Candidate Survey: Robert Drozd for State Senate, District 14
Office Sought and District
State Senate LD14
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Defense Contractor / Retired Air Force
Limited (by military career)
Why are you running for office?
I was drawn in by the gerrymandering issue and the desire to see an independent commission re-draw the districts in 2020. Re-districting following the census is an obligation by which we preserve fairness in the election process by adjusting for population shifts. Unfortunately, our Democrat legislators have admittedly abused the responsibility as a spoil of war to entrench their power. Mr. Delaney, were he to be successful in his bid for the Presidency, would owe that win directly to his political posture as a Congressman, which itself only came about because of unethical gerrymandering. Furthermore, the Democrat bill to address gerrymandering, authored by my opponent, Mr. Zucker, has been widely panned by the press and the public. By requiring five other states to join Maryland in ending the practice – particularly with no effort to entice them to do so – Mr. Zucker is essentially defending the status quo gerrymandering and protecting Maryland’s “blue state” status for the Democrats at the national level. He puts Party before Marylanders.
Who do you consider your political role model, and why?
Ronald Reagan, but not for the typical Republican’s reasons. My father passed away unexpectedly in 1977, when I was just 12 years old. I am the youngest of five, and the last sibling still at home. We were a “traditional”, post-WWII family in which Dad was the primary breadwinner, and the economic conditions of the 1970s took its toll on us. I went from a large, two-parent family with a stay-at-home Mom to being, essentially, an only child with a single, working Mom in a matter of a few very-short years at an age when I most needed strong role models in my life. And while today I certainly appreciate Mom’s inner strength, I didn’t recognize that at age 12. I developed a strong attachment to service, and realized a calling to join the Air Force. My worldview grew more conservative, and I gravitated to the strength, values, and male role model I saw in President Reagan. I carry those values forward today, and strive to stay true to them, even against an increasingly polarized and extremist body politic.
What is your favorite book about politics and policy, and why?
“Agincourt” by Juliet Barker; a biography of King Henry V leading up to the famous Battle of Agincourt. It describes genuine leadership in a time of great upheaval, particularly so his early years and addressing the Welsh. Also “World on Fire” by Amy Chua, which reinforces the need for solid democratic institutions grounded in the rule of law as the world adapts to a more global order.
What will be your top priority in the General Assembly?
Implementing the recommendations of the MCRR to create an independent commission to conduct the post-2020 census re-districting.
What is the biggest issue facing your district?
School safety and performance
What are the three biggest issues facing Maryland?
The nexus between illegal immigration and crime; transportation and its impact upon Marylanders’ quality of life; taxes
What is your position on life issues? (abortion, assisted suicide)
In the end, the abortion debate comes down to one, fundamental question: when does life begin? There is no, single, universally agreed-upon answer, and I don’t claim to know it, except in my heart. Anyone who feels the abortion decision is an emotionally agonizing one has also reached the conclusion that a fetus is a live human being; if it is not, as many abortion rights activists contend, then an emotional attachment to something like a mole or a tumor is irrational. Until and unless we reach a consensus as a society, the law uses an objective, measurable, medical analysis. I am pro-life and oppose abortion except when the Mother’s life is at risk or in cases of rape. That said, I also believe strongly in the rule of law. I would work to address abortion from within the language of the SCOTUS ruling on Roe v Wade, something many abortion rights activists do not. To genuinely promote pro-life, we also need reasonable programs that help support Mother’s who choose to proceed with the pregnancy, and to promote value for that life and praise, not ridicule, for the parents.
What is your position on taxes and spending?
Taxes and spending must always be kept at the lowest possible levels consistent with the legitimate needs of the people, as directed in our laws. The people should not look to spread their personal desires across the backs of all taxpayers. The government must focus its efforts, which drive the taxation and spending levels, on just those activities which only a government can provide, such as security and transportation infrastructure. Leaders sometimes must make difficult decisions they know will not please everyone; therefore, I don’t believe in “pledges” that overly-constrain leaders.
What is your position on gun rights?
The 2nd amendment exists to protect the ability of citizens to defend themselves and the Nation against a tyrannical government, either external or internal. Also, rights are not GRANTED by the Constitution, but rather are inherent and PROTECTED by the Constitution. On these points, Constitutional scholars are in near universal agreement. Hunting, sporting, and even personal defense are all interesting, but ultimately not relevant arguments. Constitutional scholars and the Nation as a whole remain divided on the militia question. Therefore, like the abortion question, we turn to SCOTUS decisions, and SCOTUS ruled in Heller the right to bear arms is an individual right. Additionally, US Code defines the militia as including all able-bodied males ages 17-45, and includes the unorganized militia (i.e., not the National Guard) as a legal class of militia. Finally, the SCOTUS ruling in Miller (also referred to in Heller) established the legal construct of “in common use.” Based upon the historical intent of 2A, “in common use” refers to weapons in common use by soldiers; therefore, both handguns and semi-automatic weapons similar to the widely-criticized AR15 are precisely the types of weapons for which 2A applies. This does NOT mean there are no gun control-related efforts we can’t take. But, they must be holistic across all the causes of gun violence, and must acknowledge and proceed from this common understanding about the nature of our 2A rights.
What is your position on education?
I have 13+ years formal experience as an educator (USAF Master Instructor; technical training instructor/evaluator; undergraduate professor and Dept Chair; graduate-level visiting lecturer and facilitator; curriculum developer; executive-level wargame facilitator), and I am a parent of two daughters in the MCPS system. For all its praise, K-12 education quality in Maryland has been declining. Standards have been lowered; standardized testing has become too dominant; teachers are not being valued at the appropriate level; our districts hire Superintendents with PhDs in education for positions that are inherently about leadership and management, then pay them as much as our Nation’s 4-star generals; integrity in school administration has declined; safety in our schools is a growing concern; and, facilities are in decline. We need comprehensive reform and a new covenant between our government and our students that reflects 21st century standards and expectations. Our schools are both organs of the State and reflections of our local communities, and our educators hold positions of special trust with exceptional influence over our children. There must be a concerted effort to remove politics from our schools and ensure greater deference to parental authority over issues not directly related to the academic subjects our educators are hired to provide.
What is your position on the legalization of marijuana?
I generally oppose it. However, I’m an evidence-driven individual. If formal medical studies demonstrate it is no less safe than alcohol or tobacco, both to the individual and others (e.g., DUI of marijuana), that comparable laws are in place to address issues that arise from marijuana use, and that it is not the gateway drug it has always been believed to be, then I can be more accepting of its legalization. That’s a lot of “ifs” that require proper study and analysis by reputable, non-partisan organizations (e.g., AMA, FDA, CDC, etc), and I would not support taxpayer funds for such studies. They should be funded either internally by private organizations, such as the AMA, or by interested parties.
What is your position on the current three-tiered system for the sale and distribution of alcohol?
I have not studied this issue. However, I’m aware there is a great deal of dislike in the business community for the level of control currently exercised within my district in Montgomery County over alcohol.
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?
Yes. I am not independently wealthy and have a family to provide for. Getting elected, too, is not a cheap proposition. Should the day come when I am independently wealthy and do not need such compensation, I would gladly either decline it or donate it to worthy causes.
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?
By example. If we want to change the culture of a body, we must elect individuals who, ourselves, embody a different culture.