Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Joseph D. Sandy
Upcoming Candidate, Maryland Delegate 2018
Reflecting on the Maryland General Assembly Session 2017
On state’s attorney general with power to sue drug companies for price gouging:
I’m generally in agreement with the state’s attorney general being able to sue for gouging. There’s a good argument for the importance of regulations around price gouging. The ‘transaction under duress’ argument makes the most sense to me – that is, that in times when there is literally no choice but to purchase a product, the demand curve isn’t flexible and the usual trends in supply & demand no longer apply.
On the Maryland General Assembly’s failure to expand the marijuana industry further:
To be brief, any further expansion in medical marijuana would have been beneficial in our state. I understand that there were hang-ups regarding whether or not companies who were suing the state for being ‘booted down the line’ in applications for licenses should just be permitted said licenses. But nonetheless, any expansion would have been beneficial, in my opinion. Regarding medical marijuana in this state, there is allegedly evidence suggesting that the heroin epidemic may be combated in part through use of medical marijuana. While there is clearly much research to be done, my stance is as follows: if it yields promising results in helping to combat our debilitating opioid epidemic, that’s a primary reason why I support growing the medical marijuana industry in our state. I’m a realist, but we should have seen further progress this year. We did away with alcohol prohibition in the country many years ago when we tried it and it failed – but I'm only currently willing to endorse expansion of the marijuana industry as a medical product, just as I'm unwilling to endorse legalization of other presently-illegal drugs for legal recreational use, because I believe we need to further study the potential implications and drawbacks it may have on the society as a whole.
On banning fracking in Maryland:
We probably should have left the fracking debate alone as much as possible – and not moved to ban it altogether in Maryland – and here’s my justification. Fracking is a technology, and as we know, given several years’ time, we are liable to develop technology that is considerably more environmentally-sound than our present methods. Secondly, we don’t know the extent of the environmental risks, and that being said, given several years’ time, we are liable to have a much better understanding of the risks, and the cost associated with methods to combat those risks. Thirdly, we know that natural gas is at a low price which will gradually rise over time, as does most or all forms of energy we use. Altogether, the idea is that if we do nothing now as far as banning it, we could develop much more cost-effective, sound, environmentally-friendly methods to tapping into a limited resource efficiently.
On mandating most Maryland employers to provide five paid sick days’ leave to employees:
I’m most always opposed to government mandates regarding competitive incentives within the market – they should be left largely, if not entirely, to the market.
On providing Baltimore’s school system with extra funding to close a $130 million gap:
The fact that there is an alleged $130 million gap is yet another sad example of the failure of the public school system, and why we need to look at expanding alternative education options that actually address the needs of growing young minds. Preferably, alternative means to education than those that cost the taxpayers in Maryland $20 billion annually. Even charter schools are a move in a better direction, despite being funded by taxpayers, because they at least get the government out of the curriculum and operations within those centers of learning.
On the nation’s first law to protect Planned Parenthood from federal budget cuts:
Planned Parenthood shouldn’t be federally funded, period. It's one of far too many private business entities receiving federal funding. I know a lot of people who question the morality of some of the services provided by Planned Parenthood - I am myself pro-life, by the way - regardless, this is more about whether every taxpayer should have to foot the bill for the services provided by Planned Parenthood, whether they like it or not - and I don't believe they should have to. It is within the means of Planned Parenthood to ensure that it continues to be able to provide services to the communities it serves – without federal funding. That’s where philanthropy, charity, and voluntarism come into play.
On a law to grant tax breaks to manufacturing firms that bring jobs to areas with high unemployment:
I generally support this, because I support tax breaks, period – although truthfully, I’m more focused on state tax breaks for the individual working taxpayer.
On the legislature rejecting plans to let an independent commission draw legislative boundaries, rather than politicians:
Of course politicians on both sides of the aisle in the General Assembly rejected it! I completely support Larry Hogan’s idea to let an independent commission decide the district boundaries. We would eliminate gerrymandering that way. About the only way to combat the gerrymandering, in my opinion, is by gubernatorial executive order, if that is possible. But naturally, it isn’t high on the priority list. It should be.
On the General Assembly overriding a veto of limits on how the state can intervene to help failing schools:
The State should not be intervening in failing schools. All that the State is doing, then, is throwing more money at a growing problem – at a sinking ship. The proof is right there. We shouldn’t be trying to mask the problem. If anything, we need to drive new strategies for educating our students. We need free market alternatives – many already exist, and we need to open up to those possibilities, draw awareness to them, promote charter schools, alternative schooling options, etc.
On tax breaks for retirees and law enforcement:
Excellent – not only am I a proponent of any and all individual tax breaks for taxpaying citizens in Maryland, but I feel it’s important to acknowledge and show respect to the public servants in law enforcement who have dedicated their working lives to keeping our communities safe. I’m a proud member of my local area’s Police Community Relations Council and believe in collaboration and open communication at the local community level between the citizens of those communities and the public servants who are here for the safety of those citizens.
On the prospect of legislative ban of guns on all college campuses:
I’m not sure why a bill was proposed to ban guns on college campuses, since they’re already banned on college campuses by the colleges themselves. Personally, I disagree with colleges’ decisions that guns should be banned on their campuses, just as I believe that gun-free zones promise absolutely no safety to the individuals within them (and quite possibly point out ‘sitting duck ranges’ for those who would do harm to such innocents). But I believe that colleges have the right to ban guns on their campuses if they choose, just as students have a choice about whether or not to attend a college when considering its rules. I don’t think there should be a legal mandate coming from the General Assembly and passed through the Governor that essentially overrides a college’s rules. Luckily, no such bill made it through to any level of fruition.
To get in touch, reach out directly!
Submit an inquiry via one of the below-listed means of contact.
Expect a posting within 24-48 business hours.
CONTACT JOE SANDY
The Drug War, Overspending, Gerrymandering, the Environment, & More
“What response will you have for your opponents on the drug war? What plans do you have to garner support from your peers in Washington? What compromises are you willing to make in regards to incrementally changing the way it is approached? And how will you get marijuana legalized in this state?” –Sara F., Elkton, Maryland
For starters, there’s a hugely-overlooked aspect of the Drug War that costs the lives of so many of our citizens who would otherwise reach out for help – and it’s their reluctance to do so, out of fear of the ramifications of doing so. In other words, we don’t have the numbers of people reaching out for help that we could have because they’re afraid of legal ramifications & charges. If we want to get to the core of public health, I believe we have to take measures to enable citizens suffering with chemical dependency to reach out.
There is also an "all-or-nothing" misconception among members of our communities that we must make a choice: to either legalize drugs across the board and release nonviolent distributors of illegal drugs from incarceration, or lock-up anyone and everyone found in possession of drugs the same as we do illegal distributors of drugs. I don't subscribe to this philosophy. To be frank, I believe we can be firm on distributors of illegal drugs to the community, while offering new treatment options through the free market to the public, increasing the presence of chemical dependency counselors among concentrations of high-risk youth in our schools, advocating peer support recovery, and working to de-stigmatize the disease of addiction.
I am a tremendous proponent of mental health & substance abuse services, and am a supporter, especially, of peer support recovery. But I want for our state to explore free market services that aim to support recovery from addiction without the legal ramifications that deter those who suffer from seeking the support they so desperately need, while we de-stigmatize chemical dependency & addictions and offer free-market solutions to getting people the help that they need. I believe free-market options would yield a wide array of treatment approaches for individuals looking to overcome chemical dependency.
As far as garnering support, I believe my appeal to de-stigmatization of both mental illness and addiction, and the services provided therein, speaks to progressive America, and I believe free market alternatives speak to fiscally-conservative America.
Regarding compromises, and without being too lengthy on the subject: I'm a realist, as opposed to someone who believes we can "End the Fed NOW," "Shut it down IMMEDIATELY," and take those sorts of "all or nothing, right NOW" approaches popular in many "liberty" circles. Change doesn't happen overnight. I’m a practical, solution-oriented problem solver. What I can do is reach out to both sides of the bipartisan aisle and work towards more free market options that minimize government involvement and put real-life, practical solutions in our communities back in the hands of the people. But change happens incrementally, and in steps. It's a process. And I'm willing to work with the best interests of the People in mind.
Regarding medical marijuana in this state, there is allegedly evidence suggesting that the heroin epidemic may be combated in part through use of medical marijuana. While there is clearly much research to be done, my stance is as follows: if it yields promising results in helping to combat our debilitating opioid epidemic, that’s a primary reason why I support growing the marijuana industry in our state. I’d like to see the state get to a point where we can eventually leave taxation out of the equation, too – but again, change of this magnitude takes time, realistically, and I understand that. We did away with alcohol prohibition in the country many years ago when we tried it and it failed – and I’m all for doing away with marijuana prohibition for medical purposes - but we owe it to ourselves as responsible members of society to consider the implications of legalizing marijuana, along with other mind-altering drugs, for recreational use.
A truly winning deal, in my opinion, is one in which all parties benefit. If it yields results for public safety & health, it supports the free market, it is a preservation of individual liberty, there is verifiable proof of all, and on top of all that benefit, if it also appeases both sides of the aisle in some regard, it's something worth getting-behind.
“If you want to cut taxes you're going to need to cut spending, so what part of Maryland's government would you cut first?” –Matt B., Rising Sun, Maryland
A sizeable chunk of the 40 billion dollar Maryland budget has gone in part to early childhood through higher education, libraries, community colleges, & transportation. I'd start there, and suggest free market alternatives. I mean, regarding transportation alone, we’re living in the era of Uber. It’s a beautiful time to be alive. The market and business innovation have provided options we didn’t have years ago. I also support tax credits or refunds for families who choose homeschooling or send children to alternative schools. The fact that there is an alleged $130 million gap is yet another sad example of the failure of the public school system, and why we need to look at expanding alternative education options that actually address the needs of growing young minds. Preferably, alternative means to education rather than those that cost the taxpayers in Maryland $20 billion annually. Even charter schools are a move in a better direction, despite being funded by taxpayers, because they at least get the government out of the curriculum and operations within those centers of learning.
“What Solutions do you have to fix the problem of gerrymandering in the state of Maryland?” –Joe C., Damascus, Maryland
I support Governor Hogan's common-sense approach to combating gerrymandering: charge an independent commission with the authority to draw lines. Why in the world would we allow legislators and representatives of a body of the People the authority to shift the lines to better fill their voting pool with people who support their campaigns? It's unreal, the lunacy. Representatives of the People are just that: representatives of the People. In a nutshell: One does not (well, SHOULD not) change the district lines to better-suit one's intentions in representation of a district. Rather, one changes his/her intentions in representation of a district so that it reflects the needs of the people in said district. The former is immoral and ludicrous, and I intend to bring conscience and morality back to the table.
“My question is about the environment. Maryland is facing a lot of issues with pollution-the bay, the Inner Harbor, and even a lot of the river systems throughout the state. How should we solve this problem?” –Kristin D., Baltimore, Maryland
There is no one answer to all of these problems, but I believe that first and foremost, we have to increase the amount of public awareness and community involvement in the cleanup of our watersheds & waterways. I am a member of the Greater Parkville Community Council here in Baltimore, and in my immediate area, follow a group of dedicated and concerned citizens who volunteer their time and efforts to the local waterways, making efforts throughout the year to do manual cleanups - very hands-on. And it is my firm belief that we need to increase community awareness of the dire need for attention to our environment here in Maryland - and we need to reach out to our communities, organize at the local level, and reach out ourselves to volunteer to assist. I'm big into volunteerism at the local community level. I'm big into the importance of local community awareness, and I think we're severely lacking in that department. We turn on the news and we follow politics at a national level, and maybe we watch documentaries such as An Inconvenient Truth – but then what are we really doing at the local level, most of us? Most people aren't doing much – for the same reason we are facing so many of these issues in the first place – because there is a fundamental lack of awareness for environmental issues in our very own communities here in Maryland. If we get people in-the-know, and we start changing from the ground up, we start combatting some of the bigger threats to our environment. We start talking about legislation to protect our environment when people start buzzing about it, and they don't start buzzing about it until they're in-the-know. I hope to have more solutions with time. I hope to foster a relationship with people whereby they speak up with their ideas, with their concerns. I hope for that to be the core basis of my representation. I hope to collaborate in creating innovative ideas to combat our environmental concerns here in Maryland. And that's why it is so fundamentally important that we have this dialogue.
To get in touch, reach out directly!
To be featured in the ongoing Q&A ‘session’ at JDforLiberty.com and via social media, submit an inquiry via one of the below-listed means of contact. Expect a posting within 24-48 business hours.
CONTACT JOE SANDY