TAKOMA PARK — Six of the eight Democrats hoping to replace incumbent Gov. Larry Hogan (R) made their case to voters Sunday evening at Piney Branch Elementary School, during a candidate forum hosted by Progressive Neighbors.
The candidates in attendance – former NAACP president Ben Jealous, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, State Senator Rich Madaleno, attorney Jim Shea and former Obama administration officials Alec Ross and Krishanti Vignarajah – took questions from a moderator, Takoma Park Mayor Kate Stewart, as well as County residents, with subjects ranging from immigration, racial equity, housing and economic development to their ability to defeat incumbent Gov. Larry Hogan (R). Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker and perennial candidate Ralph Jaffe did not attend.
While there was little disagreement on policy matters among the candidates, there was an overarching theme for the event, which Madaleno summed up during his opening statement when he declared: “We are trying to bring back smart Democratic governance to the state of Maryland.”
As we approach Election Day 2018 next November as well as the primary in June it is important to understand all that is at stake in that more than likely transitional game-changing election. Certainly the Congressional elections across the country will be critical if there is any hope of undoing the damage to this country resulting from the Trump presidency.
Also critical to Maryland is who we place in the Governor's office to lead us in addressing many of the federal-level decisions that had direct impact on our state as well as implementing a long-term vision for our state.
I had the opportunity to sit down with State Senator and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Rich Madaleno to discuss the challenges faced by Maryland and why he is confident that he is in the best position to lead us forward. I was more than pleased with what I heard.
In the aftermath of the national disaster known as the 2016 presidential election, cries among Democrats were heard throughout the nation for new faces with new ideas. I believe I found one such new face when I sat down with Maryland Democratic gubernatorial candidate Alec Ross to discuss his campaign, his vision for Maryland and how he plans to apply his experience to turn that vision into a reality for Maryland.
I began the questioning asking him how he distinguishes his experience from the experience of the other candidates, namely the administrative experience of County Executives Rushern Baker and Kevin Kamenetz, the state legislative resume of State Senator Rich Madaleno and the national exposure of former head of the NAACP Ben Jealous.