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  •   Transcript of the Glendening Interview

    Parris N. Glendening
    Parris Glendening
    (File Photo)

    July 10, 1998

    Parris N. Glendening was born in the Bronx in 1942 and grew up in South Florida. He received a doctorate in political science from Florida State University in 1967 and began teaching at the University of Maryland at College Park.

    Glendening, 56, is married to Frances Anne Glendening. They have a college-age son, Raymond.

    Glendening, a Democrat, was elected to the Hyattsville City Council in 1973 and then was elected to two terms on the Prince George's County Council and three terms as county executive. In 1994, he became the first Maryland governor elected from the Washington suburbs in more than 100 years. He is once again seeking the Democratic nomination for governor.

    The following is a transcript of a conversation between Glendening and Washington Post reporters and editors. Transcripts of interviews with all the gubernatorial candidates are appearing in The Post's Maryland Weekly and on the Web site.

    Glendening: Can I just give a quick comment [before questioning]? ... Not a campaign speech. Let me just, obviously, first of all thank everyone for their time and I appreciate it very much. I would just make a quick observation ... Four years ago, when we had a similar luncheon just prior to the campaign, I made some very specific comments about what we were going to do and what our plans were and so on.

    And, in fact, we put it in a little booklet, and everyone's seen this little booklet. Some people think the title is "The 5Es" because that's the way I organized it in my mind. A vision for Maryland.

    And the thing that I think was important to remember is that we in fact did just about everything in that book. Everything that we committed [to] on the campaign trail ... So we said we were going to do this, we did it ...

    I'll also note that we took some very tough decisions, as well, and some of you may recall we talked, for example, about violence and the gun violence bill and that we would get a strong handgun control bill through, which we did.

    We also talked about some of the fundamental issues such as education and what we intended to do in education. We achieved and passed just about everything in the education effort.

    We talked about being very aggressive and innovative on the environment and we have. We've made everything from the tough decisions about things like pfiesteria to very, very innovative approaches such as Smart Growth, which is now being recognized across the country as an entirely different approach in terms of ... dealing with sprawl.

    I won't bore with all the details here, but what I was really pleased about is that we outlined a four-year plan, and we did it. Now we'll be fleshing these out for you during the course of the next couple of months.

    But we have also some very clear initiatives that we'll be taking to the next four-year plan. And when I say "we," it's not the royal "we" or anything, but it's a team [effort]. It's working with the legislature, lieutenant governor – who's doing a tremendous job – but specifically, we're going to focus on school construction and reducing class size, and we'll have a lot of details and we'll go through that on some of the discussion.

    We'll also be focusing on some of the transportation needs, particularly the mass transit and how to move ahead on a much, much better mass transit system and some of the things that have to be done there as well.

    There are obviously some major health issues, kind of a balance between managed care and we have some additional very specific programs, higher education, our efforts to make sure that colleges are accessible, which is one of the big challenges facing so many people as well the quality of education.

    I think that our economic competitiveness, but also the potential for individuals, is limited by both the quality of education and accessibility of education. So we're very, very excited by what we've done and we're excited about what we're going to do.

    And then lastly, and I'll come back to this at the end, notwithstanding efforts to make people look, what was the term you used? "Warmer." We should also keep in mind there are fundamental differences in this campaign, and quite honestly, The Post has stood very clearly over the years for some important values and direction. Whether we're talking about the slots and casinos issue, choice or guns, you can go right on down the line.

    And I think our choice here is to veer off on some fanciful effort to bring slots and casinos and do some other odd things or to recognize a backdoor, far-right agenda. And I believe we're making great progress and want to continue that progress. I didn't mean to go on too long.

    Q: Are you worried that you look bad in all this [the appointment of an interim comptroller, who resigned several days later when former governor William Donald Schaefer entered the comptroller's race], and going back over the last week, do you feel that you ... have any regrets about that?

    A: Now what would you have done differently?

    Q: I would have figured out Don Schaefer a little better. A: I'm asking seriously. In 12 hours time, with everyone in the state making different suggestions and everyone speculating differently about what was going to happen, and ... by the time you have done appropriate sleeping on it overnight and so you ... have to be fair in this as well.

    Q: I guess the other interesting question about this is how do you foresee you and Schaefer campaigning in the autumn along with the lieutenant governor, since [Schaefer is] now no longer just an endorser and supporter of yours but part of the ticket?

    A: Well he's a very vigorous campaigner, he really is. Committed to work for the whole party. He's very aggressive, a successful people-type person and I think he'll add a lot.

    I was talking early this morning with [Baltimore County Executive] Dutch Rupersburger who's off on a vacation, but he was nice enough to give me a call and he was saying, for example, in Baltimore County I mean just think what the ticket is going to be, it's going to be [U.S. Sen. Barbara] Mikulski, Glendening, Schaefer, [State Attorney General] Joe Curran, Dutch Rupersburger, [Rep.] Ben Cardin, I mean that's a strong, strong ticket and I think it's going to be great and from that perspective. It's good in terms of the November campaign.

    Q: What's the ticket going to look like in Prince George's County?

    A: Well in Prince George's County, as you know, we're always interesting. Politics is a blood sport in Prince George's. I think what will happen in Prince George's County is you'll have a number of different tickets but the Senate ticket will be pretty clear, I think, and it will be [Lt. Gov.] Kathleen [Kennedy Townsend] and myself, Joe, I think some senators may end up opting for comptroller Joan Pratt who also supports me, as you know, and some may go with Don Schaefer. It's just not clear to me yet, I haven't discussed this with anyone, I'm just surmising ... we're doing extraordinarily well in Montgomery and Prince George's County. And we expect to do very, very well in the primary and the general.

    Q: Can this breach between you and [Prince George's County Executive Wayne K.] Curry be healed? Is this turning into all out war? When the primary's over, will the forces be joined again?

    A: This is mild compared to prior elections. You remember ... I've got a very good friend, a dear friend, a very close friend, Mike Miller?

    Q: [laughter]. He's [State Sen. Thomas V. Mike Miller] always said good things about you, too, governor.

    A: And the reason I say that, you recall prior campaigns and you may recall even when he said some things that were extraordinary. And you also recall that Mike is out there very, very aggressively, we're working together really, really good, not only the last four years of the legislative session but this campaign. And that's sort of what happens in Prince George's County politics ... And you do whatever it is you're going to do for a while, and then people come back together.

    Q: Yes, but there are a lot of people telling you that you shouldn't take Wayne [Curry] back and are going to be mad at you if you do take Wayne back in in November.

    A: Well at this stage I'm not sure what "take back" means. It's not like we're going to exile him. And bottom line. am I going to continue to work very aggressively and successfully for Prince George's County? Obviously. Obviously. Will my closest confidantes there in terms of who we're working with be the senators and council members and others? That's more likely.

    Q: The county executive is making a lot of very serious charges about, first of all, the position in which you left the county and the current [radio] ads about how construction dollars have been spent in Prince George's. Can you talk a little bit about either one of those?

    A: ...Let me just emphasize first of all, Prince George's County has done extraordinarily well. You all recall this wonderful little column that was in The Washington Post, Sunday, May 3, by Wayne Curry and [Montgomery County Executive] Doug Duncan? Do you recall this nice, wonderful column? ... It goes on with great relish to explain how Prince George's County received $72 million, Montgomery County received $40 million in new aid. And then it says this is in addition-with great pride – I can see the pride there – in addition to the $40 million Prince George's was allocated and the $31 million Montgomery was allocated for the five-year period, this significant achievement occurred because of the partnership between Montgomery and Prince George's County. Both counties are slated to receive record amounts of school construction money to return to neighborhood schools and Prince George's County and to keep up with spiraling enrollment.

    I looked at it, and I said that's a nice column. I don't mean to be sarcastic, but it seems that things may have changed. The important thing, however, if you look here, this is the figure, this is this year's budget, this is what that supposed ad is all about. And on the operation budget, Prince George's County got $42 million in new money this year. Forty-two million more than they received last year and they indicated that that was what they knew was in the operations [budget], a combination of Apex funding, the new formula funding and special aid that we added to the program and received $35 million in construction for $77 million, total.

    Montgomery County got $16 million in operation, $50 million in construction for $66 million, total.

    Now, first of all, I want to tell you all straight out. When you are looking at $77 [million] and $66 million, that is a significant commitment to the region to education. Secondly, it is flat wrong to somehow or other to be saying that we were not taking care of education, construction, of our schoolchildren. And in fact, today the formulas that are in place, Prince George's County is receiving $105 million more per year than it did when I was first elected governor.

    And we have added a number of other very important, unique, focused efforts to help my county, including things that were somewhat unprecedented. The items – for example, $2 million grant for libraries – was one of those under pressure and a variety of things like that and so I mean the figures are very, very clear. We have been aggressive in supporting the county and successful.

    Q: What is your explanation then of the origin of the problems – and about the disagreements?

    A: ... I think it just goes back to politics and stuff like that. And you've got great influence of one individual, Larry Gibson, and Larry Gibson [is the] real spokesman for bringing the slots in [and] casinos. And you've got his great influence on two individuals and those are basically the only two individuals in the entire state that are not being supportive of our efforts. ...

    Q: That is his motivation for causing those two office holders [Curry and Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke] to oppose you in the primary?

    A: Yes, sir. Absolutely. I mean it is impossible to say that we are not supportive of school aid for Baltimore City. Look what we put in the school aide for Baltimore City. It is impossible not to say that we didn't go out and fight for insurance reform. In fact we did so when the city leaders weren't even there. It is impossible to say that we didn't live up to our commitments in terms of [an] anti-gun violence bill.

    I mean we have been very, very aggressive on the Smart Growth initiative, the programs that have we have put in specifically into the city to help with the revitalization in a number of those communities. We have been very, very successful.

    The only fundamental issue of disagreement, and you heard that when the announcement was made, this was, quote, going to be a referendum on slots. It was what their camp was saying. I think it is wrong. I strongly oppose slots. I hope no one buys into this idea that somehow or other it's just going to be at the tracks, and even if it was it is still wrong.

    Secondly, you know, to say that this is essential for education makes no sense whatsoever. We have increased education aide extraordinary amounts, and then in addition, we've got a $700 million reserve, and in addition to that, the same people that said we need this for education are the people proposing further tax cuts.

    And so I mean, let's get honest. What they are trying to do is to open the state up to slots, and once you open it up at the three or five locations, you're going to have them all over the state. But even those three or five locations, I just don't want them. It is the wrong way to go, and I think that that is exactly what's behind this.

    Q: Isn't it extraordinary that here you are an incumbent governor, the economy is good, crime is down. You face a challenge from within your party and two important office holders – both who are African American – oppose you? That is sort of extraordinary. If I were someone from the outside, ... I would say what is going on here? What's the matter with this guy?

    A: Well I think it is extraordinary. The economy is going well. Very, very well. We do have our priorities right, and in fact, just about everyone who has come behind us in terms of support including all of the African American leaders in Prince George's County – the senators, the delegates, the council members, the very popular state's attorney, the congress member, Albert Wynn, the 30 mayors – all have rallied to our cause. And so I suspect the real question is not "What's going on here with the governor," but "What has caused a person to go off the reservation like this?" And I think it is very, very clear. Plus again you look at the support that we have. I mean, we're doing the right thing, and if the temporary loss of support of two individuals [is the cost of standing] up on the slots, that's what we'll do ...

    Q: Where do you think the racing industry in Maryland would be then?

    A: I think there are all kinds of alternatives ... Let me just first say, you do not want to justify a great wrong or a great evil by saying [what they] are going to do to help. In Baltimore, now, they are talking about "slots for tots." And I think that's outrageous, "slots for tots" ... I really urge people to seriously look at what happens in terms of the local economy, the disposable income, what happens to small businesses, the pawnshops and everything that pop up.

    But also, the figure that really fascinates me in a very negative way is the increase in domestic violence. There have been several studies on this. I know what happens. People lose their paycheck. They lose their rent and they're angry and frustrated and domestic violence goes up, and I'm saying all this because we believe there are positive alternatives for the racing industry but I don't care if it is education or racing – you shouldn't try to justify doing the wrong thing by all of a sudden saying we are going to do it for this purpose.

    Now in terms of the racing industry, we have already made significant assistance [available]. A number of the taxes that were on the racing industry have been removed in the last 3 years ... And it seems to me that we could continue to enter into different types of partnership ... but as long as you have a few people who believe they can be fabulously wealthy by having slot machines, I don't think there is quite the willingness and the interest yet to sit down and say that this is what must be done.

    Now I remind people as well, I haven't seen it personally, but I've had dozens of people tell me that if you go to ... [the track in] Delaware, ... you see one thousand or more people over there playing the slot machines and 40 or 50 people watching the races.

    In fact, their number for the track now has been changed and if you want to call that particular track it is 1-800 – whatever the area code is – slots. That's the number for the track, and the reason I say that, it really does tell you what'll happen. I think in the long run, you help kill the racing industry by converting those tracks into mini-casinos.

    Q: Governor, you obviously do not oppose all gambling, though. You play the lottery, horseracing. What's the difference?

    A: Well, I think all across the country there have been numerous studies about the addictive nature of the slot machines and the pervasive nature, in terms of what they draw out. I am sure that a few people are addicted in that sense to lotteries or whatever, but you do not get the same thing as what happens when they go before those slot machines ...

    And the article I thought was fascinating in ... The Baltimore Sun. It talked about a new company that we helped to get into Baltimore City ... and it is part of our revitalizations in the old American Can Factory.

    They talked about bringing 120 jobs and the jobs ranged from $20,000 to $100,000 and the column right next to it described a retired couple that went to West Virginia to the slots just about everyday and they say, "We try to limit our loss to $100 a day." And now I look at those two things and I think well, you know, here's about bringing good positive jobs, on the other hand, here is a couple that is obviously having a serious challenge in terms of what they are doing and it is just ... those different alternatives.

    I don't have the moral to specifically to question them, – it is not like a great moral issue to me, but it is, I think, a very destructive element and a very addictive element and you've got to draw the line someplace and that's what we're trying to do.

    Q: You expect that this is going to be for you the primary issue in this campaign with Mr. Curry?

    A: No, I don't. They have indicated that they see this as a referendum, and all that sort of stuff, but I don't.

    My campaign is continuously focused on education, education funding, what we're going to do continue to make the state competitive, which I think in terms of jobs for the future ... Issues, obviously, like some of the environmental [concerns] and how you are going to deal with the crime and violence. I mean those are the issues that ought to be out there.

    In Montgomery County, Doug [Duncan] stood up. Every Democratic official in the county stood with us. Every Democratic elected official. In Baltimore County, just the other day, they did the same thing. In Baltimore City, every senator, delegates, the council members, the courthouse gang, the state's attorney, and everything.

    And so what you've got is, is two people. And you have to say, in that case, "Why?" The "why" of it is the influence here in terms of the casinos. Now I'm hoping that what comes out of this is a much firmer discussion of education Where we are going, how we are funding it? That's why, as an example, some of our roll-outs of different issues during the course of the next couple months – we are going to talk about school construction, about funding this, about how important it is to reduce class size and particularly at different age levels and for particular areas.

    There was a lot of research, for example, of math and reading performance. Those increase based on class size. We are also going to be talking about the accessibility as well as the quality of higher education. We have invested significantly in higher education. I'm pleased about some of the things that we've done on accessibility such as the pre-paid college tuition and our science and engineering and technology scholarship program but we're going to propose a four-year program that basically implements the Hope Scholarship program that we've talked about a couple of years ago in which students earned the right by earning an A or B to go to college.

    Q: And the state would pay for this?

    A: The state will pay for it. If you recall, we suggested last time the total price tag of about $40 million. There was some reluctance in the legislature until they costed it out more and all but they did adopt the science and technology one this time, which is about $10 million and covers roughly a fourth of the majors anyway and so we would like to phase this in as other states are doing.

    Georgia does it. New Mexico does it. Texas is getting ready to do it and so on. And the way we set this up – the legislature refined our program, and I think strengthened it last time – but the way we set it up is if you go to work in Maryland for the number of years that you were in school, then it becomes a grant.

    If you did something ridiculous like went to New Jersey to work, then it would become a loan, a low-interest loan. The net effect would be that we improve our work force significantly, and things of a burning desire for me: open the accessibility to college to a whole range of students that may be able to do so. And I predict by the end of the next decade most states, in fact, will have similar programs.

    You know, we would never think of saying to an 11th grader today, "Oh, you can't afford the cost for the 12th grade. I'm sorry you've got to leave school." And yet, we say to people, "Oh, you can't afford college, I'm sorry you can't go." And yet increasingly, in almost all professions, college education or community college, or technical college become extraordinarily important. And so I think we'll get this through.

    Q: When Ellen Sauerbrey sat in this chair a couple of weeks ago, she said education would be her number one issue, and she said that she would be telling voters that you've not been a good governor for education, citing what she said were declines in both Prince Georges and Baltimore schools ...

    A: You know, I don't mean to be frivolous but I do want to tell you this. Many of you know me reasonably well. I mean, the driving force of my life is education – it really is. ... You know where I'd be today if it were not for education, and it certainly wouldn't be in this fancy board room. I also just watched my son – and we are so excited about him. But also I mean I teach. I also note what the economy is.

    The jobs of today and tomorrow increasingly are knowledge-based jobs and if anything, the legislature has said I'm trying to do too much in education and when I talk about that, I mean the Hope Scholarship Program, as you know, they turned down because they said it was too big all at one time.

    The school construction – that had been moving along at $100 [million] to $120 million a year. We have about $225 million this year, and I believe we can do even more. The increase in the funding for colleges – but it is not only about that. I mean we are holding a steady course on assessment and accountability. We are holding teachers and administrators responsible for what happens.

    That's one of the reasons we've also assumed responsibilty for the recomposition of some of the schools. And I just think it is going to be a long road to somehow or other say the governor doesn't care about doing what he's supposed to doing.

    Q: Sauerbrey criticized you for not doing enough for college funding. The suggestion [was] that that's why Curry was leaving, because there wasn't enough state support.

    A: We got everyone together long before there was even a hint Curry was leaving and said okay now we think we're in a financial position to make the next big step in education funding and everyone knows that, as does he and as he has said publicly on a number of times, that we were not only starting to head in the right direction, but we had started to pull that program together with his input, as well, before he announced that he was leaving.

    Now the reason I always find these questions interesting – because I remember certain un-named reporters who are sitting on the table across from me. In the last election, there were a number of articles written about how the governor wants to do too much. The governor is promising things he can't afford. I'm sorry, not the governor, the candidate at the time, wants to do too much.

    I mean, go back and look at the archives. You know, I said we are going to invest in education. We are going do this and all and then I got these articles that all the time said, "Oh look, he's going to be a spendthrift, cause he is trying to do much. And when we came in, we did what we had to do. We were fiscally very responsible. We held that budget. We did increase funding for higher education.

    The following year we did even more. And by the third year, we're making significant increases – the advanced technology centers, the increase in the community college funding, the signficant increase in the scholarship funding – all of which goes to the campus. And then by this budget, we were in a position to make that huge increase. And next year, I think not only on the funding but also on the capital, we're going to be able to [make a] significant additional investment, as well.

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