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Election 2022 Government & Politics

Political Notes: Dem Candidates for Governor Take the Climate Pledge, Baron at Knife’s Edge and More

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Zbynek Burival/unsplash.com.

Eight Democratic gubernatorial candidates have signed a resolution calling for the next governor to support legislation that would get the state to use 100% carbon-free electricity by 2035 and to work to remove trash incineration from the state’s “clean energy” classification during the 2023 legislative session.

The resolution — which was developed by the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) Action Fund, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 26, CASA and the NAACP Maryland State Conference — calls for 40% of all clean energy and climate benefits to go to “historically disadvantaged communities” in Maryland.

The resolution states that race is the “#1 indicator of placement of toxic facilities” and that communities of color are 79% more likely to live near air pollution sources which increase the risk of cancer, neurological issues, and heart and respiratory illness. It contends the state of Maryland should commit to an “equitable investment in environmental justice communities.”

The pledge was signed by the following Democratic gubernatorial candidates: former Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, Maryland Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot, former Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler, former Obama administration official Ashwani Jain, former U.S. Education Secretary John B. King Jr., author and former nonprofit CEO Wes Moore, former U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez, and founder of the socialist Bread and Roses Party Jerome Segal.

“This Resolution and these candidates’ signatures are the first steps toward necessary equitable and just climate action,” Anthony Field, Maryland campaign coordinator for CCAN Action Fund, said in a statement.

The resolution also advocates for an increase in public transit and in prevailing wage agreements in large-scale clean energy projects.

State lawmakers and environmental advocates have been trying to remove trash incineration from the state’s clean energy classification that qualifies for tax breaks. Several iterations of a bipartisan bill that would have removed energy generated by burning trash from the state’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard were introduced but failed to advance during this past legislative session.

A close shave for Baron

Jon Baron, one of the nine Democratic candidates for governor, has launched a two-minute video that primarily shows him shaving.

Baron, whose dry wit has become a staple of the campaign trail, attempts to use his shaving exercise to illustrate his oft-argued point that government has relied on policy solutions that don’t work for too long.

The spot opens with Baron, a former nonprofit leader, in a bathroom, dress shirt open, talking to the camera and lathering up for a shave.

“I’m afraid I’m going to have to multi-task as we make this video, because I’m very busy and, you know, really important,” he says as the ad opens.

As he appears to be vigorously shaving, Baron discusses how he’s tired of seeing the same type of government education and anti-poverty programs fail over the decades. He then shows what he’s been attempting to shave with.

“It’s like shaving with the damn butter knife — we’re not getting anywhere.”

Baron says he’s committed to expanding programs that are proven to work, like a vigorous tutoring program for struggling first graders.

“No!” he says as someone hands him a carving knife.

“Yes!” he says as it’s replaced by a razor.

After he finishes his pitch, Baron, fully shaved and dressed, says, “Excuse me, I have a call to make,” and walks into another room where he attempts to pick up a rotary dial phone with the chord cut off. “Shoot!” he exclaims.

In the next frame, he’s joined by his running mate, former TV reporter Natalie Williams.

“Now that you’re clean-shaven, Jon, let’s get serious,” she says. “Visit our website for proven solutions for Maryland.”

No word yet on whether the ad will be disseminated beyond the Internet.

Enviros bless incumbents

The Maryland League of Conservation Voters offered its first round of endorsements in legislative races Tuesday, conferring its blessing on 25 Senate incumbents, one delegate running for senator, and 47 House incumbents seeking reelection. All are Democrats.

“The recent legislative session demonstrated how crucial it is to elect strong legislative candidates who will fight for just and equitable environmental policy,” said Lynn Heller, chair of the Maryland LCV board of directors. “The number of candidates working to set themselves apart as champions for both climate and justice has never been greater.”

In Baltimore County’s 10th District, the LCV endorsed Del. Benjamin T. Brooks, one of four candidates filed for the Democratic primary for Senate, a field that also includes Del. Jay Jalisi.

All of the other endorsements went to incumbents in Senate and House races. The full list should be available soon for viewing at https://www.mdlcv.org/endorsements.

Kim Coble, the group’s executive director said the delayed candidate filing deadline has delayed the LCV endorsement process. She said that more endorsements will be released in the coming months.