the most segregated jurisdictions in Maryland, what will you do to help integrate our neighborhoods?
CJ: I grew-up in Baltimore County and I’m proud to call it my home. I believe that it is important to ensure state and county resources include communities that for decades have been overlooked. I will champion investment in job training programs and homeownership programs to help sustain and advance all communities, programs that help families protect and advance their well-being in all communities.
NM: Access to basic needs for children and families. Many families have difficulty choosing between putting gas in the car to get to work, putting food on the table, or getting the prescription, at the end of the month. It is becoming harder to support our families.
BGE: BGE demands a $500 security deposit from households that are late on paying their bills twice. Service will be discontinued until the security deposit has been paid. The details that warrant a security deposit are written in COMAP; this needs to be changed. Most people live on a fixed income & monies needed for a deposit must come from other sources that maintain survival of daily life.
CAR INSURANCE: Maryland does not have good public transportation. When you go to get car insurance, it’s not based on your driving history, but instead based on your FICO score. THIS IS DISCRIMINATION!
- What legislation or approaches would you work on to ensure that all Marylanders have high quality health insurance?
CJ: One of our most pressing priorities is getting the state Prescription Drug Affordability Board members thoroughly vetted to ensure they negotiate best prices for all Marylanders, especially our seniors. I will work with health advocates to continue our progress in ensuring that working people have access to quality healthcare.
NM: I would like to see Medicare for all, happen. Many people want to have a choice. I believe that in order to move towards universal health care, we should allow people to have additional options for private insurance on top of their universal health care.
The EpiPen in Maryland once cost about $100, while NARCAN is $130- $140 for 2 doses. Both NARCAN & EpiPen are lifesaving medications. only NARCAN is free over the counter. Essentially, they both were created for the same task just different scenario.
Co-payments on insulin have increased in price by 555% a month. This is a necessary daily medical treatment. Co-payments are as much as 600$-900$ a month. People have been taking less insulin to make it last longer, or try to order outside of US. We can do better and we can cap insulin prices at 100$ a month.
- Do you support fully funding the Kirwan Commission recommendations, and how would you aim to provide funding?
CJ: I support the recommendations of the Kirwan Commission. There is no issue more important to the future of Baltimore County, than equity and excellence in public education. I will work to identify funding, even as we await further recommendations on funding from the Commission. I supported the passage of the “Fix the Fund” initiative that was on the ballot last November. I support Speaker Adrienne Jones in reviewing tax credits that may be outdated and believe casino and other gaming revenues could provide a strong source of funding for increased investments in public education.
NM: Schools should be top priority! This would mean 50(+) Special education teachers, 21 (+) ESOL, 16(+) counselors, & 15(+) social workers.
Casino lock box were created for school funding. However, ambiguity in the language of this policy allowed loop holes. Government has been taking money from the top for general funds. The money needs to stay in the school system.
Money promised for schools are not getting to the classrooms. Instead, it’s being marginalized for overhead costs. Currently there are 7 administrators to every teacher when it should be the opposite.
Vouchers that are promised to private schools are taken from the BCPS funding. Public school funding should stay kept with public schools.
Approximately 15$-20$ million are given out in Bond Bills every year. There should be a regular audit for all money given out & more information about how and who is overseeing this process.
- How would you work to make higher education more accessible in Maryland?
CJ: I will work to build on the Promise scholarship to expand college participation.
NM: College costs are out of control! We have many people in Congress right now who have the same degree as those graduating the same colleges today. The difference is the price of the diploma! Community College should be free and University colleges need to be capped at a certain dollar amount.
Trade Schools & Job Readiness Programs: We need more skilled mechanics, HVAC, Welders, Electricians. These are professions that we need but we are pushing less & less of. Some of these professions are a dying trade, which hurts our economy as a whole. I would like to push for more apprenticeship and help rebuild our middle class. If we create incentives in a designated field of work, it will empower those wanting to increase their skill set to seek the higher education.
- What types of legislation would you sponsor or support in order to combat climate change?
CJ: I will support legislation that reduces Maryland’s carbon foot print. During the 2018 campaign election, I supported the Maryland Clean Energy Job Initiative that increases Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to 50% clean power by 2030.
NM: I want to engage Marylanders in key projects that restore & protect our ecosystem. Styrofoam Ban: Styrofoam can take about 500 years to disintegrate. Furthermore, Styrofoam is not biodegradable, this it does not break down. and will end up in the oceans because if it being light weight. This is harmful to our environment.
Wind farms: I support wind farms; they generate wind electricity that creates energy without using fossil fuels.
Oceans & Bays: 90% of the plastic polluting our oceans come from India & China. The oceans & bays connect to every corner of the earth. This is an issue that America needs to bring attention to. Annapolis legislators can begin the conversation that may lead to a national discussion.
- What legislation would you sponsor or support to significantly reduce gun violence in Maryland?
CJ: I will support gun safety legislation that restricts the access of criminals, the mentally ill, and abusers to firearms. I believe it is equally important to remove the partisan politics from the Handgun Review Board.
NM: There should be better controls on the sale of guns. I support the constitutional liberty to own firearms but I also think that guns should not get into the hands of people who do not deserve them, like people with mental instability, so we can stop senseless killings of school children or worshippers. There should also be better safety mechanisms on handguns, like smart guns with sensors to prevent accidental shootings which causes a lot of deaths every year. Last but not the least, the high capacity magazines for assault rifles should be banned.
Guns should not be sold in stores like Walmart or Dick’s or on internet websites. Gun purchase through a certified gun shop. employees must be trained to perform background checks & permits for access. Guns should be banned from homes where children reside.
- What is one piece of legislation that you would particularly champion in your first session?
CJ: I am interested in crafting legislation to ensure that “Nolle Prossed” adjudications do not show up on employment background checks harming job seekers from advancing their careers.
NM: I’m fighting for foster children to have a bill of rights. I’m fighting for the protection from identity theft of foster kids; they are most at risk. I’m fighting for clear & transparent policy for free college. I’m fighting for decent oversight of children once they transition to a home. I’m fighting for siblings to stay together. I’m fighting for basic human decency for a population that rarely experiences justice.
No one is fighting for foster kids in our legislation. And it’s a population we chose to ignore. I have the opportunity to change that and this opportunity may not be available again. The majority of Foster kids have their paths taken away from them before they even had a chance for one. I don’t know anyone who has made it through the system and got to where I am right now.