Candidate Survey: Laurie Halverson for Delegate, District 15
Office Sought and District
State Delegate, District 15
BA Business Administration/ Marketing and Human Resources
Currently serving on the Montgomery County Liquor Board, previously on Maryland State Board of Education, previously MCCPTA Vice President of Educational Issues
2014 MCPS Board of Education Candidate, Advocate for children and families for over 10 years working with political officials
Why are you running for office?
I’m very concerned about families who are struggling in our state. I can be a leader in Annapolis because of my advocacy experience, to work on state policies to help families. I would work to improve the quality of education in Maryland to give all children access to excellent teachers and safe schools. I would support a more business friendly Maryland to attract better jobs and benefits for families. I would help to find solutions so families can have affordable health care. I would coordinate efforts with experts in the health field to find a way out of the opioid crisis. I would support Governor Hogan’s Traffic Relief Plan as well as an independent committee to determine sensible boundaries for our districts to end a gerrymandered state.
Who do you consider your political role model, and why?
President Ronald Reagan. Charming. Quiet leader. Prophetic-like speeches. Great Communicator. Entertainer. Loving husband. A self actualized, genuine human being.
What is your favorite book about politics and policy, and why?
Mark Levine’s Liberty and Tyranny. It describes conservatives and liberals so well and really confirms my conservative beliefs.
What will be your top priority in the General Assembly?
Ending gerrymandering would be the biggest change I could affect because when that happens, we will have better representation of conservatives in our state, which will help us to make policy changes in health care, transportation, and education and will help Governor Hogan to move our state forward.
What is the biggest issue facing your district?
District 15 has some of the best schools in the state. Our top schools are losing ground as money has been thrown towards other efforts to close the achievement gap, with no measurable results. As our schools struggle to keep up with the rapidly growing student enrollment and rapidly changing demographics, our school construction and maintenance projects can’t keep up and the need for costly services, such as for ESOL programs and psychologists grows. As a Delegate for District 15, I would work hard to demand that all students (including gifted and talented and special education students) in my district are challenged in school. I also should add that we wouldn’t be in this situation today if Montgomery County were not a magnet for illegal immigrants who have chosen to live here because of our schools and services. While many of these people are hard working and caring, others are MS13 gang members who killed 18 people in the past two years. So, it is important for our legislators not to support sanctuary policies.
What are the three biggest issues facing Maryland?
1. Struggling families: living in poverty, single family households trying to make ends meet, families that live here in the shadows illegally, families who are living with drug addiction. 2. Transportation: Traffic is a big issue that may prevent companies from choosing to locate in Maryland. 3. Health care. Health insurance costs and choices must improve. Plus drug addiction is a real crisis in our state.
What is your position on life issues? (abortion, assisted suicide)
I would not support state tax dollars funding abortion clinics. End of life issues can be very complicated, and I don’t think I could support assisted suicide because I don’t know how you can draw a line on what situations would fall under legally assisted suicide versus what situations would not be assisted legally.
What is your position on taxes and spending?
I believe in limited government, low taxes and spending within our means. When you hear our Democratic legislators talk about universal pre-k and free community college and single payer health care, that all means a lot more tax dollars to support this extra spending. We need to be careful that money is targeted better to help the neediest of our residents and not spread thin so that the poor can never find a way out of their condition.
What is your position on gun rights?
I support the Second Amendment. I have not been convinced that stricter gun laws make our state safer when homicides in Baltimore keep increasing. We do need to make our schools safer and, as a previous county PTA Health and Safety Chair, I have a depth of understanding about safety in schools and can be a leader in Annapolis on this issue.
What is your position on education?
Maryland PARCC tests need to be evaluated to see if they are the best fit for standardized tests in Maryland. Other states are trying innovative ideas such as Educational Savings Accounts which may be worth looking at and perhaps trying on a small scale. Baltimore parents want charter schools but Maryland has one of the worst charter school laws, so I would support an overhaul of these laws to remove the stronghold our unions have on them currently which stifles the autonomy of these schools. Maryland schools need stronger accountability. Our state legislature (pressured by the teachers union) messed up the federal ESSA package sent to the US Department of Education, so Maryland is now among the worst in accountability of schools in the nation. Discipline policies have a “close the gap” mandate that says schools must unrealistically close any racial disparities in suspensions within 3 years which is making schools hide problem students under the rug. So, I’d want to work with stakeholders to fix this policy which had good intentions but it isn’t working.
What is your position on the legalization of marijuana?
Our society has enough problems already. If we add another mind altering substance to be legally used, how will this help our society? I don’t support it. Also, if it is legalized, there will be higher THC levels of marijuana that would still be on the black market. Plus, if you Google “Colorado, marijuana”, it appears that their policy on legalizing marijuana was a mistake.
What is your position on the current three-tiered system for the sale and distribution of alcohol?
Since I’m on the Montgomery County Liquor Board, I should remain neutral on this topic. If I win my election, I will resign immediately. It should also be important to note that as a Commissioner on this board, my role is to approve licenses and listen to show cause hearings, not to make decisions on liquor laws. Being on this board has been a valuable experience that would help me make decisions as a legislator.
Legislators can receive $101 per day for lodging and $47 per day for meals during the 90-day General Assembly session. If elected, do you plan to accept these benefits? Why or why not?
When in Annapolis, legislators work into late night hours so I would likely stay often overnight during the week during the Session. However, there is a lot of free food, so I would not use the meal stipend if I didn’t actually use it. When I was on the State Board of Education, I chose to carpool with another Board member to save tax dollars. I will always be conscious of using tax dollars wisely.
There is a culture of depravity and sexual harassment prevalent in the Maryland General Assembly. As a legislator, how will you work to end this culture of depravity and to ensure that those who commit these acts are removed from the General Assembly?
I have always been one to step in and speak up if I see unfairness. If I’m elected to Annapolis, my focus will be on solving problems in our state and helping our state move forward. If I notice a problem with sexual harrassment in the General Assembly next year, I will not be afraid to tackle the issue. Nobody should be working in an environment where others are exerting power over another. We can’t allow this to get in the way of important business for the people we represent.