Democratic gubernatorial candidate Peter Franchot says his qualifications for the state’s chief executive job rest on the experience he’s garnered during 20 years as a legislator serving on the appropriations committee, followed by 15 years as Comptroller. “I don’t need any on-the-job training. I’m ready to rock and roll as the state’s next governor.”
Franchot, who sat down for an interview with former State Senator Bobby Zirkin on behalf of the MSBA at Stevenson University, has lived in Takoma Park for 41 years. He dropped out of college to protest the Vietnam War, not realizing that the loss of his student deferment would lead him directly into military service. After two years in the Army followed by law school, Franchot moved into a career of public service, which he emphasized has always been focused on the budget. “There’s very little the bureaucracy can do to trick me these days.” He says his experience, “combined with a love for the state of Maryland,” will allow him to double the gross domestic product of the state and improve the quality of living in Maryland “in every nook and cranny of the state” if he is elected governor.
Franchot spoke at length about how his fiscal expertise and focus would inform almost every aspect of a Franchot administration, from crime to transportation to COVID-related economic relief. Noting that he would be tough on both police and civilian misconduct, he emphasized “No public safety, no economy.” Franchot sees himself as “compassionate and empathetic” and is very optimistic about the future of Baltimore and other high-crime areas. He believes that crime will naturally come under control with a more normal economy. In terms of transportation, Franchot notes that investments in mass transit and highways are crucial and wants to explore innovations, such as an elevated east-west monorail, that would be good for the state.
When asked about ways to improve the State’s response to future pandemics, Franchot stated that any shutdown should be coupled with immediate aid to those being asked to close down, without lengthy applications from business owners. He also linked a need for immigration to economic well-being, saying that we need young people to come into our state so that 30 years from now we can still have the kind of economic prosperity we are accustomed to.
Zirkin and Franchot’s discussion touched on issues especially relevant to members of Maryland’s legal profession. When asked whether Maryland should do away with electing Circuit Court judges, Franchot said Maryland citizens “should not be voting on judges, period.” He also believes the judicial system can take care of disciplining judges as needed. Turning to access to justice generally and the state’s response to the eviction crisis in particular, Franchot said that a fear of fraud had led Maryland’s botched effort at tenant relief.
In urging viewers to vote for him, Franchot said “the proof is in the pudding,” including a $2.5 billion surplus this year and again in the next fiscal year. “I’ve done my job as a good chief fiscal officer, I will make a great CEO because of that experience and that perspective and what I’ve learned from my many years focused on the budget both in the Legislature and the last 15 years, day in and day out, working on the Maryland economy.”
To view Peter Franchot’s interview in its entirety, click here.