Sunday, November 10, 2013

JUICE: Dutch to Decide on Governor by FEB, Heather Mizeur's LG Pick & Progressive Endorsement, 2014 Issues & GOP Odds

Below Maryland Juice provides a brief roundup of news bits that may be of interest to politicos:

JUICE #1: REP. DUTCH RUPPERSBERGER CLARIFIES THOUGHTS ON CAMPAIGN FOR GOVERNOR // DECISION BY FEBRUARY - Yesterday Maryland Juice discussed a recent interview with Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger that appeared in The Capitol Gazette. In expansive remarks about state and national politics, Ruppersberger revealed that he was leaning against running in the June 2014 Democratic Primary for Governor. But a follow-up article by The Daily Record's Bryan Sears contains additional thoughts and a new timeline from Congressman Ruppersberger (excerpt below):
DAILY RECORD: Dutch Ruppersberger says he would shake up the Democratic primary if he entered the race for Maryland governor.... Ruppersberger has been considering the race for governor off and on for more than a year but he said his interest waned as he traveled Syria and Iraq in January as part of his official congressional duties....

Ruppersberger said he's spending time with supporters studying state issues and putting together a plan to raise money should he decide to get in. "If I get in I plan to run to win," Ruppersberger said. "I don't think I'll need as much money as some others. Polls show I'm really well known and popular in the Baltimore area.... My only timeline is the filing deadline," he said. Ruppersberger has until 9 p.m. Feb. 25 to decide.
Notably, Rep. Ruppersberger previously stated he would make a decision on a gubernatorial run by Thanksgiving, and he has now pushed that timetable out to the February 2014 filing deadline.

JUICE #2: HEATHER MIZEUR TO ANNOUNCE RUNNNING-MATE THIS WEDNESDAY? - Maryland Juice just received an email blast from Heather Mizeur's campaign seeking phonebanking volunteers to help promote an event this Wednesday, where it appears she'll be announcing her pick for Lieutenant Governor:

Heather's excited about her upcoming announcement on Wednesday, November 13th. We need your help to spread the word.

On Monday and Tuesday, we will be hosting a phone bank at our office. Join us as well tell our supporters all about their first chance to see Heather alongside her pick for Lieutenant Governor.

Location – Mizeur HQ, 1430 Fenwick Lane, Silver Spring
Monday 11/11 – 2:00-5:00pm and  5:00-8:00pm
Tuesday 11/12 – 5:00-8:00pm

When can you come in for a shift? Click here to sign up. Please bring your cell phone.

We're looking forward to having a good crowd at the event. Your calls will make it happen.

Andrew Katz
Field Director
Friends of Heather Mizeur
Mizeur's campaign followed up on this volunteer solicitation with the following event announcement:

Our campaign made big news recently. I announced my 10 point plan to make sure Maryland families have an economy that works for us. My plan will strengthen the middle class, make sure our economy is built to grow throughout the 21st century, and provide the jobs Marylanders need.

I am keeping the momentum moving forward this week. On Wednesday, November 13th, I will be in Silver Spring for a special announcement. You will not want to miss this event. Join me on Wednesday and be the first to hear the news.

Event Details:

Date: Wednesday, November 13th
Time: 5:30pm

American Legion Post 41,
905 Sligo Ave, Silver Spring, MD

Click here to RSVP

I look forward to having you seeing you at the announcement. It will be a great event.



JUICE #3: HEATHER MIZEUR NETS PROGRESSIVE ENDORSEMENT FOR GOVERNOR - Maryland Juice received the press release below from the Montgomery County-based advocacy group Progressive Neighbors announcing an endorsement of Delegate Heather Mizeur in the race for Governor.  Maryland Juice previously flagged some differences between Gansler and Mizeur's responses to Progressive Neighbors on hot-button issues ranging from marijuana decriminalization and public financing of campaigns, to fracking and the minimum wage. In their endorsement statement, the group noted that one of the factors in their process was evaluating issue surveys from the candidates, but only Doug Gansler and Heather Mizeur provided responses (excerpt below):
Press Release

Announcement of Endorsement of Heather Mizeur for Governor

Progressive Neighbors is proud to endorse Delegate Heather Mizeur in her campaign to become the next Governor of Maryland because she is the most progressive candidate in the race. An accomplished legislator, able to reach across the aisle and bring ideological opponents together in pursuit of common interests, Delegate Mizeur will also be Maryland's first female governor as well as possibly becoming America's first openly gay governor.

Our endorsement process was intensive, including a questionnaire dealing with a range of issues, from economic to social – the candidates' responses are posted on our website, Both Delegate Mizeur and Attorney General Doug Gansler provided extensive, thoughtful responses to the questions generated by the Progressive Neighbors endorsement subcommittee. Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown was repeatedly invited to submit his responses, but chose not to do so. We considered the candidates’ responses in our deliberations, as well as their records....

JUICE #4: GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATES COME OUT ON THE ISSUES // READ MY SUMMARY OF BROWN, GANSLER AND MIZEUR'S PLATFORMS THUS FAR - Speaking of issues, this week Heather Mizeur released a slew of proposals on issues related to jobs, taxes and the economy. As a result, Maryland Juice thought this might be a good time to highlight the various platform items the gubernatorial candidates have released thus far. We previously compared survey responses between Gansler and Mizeur on progressive issues including fracking and marijuana reform, as well as responses by Brown, Gansler and Mizeur on schools issues. But below you can see our summary and round-up of the official campaign platform positions from Anthony Brown, Doug Gansler and Heather Mizeur thus far. We also provide some brief commentary on the gubernatorial candidates' issue papers below:

  • Ending Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault - Includes items to: 1) establish domestic violence screening, referral and assistance at all Maryland community hospitals; 2) require cell phone carriers to allow domestic violence victims to pull out of their partners' cell phone contracts without penalty; 3) provide a $5 million domestic violence innovation fund for local programs; and 4) establish a statewide domestic violence stats program to promote cross-agency collaboration.
  • Competitive Business Climate - Includes items to: 1) Reform our tax code to generate job investments; streamline regulatory & licensing requirements to reduce business costs; 2) promote cost-effective energy generation and improve delivery of energy delivery through the grid; 3) expand affordable housing, health care and transportation; 4) provide a court system that allows individuals to get justice but keep awards fair; 5) facilitate small and medium size businesses access to capital by working with banks; 6) invest in high school and college job skills training; 7) make fiscally responsible improvements in funding for transit, education, public safety, health care, parks and the arts; and 8) and maintain & redevelop infrastructure through creative and conventional financing.
  • Universal Pre-K - Includes items to expand to universal all-day Pre-K by the year 2022.

  • Renewable Energy Proposals to Fight Bay Pollution - Includes items to: 1) Create innovation grants for companies to who can turn animal waste and other contributors to Bay pollution into energy generators; 2) spur investment in renewable energy by providing credit multipliers for certain energy sources; 3) encourage energy production from chicken litter through "aggregate net metering" policies; 4) provide state support for chicken litter energy projects; 5) incentivize utilities to generate power from farm waste; 6) encourage green energy through a voluntary surcharge to be distributed to local farmers; and 7) green energy marketing for renewable "Farm Power."
  • "Build it in Maryland" Job Creation Plan - Includes items to: 1) Give preference to Maryland businesses when competing for state contracts and procurement; 2) Subsidize workforce training and provide manufacturing tax credits and grants for "Industrial Business Zones," 3) Extend tax credits to Maryland businesses receiving R&D grants to actually manufacture their products in Maryland; 4) Provide tax abatement for businesses renovating vacant buildings using renewable energy systems; 5) Create a grant program to help 12 small and medium sized businesses to manufacture and export Maryland-made goods within 12 months, 6) Develop a summer workshop for high school and college students geared toward the high-tech manufacturing industry; and 7) Launch an online marketing campaign to support "Made in Maryland" products
  • Responsible Re-entry Reforms - Includes items to: 1) Establish a cabinet official to focus on re-entry of ex-offenders into society; 2) Create re-entry centers within prisons; 3) Establish re-entry courts to reduce recidivism; 4) Conduct an annual cost-benefit analysis of imprisonment, recidivism, and crime rates; 5) Restrict access to criminal records for those with demonstrated clean records; 6) Create challenge grants to incentivize recruitment of social workers for high-stress environments; 7) Provide transitional housing for ex-offenders; 8) Sponsor constructive family engagement opportunities for children of offenders; 9) Use technology (eg: tablets) to build individualized educational programs for offenders; and 10) Convene summits of nonprofits to coordinate statewide support networks.
  • Educational Initiatives Targeting Achievement Gap - Includes items to: 1) Expand access to all-day pre-K to more low-income households; 2) Promote parental engagement in limited-English households through grants to incentivize schools to develop outreach and training programs; 3) Create an open data portal on school system information to facilitate accountability and planning; 4) Build a "Governor's Teacher Corps" to provide mentorship and professional development support to new teachers; 5) Form partnerships with nonprofits and philanthropists to provide after-school, summer and Saturday school programs; and 6) Create a volunteer coprs to assist at-risk children.
  • Good Government Overhaul Proposals - Includes items to: 1) Create a Public Information Inspector General to collect public information across agencies and conduct performance audits; 2) Consolidate existing databases into a user-friendly portal; 3) Adopt an Open Meeting Records Rule to archive meetings with outside parties regarding state regulatory changes; 4) Create a database of state contracts and campaign contributions made by the winning corporations, officers and employees; 5) Host open source innovation labs to develop transparency tech tools; and 6) Provide "sunshine" grants to local governments to replicate the state data portals.

  • Give Marylanders Much Needed Tax Relief - Includes items to lower taxes for 90% of Marylanders by reinstating a millionaire's tax.
  • Institute a Living Wage - Includes items to phase in a living wage to $10.10/hour by 2016, up to $16.70 by 2020.
  • Strengthen Job Training - Includes items to: 1) Increase funding for the Maryland EARN program, which brings together employers, government agencies and educational institutions to train workers; 2) require that grant partners in the EARN program include certain numbers of low-income participants, and 3) eliminate waiting lists for residents seeking GED assistance through increased funding.
  • Provide Tax Relief to Small Businesses - Includes items to: 1) Institute "combined reporting" to prevent big corporations from dodging tax payments in Maryland, and 2) Use "combined reporting" revenues for assistance to small businesses in the form of local property tax subsidies.
  • Make Earned Sick Leave Available to All Maryland Workers - Includes items to require Maryland employers to provide 30 minutes of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked (for both part-time and full-time employees), up to 7 days per year.
  • Rebuild Our Schools - Includes items to: 1) Create "school opportunity bonds" (aka 63-20 bonds) through public-private partnerships to reduce loan costs and induce companies to provide capital for school infrastructure; and 2) Allow local governments to add a penny to their sales tax to finance school construction.
  • Grow Maryland's Innovation Economy - Includes items to: 1) Find ways of commercializing academic research in Maryland; 2) Invest in ways to make Maryland a leader in nanotechnology development; and 3) Make cybersecurity a core part of Maryland's economy by building workforce skills and marketing Maryland as a leader in the industry.
  • Invest in Maryland's Public Infrastructure - Includes items to: 1) Invest in public transportation, starting with the Purple Line and Red Line, and also including bike and pedestrian access, the CCT, bus rapid transit, and potentially a high-speed rail system from Washington and Baltimore to New York; 2) Rebuild roads and bridges, specifically in the I-270 corridor, the Harry Nice and Thomas Johnson Bridges, and around BRAC facilities; and 3) Expand the Port of Baltimore.
  • Streamline Our Regulatory System - Includes items to: 1) Streamline or scrap business regulations that serve no public good; 2) Create a "Business Advocate" cabinet post to hear and investigate complaints from the public and business community; 3) Develop a single statewide set of procurement procedures, instead of delegating the job to various agencies; and 4) Reduce turnaround time on responses to bids by one-third.
  • Expand Sustainable Clean Energy Jobs - Includes items to: 1) Make Maryland a manufacturing hub for wind farms; 2) Removing regulatory barriers to clean energy production; 3) Doubling the share of renewable energy sources that Maryland electricity suppliers are required to use to 40% by 2030; 4) Encourage more clean biomass energy production for commercial and residential buildings; 5) Provide low-interest loans to builders constructing low-energy homes; and 6) Help counties promote ecotourism.
  • Make Pre-K Available to Every Child in Maryland - Includes items to phase in universal access to pre-K, starting with all 4-year olds, and then expanding to 3-year-olds.
  • Improve Access to Child Care for Maryland Families - Includes items to: 1) Expand access to and increase the benefits of Maryland's Child Care Subsidy program; and 2) Expand number of child care providers covered by state voucher program.
  • Expand Maryland After School and Summer Programs - Includes items to expand access to after school and summer programs for K-8 children through a phased increase in funding.
  • Renew Our Commitment to Public Education Funding - Includes items to convene a "Thornton 2.0" to modify school funding to consider teacher pay and pensions, inflation, class size, teacher recruitment and retention, educational support services, infrastructure, and technological improvements.
  • Free Our Educators from Teaching to the Test - Includes items to: 1) Delay use of newly implemented "PARCC" academic achievement tests for teacher and principal evaluations for four years; 2) Study alternatives to PARCC that consider problem solving, creativity and innovation; and 3) Give counties more flexibility in teacher evaluations.

Maryland Juice Analysis of Gubernatorial Campaign Platforms: Most Maryland political pundits believe that the 2014 gubernatorial contest will be effectively decided in the June Democratic Primary, and recent election results demonstrate a sizeable number of progressive voters in the Free State. But perhaps predictably, the major platform items from the two candidates leading the money race thus far (Brown & Gansler) are fairly cautious in their approach and so far lack "red meat" for the party base. Brown has proactively released items on education, domestic violence, sexual assault, and improving the state's business climate. Meanwhile, Gansler has proactively discussed transparency reforms, environmental protections, issues relating to ex-offenders re-entering society, jobs and education. Most of the aforementioned issues will not prove to be terribly controversial among Democratic Primary voters. On the other hand, Mizeur has proactively released a series of proposals relating to jobs, economic justice, and numerous education issues -- but the specifics in a number of her proposals have a decidedly progressive bent.

All three candidates are promoting expansion of universal pre-K in Maryland, and all are planning to push jobs and economic development initiatives. But the devil is obviously in the details, and already there are some interesting differences between the candidates. Gansler talks about the environment, for example, but his platform does not address the issue of fracking -- which may be the most heated environmental issue in Maryland right now. At the same time, Mizeur has come out strongly against fracking, and the issue has not been discussed in Brown's platform yet. Similarly, Gansler raises issues within our criminal justice system, but so far only Mizeur has stepped out front in calling for marijuana decriminalization. Gansler and Brown have not yet weighed in on the increasingly high-profile issue.

Economic issues may be where we see the largest differences between the candidates. Though all three candidates support increasing the minimum wage to about $10/hour, Mizeur is calling for an ongoing, phased-in increase until we reach a living wage. Notably, Gansler called for a corporate tax cut immediately before endorsing a minimum wage increase. Lastly, in Mizeur's latest round of proposals, she is calling for a restoration of the state's millionaire's tax, which lawmakers allowed to expire recently. Mizeur's plan is to increase taxes on those making $500,000 and above, and to lower taxes for most other taxpayers. Notably, newly elected New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is theoretically an emerging harbinger of progressive political issues (eg: War on Drugs, smart growth, and progressive taxation) just announced a similar plan to increase taxes on those making over half-a-million. So on the issues right now, I would say the advantage goes to Mizeur. This should not be a surprise though, as success for her campaign is contingent upon exciting the party base, while Brown is likely trying to play it safe in the front-runner seat. Will Brown and Gansler try and compete for the hearts and minds of primary voters? For the health of the party activists, I sure hope so.

One last flag I'll raise here, is that Brown has a quiet but potentially curious item in his platform on creating a "competitive business climate" in Maryland. He states a goal to "Provide a civil justice system that allows deserving individuals to get justice and hold wrongdoers accountable while ensuring that awards are fair and equitable" (Item #5 in this document). My fear here is that "when ensuring awards are fair," Brown is talking in code about so-called "tort reform," which has been the business community's advocacy effort to reduce the ability of consumers to get justice when dealing with corporations making dangerous products or services. During the George W. Bush era, progressives had to deal with ridiculous hysteria maligning consumer protection attorneys, claiming that they were driving up the costs of health care and other goods and services through frivolous litigation. But the stronger reason for insurance premium increases at the time, was that companies had gambled customers' insurance premiums on risky investments and needed to invent a bogeyman for their desired policy changes. Hopefully Brown is not embarking on a campaign to implement so-called "tort reform" in Maryland.

JUICE #5: REPUBLICAN PUNDITS WEIGH ODDS OF WINNING STATEWIDE IN 2014 // PROGNOSIS = BLEAK - Maryland Juice caught an interesting segment on WYPR interviewing GOP pundit and consultant Richard Cross on the Maryland Republicans' chances for statewide office in 2014. Cross suggests that the situation is bleak and that the state party should focus on local races in 2014 (transcript excerpt below):
RICHARD CROSS (VIA WYPR): I don't think this is a situation in Maryland where any Republican can win statewide, and I would point to kind of two pieces of evidence. First of all, the results with the ballot initiatives in Maryland last time around. They were put forth by the Republican Party, they were advocated by the Republican Party, and they all went down hard. Secondly, the most interesting stat I've seen in the cycle is Governor O'Malley's approval rating, which according to Gonzalez and the most recent poll is 48% approve and 40% disapprove. Given some of the controversial measures that went through the legislature earlier this year, I don't see the kind of second term drag on Governor O'Malley that Governor Schaeffer experienced or Governor Glendening experienced. In order for someone like Mr. Craig to have a chance, Governor O'Malley would have to have a meltdown that brought his numbers into the high 30's or mid-30's.


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