Transcript: Democratic candidates for Maryland governor debate


Moderator and “Meet the Press” host David Gregory questions, from left, Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler, Maryland State Del. Heather Mizeur and Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown during a Democratic gubernatorial debate on Wednesday in College Park. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)
May 7

The following is the text of a debate involving the Democratic candidates for Maryland governor on May 7, 2014, at the University of Maryland campus in College Park. The transcript was compiled by the University of Maryland.

DAVID GREGORY:

18:58:39:00And good evening. I’m David Gregory. Welcome to the Maryland Gubernatorial Debate among the Democratic candidates, Lieutenant Government Anthony Brown, Delegate Heather Mizeur and Attorney General Doug Gansler by the University of Maryland, NBC-4 and Bowie State University.

18:58:57:00This debate is also airing on WAG in Hagerstown, Maryland, Public-- Maryland Public Television and streaming live on NBCWashington.com. I wanna begin by quickly going over the rules of tonight’s debate, their rules, the candidates’ debate. The debate will last one hour. We’ll begin with one-minute long opening statements from each candidate. The order has already been determined during a random drawing.

18:59:20:00Then our panelists and I will pose questions directly to the candidate, these are questions determined by NBC News and-- and NBC-4. The panelists have not reviewed-- the questions, not has the University of Maryland. I am also in the role of time-- the role of time keeper here, I’ve got so many accouterments to help me measure the time, so I’ll be keeping everybody to time.

18:59:42:00Each candidate is going to have one minute to respond. As moderator, I’ll also be allowed to follow up with questions or-- provide a 30-second rebuttal to the candidates as necessary. Finally, the debate will conclude with closing statements. A time keeper will be located in the front row of the audience, facing the candidates. The time keeper will notify candidates of their remaining time and when time has expired.

19:00:07:00In the interest of trying to cover as much ground as possible, we ask the candidates to adhere to these time limits; politicians always keep to time, come on. (LAUGH) And-- we also as that the-- the audience listen quietly--no applause, please, over the course of this-- no shouting during the debate.

19:00:24:00Now I wanna welcome our panelists tonight. Chris Lawrence, who’s a News 4 anchor. He’s spent the last decade covering some of the biggest national stories for CNN before joining the NBC family. Chris is an alumnus of the University of Maryland here at College Park, so a welcome home for him. Chris, welcome.

CHRIS LAWRENCE:

19:00:41:00Thank you.

DAVID GREGORY:

19:00:43:00Jenna Johnson writes about Maryland politics, including the General Assembly, and the 2014 election for The Washington Post. She has been with The Post since 2007. Finally, Chris Gordon, a lawyer; he has been a reporter in this area for almost three decades and for more than 15 years he’s covered Maryland politics and legal issues across the state for NBC-4. And now, please welcome the Democratic candidates for governor.

19:01:08:00The Attorney General of Maryland, Doug Gansler. Maryland State Delegate, Heather Mizeur and Lieutenant Governor, Anthony Brown. Attorney General Gansler, you will be first with your one-min-- one-minute, I should say, opening statement. (MIC NOISE) So the floor is yours.

DOUG GANSLER:

19:01:25:00Thank you, David. Thank you the University of Maryland, Bowie State and NBC for hosting us to date this evening. As your governor, I will continue to do what I have done for the past 22 years in public service, and that’s when I see something that’s unfair or wrong, I will fight relentlessly to solve the problem and get things done. Whether it’s bringing the Beltway Snipers to justice, arguing in front of the Supreme Court of the United States to keep a child molester behind bars, suing big oil to clean up its spills or preventing big tobacco for marketing-- cigarettes to our children.

19:01:58:00As your governor, I will give voice to the voiceless, making sure that every Marylander has access to healthcare; creating and strengthening the middle class by creating jobs; taking on the pollution lobbyists so we have clean air and a clean bay, and making sure that in every classroom, we have skilled teachers for every student everywhere in Maryland. You see, I grew up in this state and there’s so much good about this state, but from jobs to healthcare to the environment, we can do so much more. And that’s my (UNINTEL).

DAVID GREGORY:

19:02:35:00And next up, thank you, now up, Delegate Mizeur, your one-minute opening statement.

HEATHER MIZEUR:

19:02:38:00Thank you, David. When I was nine years old, the factory where my father was a union welder went on strike for fair wages. And over the next six months, my family and I struggled to live on $45 a week strike pay. During that period of time, my father took me with him to the picket lines, where I got to see first-hand men and women standing up for what they believe in with incredible courage.

19:03:03:00I have remembered this my entire time in Annapolis, standing up for Maryland families. I’ve expanded health insurance to 50,000 more children in our state, passed bipartisan legislation to give thousands of low-income women access to free family planning services. And just last month, decriminalized the possession of marijuana. But for all of our successes, there are still too many families who are falling behind in our state. As your governor, I will create jobs with a living wage, reduce that income inequality gap, invest in our schools and drive down violence in our neighbors with a Smart on Crime strategy. Together, we will deliver real results for Maryland families.

DAVID GREGORY:

19:03:45:00All right, thank you, Lieutenant Governor, please.

ANTHONY BROWN:

19:03:49:00Thank you, David, and panelists, sponsors and audience. Good evening. I’m a generation removed from poverty. My father was raised by his grandmother, my great-grandmother-- in a one-bedroom home on a dirt floor in Kingston, Jamaica, a poor neighborhood called Jonestown.

19:04:06:00And when my father was a little bit older than my son Jonathan is today, he wrote a letter to his mother, my grandmother, already in this country, he said, “Mom, bring me to America, I wanna be a doctor, I wanna heal people.” She wasn’t a wealthy woman; a woman without an education, but knew the importance of an education. So she saved her money, brought me father, her son to this country, he was the first in our family to get a college education.

19:04:30:00My father spent a lifetime as a family doctor, treating people and serving people, even those who couldn’t pay for his services. When I grew up, I knew I wanted to be just like my father. I didn’t go to medical school, but I had the privilege to serve our country in the Army, then in the House of Delegates, and for the last eight years as your Lieutenant Governor. Together, we will build a better Maryland for more Marylanders and I look forward to doing that with each and every one of you.

DAVID GREGORY:

19:04:56:00All right, thank you all very much. Let’s talk about the issues, I’m gonna start. Healthcare is something that-- Americans are concerned about across the board, especially with the Affordable Care Act. I’m gonna ask-- this question to three of you in the order that it was designed, so I’ll start with you, Attorney General Gansler-- it is widely-- argued by you and others and believe that the roll out of the healthcare Exchange here was a disaster. Who ultimately is accountable for that? What is the impact of it and how would you fix it?

DOUG GANSLER:

19:05:23:00Well, thank you, David. The-- Lieutenant Governor for a number of years has touted that he is in charge of the Affordable Care Act roll out; and in fact, right now, if you look on his website, it says that Maryland has led the country in the Affordable Care Act roll out.

19:05:36:00The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, Senator Mikulski and many others have called it a national disaster. I think the Lieutenant Governor is the only person that believes it’s been a success. We’re actually 45th in the country in terms of people enrolled, so that’s relatively delusional. We (UNINTEL) $200 million of taxpayer money and (UNINTEL) on the web-- on the website was broken and flushed it down the toilet.

19:05:58:00And the tragedy is that real people can’t get diabetes screening, healthcare for their children, heart disease medication. And of course-- for somebody to-- to co-chair President Obama’s campaign here in Maryland and-- and went to the United States Supreme Court and had Maryland as the lead plaintiff in the Affordable Care Act Constitutionality, it gives the Republicans a chance to attack our President for doing something no other President was able to do, which is-- make the United States like every other industrial country in the world--

DAVID GREGORY:

19:06:25:00All right, Attorney-- Attorney General--

DOUG GANSLER:

19:06:26:00--(UNINTEL) citizens.

DAVID GREGORY:

19:06:27:00--you’re out of time. Who’s ultimately responsible? Who’s accountable for this?

DOUG GANSLER:

19:06:31:00The-- Lieutenant Governor-- under his own-- under his own recognition. He said, “This is--” the problem is this is, literally, the one thing he’s been in charge of, that’s he’s managed or he’s led since he was Lieutenant Governor and it’s been an unmitigated disaster.

DAVID GREGORY:

19:06:43:00All right, the Lieutenant Governor will have a moment to respond in full in just a moment when we come to you, but Delegate Mizeur, same question to you-- who’s ultimately accountable for this and what would you do to fix this?

HEATHER MIZEUR:

19:06:54:00David, I’m not about casting blame, I’m about fixing the problem and making sure that families get access to the healthcare that they deserve. I have spent a lifetime making sure that people have access to affordable, quality healthcare. I believe that healthcare is a right, no a privilege. I have been a strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act from the beginning, because as a delegate, I have been working in our state for years to get many of those same provisions passed in our state.

19:07:19:00The first piece of legislation that I passed was a bill that allowed young adults to remain on their family’s health plan until they’re 25. That’s now federal law because we showed how it worked in Maryland first. And I learned in passing bills to get 50,000 more children health insurance or getting women access to free family planning services that what matters most is that reforms are implemented effectively.

19:07:45:00Our ideas and our vision matter in this election, but our records of management matter even more. You want a governor with a successful track record of implementing health reforms, then I am that leader.

DAVID GREGORY:

19:07:57:00Okay, Lieutenant Governor, are you ultimately accountable for this?

ANTHONY BROWN:

19:08:00:00David, as I’ve said on numerous occasions, everyone involved with establish (PH) in the Health Benefit Exchange is responsible, and that includes me. I’m not new to healthcare; for the last eight years, we have expanded healthcare to over 500,000 Marylanders who didn’t have access before.

19:08:17:00So when we set out to implement the Affordable Care Act just like the President, with the difficulties in the federal website and the difficulties they had on the launch, so too, did we in Maryland, and I sincerely regret that any Marylander was inconvenienced, trying to get-- healthcare through the broken website.

19:08:33:00But nobody was more frustrated than me, and that’s why I took the action that I did. I reorganized the leadership at The Exchange; the Executive Director left. We refocused the vendors, fired those who didn’t perform as promised, including IBM, and after evaluating the resources and capabilities at The Exchange, we plussed up (PH) the call centers and the navigators, and the result, David, 330,000 Marylanders now with access to accordable, quality health--

DAVID GREGORY:

19:09:01:00But lemme follow up on this, you heard the Attorney General say the amount of money that is going to chase after this mistake-- you’re about 50% behind where you’d like to be in getting people enrolled. On the national level, this was an issue in terms of getting those young, healthy people to pay attention, ultimately, and to sign up for something that they think is broken. How do ya deal with that?

ANTHONY BROWN:

19:09:19:00Well, l-- let’s give it the bench mark first, the bench mark is our goal in Maryland was 260,000, we enrolled 330,000. 260,000 in Medicaid-- now, Medicaid’s important, you know-- for better or for worse, you like it or not, in America, Medicaid is the health insurance for the working poor, so we’ve expanded health insurance to Maryland’s poor and working families, 260,000, but a total of 330,000. So today, in order to ensure that we have a seamless transition for the Open Enrollment in November, we’re adopting proven technology in Connecticut.

DAVID GREGORY:

19:09:50:00Lemme give 30 seconds to the Attorney General in-- in a rebuttal to this.

DOUG GANSLER:

19:09:53:00Well, there’s a couple of things. First of all, the-- the actual number that we know that was-- able to sign up through the website was through Jenna Johnson’s article and the last we’ve heard was four people. And that is because there’s been a cover up from the special interests that don’t-- doesn’t want us to know what happens. So what they then did, they went into a closed room and they decided they were going to chase good money after bad and spend another $60 million to get the Connecticut Exchange to come down here and try to retro fit it.

19:10:18:00Even the Connecticut people say it won’t work, but we certainly won’t know if it’ll work if we don’t find out what happens in the first place to the $200 million.

DAVID GREGORY:

19:10:23:00All right, we’re gonna keep the conversation going with Chris Lawrence, moving onto another topic.

CHRIS LAWRENCE:

19:10:29:00Yeah, the-- the decriminalization of marijuana has a lotta people in Maryland wondering, “What’s the next step?” And if that includes legalizing marijuana. Yet, the governor of one of the most progressive states in this country has recently raised some serious concerns about that issue. California’s Jerry Brown, says, quote, “If there’s advertising and legitimacy, how many people can get stoned and still have a great state or a great nation?” But my question to all of you is is the money that the state could get from taxing this drug worth accepting it in Maryland? And I’d like to begin with Delegate Mizeur.

HEATHER MIZEUR:

19:11:10:00Thank you for the question. Our marijuana prohibition laws have been a failure; they have been enforced with racial bias. African-Americans and whites in our state use marijuana with the exact same frequency, but African-Americans go to jail three times more often.

19:11:25:00That’s why I fought for decriminalization in this session. We’re not putting 23,000 people in jail anymore because of their nonviolent possession of this drug; we’re not spending $280 million a year on the incarceration, detention and court costs associated with this. But if we legalize, tax and regulate marijuana, not only are we bring in a new revenue source that I dedicate to paying for a universal pre-k program, but we would also be sending an importance message about the fact that this is a substance that is arguably less harmful to the body than alcohol and tobacco.

19:12:01:00And for adults, it should be treated the same way. For youth, we have to step in and make sure they don’t have access. And there are no campaigns to keep-- marijuana out of the hands of our youth. What drug dealer cards for an ID? I have a plan to spend $4 million a year to make sure that young people don’t have access--

DAVID GREGORY:

19:12:19:00Lieutenant Governor.

ANTHONY BROWN:

19:12:19:00Thank you, David. Look, Heather and I agree on a number of issues-- and disagree on-- on probably a fewer number. I don’t agree with-- Delegate Mizeur’s call for legalization at this time. I think there are two states that are looking at it. We outta be looking at not just the money, but the socio-economic effects. But I do agree with Del-- Delegate Mizeur in the decriminalization of possession of small amounts of marijuana.

19:12:44:00We spend over $100 million in this state prosecuting possession of small-- amounts, and that could go to (UNINTEL) and more violent crime. Also, as just pointed out, disproportionately, African-American-- particularly, African-American young men are arrested at higher rates, yet consumption rates are in the same in this country.

19:13:02:00But I fundamentally disagree with the values of the Attorney General when it comes to rooting out racist practices in the criminal justice system. I oppose the death penalty and I fought long and hard to repeal it in Maryland. The-- the Attorney General supports it, says it’s a wonderful tool, he says it’s reliable for conviction, but studies have shown it’s not reliable. It (UNINTEL) and impacts--

DAVID GREGORY:

19:13:25:00All right--

ANTHONY BROWN:

19:13:24:00--African-Americans and it doesn’t deter crime.

DAVID GREGORY:

19:13:27:00Attorney General, take 30 seconds to respond to that particular point before you answer Chris’s question.

DOUG GANSLER:

19:13:32:00Well-- it’s curious that he says he’s fought for years because every time that a repeal the death penalty bill came up while he was a delegate in Annapolis, other delegates signed up to sponsor the bill and-- the Lieutenant Governor was nowhere to be found until he was running for governor.

19:13:45:00The death penalty is a lot like prohibition; it’s-- it’s not-- it’s a non-issue in this-- campaign, it-- the General Assembly has repealed it, the public has spoken on it. When I-- I’ve been a prosecutor for 22 years and I never sought the death penalty once.

DAVID GREGORY:

19:13:57:00So let’s talk about marijuana, then, and it’s--

DOUG GANSLER:

19:14:00:00So as-- as-- as a former Assistant United States Attorney in the Clinton Administration-- State’s Attorney, Montgomery Attorney, now Attorney General, I understand the-- the ravages that drugs do cause families and-- the addictions and what they do to people.

19:14:13:00I happen to agree that-- medical marijuana is-- is something we should allow-- to have, as long as it’s being prescribed by real doctors. And decriminalization is-- is someplace we should have gone. I don’t think, though, and I agree with the Lieutenant Governor, that we should go to legalization right now.

19:14:29:00Former Attorney General-- Brown of California is-- is right. We have to make sure we allow some of these states, to see (UNINTEL) how it works. Marijuana hasn’t been legal-- for hundreds of years, let’s see how it works. There’s no rush-- iron out any of the problems, but we shouldn’t be motivated by taxes when we do it. We should make sure that we-- if we are gonna legalize marijuana, and hopefully, that won’t happen for a long time, we do it in lock step with public safety officials and public health officials because-- we shouldn’t be motivated by having yet another tax-- on a product. Now I can say, the decriminalization is for such small amounts that very few people are locked up on that at all--

DAVID GREGORY:

19:15:03:00And Delegate Mizeur, just a final 30 seconds on this. With legalization in your views, are you comfortable saying to the children of this state, “Marijuana’s okay”?

HEATHER MIZEUR:

19:15:14:00We’re not saying that to the children of this state. To the children of this state, we’re saying that it’s a very dangerous substance for a developing mind, and we’re gonna spend $4 million a year to make sure that they understand that. But what drug dealer is carding for an ID right now? That’s how kids are getting access.

19:15:29:00And when we legalize, tax and regulate it, the state’s in charge of this. And the same way we do with alcohol, we improve our chances of keeping it out of the hands of our youth. The Institute of Medicine actually said that the-- the gateway drug theory is about the drug-- about marijuana being prohibited, that the laws against it are what actually has young people having more access.

DAVID GREGORY:

19:15:52:00To Chris Gordon now.

CHRIS GORDON:

19:15:54:00There is a perception that Maryland is not business friendly, you may have heard it. I have on the street. And-- there are four Republican candidates running for the same job you are who say that taxes have been raised and created dozens and dozens of times in the last seven years of this administration and they’re gonna blame Democratic lawmakers. So my question to-- in fact, they wanna reduce or do away with some of those taxes. So would you lower or raise taxes and how do you attract business and new jobs to the state?

DAVID GREGORY:

19:16:28:00Lieutenant?

CHRIS GORDON:

19:16:27:00This-- I’m sorry, we start--

DAVID GREGORY:

19:16:28:00Lieutenant Governor first--

CHRIS GORDON:

19:16:30:00Lieutenant Governor Brown.

ANTHONY BROWN:

19:16:30:00Look, I’m traveled around the-- state-- and spoken with business leaders from all four corners, there is concern about the business climate in Maryland and I rolled out a proposal to position Maryland to be the most competitive business climate state in the nation. Part of it’s looking at regulations and licensing, and part of it is looking at our tax liability. Look, in the first 100 days of the Brown-Ulman Campaign, we are going to put together a Blue Ribbon Commission to look at tax reform.

19:16:57:00We’re gonna make sure that we’re giving a (UNINTEL) to working families, that we’re incentivizing employers to invest in job-creating activities in Maryland and that we’re protecting our investments in education, public safety, the environment and healthcare.

19:17:10:00But my tax plan will not include and it doesn’t, the corporate giveaway under the Gansler Corporate Tax giveaway. If we’re gonna invest in education, if we’re gonna invest in transportation, we can’t afford to give a small number of the largest corporations in Maryland a $1.6 billion tax giveaway. It’s under that plan that Doug has said we can’t fund pre-k education for all Maryland four-year-olds. That’s not my thing--

DAVID GREGORY:

19:17:32:00Time. So the-- so the Attorney General, the-- the same question.

DOUG GANSLER:

19:17:37:00Thank you, Chris. It’s not a perception; it’s a reality. We have had 40 consecutive tax increases here in Maryland. The people of Maryland just can’t take it anymore. We got 76% more people unemployed than when Lieutenant Governor came to power-- when he’s been at the seat of power-- and stood by when all this was happening to our state.

19:17:55:00In Baltimore City, 46% of the adult males don’t have work; we’ve lost over 7,000 small businesses in the last eight years. We’re 43rd in the country in manufacturing and we only have four Fortune 500 companies left here in Maryland. This is one of the richest states and one of the smartest states in the country in terms of advanced degrees. So we cannot continue to mortgage the economic viability of the future of this state on the backs of casino gambling and more tax increases. We need to bring life science companies here, cyber security companies here.

19:18:25:00We need to look at what New York has done in terms of manufacturing-- having tax-free incentives to manufacturing, so people can once again get back to work in the state of Maryland. Because we can’t continue to have half a billion and do billion-dollar deficits every year in Annapolis.

DAVID GREGORY:

19:18:38:00Time. Delegate Mizeur?

HEATHER MIZEUR:

19:18:40:00I’m the only one on this stage that has owned a small business and I’m the only one with a plan to help them grow. I have a different vision about our economy, one that doesn’t pit workers against businesses. My job creation strategy includes something for us all. If we were to bring back the Millionaires’ Tax and close one corporate tax loophole that allows a handful of companies in our state that operate in other states, who are avoiding paying their fair share of Maryland taxes-- just ask them to pay their fair share.

19:19:08:00We could generate enough revenue to give 90% of all Maryland families a tax cut and tax relief for all of our small businesses. If we put more money in the hands of middle class families, what do they do? They spend it in the economy; they go out to eat at more restaurants; they buy more shoes for their children and school supplies. And I have a plan to put people to work, rebuilding our roads, our transit and building 21st century schools.

DAVID GREGORY:

19:19:35:00All right. To Jenna Johnson now.

JENNA JOHNSON:

19:19:37:00All right. Violent crime is down across the state, except for one category, forcible rape. In 2012, more than 1200 people reported being raped in Maryland, and advocates say even more cases go unreported. The Obama Administration has launched several initiatives aimed at reducing and combating sexual violence in the military and on college campuses. What will you do here in Maryland to address sexual violence? And Attorney General, we’ll start with you.

DOUG GANSLER:

19:20:10:00Thank you. We’re actually-- the ninth most violent state in the country, Baltimore City’s the seventh most violent city in the country and we have the fourth most homicides in the country here in Maryland, so we have a lot of work to do. In terms of rape-- let me talk about Hollis Church (PH) for a moment.

19:20:26:00She was raped while watching television in Kensington one night; 13 years later-- I was able to personally go into court and prosecute the offender because-- we had a DNA hit from Virginia. We then went to the Supreme Court of the United States when I was Attorney General and made sure we upheld the DNA statues, and law enforcement could use DNA to solve on-- cold case rape cases.

19:20:47:00So we do have an issue here in Maryland, and we need to do a lot more in terms of our crime prevention and-- and going forward. We have-- community prosecution-- we need-- to make sure that we-- a lot of the rapes actually happened in domestic violence situations, and I started the first domestic violence court in-- in Montgomery County and we wanna have domestic violence courts all over the state when I’m governor.

DAVID GREGORY:

19:21:10:00Delegate Mizeur.

HEATHER MIZEUR:

19:21:12:00Any woman who is faced rape or domestic violence deserves to know that she has a governor and the law on her side. I have been pushing to erase the backlog of rape kits that are sitting in our criminal justice system. I have a plan to make sure that we remove guns from the scenes of domestic violence disputes, because we know that women are five times more likely to be hurt, harmed, killed, even, when their abuser has a firearm in the home.

19:21:41:00And I’ve been pushing for a paid sick leave that includes time off for safe time, for women who need to interact with the criminal justice system, work to get a restraining order or meet with an attorney to get the protection that she needs.

19:21:53:00We have to make sure that we protect and empower women, that we bring their abusers to justice and that we do everything we can to make sure that this violence isn’t repeated again. I’ll be the governor that helps get this done.

DAVID GREGORY:

19:22:06:00Lieutenant Governor?

ANTHONY BROWN:

19:22:09:00Now we’ll build stronger communities and a foundation of stronger families when our wives, our mothers, our sisters and our daughters can live free of the fear of sexual assault, rape and domestic violence in the home, in the neighborhood and in the workplace. No family’s immune from that type of violence. My cousin, Kathy, was killed at the hands of her estranged boyfriend.

19:22:31:00And since that time, and even before, I’ve worked with the advocates of domestic violence. We’ve increased the number of domestic violence referral programs and sexual assault (UNINTEL) at our community hospitals from four to nine, and my goal is to reach every one of the 43 community hospitals in the state of Maryland.

19:22:50:00Together, we’ve done a lot of work to reduce domestic violence against women, to make this a safer state for w-- for women. We’ve-- given judges the authority to order domestic abusers to surrender their firearms. This year, finally, after 19 years of failed effort, we lowered the standard and a woman can now get a protective order on a preponderance of the evidence standard, instead of the heightened clear and convincing standard.

DAVID GREGORY:

19:23:11:00All right.

ANTHONY BROWN:

19:23:13:00So we’re making a lot of progress, we have a lot more work to do.

DAVID GREGORY:

19:23:15:00Back to Chris Gordon.

CHRIS GORDON:

19:23:16:00All right, this question-- deals with character, leadership and fitness for office. You’ve all had public service; we thank you for that. And I’m gonna ask you each an individual question to answer here. Attorney General Gansler, your judgment has been questioned. With the pictures that we have seen from the party you attended-- your son was at, what may have been underage drinking and you said you did nothing to stop it, it was not in Maryland, it was in Delaware. But with your-- statements-- military service, you implied, was not-- a real job.

19:23:50:00And with your use of the state car, a report being that you asked your state (UNINTEL) to go through red lights or-- up-- the shoulder of a road to get to-- to an appointment on time. Lieutenant Governor Brown, we have heard tonight that you botched the roll out, and in fact, the Attorney General used the word “cover up” tonight.

19:24:08:00And-- Delegate Mizeur-- critics say that you’re just not experienced enough because you’ve been a state delegate since 2007, but you’ve never had state-wide elected office or experience as an executive. How do you all answer these critics? Delegate Mizeur, we start with you.

HEATHER MIZEUR:

19:24:28:00Marylanders want a governor who knows how to bring people together to get big things done. Lemme tell ya two stories about the way I’ve done this, on family planning and marijuana decriminalization. I reached across the aisle to work with the head of the Tea Party Caucus to expand family planning services to low-income women, by first convincing him that it lowered the abortion rate and saved the state money.

19:24:48:00It also happens to be good for maternal and child health outcomes. Together we put partisanship on the shelf in order to make progress for our state. 34,000 more women have access to free family planning services in our state because of this.

19:25:02:00This year in the legislative session, which is 48 hours to go, the press all reported that our marijuana decriminalization effort was dead, it had got vote-- voted out of a committee and turned into a study (PH) bill. I worked with the legislative Black Caucus and a group of progressive legislators to come up with a strategy on the floor to turn that around. We passed that law, sent it to the Governor’s desk, Maryland is now the 18th state to decriminalize marijuana. Both of these happened because of leadership.

DAVID GREGORY:

19:25:30:00Time.

HEATHER MIZEUR:

19:25:30:00I’m the governor that this state is ready for.

DAVID GREGORY:

19:25:32:00Lieutenant-- Lieutenant Governor, what about the-- the criticism? Your--

ANTHONY BROWN:

19:25:35:00Sure--

DAVID GREGORY:

19:25:36:00--leadership-- the-- the fitness question.

ANTHONY BROWN:

19:25:39:00Sure, as governor, I would bring not only eight years of experience as Lieutenant Governor, but eight years in the General Assembly and 30 years in uniform and service to our country. As Lieutenant Governor-- during the last eight years, I led the effort on (UNINTEL) closure-- that is all ready today created or brought to our state 49,000 jobs and we are well on our way to meeting the goal of 60,000 jobs by 2022.

19:26:06:00Reduce violence against women and children and the work we’re doing on domestic violence, that I’ve had the opportunity to lead and work with so many on. We’ve reduced a number of children in foster care-- from-- 9,069-- I’ve led on that effort, as well as the work we’ve done to serve our veterans.

19:26:20:00Marylanders have a choice; they’re gonna look at experience, they’re gonna look at record and they’re gonna look at judgment. Not only, Chris, the things that you offered up for the Attorney General, but also the fact that he was the only State’s Attorney in the history of Maryland reprimanded by the highest court for misconduct, ethical misconduct in office because he denied a defendant the right to a fair trial because he, for political gain, spoke out.

DAVID GREGORY:

19:26:42:00Time.

ANTHONY BROWN:

19:26:43:00That’s judgment, voters are gonna be (UNINTEL) that.

DAVID GREGORY:

19:26:46:00Attorney General, you can respond to that, as well as the question that Chris originally posed.

DOUG GANSLER:

19:26:49:00So the-- the reprimand?

DAVID GREGORY:

19:26:50:00If you’d like, yes, you could just--

DOUG GANSLER:

19:26:51:00Yeah-- yes, I have the honor of being reprimanded by the Court of Appeals because I took on a judge who said to an 11-year-old girl who was raped by a sexual Internet predator that it takes two to tango and that it was her fault for responding to his emails, which is why he went and raped her. The Court of Appeals then reprimanded me-- for being a public official publicly reading a public charging document at a press conference with the police. I-- I wear it as a badge of honor.

19:27:16:00As far as character, I think my character stands for itself. I’ve been in public office for 22 years representing-- the-- the victims of crime, I-- I’ve taken on cases, for example, Garret Wilson, who murdered both of his babies in the 1980s and they were ruled as SIDS death.

19:27:32:00Nobody else would prosecute that case, I did, and he’s spending the rest of his life behind bars. There were children in Baltimore City who didn’t have access to the same things the rest of Maryland did to be able to play lacrosse. So six years ago, I started-- I cared about them, so I started a league called (UNINTEL) Youth Lacrosse. We have over 400 boys and girls in that league right now that are all prospering and being able to go to better schools and-- and being active in their communities. Lemme talk about the beach party because--

DAVID GREGORY:

19:27:58:00Well-- well, you’re-- you’re over on your time, but I’m gonna ask you-- you have (UNINTEL) I’m gonna ask you about that. Did you miss an opportunity, as the Attorney General of the state to deal as the Attorney General with underage drinking? Did you miss an opportunity as a parent to step into that situation and not put blinders on, but deal with it more responsibly?

DOUG GANSLER:

19:28:19:00So my wife and I have been married for 22 years. We are profoundly proud of our children. That night, I went to tell my child what time he was going to leave-- the next morning. Could we-- could I have done something different there that night? Absolutely.

19:28:30:00Well, will we say things to our children or do things in the future that we could do differently? Absolutely. As a matter of fact, a few weeks later, I took him to college at-- at Penn, and is there underage drinking at college? Absolutely. I’m not gonna not send him to college, but we worry. We parent on the fly. And-- and that is-- that was the mistake we made that night. In terms of Attorney General, I’d-- I’d rather mention to taking caffeinated alcohol beverages off the shelf.

DAVID GREGORY:

19:28:53:00All right. All right, we are gonna leave it there for a moment. We are gonna take a break here. Take a pause for a brief commercial break. We’ll be right back with many more questions for the candidates for Governor of Maryland. And after the debate, join me for a special Google Hangout on NBCWashington.com. We’ll be right back. (MUSIC)

19:29:23:00(COMMERCIALS NOT TRANSCRIBED)

DAVID GREGORY:

19:32:08:00And we are back, live at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland with three Democratic candidates for Governor of Maryland. Attorney General, Doug Gansler, Delegate Heather Mizeur and Lieutenant Governor, Anthony Brown. Before we move back to the panel, I wanted to stay for a moment, Lieutenant Governor, on-- on this leadership and character question. You heard the Attorney General respond to questions about that beach party. Firstly, is that a character issue for-- for you in this race? And secondly, how did you respond to his-- his comment about your military record?

ANTHONY BROWN:

19:32:38:00Well, I think it’s a judgment issue, and the set of rules that apply to the public apply to us. If-- if it was one thing, if it were, perhaps, in your own living room with your children, but months earlier, you looked into the camera, you told parents what we know. We are the role models to discourage underage drinking. You did a public service announcement, but then found yourself in the middle of not one, two or three, but literally, hundreds of teenagers underage drinking. And what I would have done as a parent, (MIC NOISE) and I, too, am a parent, my 19-year-old daughter’s sitting (LAUGH) right here in the audience.

DAVID GREGORY:

19:33:11:00Okay.

ANTHONY BROWN:

19:33:13:00I would have stopped the party and made sure that every child got home safely.

DAVID GREGORY:

19:33:16:00All right, take 30 seconds, Attorney General.

DOUG GANSLER:

19:33:18:00Well, as much as I appreciate the Lieutenant Governor-- lecturing me on my parenting skills, I would like to talk about the military question that you just asked. To be clear, I did not say one derogatory syllable to any one of our veterans.

19:33:28:00Like everybody watching at home and everybody here, I have the deepest respect for our-- our veterans and a profound depth of g-- depth of gratitude toward them, but we can do so much more for our veterans in Maryland. In eight years, we haven’t stepped up. We could get them P.T.S.D. counseling; we have the worst Veterans Administration office in the country here in Maryland, and we need to make sure that we don’t tax the-- the retirement income here in Maryland.

DAVID GREGORY:

19:33:51:00Quickly, Lieutenant Governor, respond to that, since you were the--

ANTHONY BROWN:

19:33:54:00You can’t build a strong Maryland if you keep cutting it down. And right now, we have an honorable veteran community that is well served by the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs. These are veterans that are serving veterans. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the work that we’re doing to connecting them to jobs. We’re proud of the work that we do and we’re proud of the service that they perform both here in the community and wherein-- in service. Whether you’re a cook, a clerk, a lawyer-- a pilot or anything else in the military, we value your service to our-- to our nation.

DAVID GREGORY:

19:34:28:00Delegate, since you’re here, lemme give you 30 seconds on this issue.

HEATHER MIZEUR:

19:34:30:00David, you asked about leadership and character. I don’t think it’s about this kind of personal bickering and attacks. Voters are wanting candidates to remain positive and stay focused on the issues. Leadership and character that we need in Annapolis is a governor that will take on the special interests and fight for middle class families. And that is who I am, that’s who I’ve always been and that’s what you can expect me to do as your governor.

DAVID GREGORY:

19:34:51:00All right, Jenna, back to you.

JENNA JOHNSON:

19:34:54:00So we recently heard a recording that was reportedly the owner of the LA Clippers making racist comments. The NBA has since banned him for life, and President Obama responded by saying, quote, “We constantly have to be on guard on racial attitudes that divide us, rather than embracing our div-- diversity as a strength.” Here in Maryland, the owner of the Red Skins has said that the team name celebrates Native American culture, while others have said it’s an offensive racial slur. Is it a slur and should it be changed? And Lieutenant Governor, we’ll start with you.

ANTHONY BROWN:

19:35:32:00Sure. First of all, let me say that-- what the NBA-- did-- in response to the comment by the owner of-- the LA Clippers was-- appropriate-- and it sent a strong signal, that those words, that action is unacceptable. I no longer refer to Washington’s football team by their nickname.

19:35:50:00I do find it-- offensive and I would hope that-- the owner, Dan Snyder-- would reach the same conclusion-- and to change the name. I know, I believe that the fan base-- is-- wants the same thing. But-- more importantly-- if we’re going to live up to the kind of Maryland that we can all be proud of, then we have to synchronize our words, our actions, okay? And Dan Snyder, if his football team, particularly, is playing in Maryland, he outta-- he outta synchronize his conscience, his actions and do the right thing and change the name.

DAVID GREGORY:

19:36:26:00Attorney General?

DOUG GANSLER:

19:36:29:00Thank you. I started the first civil rights division in our state’s history-- in the Attorney General’s Office. We’ve taken on the minority achievement gap and higher education. We’re obviously-- I’m extremely concerned about the lack of funding for our HBCUs here in Maryland.

19:36:43:00We’ve addressed voting rights issues. Some-- I’m keenly aware of this issue-- involving civil rights and people that feel discriminated against. You know, in terms of the Red Skins-- I’ve been a life-long Red Skins fan, I do a show every week before the game for the Red Skins, and I am sympathetic to-- those fans that deeply love the name and understand that it wasn’t intended as a slur. But it is.

19:37:05:00And so, we-- we should move towards changing the name away from the Red Skins because people find it offensive. We change the name of the (UNINTEL) when-- when they-- when people found that offensive, and look at tonight, the Wizards are playing right up against this debate, and hopefully, they’re winning. And so-- (LAUGHTER) and-- and so, we can change the name and move on, and I think that if-- if people are offended by it, we actually should change the name, and the Red Skins’-- owners will make a lot more money by selling-- throwback jerseys and the like.

DAVID GREGORY:

19:37:30:00If they don’t, though, if-- if you were governor of this state, would you pursue some recourse to put pressure on the team to do it, pressure on the NFL to do it?

DOUG GANSLER:

19:37:38:00No, I think no. I-- I think I would-- I would meet with-- Mr. Snyder and-- and people from the Red Skins organization and try and come to an understanding. I think they’re going to change the name, I think that the-- dye is-- is cast and I think they’re gonna change the name. The question is when and how.

DAVID GREGORY:

19:37:53:00Delegate Mizeur?

HEATHER MIZEUR:

19:37:56:00Words matter, and I am opposed to the name of the Washington Red Skins, and I’ve made that clear over the course of this election. But our actions matter even more. Let’s talk about the income inequality that exists in our state. We raised the minimum wage this year, but it was so watered down by the time we pushed it through, that the next governor will be running for reelection before it even gets the tin tin (PH). And we didn’t include provision that indexed it for inflation or addressed the problem of our tipped workers, still only earning $3.63 an hour. Many of those workers are women and people of color.

19:38:32:00If you look at our gender pay gap in this state, women are still making, on average, $.85 on the dollar to their male counterparts. But if you’re an African-American woman, that’s $.67. If you’re a Latina woman, it’s $.46. This is an issue of urgency that demands a governor that cares about these issues and will fight to address the income inequality gap that has plans to provide minimum wage-- relief. I-- I wanna not just have a minimum wage--

DAVID GREGORY:

19:38:59:00Time.

HEATHER MIZEUR:

19:39:00:00--I wanna have a living wage. And I’m the only candidate up here that has put that policy on the table.

DAVID GREGORY:

19:39:04:00To Chris Lawrence.

CHRIS LAWRENCE:

19:39:05:00As a father of two very young children, I wanna ask a question about schools, which it’s something that’s very, very important to a lotta Maryland moms and Maryland dads out there. Just down the road from here, Montgomery County’s enrollment has grown by about 15,000 students just since the year 2000.

19:39:26:00The county educates more than 17% of Maryland’s students, and yet, it only received about 11% of school construction funds. My question is: Will you work to change the current funding mechanism for Maryland (MIC NOISE) schools to steer more money to Montgomery County? And let’s start with Delegate Mizeur.

HEATHER MIZEUR:

19:39:47:00Thank you for the question, it’s a really critical one. I got involved in this issue three years ago as Vice Chair of Education and Economic Development for our Appropriations Committee. And I was touring schools in Baltimore City. I was in Holabird Academy and I was devastated by what I saw. (NOISE) Fountains that the kids can’t drink out of because they’re lead piped-- they’re too cold in their-- rooms with-- coats taking their exams because the heat doesn’t work.

19:40:13:00I’ve seen prison conditions better than these schools. And I coulda come home to Montgomery County and said, “That’s Baltimore’s problem.” But I recognized that Baltimore’s problem was the most acute-- $3 billion problem of what is a $15 billion crisis for the entire state.

19:40:29:00We had to fix it in Baltimore first before we could fix it anywhere else, and I was-- (MIC NOISE) really proud to be involved in getting that first round of funding put together. It’s a model we can use to bring funding to Montgomery County, Baltimore County and Prince George’s County, which we fought to get done this legislative session. And as governor, I’ll get it done. I have a plan in my jobs and economic development plan that has two more ideas on how we can get that money. (LAUGHTER) You’ll have to read about it on my website.

DAVID GREGORY:

19:40:59:00Who’s up next on it?

CHRIS LAWRENCE:

19:41:00:00It should be the-- Attorney General, Mr. Brown, (UNINTEL). Lieutenant Governor, excuse me. Yeah.

ANTHONY BROWN:

19:41:06:00Okay-- time. (LAUGHTER) Look, we-- over the last seven years, we built, according to Education Week Magazine, some of the best schools in the nation. We rank number one. But I think everyone understands and believes that I’m cert-- certainly committed to ensuring that every child, whether you’re educated in Bethesda, Chevy Chase or in Baltimore City, has access to a world class education in a modern technology-ready classroom. That’s why over the last eight years, we’ve increased investments in school construction at a high water mark of $400 million, an average of $340 million a year. That’s not enough. I put forward a plan in December, so over the next four years, we will increase that average to $500 million a year.

19:41:52:00I’m committed to working with the-- local leadership in Montgomery County to do exactly what we did in Baltimore County. We authorized a $1.1 billion school construction program to get those children out of the second oldest set of schools in the state. We can do that; we have the resources in Maryland. It’s not gonna be easy. We have to set our priorities. In a Brown-Ulman Administration, schools are a top priority.

DAVID GREGORY:

19:42:17:00So the Attorney General.

DOUG GANSLER:

19:42:18:00I grew up in Montgomery County, I-- I’m a proud graduate of the Chevy Chase Elementary School. My-- my family lives in Montgomery County, so I actually know what Montgomery County is like, and it’s not like-- much of what the state believes it to be like. We’re a majority/minority-- county; we have 166 languages spoken in our schools. And to your question, we are-- woefully underfunded. Baltimore City needed new schools, and they got-- they got a billion dollars towards that.

19:42:43:00But Montgomery County, Prince George’s County and Baltimore County deserved to have new schools, too. But not only that, the Lieutenant Governor’s been in office for eight years, at the s-- at the seat of power, and stood by while Maryland has the number two-- number two minority achievement in the country, the second-worst.

19:43:01:00And that’s the moral state of our state. So we need to address that. I was the first candidate to come out for expanding pre-k for all people in Maryland, particularly, starting with people 300% above the poverty line or below. We want-- but we also have to make sure we have skilled teachers, like in any other profession, reward the-- the people who are more astute (PH), which is our teachers.

DAVID GREGORY:

19:43:21:00Time. Lieutenant Governor, take 30 seconds for a rebuttal.

ANTHONY BROWN:

19:43:22:00Thank you 30 seconds. Maryland leads the nation when it comes to reducing the achievement gap by income and we have work to do. Our students of color are making the greatest progress in 4th grade and 8th grade math and reading; we still have an achievement gap to close, that’s why I have a plan.

19:43:36:00Doug, you talk about a moral stain in education achievement gap, if we pass the Gansler Corporate Tax Giveaway, that moral stain will become an indelible blemish, as generations of students will not have access to early childhood education, which is proven to be one of the best ways to eliminate the achievement gap in--

DAVID GREGORY:

19:43:54:00Attorney General, take 30 seconds to--

DOUG GANSLER:

19:43:56:00President Obama-- Congressman Van-- Van Hollen, Congressman Hoyer all are for reducing the corporate tax. The prob-- the-- one of the reasons why we’re losing so many of our companies to Virginia is because we have an eight and a quarter-- corporate tax (UNINTEL) at 6%.

19:44:09:00I was an Economics major Yale, I get that people operate on the best interests. If we-- reduce the corporate tax by a quarter of a point each year, more jobs will come, our tax base will be en-- enhanced, and we’ll be able to do things like fix the schools, where-- where we have this minority achievement gap. So I-- you know, we do need-- and I agree with Heather Mizeur, we need to close that corporate loophole for the big companies.

DAVID GREGORY:

19:44:31:00Let me go back to Chris.

CHRIS GORDON:

19:44:32:00Call this the legacy question. The current governor, Martin O’Malley, had a very progressive list of priorities and passed most of them, if not all of them. The Green Act, lowering-- and making in-state tuition for the children of illegal immigrants. Same-sex marriage, abolishing the death penalty, tough gun control laws.

19:44:53:00And this session, is top priority, raising the minimum wage. So my question to each of you is, what’s the next big idea that you have? What would be your legacy, if elected governor of Maryland? And we start with-- Delegate Mizeur.

DAVID GREGORY:

19:45:07:00Actually, we’re gonna start with the Attorney General. We’re-- we’re watching this closely. So the Attorney General will speak next.

DOUG GANSLER:

19:45:11:00Thanks for noticing. I was five years ahead of most people on the issue of marriage equality; I went down and testified on it before anybody else-- thought it was a good idea. They literally tried to impeach me in Annapolis, and-- of course, my wife was hoping they would be successful so I could get a real job, here I am again-- Attorney General running for yet a new job.

19:45:30:00I then wrote an opinion recognizing out-of-state same-sex marriages here in Maryland because I thought it was the right thing to do and I didn’t think people should be discriminated against. I then was the first person on the stage to come out for increasing the minimum wage. It’s just not fair.

19:45:45:00If you’re making $7.25 an hour working 40 hours a week and you’re still under the federal poverty line, that’s just not right. So we need to-- I think the next thing we need to do is bring jobs back to Maryland. We cannot sustain this. There’s too many poor people. When you have 46% of the people in-- Baltimore-- going-- men out of work, that’s wrong. And the second is dealing with re-entry. Taking prisoners-- from behind bars and making them tax-paying citizens.

DAVID GREGORY:

19:46:10:00Delegate Mizeur?

HEATHER MIZEUR:

19:46:13:00Thank you. I have a plan to make sure that we don’t just have a minimum wage in this stage, we have-- a living wage, ‘cause no one should be working 40 hours a week and still be living in poverty. I have a plan to make sure that we address (NOISE) that achievement gap that we discussed earlier.

19:46:31:00It still matters in Maryland what your socio-economic status is and what your race is to determine whether or not you’re gonna be successful in school. And we know it doesn’t have to be that way. When we invest in early childhood initiatives from birth to age five, we eliminate that disparity and give every child a chance to enter school ready to learn at the same pace.

19:46:49:00My plan to address this is comprehensive. It’s a universal pre-k plan, not just for four-year-olds, not just for four-year-olds from some low-income families, all of our four-year-olds, and we’ll cover a half day for three-year-olds, as well.

19:47:01:00And we’ll also provide childcare subsidies, not just for low-income families, who have a long waiting list to get access to care, but for middle class families, as well, because our children need access to a quality, affordable, nurturing educational environment before they get into pre-k.

CHRIS GORDON:

19:47:15:00L-- Lieutenant Governor.

ANTHONY BROWN:

19:47:17:00Thank you, Chris. We live in a much more just society today than we did eight years ago. Passed marriage equality, and-- and the Dream Act. We passed some of the most stringent gun safety measures in the wake of Newtown, Connecticut and we repealed the death penalty. I believe that the greatest challenge that we face as a state and as a nation, is to address the persistent, debilitating gaps, disparities and inequities that exist in our economy, in our society, in our community and yes, in our classrooms.

19:47:52:00And that’s why I’ve got a plan to create more jobs in Maryland, but not only create more jobs by investments and infrastructure and renewable energy, but to educate and train all of Maryland’s workforce so they can compete s-- successfully for that. At the end of my four-year term, I hope that we can look back in Maryland and say, “We have career technology education in every high school or every county,” so that we’re not only preparing students--

DAVID GREGORY:

19:48:17:00Time.

ANTHONY BROWN:

19:48:19:00--who want to go to college, but those who don’t so that they are ready to enter the workplace and support their--

DAVID GREGORY:

19:48:24:00Final-- final question here from Chris.

CHRIS GORDON:

19:48:27:00I wanna talk a little bit about something that you all have brought up. Governor O’Malley has signed off on about 40 new taxes since he took office, and yet, the number of Maryland families who need government help to make ends meet has reached record levels. And this is a very simple question: Would you raise taxes to cover the cost of continuing this level of government assistance? And I believe we go to the Lieutenant Governor first.

ANTHONY BROWN:

19:48:56:00Thank you. So I think the good news is, I-- I don’t see the need in the foreseeable future to have to raise taxes in Maryland. We’ve got the resources and the revenues to take on the tough challenges ahead, to fully fund education, to continue to drive down crime in neighborhoods throughout the state. I do believe that we ought to engage, as I said earlier, in comprehensive tax reform.

19:49:20:00Look, Maryland and America still has a level of poverty that is higher than it was when Doctor King when was waging the war against poverty in the 1960s with Lyndon Johnson, President Johnson. That’s why we’ve invested in Medicaid; that’s why we’ve taken on a strategic goal to end childhood hunger; that’s why we’ve expanded affordable housing.

19:49:41:00And I’ve got a plan to deliver even more affordable housing. Yeah, there are more demands, but Maryland’s a great state and Maryland can be better for more Marylanders, if we apply our resources, effectively wisely in a socially prudent and fiscally responsible way.

DAVID GREGORY:

19:49:55:00Attorney General?

DOUG GANSLER:

19:49:57:00(UNINTEL) 40 straight taxes; people can’t take it anymore. There’s been a recent poll by Gallup that says 40% of Marylanders want to leave this state because of the tax burden and the economic hardship that we face. We need to actually bring jobs back.

19:50:11:00We need to focus on the fact that we are the only state in the country that has NIH and John’s Hopkins, number one hospital in-- in the country, as well as the University of Maryland Medical System. We need to focus on the fact that we have a Citer (PH) Command Center and the NSA here and we have the smartest people in the country in terms of the advanced degrees, yet, we don’t leverage that. And we need to bring manufacturing back to Maryland and we need to br-- make sure that Prince George’s County’s economic development-- around its (UNINTEL) and development, because if we don’t have jobs, we’re gonna continue to have poor people.

19:50:39:00There’s nowhere to go. And so, one of the things that we want to do is when you’re 16 years old, there’s some people that-- wanna get a job, that don’t wanna stay in school till they’re 18 and go the traditional path. So they’ll have-- an ability to do a career and vocational and career apprenticeship where they can go-- in the afternoons and start-- and get certified (UNINTEL) to get a job.

DAVID GREGORY:

19:50:57:00Time. Delegate Mizeur.

HEATHER MIZEUR:

19:51:01:00Being governor is about setting priorities and building budgets around it. It’s about revenues in and expenditures out. By decriminalizing marijuana, we’ve created another $280 million in savings in our budget. By legalizing and taxing it, we create another $160 million. When we close the corporate tax loophole, the-- the handful of companies that are abusing right now, $200 million extra in our state.

19:51:25:00Bring back the Millionaires’ Tax, another $112 million, and what do you get for that? A universal pre-k program, tax cuts for small businesses and 90% of all Maryland families get middle class tax relief they have been begging for in this state. These are my priorities and this is exactly how I will pay for them as your governor.

DAVID GREGORY:

19:51:44:00All right. The closing statements. Delegate Mizeur, you’re gonna begin. You each have a minute. Please stick to time, we’re tight on it. Go ahead.

HEATHER MIZEUR:

19:51:52:00I see it in living rooms and community centers all across this state. Voters want candidates who remain positive, who are focused on the policy and not platitudes, who remember that we’re always going to be stronger when we put our common good ahead of the priorities of special interests and-- and people who have extra access in Annapolis.

19:52:17:00I’m a governor that wants to make sure Maryland works for all of our-- citizens. I will invest in infrastructure needs for our state, make sure that our schools are great in every corner, reduce crime in our neighborhoods and turn our minimum wage into a living wage.

19:52:34:00And for the women watching tonight, I know that for too long, the inequalities in our schools, in our pay and in our economy have existed for too long. It doesn’t have to be this way. I know what it takes to make Maryland work and be fair--

DAVID GREGORY:

19:52:53:00All right.

HEATHER MIZEUR:

19:52:53:00--for all of Marylanders, and as your governor, I will get it done.

DAVID GREGORY:

19:52:56:00All right, Lieutenant Governor, please.

ANTHONY BROWN:

19:52:58:00Thank you, David. Over the last eight years, we-- and I say “we” collectively, have made tremendous progress as a state. We have built the best in the nation, public schools, but we know that not every child’s educated in a Blue Ribbon school today.

19:53:12:00So our work continues. We’ve not only driven the crime down to the lowest levels we’ve seen in three decades, but we’ve reduced recidivism and our inmate population is smaller today than it was six years ago. We’re one of only a handful of states that weathered the great recession with a AAA bond rating, we recovered jobs at a rate faster than every state in the mid-Atlantic, with an unemployment rate one full percent below the national average. But we know that there continue to be Marylanders who are unemployed and underemployed. That’s why I’ve gotta plan. And I ask ya to go to AnthonyBrown.com, because in this hour, we didn’t discuss all of it.

19:53:47:00I’ve got a five-point plan to create jobs, I’ve got a plan to deliver universal pre-k to every Maryland four-year-old, greater investments in career technology education and school construction, but I need you. I need you to help me and Ken Ulman build a better Maryland for more Marylanders.

DAVID GREGORY:

19:54:02:00The Attorney General, closing (UNINTEL).

DOUG GANSLER:

19:54:04:00You’ve heard a lot of back and forth this evening, and I wanna end by sharing what motivates me. Because during a political campaign, that does and can get distorted. Like you, my family motivates and defines me. Laura and I have been married for 22 years, we’re profoundly proud of our children, we’re incredibly devoted and involved parents, and we-- I want them to be proud of our public service. And-- and many families out there, you also motivate me, all the families I see around the state of Maryland.

19:54:34:00Because we have taken on judges-- because of that. We are-- I have mentored inner city kids when the system was left behind. I’ve taken on polluters-- cyber bullying, Internet fraud and Internet crime. And when I’m governor, we will-- we will deliver the promise of healthcare reform, because healthcare is a right.

19:54:54:00So I just wanna leave you with one thought, if-- if there’s one thought you can be left with, which is this: I will always stand up against the special interests, because your fight is my fight.

DAVID GREGORY:

19:55:04:00And we will leave it there. Thank you all very much. Thank you to our partners, University of Maryland, NBC-4, Bowie State University (APPLAUSE). (MUSIC)

* * *END OF TRANSCRIPT* * *

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