New TV Ad: If Brown Won’t Debate, How Can We Trust Him?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, May 29, 2014

New TV Ad: If Brown Won’t Debate, How Can We Trust Him?

Press and Pundits Agree, Brown “Clear Loser” in Baltimore Debate

Silver Spring, MARYLAND – On the heels of Lt. Governor Anthony Brown ducking Tuesday night’s televised debate in Baltimore, today the Gansler-Ivey campaign released a new 30-second TV ad today, “Trust,” asking why voters should believe Brown will show up for them as governor if he won’t even show up to debate.

“Trust” will run in the Baltimore market starting today and can be viewed here:

Press and pundits agree that Lt. Governor Anthony Brown was the “clear loser” for declining to participate in Tuesday night’s gubernatorial television debate in Baltimore.  Despite originally agreeing to three televised television debates, Brown was a no-show for Baltimore’s only TV debate.

The Baltimore Sun declared that “Brown loses in TV Debate.” [Baltimore Sun, 5/27/14]

The Baltimore Sun wrote that Brown was the “one clear loser in Tuesday’s night gubernatorial debate.” [Baltimore Sun, 5/27/14]

The Baltimore Sun called Brown “a candidate who looks as if he refuses to be held accountable to the people he wants to serve, of a candidate who will decide based on the terms of his political goals, not the citizens’ need for information before going to the polls, how engaged he is going — or not going — to be with the voters.” [Baltimore Sun, 5/27/14]

A Baltimore Sun editorial said “By skipping a debate, Lt. Gov. Brown makes himself seem irrelevant to the gubernatorial race.” – Baltimore Sun, 5/28/14

“Gansler was the winner … the big loser was Brown.” — Towson Professor Rick Vatz Commentary, Maryland Reporter, 5/27/14

“Gansler had that opportunity to take punches at somebody who wasn’t there and I think that was really of benefit to him,” Goucher Professor Mileah Kromer. [Baltimore Sun, 5/27/14]

Washington Post Headline: “In debate absence, Anthony Brown gets hit hard by his Democratic rivals for Md. governor” [Washington Post, 5/27/14]

The Washington Post reported that though the stage had been set with three lecterns, only two candidates showed up. “The third lectern, positioned smack in the middle, was reserved for Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, who took several hits in his absence: for the botched rollout of the state’s health insurance exchange, for tax increases during his tenure and for allegedly not doing enough to protect state employee pensions.” [Washington Post, 5/27/14]

WYPR Radio Headline: “Gansler, Mizeur And An Empty Podium At Second Democratic Debate.” [WYPR, 5/28/14]

WYPR reported that moderator Jennifer Gilbert noted Brown’s absence. Gilbert said, “We certainly wish the lieutenant governor were here for this question: Who should be held accountable for the disastrous rollout of the state health exchange?” [WYPR, 5/28/14]

WBAL Headline: “Gansler & Mizeur Debate Without Brown” [WBAL, 5/28/14]

WBAL further noted that “The latest televised debate among the leading Democratic candidates for governor was known for who wasn’t there.” [WBAL, 5/28/14]

“Trust”

TV :30

VISUAL – Footage of debate

CHYRON: In Baltimore on Tuesday, Anthony Brown skipped a major, televised debate.

Here’s a question.

If Anthony Brown won’t even show up in Baltimore to debate, how can we trust him to stand up for us as governor?

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Gansler/Ivey Campaign Has Over $3.1 Million Cash On Hand

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Gansler/Ivey Campaign Has Over $3.1 Million Cash On Hand

Raised More Than $311,000 Since Fundraising Ban Was Lifted On April 8

Silver Spring, MARYLAND – The Democratic gubernatorial campaign of Attorney General Douglas Gansler and House Delegate Jolene Ivey has more than $3.1 million cash on hand between its accounts, according to the latest campaign finance reports filed today with the Maryland State Board of Elections. The Gansler-Ivey ticket raised more than $311,000 in the six weeks between April 8 and May 20, 2014, the period covered by the latest campaign finance report.

“Doug has continued to raise money from supporters at a steady clip in the last six weeks, and with more than $3 million in the bank and less than a month before the primary, we have the resources needed to win this race,” said Katie Hill, communications director for the Gansler-Ivey campaign. “We will continue to bring our compelling message of fighting for the people of Maryland to as many voters as possible before June 24. There is a sharp contrast between our campaign and that of Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, who has hauled in hundreds of thousands from special interests that care only about lining their own pockets and protecting the status quo.”

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Gansler Vows to Fight for Middle Class and Create Jobs in Second Debate

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Gansler Vows to Fight for Middle Class and Create Jobs in Second Debate

Lt. Gov. Brown Ducks First Televised Debate in Baltimore, Can’t Duck His Failed Leadership on Health Care

Baltimore, MARYLAND – During the second gubernatorial debate tonight, Attorney General Douglas Gansler appeared before Baltimore voters at the Fox 45 studio to highlight his plans to expand Maryland’s economy and create jobs for Marylanders. In a stark contrast to Gansler’s proactive vision, Lt. Governor Brown ducked the first Baltimore debate in the race, attending a hastily arranged “meeting” instead of appearing at a debate to answer questions about his failed leadership of Maryland’s now-abandoned health exchange.

“Tonight, Doug Gansler highlighted his record as a fighter who will get things done for Baltimore’s working families,” said Gansler-Ivey Campaign Manager Antigone Davis. “Doug made a strong case to viewers about his vision for more jobs, better schools for all kids, a cleaner Bay, and health care for all Marylanders. On the other hand, Lt. Governor Brown disappears every time the going gets tough. Where was he during the botched health exchange roll out – and where was he tonight? If Anthony Brown can’t be bothered to show up for a debate in Baltimore, how will he stand up for the people of Maryland?”

Lt. Governor Brown refused to show up for the previously agreed-upon second gubernatorial debate at the Baltimore Fox affiliate WBFF-TV studios. The organizers placed an empty podium on stage to no avail in hopes that Lt. Governor Brown would appear at the last minute.

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FACT CHECK: County Executive Ken Ulman Misleads During Lt. Governor Debate

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, May 27, 2014

FACT CHECK: County Executive Ken Ulman Misleads During Lt. Governor Debate

Claim: Ulman touted that Brown had exceeded the Maryland health exchange’s enrollment goal.

FACT: As of April 19, Maryland reached 45 percent of its enrollment goal of 150,000 people in private plans – ranking the state 45th in the country in meetings its enrollment goals. [New York Times, HHS Data, Updated 5/01/14]

FACT: Maryland was the first state to abandon its health exchange website. [Washington Post, 3/28/14]

FACT: Brown himself had set a goal of enrolling 180,000 people.  [Lt. Governor Brown press release,9/03/13]

FACT: Maryland’s health exchange signed up 16 percent of the state’s potential 419,000 enrollees in private plans, ranking Maryland the 8th lowest state in the nation. [Baltimore Business Journal, 5/02/14]

FACT: As of April 19, 2014, the exchange had enrolled 67,757 people in private plans. [Baltimore Sun,5/02/14]

FACT: According to the April 18, 2014 report from the Maryland Health Exchange, 262,619 people gained Medicaid coverage in 2014, including 95,889 who were automatically enrolled. [Maryland Health Connection, 4/18/14]

FACT: Brown refused to release his emails related to the health exchange on the grounds of executive privilege. [Baltimore Sun, 12/10/13]

Claim: Ulman argued that the current administration had used a balanced approach to balance the budget.

FACT: The O’Malley-Brown administration oversaw forty tax increases over the last eight years. [Washington Post, 1/12/14]

Claim: Ulman suggested Gansler stood on the sidelines as Brown fixed the health exchange.

FACT: Gansler called for Marylanders to be given the option to buy insurance from the federal exchange. [Washington Post, 1/30/14]

FACT: Gansler asked for an independent probe of the health exchange. [Washington Post, 4/08/14]

Claim: Ulman touted Brown’s jobs plan and argued Brown would be the best candidate to bring jobs back to Maryland.

FACT: Brown’s jobs plan is dependent on the success of the Purple Line, a project estimated to cost over two billion dollars – ten times the cost of Brown’s failed health exchange. [Washington Post,3/05/14]

FACT: As of 2014, Maryland ranked 46th in the nation as a percentage of jobs in manufacturing. [Bureau of Labor Statistics]

Claim: Ulman suggested Gansler did not support universal pre-K.

FACT: Gansler supports expanding pre-K, beginning with Maryland’s children who are most in need. Gansler was the first of the three candidates to release a plan detailing his proposal. [Baltimore Sun,9/30/13]

Claim: Ulman claimed Gansler supported a $1.6 billion corporate giveaway.

FACT: Gansler’s plan will gradually cut the corporate tax, starting with a quarter of a percentage point in the first year, to attract jobs to the state. The cost of the tax cut will be offset by the institution of combined reporting, which will close a corporate tax loophole. [DougGansler.com]

Claim: Ulman claimed Maryland was “one of the most affordable” states in the nation for higher education.

FACT:  As of the 2013-14 school year, Maryland ranked 25th in the country for average cost of tuition at public four-year schools. [College Board, accessed 5/27/14]

FACT: Marylanders carry the second highest average level of education debt in the country, at $28,330. [Huffington Post, 5/22/13]

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In Lt. Gov. Debate, Jolene Ivey Distinguishes Gansler as the Clear Choice for Maryland’s Next Governor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, May 27, 2014

In Lt. Gov. Debate, Jolene Ivey Distinguishes Gansler as the Clear Choice for Maryland’s Next Governor

Silver Spring, MARYLAND – Today, during the Lt. Governor debate on Washington, D.C.’s NewsChannel 8, Maryland Delegate and candidate for Lieutenant Governor Jolene Ivey laid out Attorney General Douglas Gansler’s vision for the future of Maryland and highlighted Gansler’s extensive 22 year record of fighting for Marylanders.

“Jolene Ivey outlined the clear choice in this election: Attorney General Doug Gansler, who has spent his career fighting for Marylanders and will hold the line on taxes and deliver jobs to Maryland, or Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, an ineffective leader who has failed to close one of Maryland’s largest corporate tax loopholes and who failed to deliver health care to the people of Maryland, turning Obamacare into a target for Republicans,” said Gansler-Ivey Campaign Manager Antigone Davis. “While Doug has fought for Marylanders by taking on big banks, health insurance companies, corporate polluters and criminals, Lt. Governor Brown offers only excuses and finger-pointing. Maryland deserves better.”

In contrast, on the morning of Lt. Governor Brown’s anticipated disrespectful no-show at this evening’s gubernatorial debate, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman repeatedly stood by Lt. Governor Brown’s empty record. This included astonishing attempts to minimize Lt. Governor Brown’s repeated failings in implementing the abandoned Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, which left many thousands of Marylanders without access to affordable health care. Ken Ulman also refused to address Lt. Governor Anthony Brown’s failure to release his emails and meeting notes relating to the exchange.

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Charles County Fraternal Order of Police Endorses Gansler-Ivey Ticket

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, May 22, 2014

Charles County Fraternal Order of Police Endorses Gansler-Ivey Ticket

Organization Applauds Gansler’s Comprehensive Public Safety Plan for Maryland Communities 

Silver Spring, MARYLAND – Today, the Charles County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 24 announced its support for Attorney General Douglas Gansler’s campaign for Maryland governor. The group is a local chapter of the world’s largest organization of law enforcement officials, dedicated to advocating for their safety and fair working conditions and improving overall community safety.  

“Doug has worked side by side with law enforcement protecting Marylanders for 22 years. He has a record of effective leadership and a reputation for fairness,” said John Elliott, President of the Charles County Fraternal Order of Police. “Not only do we think he is the best candidate when it comes to protecting our communities, we think he is the only candidate who will get our economy moving again and make Maryland affordable for families like those in law enforcement.”

“It is an honor to receive the support of Lodge 24,” said Gansler. “These officers’ dedication and bravery exemplifies the best of law enforcement in Maryland. As governor, I will fight to make sure that they have the resources to do their jobs effectively and protect their local neighborhoods.”  

Gansler previously released his plan for public safety in Maryland, entitled “Fighting for You: Safer Communities for All Maryland.”

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Gansler Announces Education Initiatives to Pay Teachers More, Revitalize Maryland Schools

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Gansler Announces Education Initiatives to Pay Teachers More, Revitalize Maryland Schools

Plan Aims to Close Achievement Gap by Focusing on Students, Parents, Teachers and Administrators

Silver Spring, MARYLAND – Today, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Attorney General Douglas Gansler unveiled an education plan designed to strengthen all Maryland schools and close Maryland’s minority achievement gap by rewarding teachers, providing students with the support they need, encouraging parental involvement, and empowering administrators to make personnel decisions. Students, parents, teachers and administrators form the bedrock of Maryland’s education success. Maryland cannot close the achievement gap unless state leaders commit to partnering with and listening to parents and teachers, administrators and students, education reform advocates and union members alike to ensure that a high-quality education isn’t just for the lucky few kids born in the right ZIP code.

Teachers: Create a World-Class Teaching Corps

  • Pay teachers more for accomplishing more. Rather than pay teachers more for earning a master’s degree, let’s reward them with more pay – a salary increase to $100,000 – for obtaining National Board Certification. Why National Board Certification? Because research shows that National Board Certified teachers are more effective at producing student achievement gains.
  • Attract the best teachers to our toughest classrooms. Encourage more National Board Certified teachers to teach in underperforming schools with a $20,000 bonus paid out over four years, similar to an incentive that California now offers.  The bonus would be in addition to Gansler’s proposed $100,000 salary increase for teachers earning this advanced teaching credential.
  • Create a Governor’s Teacher Corps.  Provide professional development support to a select group of teachers from Maryland’s high-need public elementary schools, pairing these novice teacher recruits with veteran teacher mentors for a three-year period.

“My mother has taught in Maryland’s public schools, Jolene Ivey’s father taught in Maryland’s public schools, and there are no bigger cheerleaders for Maryland’s teachers than Jolene and me,” said Gansler. “Honoring our teachers and rewarding those who are most effective is key to improving student achievement. It is time we start giving students the most effective teachers possible. This means placing greater emphasis on rewarding teachers for their skills, effectiveness and professional development, and not just their seniority.”

Students and Parents: Provide Support and Encourage Accountability

  • School/Parent Leave Act. We should not make parents choose between their jobs and their children. Gansler will push for legislation to give parents up to 24 hours per year to attend their children’s school-related activities and make it illegal for an employer to terminate an employee for using leave for this purpose.
  • “Attendance Counts Campaign.” Approximately 85,000 students are chronically absent in Maryland. That’s unacceptable. Since chronic absences negatively impact a student’s performance, Maryland should sponsor a public awareness campaign, working with parents, schools and communities to promote school attendance, as New York does.  It would involve using data to identify chronically absent students and provide support to them and their families to keep them in school and engaged.
  • Expand Access to Pre-K. Gansler has long advocated for expanding pre-K from a half-day to a full-day program in order to promote school readiness for more four-year-old children. Gansler has also proposed expanding income-based eligibility requirements of this program so that more families have access to important early education programs, while also ensuring capacity and scalability without sacrificing quality. Maryland’s goal should be high-quality universal pre-K.

“Our state ranks second in the nation for the achievement gap between low-income students and wealthier students, and that’s a moral stain on our state.” said Gansler. “Right now we are failing our students, and it is time someone took a stand for them. Let’s make it easier for all our students’ parents to be involved in their education. Let’s make sure none of our kids start school already behind. All of our kids deserve an education that will prepare them for the next step in their lives.”

Administrators: Provide More Authority on Personnel Decisions

  • Raise tenure standards.  Tenure should be a milestone, not a right. It should be awarded after a longer period of demonstrating effectiveness. Right now, Maryland teachers are granted tenure after three years. Gansler will call for legislation to raise it to five years, and will make it a two-year process starting in year four, which will allow more time for evaluation.
  • End permanent tenure for chronically ineffective teachers. We have to stop protecting chronically ineffective teachers. Gansler will push for legislation that requires districts to act if a tenured teacher is rated ineffective, scoring near the bottom or at the bottom of a local district’s evaluation system for three consecutive years. He or she will automatically be put on probationary status.

The education proposals also include reforming special education programs in Maryland. To do this, Gansler proposes prioritizing passage of a bill previously co-sponsored by his running mate, Jolene Ivey, that would shift an important burden of proof relating to Individual Education Plans (IEP) for a parent unhappy with the education plan for his or her special needs child. The burden of proof would be on the district, which is in a much better position to prove an education plan’s adequacy than a parent is to prove its inadequacy.

“The current approach to special education is backwards and unfair to our special needs students and families,” said Ivey. “As the daughter of a public school teacher, and as a mother of a child who had an IEP, I know how it important it is to ensure that all of our students, no matter what special needs they may have, are offered a fair chance to succeed and grow in our schools.”

Gansler’s proposals also includes a technology initiative entitled “.COMpete,” that will provide more digital and technological skills to Maryland’s students in order to better prepare them for a growing digital economy. Some initiatives included in .COMpete include:

  • Expand access to the Maryland Virtual School and expand its computer-related offerings.
  • Allow computer science courses to count toward graduation requirements.
  • Create a tech entrepreneur mentorship program in underserved high schools.

In Maryland, more than half of college-bound students will require some sort of remedial education because they are poorly prepared for college-level courses. In Prince George’s County, that rate is 66%, and in Baltimore City it is even higher at 76%. Further, the Washington Post reported that based on national testing, the gap in Maryland between white and black eighth-graders was the second-worst in the nation.

Gansler previously unveiled his “Strong Start” proposal, which would create a school-student partnership to keep students on a path to success. Under the program, in return for students pledging to maintain a certain GPA and abstain from illegal activity, the high school would promise to help keep students on their desired tracks and be ready for their next step upon graduation. Strong Start students would receive regular guidance and counseling, assistance with course selection, and access to remedial education services before the end of senior year, should an 11th-grade assessment show that remedial education is needed.

You can read Gansler’s full proposal here: http://action.douggansler.com/page/-/Docs/DG 5-21 Memo.pdf

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IBEW Locals 26 and 1501 Endorse Gansler-Ivey Ticket

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, May 15, 2014

IBEW Locals 26 and 1501 Endorse Gansler-Ivey Ticket

Electrical Workers Union Points to Jobs Plan, Support for Working Families and Organized Labor

Silver Spring, MARYLAND – Today, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local Union 26 announced its support for Attorney General Douglas Gansler’s gubernatorial campaign at the union’s headquarters in Lanham, Maryland. The union represents 7,500 electricians in the greater D.C., Maryland and Virginia area, one of the largest locals in the country, and provides support and technical training to its members. Their endorsement follows that of IBEW Local 1501, based in Baltimore County.

“Marylanders need leadership that will restore some sense of security by creating and protecting good paying jobs here in the state in which we are proud to call home,” said Chuck Graham, the business manager of IBEW Local Union 26. “Doug Gansler and Jolene Ivey understand the value—job training, quality of work, availability of a qualified workforce—that a partnership with organized labor brings to building and growing our state. They are good Democrats for organized labor, good Democrats for all working families and good Democrats for Maryland.”

“Doug Gansler has consistently fought for and protected the rights of unions to organize in his long career as a prosecutor, even joining the effort himself,” said Dion Guthrie, the president and business manager of IBEW Local 1501 and Harford County Councilmember. “Doug is the leader we need to get good manufacturing jobs back in the state and struggling Marylanders back to work.”

“In my 22-year career as a prosecutor, I am proud to have stood with union members to fight for fair labor practices and the right to organize,” said Gansler. “I have committed to fighting for fair wages, increasing the number of manufacturing jobs and expanding on-the-job training to help the unemployed get back in the workforce.”

“We are so honored by the support of IBEW Locals 26 and 1501,” said Gansler’s running mate, Delegate Jolene Ivey. “Doug and I are eager to roll up our sleeves on Day One to spur job growth in Maryland. And we will make certain that workers’ voices are always heard.”

IBEW Local 26 prides itself on member technicians performing the highest quality of work, sponsoring apprenticeship training and residential upgrade programs. Members have done work on large-scale projects including National Harbor, the White House and the World War II Memorial.

Attorney General Doug Gansler has spent his professional life fighting for Maryland’s working families. As Montgomery County State’s Attorney, he helped ensure workers could safely picket their employer and established the first-ever Labor Council in the Office of the Attorney General. He was the first gubernatorial candidate to call for an increase in Maryland’s minimum wage. He has announced a robust jobs plan to help state workers and those out-of-work that includes a state-wide technical apprenticeship program for high-schoolers and job training for unemployed workers.

As the House Chair of the Joint Committee on Children, Youth and Families and chair of the Prince George’s County House Delegation, Delegate Jolene Ivey has consistently stood up for workers’ rights during her tenure, advocating for issues including paid sick leave, a minimum wage increase, and expanded workforce development for Marylanders.

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Veterans Back Gansler’s Plan to Aid Transition to Civilian Life

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Veterans Back Gansler’s Plan to Aid Transition to Civilian Life

“Honoring Those Who Fought for Us” Would Ensure Maryland’s Veterans Have a Fair Shot at Success

Silver Spring, MARYLAND – Today, Attorney General and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Douglas Gansler unveiled a plan aimed at helping Maryland veterans get the care they need and opportunities they deserve, from the moment they return home from service through their retirement. The plan calls for improvements to the way existing state veterans’ services are provided, to ensure better care and outreach to those who need it.  Ineffective management of Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA),  like the botched rollout of the state health exchange, has prevented too many veterans from getting connected with vital services.

“The Lt. Governor has said Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs has been effective. Nothing could be further from the truth. Under the O’Malley/Brown watch, it has been disgracefully mismanaged and is an embarrassment to all Marylanders who claim to care about our veterans,” said Wilbert Forbes, a Vietnam veteran and former Maryland Deputy Secretary for Veteran Affairs. “High turnover rates, ineffective leadership, inadequate services, and a lack of oversight have done a disservice to our soldiers. Doug Gansler will change that. He has a plan to honor our veterans and a successful record of committing to the tough fights and getting the job done. He will not let our vets down.”

“As a retired veteran, I am very impressed with Attorney General Gansler’s plan for military pensions,” said Arthur “Coop” Cooper, Vietnam veteran and Maryland State President of the The Retired Enlisted Association. “Maryland’s retired veterans want to live out our lives in this great state, stay close to our families, and his plan is a fair way of letting us do just that.”

“Currently, there are too many struggling veterans who have little to no contact with the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs. Doug knows that to advocate for veterans at the federal level, we must be connected to them at the local level. He will tackle this problem head on,” said Bob Sharps, Vietnam veteran and Former Director of Outreach and Advocacy at the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs. “Doug knows that to help soldiers find jobs and homes when they come back, the state must proactively reach out to them. He will fight tooth and nail to make sure that Maryland’s bravest men and women are successful members of civilian life.”

“So much of being successful is getting a good education,” said Terrance Staley, an Iraq War veteran, current student and Gansler-Ivey field organizer. “But a lot of veterans I know don’t have the information to figure out how to enroll in or pay for degree programs. Doug Gansler’s plan will fight to make sure we all get that crucial information and that every veteran has a fair shot at his or her own future.”

“Maryland continues to be known as a state that is unfriendly to military retirees. Because Maryland refuses to exempt retirees’ pay from state and local taxes – like other states already do – our state loses revenue because many retirees who work in Maryland live in neighboring states instead of settling down here,” said Jack Fringer, Chairman of the Military Retired Veterans Task Force, and Task Force members John Whitman and Harvey Kaplan. “The Task Force agrees with the proposal being presented by Doug Gansler because it encompasses the goals needed to produce more Maryland residents living and working in our neighborhoods. Lt. Governor Brown has been silent on this issue, and we are still waiting for his response after seven years.”

“A lot of veterans come back with injuries and need critical medical services,” said Charles Eggleston, an Afghanistan and Iraq War and combat wounded veteran and the past State Commander of the Maryland Military Order of the Purple Heart. “Doug’s plan takes on the enormous responsibility of processing disability claims in Maryland and would guide veterans in their recovery every step of the way. It would help organizations like mine educate veterans on what treatment services are out there, connect them to care, and then follow up to make sure they’re thriving.”

“It’s easy to just blame the federal Department of Veterans Affairs for our problems in veterans’ care,” said Gansler, “But we have a responsibility in Maryland to do all we can at the state level to help the men and women who have given their lives to protect us. As governor, I will make sure that the Maryland VA is more actively seeking to connect veterans with transitional services, opportunities, education, and care.”

“My father was a Buffalo soldier who was able to return home and successfully transition to civilian life as a teacher,” said Gansler’s running mate, Delegate Jolene Ivey. “We need to make sure our veterans coming home now are given the same opportunities to thrive as members of the civilian community.”

Key components of Gansler’s Plan, “Honoring Those Who Fought for Us” include:

• “Operation Home Base”

Under “Operation Home Base,” the Outreach & Advocacy Program staff at the MDVA would establish regular, monthly contact with transition centers on U.S. military bases across the country to identify the soldiers returning home to Maryland and proactively contact them to connect them to state services, such as job training, housing assistance, medical attention, etc., based on individual need. A state outreach coordinator would then be assigned to each returning soldier as his or her MDVA contact to ensure the delivery of services.

• “Educate Our Heroes” Campaign

This initiative would increase outreach by Maryland’s colleges and universities to the veteran community, to make sure that all returning veterans know about their options for continuing education and tuition assistance.  It would also encourage state schools to offer degree programs that are more aligned with military training.  And it would require the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) to hold for-profit colleges accountable for their alumni loan debt, annual student performance, and job placement results, so veterans can make informed decisions on whether or not to enroll.

• Tax Break for Retired Veterans

Maryland veterans should want to retire here after they complete their service here, yet many find the costs lower in other states, especially states that completely exempt military retirement pay.  To remain competitive with those states, this plan would phase in a tax exemption for military retirees, increasing the current $5,000 exemption to $10,000 by FY2017, and then further increasing it by $5,000 per year until $50,000 of veteran retirement income is exempt, giving our retired veterans more financial security.

• Faster Filing Campaign

There are a variety of problems associated with processing veterans’ disability claims at the federal level. This campaign would partner with the Maryland congressional delegation to call for passing a federal law – the Faster Filing Act – that would require the federal Department of Veterans Affairs to give an estimate of processing time and award rates for all claims.  As part of the campaign, Gansler would work to maximize federal funding available to Maryland under the Veterans’ Service Officer Grant to better fund veterans’ organizations across the state.

• Veterans Rider Collaborative

Lastly, many veterans live with limited transportation to veterans’ medical clinics and centers. This plan will foster a stronger connection to current federal and state transport options and partner with nonprofit veterans’ service organizations to coordinate rides to medical facilities.

The full proposal is found here: http://action.douggansler.com/page/-/Docs/VetsPlan-Gansler.pdf

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Lt. Gov. Brown Takes More than $20K from Felon and His Associates, Then Offloads Money Illegally

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Lt. Gov. Brown Takes More than $20K from Felon and His Associates, Then Offloads Money Illegally

 Brown Still Holding Thousands Donated by Cronies of Jeffrey Thompson, Architect of “Shadow Campaign” for DC Mayor Vincent Grey

Silver Spring, MARYLAND – On a single day in 2006, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown received $20,500 in contributions from the architect of the Vincent Gray shadow campaign, Jeffrey E. Thompson, and his cronies. Between that day in 2006 and 2011, Brown received $23,200 from Thompson, his business, and his associates. In March 2014, Thompson pled guilty to illegally funneling more than $2 million to political campaigns.

In 2012, facing public scrutiny over contributions from Thompson and his cabal, Brown made two illegal donations to charities in Maryland in an attempt to offload the money. Of the $23,200 he ultimately received, however, he only donated $17,000 – so Brown is still sitting on the remaining $6,200 in dirty money.

The following chart reflects the contributions Brown accepted from Thompson.

Date

Donor

Amount

Relationship

12/08/11

Chris Lawson

$200

President of Insuraty, which has contracted with Chartered Health

12/03/11

Thompson, Cobb, Bazilio & Associates, P.C.

$1,000

Thompson Business

1/12/11

Christopher D. Lawson

$1,000

President of Insuraty, which has contracted with Chartered Health

10/26/06

Francis S. Smith

$500

SVP at Chartered Health Plan

10/25/06

Jeffrey E. Thompson

$4,000

Self

10/25/06

RapidTrans, Inc.

$4,000

Thompson Business

10/25/06

Chartered Family Health Center

$4,000

Thompson Business

10/25/06

Lee. N. Calhoun

$1,000

Principal at Thompson, Cobb

10/25/06

David W. Wilmot

$1,000

Lobbyist who represented Thompson’s companies

10/25/06

Francis S. Smith

$500

SVP at Chartered Health Plan

10/25/06

Christopher D. Lawson

$1,000

President of Insuraty, which has contracted with Chartered Health

10/25/06

Michelle D. Haywood

$1,000

Spokeswoman for Insuraty

10/25/06

Thompson, Cobb, Bazilio & Associates, P.C.

$4,000

Thompson Business

           [Maryland Campaign Reporting Information System; Washington Times, 4/02/12]

On July 28, 2012, the Brown campaign gave $8,500 to Prince George’s Community College Foundation. That same day, it also gave $8,500 to Associated Black Charities of Maryland. [Brown Campaign Annual Report, Maryland Campaign Reporting Information System, filed 1/16/13]

Maryland law is clear that campaigns cannot donate money to charity unless the campaign committee is closing, in order to prevent the appearance or reality of purchasing support or currying favor with nonprofit groups, and to prevent money laundering.

In the case of one of Brown’s donations, the favor came back to him in the form of a campaign contribution. Brown served on the Board of Trustees of Prince George’s Community College from 1995 to 1999, and as its chair from 1998 to 1999. Brown contributed $8,500 of the corrupt Jeffrey Thompson money to Prince George’s Community College Foundation on July 28, 2012. As of January 2014, the current president of Prince George’s Community College, Charlene Dukes, has contributed $3,000 to Brown. [Maryland Campaign Reporting Information System, accessed 3/15/14]

These questions remain:

1. What are Brown’s ties to Jeffrey Thompson and his underground network of campaign contributors?

2. Why did Brown make these illegal donations to charity?

3. How did Brown choose these two charities?

4. Why is Brown still sitting on $6,200 of Jeffrey Thompson money, and what will he do with it now that it’s been brought to light?

5. Given that Thompson’s tentacles extended far and wide, how much more money has Brown taken from his cronies, assuming that the amount turned up here is just a drop in the bucket? After all, according to his plea deal, Thompson “utilized at least 32 conduits” to make contributions to various candidates and PACs.

“It’s no secret that Lt. Governor Brown has deep and wide connections to special interests, and this latest revelation is extremely, extremely troubling,” said Delegate Jolene Ivey, candidate for lieutenant governor. “Brown took a huge chunk of money from a man who tried to subvert the democratic system by funneling illegal donations to elected officials. He should return the remaining funds and explain to voters why he thinks it’s fine for him to break the law while raking in cash from criminal money-men.”

Brown has long ties to special interests. He regularly hosted lobbyists and special interest big-wigs in his tax-payer funded Redskins skybox, hauling in campaign contributions from them. Brown and his running mate have taken more than $328,000 from health care special interests while overseeing the failure of Maryland’s now-defunct health exchange. He also recently hired a top health care lobbyist as a campaign advisor, taking donations from the lobbyist’s former clients and further proving his close link to special interests.

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DOUG’S RECORD

Public Safety For nearly two decades, Doug Gansler has made the safety of Marylanders and their families his top priority, combating gangs and violent crime, promoting Internet safety and transparency, targeting public corruption, preventing domestic violence, fighting alcohol and tobacco abuse, and perhaps most importantly mentoring our youth. Read More >>

Consumer Protection Fighting the fraud that has destroyed dreams of home ownership and is killing our healthcare system, Doug Gansler has recovered over 1 billion dollars for Marylanders.  Read More >>

ENVIRONMENT Doug Gansler has made protecting our environment, and specifically the Chesapeake Bay, one of his top priorities.  Read More >>

CIVIL RIGHTS Doug knows our democracy only works if it works for everyone, which is why he set up the first Division of Civil Rights in the Office of the Attorney General and hired its first director. Read More >>