Candidates for the Maryland Senate and the Maryland House of Delegates were asked the following questions by The Washington Post:
Sentences: In what cases, if any, would you support legislation requiring judges to impose mandatory sentences? Do you feel Maryland should build a maximum security facility for juvenile offenders? Please explain.
Spending: In which areas of government should the state spend more money or less? Please be specific.
Legislation: Give three examples of legislation you intend to propose.
Gerard F. Devlin (D), incumbent, 49, of 2505 Kitmore La., Bowie, a delegate since 1975, is vice chairman of the Ways and Means Committee and represents the Maryland delegation on the environmental committee of the Southern Legislative Conference. An attorney, he also taught high school and college and was a staff aide on Capitol Hill for 15 years.
Sentences: I am not generally in favor of mandatory sentences. In regard to the question of maximum security facilities for juveniles, it seems to me we must recognize that among our juvenile offenders are many who are hardened criminals who commit savage, vicious crimes. Presently, Maryland has fewer than 100 beds available for these hard-core juvenile offenders. By segregating these individuals we can do more for juveniles who have committed less serious crimes and can be rehabilitated.
Spending: Government should spend more on job creation and economic development. A hard look should be taken at unneeded state programs, with the goal of elimination.
Legislation: 1) I will reintroduce my bill, which based the House, to provide tax equity for double taxed municipal residents. 2) I will introduce a bill to provide equal educational opportunity. 3) I will reintroduce legislation to create a cabinet level office of aging.
Donald Bruce McBride (R), 58, of 9549 Elvis La., Lanham, is director of McBride Research Services. He has more than 20 years experience as a senior management analyst in the federal government. An historian and retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, he has been an adjunct professor of American government and has published many articles.
Sentences: I would support mandatory sentences by judges for specific, clearly defined crimes. Maryland must build more security facilities for juvenile offenders and must now separate them in present jails and prisons from older, experienced offenders. The prison population in Maryland must be better housed and controlled. The Democratic administrations and legislators in Annapolis must bear the responsibility for many of the current problems in prisons and the handling of offenders in Maryland. New methods must be used. The problem is serious.
Spending: My purpose in running for the Maryland legislature is to reduce governmental spending by improved management and better governmental methods. Maryland must have better, less costly government at all levels. This can be done by better administration, management by objectives, better planning/programming/budgeting. The last few Democratic administrations and the overwhelming Democratic control of the state legislature must share the blame for almost all of Maryland's current problems. The "spend/spend" philosophy must be replaced by carefully planned management analysis, so that Maryland will be in the best position to benefit from the New Federalism the national government is moving toward. Maryland economies can be accomplished without the "riffing" and other adverse personnel methods now being used in the national government. This requires experience in management, not politics as usual.
Legislation: I do not intend to introduce a "flood" of mostly meaningless bills in the Maryland state legislature, as so many Democratic legislators do each year to curry favor with voters. Each such unnecessary "political" bill costs the Maryland taxpayers. The only bills I will introduce will be important and meaningful. Better drunk driving legislation is needed in Maryland now. The Maryland budgetary process must be improved to save the taxpayers as much money as possible. The state government must adopt better management methods, such as management by objectives, planning/programming before budgeting, etc. Real "sunset" legislation must be passed; Maryland's costly minimum-value governmental activities must be terminated so funds will be available to improve services for education at all levels, better support for the poor and elderly, etc. Laws to aid the victims of crimes must be passed to help those hurt by all kinds of crimes.
Sharon E. Metcalfe (R), 45, of 4605 Olden Court, Bowie, is a registered nurse. She has served on the board of Concerned Women for America and is active in Bowie and Prince George's County Republican clubs. She has worked in several congressional campaigns and has lobbied at state and federal levels on social, family and women's issues.
Sentences: Mandatory minimum sentences should be imposed in any crimes committed against the elderly. I would also recommend tougher sentences for crimes involving the use of handguns and crimes listed as "violent crimes." The addition of a Repeat Offenders Court is another method to impose justice for the citizen rather than the criminal. I also would recommend placement of the juvenile justice system under the Department of Corrections rather than the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Separate facilities should be available for juvenile offenders. They should be kept separate from adults.
Spending: Any plan or program that would be introduced should be considered in light of the return on that investment. The Texas Department of Corrections has instituted a program that provides training in a marketable skill. Printing, farming, clothing manufacture, etc., for the state are done by the inmates. There is an initial investment, but the overall benefits to the state as well as the inmates provides a high yield.
Legislation: 1) The "Nurse-Practioner Act" will allow well-trained nurse-practioners to practice under the supervision of a physician. 2) Tax credits for home health care. 3) Tax credits and tax incentives for small businesses.
Joan B. Pitkin (D), incumbent, 50, of 12005 Long Ridge La., Bowie, a member of the House since 1979, serves on the Environmental Matters Committee and joint committees on investigations and hospice reimbursement. She has been chairman of the Prince George's County Office of Children and Youth and director of the Bowie Health Center.
Sentences: Present state law provides for mandatory penalties for many violent crimes. Last session I was cosponsor of a bill that required a mandatory sentence for illegally carrying a handgun; also last session mandatory sentencing was passed for three-time conviction for drug pushing. Present law requires a mandatory sentence for crimes involving a handgun. I support the current mandatory sentencing laws and would consider others on their merits. As for a maximum security facility for juvenile offenders, I do not believe that it is necessary, as juveniles now get "waived" up to adult status if involved in capital crimes. However, innovative programs such as a forestry camp that would instill a work-survival ethic in juvenile offenders, as well as community-based programs and psychological and family counseling, are extremely important. Such programs are vital because if we don't get involved we have only ourselves to blame -- as it is in the community where the problem starts.
Spending: Social programs, health care, environmental programs and public safety are all areas in which I feel better funding is needed. I include in social programs the schools, senior citizen programs such as "Project Gateway," which provides one regional center for all senior services, and anti-poverty programs. There is still plenty of room for improvement in crime prevention, especially in funding for such cost-effective programs as "crime solvers" and "neighborhood watch," in environmental safety and pollution control, and better state support for public schools and universities. In addition, a beefed-up system for preventive health care is needed.
Legislation: 1) This year, I plan to sponsor legislation again to require that dump trucks and other open-bed vehicles be covered while traveling on state roads. Maryland motorists have suffered cracked and broken windshields and dented car bodies for too long, all because careless truckers refuse to cover their loads to prevent flying gravel and other debris spewing from their trucks. 2) Again this year I plan to sponsor a bill that would allow the Public Service Commission to consider a "lifeline" utility rate for low-income senior citizens and others who may qualify. 3) I have also requested that a bill be drafted to provide that any drunk driver having a blood alcohol level of 0.10 percent or higher would be considered "intoxicated" per se, and not merely "presumed" intoxicated with a level of 0.13 percent as under present law. Per se laws elsewhere in the country have effectively limited the opportunities for drunk drivers to wriggle through legal loopholes.
Charles J. Ryan (D), incumbent, 46, of 3007 Bendix La., Bowie, a delegate since 1979, is vice chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee on education and human resources. An instructor at Prince George's Community College, he has worked for the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and as an aide to former U.S. senator Edmund Muskie.
Sentences: Mandatory sentences for individuals committing crimes of violence or using a gun in the commission of a crime should be strengthened. Maryland should construct a maximum/medium security facility for juvenile offenders. The current facility at the Boy's Training Center is overcrowded and understaffed; it cannot adequately deal with the current juvenile offender population. A new facility should include not only maximum security but also education, job training and rehabilitation programs so that a juvenile offender completes his sentence with basic tools to become a productive member of the society rather than returning to a life of crime.
Spending: The state should spend more money for the funding of education. State funding formulas for primary and secondary education should be restructured to provide additional monies to the political subdivisions to promote the development of a superior public education system. Additional funds should also be provided to the institutions of higher education to promote higher quality graduate and undergraduate programs. Additional state funds also should be directed to the problem of crime. Adequate funding for construction and staffing of jail facilities and juvenile offender programs should be a high priority during the next four years.
Legislation: 1) Consolidation of Maryland's higher education system into a unified statewide system. 2) A new loan program for student financial assistance to offset reductions in federal student aid. 3) Legislation to insure that programs in special education, programs for the handicapped and programs for the mentally ill are contained and expanded through additional community-based programs.