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On behalf of the MSBA, former State Senator Bobby Zirkin interviewed Wes Moore, a Democratic candidate for governor. The interview took place at Stevenson University on Thursday afternoon. Moore was born and raised in Maryland and describes himself as a Marylander through and through. Moore’s father died from a treatable virus when Moore was young, which caused a singular impact that inspired him to pursue a life of public service. He believes that Maryland is a remarkable state, but there are notable inequities. Moore stated that the people of Maryland need to grow collectively and that he could help them achieve that objective. 

If elected governor, in his first year in office Moore would build an administration that aims for results and inclusiveness and focuses “on the idea of creating work, wages, and wealth, and pathways to all three things for Marylanders.” Moore stated this means, in part, properly implementing the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, which he believes can be done without increasing income tax. It also includes providing universal pre-Kindergarten, investing in trade and apprenticeship programs, creating proper work pathways, and addressing wage gaps. He would also like to accelerate the $15 minimum wage “because right now we have too many Marylanders who are working, and in some cases working multiple jobs, and still living below the poverty line.” 

To Moore, focusing on transportation, education, and making the state more competitive for businesses will lead to his intended goals of establishing work, increasing wages, and helping people build generational wealth. He explained that we have a new balance sheet for the state, with $3.7 billion coming into the state in discretionary capital and $1.7 billion for education, which Moore believes can be leveraged into the additional resources needed to fund the Blueprint in the future. 

Zirkin then asked Moore about public safety. Moore thinks that violence interruption programs and reform of the parole and probation system are key to reducing violent crime. He explained that parole and probation officers are overwhelmed and have greater caseloads than they can handle. He also thinks they need better tools to help returning citizens rejoin society. For example, people on parole or probation cannot live in public housing, even if their families live there, and face restrictions with regard to work and education. Moore believes such limitations force a high level of recidivism and that removing such restrictions could help parole and probation officers perform their duties more effectively. Zirkin and Moore also discussed sentencing; while Moore believes Governor Hogan’s focus on repeat offenders is appropriate, he opposes mandatory and increased sentencing. He believes that focusing on reforming the parole and probation programs and introducing violence interruption programs will better achieve the intended objective of reducing crime. 

Moore asked Marylanders for his support because the challenges the state is facing, like learning loss, job loss, inequity within pay grades, and wealth “are not new, but are generational challenges.” To address these challenges, “we need a generational change. We need to be able to look at this from a cross-sector.” Moore explained that this is what he has done his entire career and advised he would place his executive experience against anyone else in this race and asked Marylanders for their support as the race continues to push forward. 

You can view Wes Moore’s entire interview here