Republican candidate Kelly Schulz has spent the last seven years as part of Governor Hogan’s administration. If elected governor, she plans to stay on the same path, “with some mild differences,” emphasizing a platform of “prosperity with a purpose” that would benefit all Maryland residents.
In an interview with former State Senator Bobby Zirkin on behalf of the MSBA at Stevenson University, Schulz spoke of a lengthy journey into public service, which included graduating from Hood College at the age of 36, making her the first in her family to earn a college degree. After working for a defense contractor and volunteering in Republican political campaigns, Schulz was approached to run for an open seat in the House of Delegates in 2010. She won twice, and represented Frederick County until 2014, when she resigned to become Hogan’s Secretary of the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. She has been Maryland Secretary of Commerce since 2018.
Schulz’s priority as governor would be to provide all Marylanders an equal opportunity for prosperity. She said that as Secretary of Commerce, her department worked to remove burdens and barriers so that companies could increase jobs, noting that, sometimes, discussion of business is limited to “talking about the business that is a brick and mortar type of a business as opposed to the people that they’re actually employing.” She said “good business owners, those good stakeholders, that are just trying to be able to make sure we create meaningful jobs and careers for our families, our neighbors, and the communities” are key to her vision of providing “everybody across the state, no matter what zip code you live in … an equal opportunity” for prosperity.
Schulz said she would aim to attract new businesses to Maryland, noting that the tax system in the state is the main reason businesses go elsewhere. In addition, she said Maryland needs to incentivize its tax system so that older people can afford to remain in Maryland after they retire.
Schulz also discussed public safety and the role of education in reducing crime. She was emphatic that there can be no move toward defunding police; instead, departments need sufficient resources for hiring and retaining law enforcement officers. She agrees with Governor Hogan’s proposals for increased sentencing guidelines for repeat violent offenders, but pointed to the larger issue of education. Schulz said inmates have an average reading level of between 5th and 8th grade, and there is a need to determine how the educational system failed them. She supports school choice and parent vouchers so that no parent has to put their child in a failing school. She thinks the recently enacted Blueprint for education is too expensive. “I believe a big part of educational opportunities has to do with career advancement, with understanding what you’re going to do after graduation,” and noted that the Department of Labor was only called in once to testify at Blueprint hearings on what could be done to advance career opportunities for students.
In closing, Schulz said that her administration would be one of “continued dialogue, debate, and a checks and balance to the system that we have right now.” Schulz has seen those in power do things because they can, and pledged to enact policy “because we should, not because we can.”
To view Kelly Schulz’s interview in its entirety, click here.