Kathy Gugulis, candidate for Maryland House District 14 – Baltimore Sun
Gaithersburg, Montgomery County
Retired Federal Executive
Bachelor of Science in Journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park
First time candidate
What is the most pressing issue in your district?
There are three interrelated problems: declining academic performance of students, rising crime, especially among young people, and stagnant economic growth. In Maryland, only one in six students master math, one in three English and two in five science. Only three Fortune 500 companies remain in the county. We can’t grow our economy if — children can’t get the education they need to thrive; companies will not bring their jobs here; being soft on crime leads to more public safety issues, and high tax rates are forcing families and retirees out of the county and state
How are you going to help your constituents deal with inflation?
The average household will spend $5,200 more this year than last on the same consumer basket, according to Bloomberg. Maryland has one of the highest tax burdens in the country. Reducing the gas tax was a start, but let’s repeal the indexation of the gas tax so that it coincides with the evolution of the rate of inflation. The gas tax goes up when inflation goes up, but never goes down. Return the $6 billion surplus to the taxpayers instead of treating it as a slush fund. Uncover fraud, waste, and abuse in government programs, such as $25 million in tax dollars to educate students who aren’t even in school. Support federal and state policies that will produce more energy in the United States It is wrong to take tax dollars from residents struggling to meet living expenses to support special interests and policies social divisive.
What do you consider to be the top transportation priority in your district and how would you respond to it?
Easing traffic on I-270 and I-495 and widening or building another bridge over the Potomac River are key priorities for the region, but so is the maintenance and safety of local roads and bridges. . Adding toll lanes is not the solution. Ultimately, the solution is to build more roads and extend existing highways. During the pandemic, we have seen traffic congestion ease. As it fades, we’re going to see those same concerns rise again. Encouraging companies to allow employees to continue working from home is one way to reduce traffic. Improving public transit would help. However, many people avoid the subway due to increased crime, unhealthy air, delays, faulty mechanical conditions, high costs, and limited parking spaces. Comprehensive planning and zoning that combines commercial/business development with nearby walkable housing communities could encourage employees to live close to where they work and help keep cars away from the road. But it also requires reducing barriers to new business investment.
What should schools be doing differently in the next pandemic to help students, families, and teachers?
The extended lockdown of schools in Montgomery County has gone on far too long. Private schools were open and functioning without disastrous results, thanks to the intervention of Governor Hogan. School system leaders should have developed plans for a number of different public emergency scenarios. The ineffective leadership at the county level was staggering. The lack of two-year learning for out-of-school children will have negative consequences for at least a generation. Lack of proficiency in math, science, comprehensive reading and English language arts will be difficult to overcome as young people progress through their academic and professional careers. There is growing evidence that extended closures did not have more favorable outcomes compared to other areas that reopened more quickly. The answer is better and more effective leadership from elected government officials and more school choice – let the money follow the child.
How fairly do police treat people of color?
While every profession or profession has a few bad actors, portraying all police officers negatively does nothing to build trust between law enforcement and the community. The question should be rephrased as, “how do we reduce crime to protect ourselves, especially communities of color?” The attacks and defunding of the police have had the effect of making black and Hispanic communities more vulnerable to crime, not less. Car thefts, carjackings, murders, robberies and other serious and especially juvenile crimes have increased dramatically in recent years after local governments, including Montgomery County, began ” reimagining” and “defunding” the police. Changes to laws that do not deter criminals or prevent law enforcement from adequately protecting residents only exacerbate the problem. Our communities should form alliances to help law enforcement officials hunt drug traffickers, gangs and other criminals who prey on our children and our communities.
What would you do to ensure Maryland’s voting system is safe and accurate?
As a former Chief Elections Judge, I know that poll workers do their best to ensure a fair vote. Mail-in ballots, electronic scanning and early voting have made it more difficult to ensure fair and honest elections. Let’s start by cleaning up the voters lists and moving to a paper voting system with in-person voting using a voter card. The vote must take place on the day prescribed by the US Constitution. Ballots must be manually numbered and counted under archived HD video and broadcast live to prevent fake ballots and false counts. Precincts must first certify and report the vote count to voters in the precinct and then to the county. Counties must tally precinct counts on video, then report the count to voters and the state. States must tabulate county tallies and report/certify the final balance to voters. A paper-based voting system is the only way to restore voter confidence.
What are good targets and timelines for Maryland to reduce carbon emissions and expand renewable energy sources?
The General Assembly’s goal of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040 is unrealistic. Although the amendments to the bill have removed the requirement that all new multi-family construction have only electric hearing/air conditioning, it is still of concern that all homes, businesses and industries may soon find themselves without further option than electrical energy by renewable resources. The approach that natural gas should be phased out or made prohibitively expensive is not in the best interest of the people of Maryland. Deforestation is one of the major contributors to climate change. A more realistic and less costly approach to mitigating greenhouse gases would be to increase urban forests and tree planting, which can contribute significantly to reducing air pollution, sequestering carbon emissions, reducing the energy consumption of buildings and modifying emissions from power plants. Trees can also help mitigate runoff and flooding, reduce noise, and improve health and well-being. The production of nuclear energy should also be encouraged.
What is Maryland’s best use of federal COVID relief money?
Federal COVID relief money should be used to help struggling businesses recover from their increased costs and losses following the shutdowns as well as to help keep people employed so they can continue to pay their health costs. subsistence, including rents and mortgages. Funds should also be spent to provide assistance to medical facilities that have been hit by increased costs for treating COVID patients and for testing and vaccinations. Providing funds to help schools implement virtual learning is also reasonable. However, with the jobs economy picking up, it’s time to cut public funding and get people back to work. If funds are not needed for their intended purpose, they should be returned to the federal government to help slow the rapidly growing national deficit, which contributes to debilitating inflation.