Candidates for state Senate and House of Delegates were asked the following questions by The Washington Post:
Industry: What plans do you have to attract new industry to the state and to help those now unemployed?
Reaganomics: What parts of the Reagan economic program do you support or oppose?
Daniel A. Borges, (D) 28, of 18447 Lost Knife Circle, Gaithersburg, is a former management analyst for the United States Department of Education, active in the Gaithersburg Chamber of Commerce and the Local Democratic party organization, and a member of the Montgomery County Civic Federation.
Industry: Business will develop and flourish in an area where there is an adequate environment for investment. Maryland has many important elements necessary for a health business climate, but one which is particularly crucial: OUR PEOPLE. We must assure that the population of our state is prepared to meet the challenges of future economic needs. Maryland is in an excellent position to assume a leadership role in developing fields of new technology. We are in the center of a rich market. The key to our attracting new enterprise is in developing our human resources. This requires an intense effort to provide opportunities for education and relevant job training. Unfortunately, these are areas certain to suffer in light of federal cutbacks. The legislature must take the lead in finding alternatives and encouraging participation by the private sector.
Reagonomics: The impact of the Reagan economic program will be felt for years. Efforts to implement a supply-side economic theory have been misdirected. Tax reforms have had marginal positive impact on the average American. Depleted revenues and increased deficit spending to support larger military expenditures have only forced the massive destruction of many programs on which we all depend. Education will suffer, health will suffer, the envoronment will suffer; transportation will suffer, science research, the arts, the list goes on. The entire infrastructure of society is in jeopardy. We have not created a healthy base for industrial renaissance by weakening its foundation. I obviously oppose the Reagan Administration program. It has been particularly harsh in Maryland where so many federal employees have felt the insensitivity of Reaganomics, via the RIF. The state will be forced to deal with the remnants of this economic program. I hope we can deal with it in a rational and human way.
Crime: It is difficult in an election year to find a politician who is unwilling to get tough on crime. As a lawmaker there is a certain desire to see that laws are enforced and violaters prosecuted. Briefly, I favor mandatory sentences forusing handguns in the commission of a crime and for perpetrators of violent crimes; I believe victim restitution is needed; the last session of the General Assembly has trumpeted its passage of tougher laws against drunk driving, which is admirable; but I believe the drinking-age issue was a smoke screen allowing legislators to look responsible, but escape facing the real issue of enforcement. The prisons are overcrowded, but they always will be unless we begin to take a hard look at the roots of the crime problem. We must be prepared to invest in the individual early, providing opportunities for positive development. We may do well to remember the old adage: "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
Gene W. Counihan (D), 41, of 19159 Stedwick Dr., Gaithersburg, has been a teacher and assistant pricipal in Montgomery County schools for almost 20 years. He has served as president of the Seneca Valley community organization and the local Democratic Club, and is a lecturer at several area colleges.
Industry: Maryland's economic health is dependent upon the attraction of new job producing industry such as the "high-tech" research and development center growing along the I-270 corridor. Healthy industry strengthens our economy because it provides jobs and increases our tax base while requiring few government services. To attract new industry the state must maintain its strong economic position and present an attractive envoronment for business and personal living. We must be able to present prospective business a community characterized by excellent schools, parks, libraries, envoronmentally sound land use, affordable housing, and improved public transporation and highway systems. The Baltimore Harbor, an invaluable resource, must be maintained to promote and support state-wide industry. The Legislate recently acted in special session to extend relief for unemployed workers. The best long-term employment insurance is a healthy economy. Continued growth requires training programs for mid-career and beginning workers. The solution to unemployment ultimately requires improved working relationships between the public and private sectors.
Reaganomics: Reagan's economic program has pushed this country to the edge of economic collapse. This administration continues to experiment with "trickle-down" economic theory as we plunge deeper into recession. The effects of simultaneous tax cuts and increased spending has created a deficit of $140 billion, which ensures continued record high interest rates, growing unemployment and farm and business failures. Reagan's policies have benefited a privileged few at the expense of millions of needy citizens. Cuts in job programs, housing, Medicaid, nutrition and welfare programs have produced life-threatening conditions for many disadvantaged people. Needed social programs will be lost because states lack either the money or the will to assume this new responsibility. To lower interest rates, put people back to work, and increase productivity, the federal deficit must be reduced through tax and spending reforms. A constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget is not a solution for our troubled economy.
Crime: There is justifiable concern about crime in this and every state. Our entire criminal justice system must be carefully examined and tightened to increase the probability of adverse consequences for criminals. A community of trust must be recreated by effective implementation of police advisory educational programs and increased support for our law enforcement officials. The time between arrest and trial must be shortened. Repeat offenders, perpetrators of violent crimes, and those who use handguns to commit crimes must be more severely punished through stricter sentencing and subject to tighter parole review. The burden of proof in insanity pleas must be placed on the defendant, not the government. Cross-jurisdictional cooperation and improved information retrieval systems are necessary tools in early identification and apprehension of ciminals. Victims of crime should receive improved care and consideration from the system to lessen the impact of personal victimization by reparation and counseling.
Jerry H. Hyatt (D), (Incumbent) 41, of 25508 Coletrane Dr., Damascus, an attorney, has been a delegate since 1975. He is on the judiciary committee and has been on joint committees and task forces on crime, juvenile justice, mental health, adoption and drinking drivers. He was vice chairman of the Montgomery County delegation last year.
Industry: The attraction of new industry to the state of Maryland is vital to the economic survival of this state. Governor Hughes has launched a significant program aimed at attracting foreign and domestic corporations to the state through our office of Economic and Community Development. We have established liaison offices all over the United States and in many foreign countries. The General Assembly must continually seek out means to attract business to the state by means of tax incentives providing fair and adequate housing, schools, churches and all essential elements that major corporations look for in locating a major operation. In this regard, the state and county governments must cooperate in long range planning. Obviously, the attraction of new industry would help those Marylanders who are now unemployed.
Reaganomics: The basic premise of Reagan's economic policy is to cut government spending and in this concept I wholehartedly agree. It is also time that the tax burden in this country be shifted from those people that are least able to pay. Another good point in the Reagan policy is to involve private business in this extremely difficult process. This should be encouraged at all levels of government. Theparts of the current policy with which I disagree are those areas which attempt to cut existing programs dealing with health, education and human resources. I feel that drastic cuts in these are as without compensating local governments creates a general feeling of insecurity in the country.
Crime: The most significant proposal to address the crime probelm is the much-needed but often unpopular decision to expand our state prison system. With the current prison overcrowding in this state, jduges are unable to adequately sentence criminal offenders. The overcrowding situation also necessitates early and unwarranted paroles. The probelm is acute because of four years of inaction by the present administration. The construction of new prison facilities will be first priority in the fight against crime.
Ronald Karp (D), 37, of 9333 Reach Rd., Potomac, is an attorney who produced and moderated law-related programs for the NBC Radio network for six years. Recipient of a distinguished service award from the state bar association, he was president of the Montgomery County Democratic Club for two years.
Industry: There should be a major lobbying effort to attract new business, which should include appropriate tax incentives. New industry will provide new jobs. Job training programs should be continued (they are less expensive than running welfare and massive unemployment programs) and encouraged.
Reaganomics: The "trickle-down" theory which underlines most of the policy is seriously flawed. Housing starts, new car production, etc., are near the lowest point since World War II. The key to recovery is lowering the interest rates. Unless that happens people will not buy major items and all those industries associated with major purchases will suffer (and have been suffering) massive unemployment. The cycle progresses because unemployment coupled with high interest rates results in even less purchasing. I believe the president felt that the mere perception of a recovery would force a recovery. David Stockman knew better.
Crime: We need less plea bargaining and more trials; criminals must know that the law is fair but that it is not a refuge. Criminals should have less access to homes by stricter licensing for those who work around and have easy access to homes. Drunk driving should be treated as an epidemic (60 percent of highway deaths in Maryland are alcohol-related) and the legislature should have the courage to require stiff penalties for repeat offenders. When one in every 28 homes in Montgomery County iw victimized by a burglary, we must institute major steps immediately to curtail this trend.
Judith C. Toth (D), (Incumbent) 44, of 7626 Westlake Terr., West Bethesda, was first elected to the House of Delegates in 1974. She is a member of the Environmental Matters Committee, and serves on a number of legislative commissions and the boards of health, handicapped, educational, civic and political groups.
Industry: The most immediate problem is not attracting new industry to the state. Instead, it is revitalizing and modernizing what industry Maryland has right now, especially plants in danger of being closed down because of the current recession. Our state must do everything possible to encourage these companies to install new plants and equipment. This will boost productivity, improve quality and make the products of Maryland's industries more competitive with foreign imports. At the same time, the state should vigorously support efforts to train and retrain workers in high-demand skills needed in a modern industrial society. This kind of advanced industrial climate, in itself, will attract new industry to Maryland. To this end, the legislature should pass an industrial revitalization act which offers low-interest loans and tax deferrals. Secondary schools should be encouraged to increase emphasis on science and math and to offer curricula directly related to job skills.
Reagonomics: I oppose the hypocritical action of slashing billions of dollars from the budget for badly needed economic and social programs, while granting large tax breaks to the privileged few. The result has been rampant unemployment, recession and confusion at all levels of government. This administration has resorted to cliches and demagoguery rather than programs of substance. I would favor the block grants program if the funds were sufficient to sustain existing programs. We are faced, however, with unconscionable choices which pit special interest against special interest for diminishing resources. The result has not been an excising of "fat" from programs, but wholesale slaughter. Additional pressure has been placed on the state and local governments to raise revenue to "make up the difference" in the most basic public services. On the positive side, the Reagan program has stimulated our managerial skills and forced some creative thinking.
Crime: 1) We need more programs creating jobs and providing job training. Busy minds and full stomachs have no need to resort to crime. 2) Criminals should compensate their victims. In addition to prison terms, they should be required to work until losses incurred by their crimes are made up. 3) Felons should face more in prison than the loss of freedom. They should be required to perform tasks that do not compete with the private sector and which help pay for the cost of incarceration. 4) White-collar criminals should be required to perform service to the community in addition to or in lieu of prison. 5) The insanity plea should be changed to a two-tiered process whereby the defendant is first found innocent or guilty and then given a separate hearing on insanity. 6) More judges should be appointed and the budget of the judiciary increased. 7) "Neighborhood Watch" and "Operation Identification" programs should be expanded. 8) We should expand and improve civics education in grade and high schools. We need more "Scared Straight" programs.