Candidate name: Dana Beyer
Party affiliation: Democrat
Place of residence: Chevy Chase
Date of birth: Feb. 9, 1952
Place of birth: New York, NY
Current occupation: Advocate and activist; Physician and surgeon, retired
Education: B.A., Cornell University, College of Arts and Sciences; M.D., University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Community associations, involvement: NCTE (National Center for Transgender Education), Board of Advisors; Equality Maryland, Board of Directors; Teachthefacts.org, Board of Directors; NGLTF (National Gay and Lesbian Task Force), Legislative Council; HRC (Human Rights Campaign), Federal Club; Democratic National Committee; Chairman’s Circle, Gay and Lesbian Leadership Council; DES Sons International Network; Moderator and Medical advisor GenderPac; Maryland NOW; Maryland NARAL
Professional associations: American Academy of Ophthalmology; American Association for the Advancement of Science; American Chemical Society
Family: Two sons, David, 21, and Jonatha, 18
Campaign office address and telephone: 8 East Irving Street, Chevy Chase, MD; 301-652-2040;
Candidate web site: www.danabeyer.com
What are your top three priorities for the next four years, if elected?
* Advancing the state towards universal health care
* Instituting a program of energy independence, by creating an Energy Trust to increase the use of renewables to reduce traditional and greenhouse pollution, bolster public transport with WMATA and new light rail, ramping up green housing including retrofitting older buildings for affordable housing (MPDUs)
* Fully funding Thornton (GCEI) and higher education, and improving science education
How would you rate the performance of the current representatives of your district: excellent, good, fair or poor? Why?
Excellent. Senator Grosfeld and Delegate Madaleno have been leaders in the Assembly, fearlessly standing for the liberal causes of our district, such as women’s and civil rights. Delegate Gutierrez has been a strong advocate for education and the rights of minorities, and Delegate Lawton has very ably taken over for John Hurson and been extremely responsive to the district’s needs during her short tenure.
Do you support amending the constitution to give the legislature more budget authority?
Yes. The Governor has too much control, able to simply ignore the Legislature and refuse to fund programs duly passed. Balance needs to be restored.
Is the rate of growth in Maryland too fast, too slow or about right, and why?
Too fast. We need to channel the distribution of population growth away from open spaces and towards high-density regions which must be adequately served by public transport. We are lagging behind in infrastructure and need a breather to catch up. We need to slow any further development until the necessary infrastructure is planned and budgeted before development is approved, and with costs significantly covered by the developers themselves.
What programs would you like to add or cut from the state budget? How would you pay for additional programs? What would you do with the money from any cuts you make?
* Fully fund the Thornton GCEI (Geographic Cost of Education Index) — $72 million
* Fully fund the MCHP (Maryland Children’s Health) — $ 30 mil
* Stop diverting monies from Program Open Space
* Reinstitute the 2001 Glendening Executive order to state government to require 6% of energy purchases (which total annually 1 billion kilowatt hours) from renewables.
There is currently, according to the Maryland Budget and Tax Policy Institute, a $1 billion surplus to cover these costs. I would engage in a serious debate about tax policy which would not preclude raising taxes, including taxes on services, or rescinding the 1997 income tax reductions. In addition, we have long-term responsibilities to state employees including health care and pensions which have yet to be addressed.
Are there specific taxes or fees that you would cut?
No. I would impose a fee on ‘‘gas guzzlers” (the ‘‘hummer” tax) that would then be used to discount the cost of hybrids - called a ‘‘feebate” system.
Do you support slot machines for Maryland? Why or why not?
No. I do not believe the state should be encouraging gambling, which adversely affects those communities that can afford it the least, and it encourages a lottery mentality, discouraging our children from doing the necessary work to succeed in the long term. It’s immoral.
Do you support giving driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants?
Yes. Illegal immigration is a national problem which must be controlled at the border. Once people are living here, it makes more sense to integrate them into the system, have them pay their taxes, help them to acclimate and to provide the state with the documentation needed to determine proper levels of service.
Do you support in-state tuition to illegal immigrants?
I didn’t know this was an issue, but if an immigrant fulfills the residency requirements as everyone else does, I don’t see why not.
What is the biggest problem facing higher education and what would you do to solve it?
Keeping education affordable. Thanks to Governor Glendening we have a first-class system, and now we must provide the means for students to benefit from that system. I would encourage families to use 529 accounts by maintaining its state tax advantage, I would lobby Congress to maintain and increase the availability of Pell and other Federal grants, and I would have the state increase the availability of scholarship monies for those with merit and need. I also believe we should have scholarships in place solely based on merit as an incentive to encourage students of any social class to aim higher.
Where would you get more money for the Transportation Trust Fund?
A $0.50-0.75 per gallon gas tax.
What specific transportation projects do you see as priorities for the state?
Building the Purple Line from Bethesda to New Carrolton and eventually across the Wilson Bridge and⁄or looping the Red Line from Silver Spring to Medical Center and then carrying through with light rail. Building the Corridor Cities Transitway. Extending Metro through Glenmont to Olney. Intersection improvements where needed.
Should there be a dedicated funding source for Washington and Baltimore mass transit?
Yes, there should be, and there should also be no further new road construction without a counter-balancing commitment to public transportation.
Would you re-regulate the electricity industry?
No. The industry is no longer vertically integrated. I would replace the PSC with consumer advocates to act as effective watchdogs. I would impose constraints by encouraging municipal aggregation or similar volume purchasing plans, and I would force PEPCO and BGE to purchase its energy needs at multiple auctions rather than single annual auction.
Do you believe Maryland’s gun control laws are too strict, not strict enough or just right?
Strict enough. Maryland receives an A- from the Brady campaign.
What is your position on abortion?
I believe all issues of women’s health should be a woman’s personal choice to be decided with her physician as she sees fit. The state has no moral right to regulate for a fetus before reasonable viability, which is the third trimester, and even then the decision may be complex and is a personal moral decision.
Should the Maryland constitution be changed to allow same-sex marriages?
Yes. Marriage equality is a simple issue of civil fairness. Marriage in America is a secular function, and should be available to all. What particular religious faiths choose to do with their own laws and rituals is their business but should not affect secular marriage.
Does the state need stricter controls to protect the environment?
Yes. Maryland needs to follow the lead of Portland, Oregon, and make a serious effort to reduce greenhouse gases. We should also use the resources at our universities to study the effects of endocrine disrupting compounds on the environment and work to limit their release into the ecosystem. In addition, Project Open Space must have its diverted funds replaced, and the tri-state commitment to the Bay must be enhanced.
Do you favor widening the Beltway?
Do you favor toll lanes?
How would you pay for them and how would implement them into the system?
The only way I would agree to Beltway widening would be as part of a grand deal to provide dedicated funding to an expanded WMATA⁄light rail system. We missed a great opportunity when we failed to link ICC approval to public transportation.
Do you favor building the Purple Line?
What kind of transportation do you favor?
I would have preferred, for the segment from Silver Spring to Bethesda, looping the Red Line to the Medical Center and using light rail from Silver Spring to New Carrollton. If that cannot happen because of cost considerations (which I consider to be short-sighted), I would support the creation of a state-of-the-art light rail system encircling the city from Bethesda to New Carrollton and later to be expanded across the WW Bridge to Tysons and on to Bethesda.
How would you pay for it and how would you reconcile the effects as it cuts through dense established neighborhoods?
I would pay for it as part of dedicated funding for Metro through the imposition of a gas tax of at least $0.50 per gallon. I would work to minimize neighborhood disruption including the taking of private property and the protection of the trail, and would tunnel when necessary and cut-and-cover when needed, but we must understand that the construction of this project, like most public works projects, is not without its costs, both economic and social.