Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown seems destined to become the first Black governor of Maryland—if recent polls are any indication.
Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown (D) seems destined to become the first Black governor of Maryland—if recent polls are any indication. The AFRO did not get a chance to speak with him or his running mate Ken Ulman about his potentially historic election or how their platform will impact African Americans, as requests for interviews went unmet.
However, a look at the Democrats’ campaign website and the candidates’ public remarks offer some insight into what a Brown-Ulman administration will mean for Maryland’s African Americans.
Jobs and economic empowerment continues to be a chief issue for African Americans across the nation and in Maryland.
Brown has pointed to his support of legislation this year that will raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by July 2018 as something that will specifically affect African Americans. In terms of creating jobs, his plan involves infrastructure projects, such as the Red Line and Purple Line subway projects in Baltimore and in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, respectively. He also plans to expand vocational education opportunities to better prepare Marylanders for in-demand jobs.
Brown also promises to shore up minority-owned businesses by raising the procurement goal to 29 percent, pushing for their inclusion in the insurance market, establishing a statewide mentor-protégé program and more.
Education has always been a central concern for the Black community. Statistics show that African American children are more likely than their peers to attend poorly resourced, underperforming schools, to have lower high school graduation rates, to be suspended or expelled, etc.
Brown directly acknowledges that education gap, citing the achievement gap for African Americans and Latinos at every stage of K-12 education and other statistics.
The centerpiece of Brown’s plan to close that gap is the creation of universal, voluntary pre-kindergarten—which many educators agree is a boost to students—which would cost about 138 million a year and be funded by revenues from casinos and by allowing wealthier parents to pay for full-day pre-K.
The plan also involves establishing a Governor’s Office of Educational Disparities and Opportunities, investing in school construction to the tune of $160 million a year, expanding school breakfast availability and school-based health services, creating a minority teacher scholarship fund, empowering teachers to identify and address achievement disparities and more.
On HBCUs, Brown offers no substantive plan other than establishing a commission to develop an approach for ensuring the institutions’ sustainability. And, he promised that tuition at Maryland’s public colleges and universities will grow by no more than 3 percent annually through 2018, which could prove a boon to Black students.
Brown has also remarked that his plans to reduce crime and address public health disparities are issues that specifically impact the African-American community.
The lieutenant governor plans to implement several strategies to further reduce recidivism rates and smoothen the path to reentry for ex-offenders, including investing in transitional housing, providing more job training and employment support, providing incentives to businesses that employ ex-offenders and more.
For a look at the Brown-Ulman’s full platform, visit: www.anthonybrown.com