Candidate name: Roger Manno
Party affiliation: Democrat
Place of residence: Silver Spring
Date of birth: April 26, 1966
Place of birth: California
Current occupation: Attorney ⁄ Legislative director (U.S. House of Representatives); Staff to member of Homeland Security Task Force (Democratic Caucus).
Education: J.D. and Master of Intellectual Property Law, Franklin Pierce Law Center; B.A. in Political Science and Black and Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College
Community associations, involvement: Montgomery County Criminal Justice Commission, commissioner; Committee for Montgomery, board member (Issues Committee); B’nai B’rith Capital Region Council, president; Temple Emanuel, member; NAACP (Montgomery County Chapter), member; Sierra Club, member; Clean Energy Partnership, member; Kemp Mill Civic Association, former vice president; AGWG Civic Association, board member; Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee, area coordinator (for Leisure World and four other precincts); District 19 Democratic Club, board member; Rossmoor Kiwanis Club, member
Professional associations: Congressional Jewish Staff Association, community service vice chair
Family: Wife, Marjorie Anne Miller
Campaign office address and telephone: Friends of Roger Manno, 2138 Merrifields Drive, Silver Spring, MD 20906; Attn: Andrew Hepworth, Campaign Coordinator; (301) 598-4063
Link to candidate’s Web site: www.RogerManno.com
2006 Voters Guide questions
What are your top three priorities for the next four years, if elected?
1. Health care
3. Transportation and Public Safety
How would you rate the performance of the current representatives of your district: excellent, good, fair or poor? Why?
Generally, good. Two highlights are Sen. Len Teitelbaum’s leadership on health care (chairman of the Senate Finance Health Subcommittee), and Del. Hank Heller’s work on education and funding issues. As we move forward, I would like to see more leadership initiative (committee leadership, caucus leadership, legislative leadership) in District 19, and I hope to be a part of that. My goal would be to leverage my legislative and community experience into leadership positions in order to advance Montgomery County.
Do you support amending the constitution to give the legislature more budget authority?
Yes. While I’m cautious about amending our constitution, Maryland is unique in its unbalanced budgetary authority residing in the Governor. As a result, the legislature needs greater discretionary authority in order to provide adequate checks and balances in the budgetary process.
Is the rate of growth in Maryland too fast, too slow or about right, and why?
That’s difficult to say, as growth rates vary from region to region. In Montgomery County for example, we’ve experienced relatively unchecked growth for decades without also making the tough political decisions to implement the necessary infrastructure to keep pace with that growth. That’s largely why we’re probably in the most gridlocked region in the nation. Legislators and people of conscience have a responsibility to do something about this problem, and that’s why I’m committed to a long-term dedicated funding solution for WMATA and other transportation initiatives, for example. As we move forward, I’m committed to Smart Growth principals so that future growth is balanced and proportional to requisite infrastructure.
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?
Generally, as the budget permits, I support expanding health, education, and transportation programs to the maximum extent feasible. For example, I support further tuition freezes at our higher education institutions, and the expansion of need-based scholarships, increased health services, and infrastructure improvements statewide. As revenue raisers, I support eliminating unnecessary and duplicative services, and aggressive efforts to eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse. I also support closing tax loopholes, and making our tax structure more progressive overall. Additional revenues would fund the structural deficit and supplement additional health, education, transportation and other programs as needed. Importantly, while necessary on a case-by-case basis, programmatic cuts should only be done with priority given to maintaining services that serve children, seniors, and those most vulnerable.
Are there specific taxes or fees that you would cut?
It would depend on what the budget looks like if and when I’m elected. I also think, philosophically, that we need targeted relief for seniors and retirees on fixed-incomes and certain areas of the population who are disproportionately adversely impacted by market forces and, for example, property tax increases which dramatically outpace other income.
Do you support slot machines for Maryland? Why or why not?
No. Slots are a poor solution to our structural deficit because they offer a false-promise of quick success and have the tendency to adversely impact those most vulnerable among us. In addition, while we must continue to support our horse racing industry in Maryland, the slots plans currently under consideration overwhelmingly profit the private sector, not the state or the public interest.
Do you support giving driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants?
Firstly, priority must always be given to legal immigrants and other legal residents. However, under Maryland law, immigration status is irrelevant in determining eligibility for Maryland licenses. Therefore, short of any adverse effect on legal immigrants or other legal residents, I would support the law as enacted.
Do you support in-state tuition to illegal immigrants?
The State of Maryland does not allow in-state tuition to undocumented people, and federal government also precludes financial aid to undocumented students. However, I support limited exceptions, such as Montgomery College’s extension of in-state tuition to county residents who have graduated from local public schools.
What is the biggest problem facing higher education and what would you do to solve it?
Funding! The state has seen large education cuts over the last three years, causing tuition rates to soar by some 40 percent. As a result, higher education, particularly at 4-year institutions, has become out of reach for large segments of our population. While I applaud the General Assembly for forgoing another increase that was planned, and capping further increases at the current tuition level, Maryland needs strong innovative leadership to address these funding shortfalls in the upcoming session of the General Assembly. As a member of Committee for Montgomery, I continue to support and advocate for higher education funding, including: successful support of Montgomery College’s 5-year phase in of a 5 percent funding increase, additional funding for English as a Second Language (ESL), and increased funding for the (Germantown Campus) Bioscience Center and the Takoma Park⁄Silver Spring Campus. I also support greater public-private partnerships for research and other public interest initiatives. As a member of the General Assembly, I will leverage my budget and appropriations experience and contacts, working with both state and federal delegations, as well as with the private sector, to ensure that Maryland and Montgomery County education institutions remain competitive in emerging sectors, and receive the largest possible share of state and federal dollars.
Where would you get more money for the Transportation Trust Fund?
Firstly, we need to restore funds to the trust fund that were diverted by the Governor, and protect those funds from future diversions for non-designated purposes. We also need to ensure that Maryland receives its fair share of federal formulaic and other transportation dollars from both authorizations and appropriations. In addition, we must look into other sources, such as taxes and fees, as possible revenue raisers. With extensive experience working on U.S. budgets and appropriations, and for several years as a principal staff drafter of the Congressional Black Caucus’ (alternative) U.S. Budget, I will bring greatly needed expertise and leadership to the General Assembly in terms of funding our critical needs on the state and local levels.
What specific transportation projects do you see as priorities for the state?
I support a dedicated funding source for WMATA, the Bi-County Transitway (Inner Purple Line), the Corridor Cities Transitway, the Green Line extension from Greenbelt to Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI), the Silver Spring Transit Center, the Baltimore Transit Plan, the Inter County Connector (ICC), incentives for telecommuting and carpooling, subsidies for public transportation, implementation of smart growth principles, among many other initiatives.
Should there be a dedicated funding source for Washington and Baltimore mass transit?
Yes. I am committed to finding and supporting one.
Would you re-regulate the electricity industry?
Probably, although we must proceed cautiously. I support regulating utilities and increasing competition in the market, with priority given to maintaining a financially-sound utility sector. Clearly, the 1999 deregulation plan has not yielded greater competition and lower prices as was envisioned. Marylanders need relief, and time is of the essence.
Do you believe Maryland’s gun control laws are too strict, not strict enough or just right?
Not strict enough. Maryland needs to ban military-style semi-automatic assault weapons.
What is your position on abortion?
I support a woman’s fundamental right to choose.
Should the Maryland constitution be changed to allow same-sex marriages?
I believe it’s an issue for the courts, for now, although I strongly oppose discrimination of any type and believe that society should be accepting of all people and lifestyles. Marriage is a deeply personal commitment between two people,
Does the state need stricter controls to protect the environment?
Yes. Environmental stewardship is a responsibility of all people, and particularly of our legislators. As a member of Sierra Club and the Clean Energy Partnership, I support innovative environmental legislation, such as the Healthy Air Act, funding for land preservation programs and Project Open Space, aggregation pools for counties and municipalities to purchase energy for residents, expanding the Renewable Portfolio Standard, Chesapeake Bay cleanup initiatives, and greater incentives to utilize clean and renewable energy alternatives, in order to preserve and protect our rich natural resources.
Would you support placing the Intercounty Connector under ground as it intersects with Georgia Avenue just north of Norbeck Road?
Do you think the state needs to do more to prevent older, smaller homes from being torn down and replaced by larger houses?
Yes. The state does have a role here, although this is largely an issue of state versus local government, as land use zoning issues are generally local issues having been granted jurisdiction from the state. As a related issue, the state and localities should work together on historic preservation to protect the character of our older neighborhoods, many of which contain smaller homes. In addition, the state and localities must better coordinate planning of infrastructure needs as growth and development move forward, as in this case of replacing older and smaller homes with new larger ones.