Candidate name: Gerron Levi
Party affiliation: Democrat
Date of birth: July 1
Place of birth: Chicago
Occupation: Lawyer⁄Capitol Hill Lobbyist —Assistant Director, Legislation Dept., AFL-CIO
Education: University of California, Berkeley; Howard University School of Law
Community associations, involvement: Board of Directors, Woodmore HOA; Woodmore Newsletter Editor, Woodmore Friendship Council (founding member), Prince George’s County Council’s Church Road task force, Bowie and Vicinity Master Plan developing tier focus group; Christmas-In-April Volunteer; Third Annual Principal for a Day Program, James Harrison Elementary School; Bowie High School Career Day participant; Citizens Advisory Council, Prince George’s County Police Department, District II
Family: A large and loving family including aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins
Campaign office address and telephone: 6915 Laurel Bowie Road (301) 352-3092
Link to candidate’s website: www.levi2006.com
What are your top three priorities for the next four years, if elected?
I will focus on the three steps I believe are key to prepare our community to compete for and create good jobs in a global economy: Step 1) Nearly half of all teachers leave the profession in the first five years. In order to attract and retain the best teaching talent and improve student achievement, we must address classroom and school discipline issues. Step 2) We need more state help for our crime ‘‘hot spots”, with a particular focus on truancy and carjacking. Step 3) We have to focus more attention on math and science education and mastery, and closing the achievement gap. Aspects of all of these issues are within the purview of the state.
How would you rate the performance of the current representatives of your district: excellent, good, fair or poor? Why?
Do you support amending the constitution to give the legislature more budget authority?
This is one of several issues I hope to review further as a member of the state legislature.
Is the rate of growth in Maryland too fast, too slow or about right, and why?
The economic growth of the state is very good, particularly in comparison to the rest of the nation. The residential growth in my own area, 23A, has outpaced quality economic growth and the ability of our community’s infrastructure –schools, roads, police and other services – to keep pace.
What programs would you like to add or cut from the state budget? How would you pay for additional programs? What would you do with the money from any cuts you make?
As a state legislator, I would seek to cut those programs that, by objective indicators, are duplicative and no longer effective. I would look to target waste, fraud and abuse in existing programs as well. Any saving should be directed at education, public safety and business incentives for quality economic growth that might yield high-paying jobs.
What must be done to ensure the long-term success of Prince George’s Hospital Center?
A public-private partnership is likely the best approach.
Is there adequate federal emergency and preparedness support for Prince George’s County given its proximity to the nation’s capital?
I believe more could be done. I hope to work with fellow elected officials at the federal, state and county level to adopt the best practices around emergency preparedness and to ensure that we are taking full advantage of grant and other funding opportunities.
Are there specific taxes or fees that you would cut?
Any tax cut package should be fair and preserve a progressive tax structure. I support closing some corporate tax loopholes, but I also want to be mindful of attracting and retain quality employers to Prince Georges County and the state.
Do you support slot machines for Maryland? Why or why not?
I believe the harmful impact of gambling outweighs any potential revenue that could be gained. I do want to review ways to support and revive the state’s vital equine industry.
Do you support giving driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants?
Do you support in-state tuition to illegal immigrants?
What is the biggest problem facing higher education and what would you do to solve it?
I am very concerned about the escalating cost of higher education. Affordable and quality higher education must be within reach of all talented students, regardless of economic background.
Where would you get more money for the Transportation Trust Fund?
This is one of several issues I hope to review further as a member of the state legislature. It is unfortunate that revenues intended for the transportation trust fund have been used for other purposes.
What specific transportation projects do you see as priorities for the state?
There several state roads in 23A that should continue to be priorities, including routes 450, 197 and 3. There are also other key transit projects in our region that I support.
Should there be a dedicated funding source for Washington and Baltimore mass transit?
I would like to support a dedicated funding source for mass transit, and I will be looking very closely at how it might be done. This is one of several issues I hope to review further as a member of the state legislature.
Would you re-regulate the electricity industry?
All options that will stabilize utility prices for consumers should be considered. I will give serious consideration to re-regulation and other options that might actually reduce utility prices and⁄or hold them steady.
Do you believe Maryland’s gun control laws are too strict, not strict enough or just right?
Just about right.
What is your position on abortion?
While I believe that it is the decision of a woman to choose whether or not to have an abortion, I do not believe that the state should be involved in or fund abortions.
Should the Maryland constitution be changed to allow same-sex marriages?
Does the state need stricter controls to protect the environment?
Yes, in some cases