Candidate Survey: David Marks for Baltimore County Council
Office Sought and District
Baltimore County Council, District 5
M.A. in public policy from The Johns Hopkins University, B.A. in government and politics from the University of Maryland at College Park
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I am proud of my work over the past 30 years to build the Republican Party. I served as a member of the Baltimore County Republican Central Committee from 1994 to 2002 and 2006 to 2010. I was president of the Maryland Federation of College Republicans in 1994 and 1995. I was co-founder of Club Conservative and a member of the Republican Club of Northeast Baltimore County and the Eighth District Republican Club. I have served as a member of the Baltimore County Council from 2010 to the present, and in 2017 I was named by Red Maryland as one of the top five local officials in Maryland. My opponent in the Republican primary was once a Democrat; he has held no leadership role in any Republican organization that I know of, and has been virtually invisible when it comes to helping Republican campaigns.
Why are you running for office?
I am running for my third, and final, term on the Baltimore County Council to (1) continue to reform Baltimore County government; (2) accelerate the revitalization of the county’s older commercials districts; and (3) strengthen schools and neighborhoods from Towson to Kingsville.
Who do you consider your political role model, and why?
I grew up in the age of Ronald Reagan. He was a transformational leader whose leadership skills, communicative abilities, and sense of optimism changed the trajectory of the United States – and the world.
What is your favorite book about politics and policy, and why?
Robert Caro’s books on Lyndon Johnson are magnificent, particularly “Master of the Senate.” Any student of political science and history should read these books to understand Johnson’s legislative skills and persuasive abilities.
What will be your top priority in elected to this position?
I want to finish the progress we have made in revitalizing communities such as Downtown Towson. To avoid raising taxes, we need to continue to boost businesses and redevelop our distressed communities.
What is the biggest issue facing your county?
Baltimore County has avoided a property tax rate increase for 30 years, despite a growing population and aging schools and roads that need repair. We need to think creativity about how to meet our goals without raising taxes. I have done that. Of the eight parks created in my district since 2010, for example, four were built with little or no governmental support. We constructed places like Angel Park and Ridgely Manor Park with help from businesses, nonprofit groups, and community volunteers.
What is your position on taxes and spending?
I have never voted for a tax rate increase. I opposed implementation of the Baltimore County “rain tax” in 2013, and voted to reduce the “rain tax” in 2015 and eliminate it in 2016. I authored legislation that expanded a property tax credit for energy-efficient homes. I believe the best type of local government is that which encourages private enterprise, keeps tax rates stable, and invests the revenue from a growing economy into capital projects, such as roads and schools.
What is your position on a county tax cap?
I would support a tax cap.
What is your position on land use issues?
Local government should always attempt to honor the wishes of private propertyowners. As a Councilmember, I have encouraged the use of covenant agreements to resolve disputes between propertyowners and surrounding residents. Having said that, we need to remember that when communities become overdeveloped, a terrible strain is put on roads, infrastructure, and schools that forces local governments to raise taxes to accommodate growth. Candidly, I do not want places like Perry Hall and Kingsville to begin to look like areas of Harford County. I want to strike the right balance.
What is your position on public safety?
I have been endorsed by the Baltimore County Fraternal Order of Police in every election so far, and hope to receive their support in 2018. They know I have a strong record on law enforcement: I support enactment of a property tax cut to encourage more police officers to live in Baltimore County; I have worked to expand our Citizens on Patrol program; I oppose “sanctuary status” for Baltimore County and want to continue our active coordination with the U.S. Department of Justice when inmates are detained at the Baltimore County detention center. I have also been endorsed by the union that represents Baltimore County’s firefighters and paramedics, and am proud of my work to build three new fire stations to serve the Fifth District.