On Monday, Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Ben Jealous faced off against Republican Governor Larry Hogan in a debate that showed who has the plans lead our state forward. Although Jealous has proposed 5 debates between the two candidates, Monday night was the only date Larry Hogan has agreed to. And the debate revealed exactly why.
Jealous, a former president of the NAACP and socially-conscious business leader, laid out his plans for growing our state’s economy, current last in the region, fully funding our schools, which have dropped from #1 to #6 in the nation, and reinventing our healthcare system, which is far too expensive for many who need it. Hogan, on the other hand, made false claim after false claim, pretending that people across our state are not struggling with job insecurity, declining schools, lack of affordable healthcare, and more.
While the governor insisted that Maryland is in the midst of “one of the greatest economic turnarounds in America,” Jealous showed that, for far too many Marylanders, getting a job that pays a living wage or going to college at an affordable price just isn’t possible. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that Maryland is behind Virginia, Delaware, and the District of Columbia in terms of job growth. Maryland can do better than a governor who thinks last in the region is good enough.
Jealous also highlighted his plan to revamp our education system which is failing far too many students. It includes universal pre-kindergarten for every child, increasing vocational education options in high schools, and finally raising teachers’ pay so we can recruit the best teachers in the nation. From proposing $144 million in education funding cuts during just his first year in office to supporting vouchers for private schools, Hogan has proven he is no leader on education. Hogan also repeatedly took credit for work championed by the Democratic State Legislature, including a “lockbox” which will ensure revenues from casinos are spent only on education. Maryland can do better than a governor who thinks doing the bare minimum on education is good enough.
Finally, Jealous explained that, under his leadership, Maryland will finally get health care costs under control with a sustainable Medicare for All plan. Premiums under Hogan have risen 120% since he took office, and the governor took two years to declare a state of emergency over the opioid epidemic. For Jealous, a good healthcare system includes “mental health care for all” and ensuring that gun violence is treated as the “public health crisis that it is.” Maryland can do better than a governor who thinks rising health care costs and ignoring the pain of average families is good enough.
Monday’s debate proved that Ben Jealous is the only candidate for governor with the ideas and ability to improve Maryland for the better. College Democrats of Maryland joins with Jealous in calling for additional debates so that all people in Maryland are able to see for themselves which candidate can truly lead our state forward.
One debate is not enough. Larry Hogan is not enough. Maryland can do better.
Political Director, College Democrats of Maryland