Maryland Attorney General
Anthony G. Brown
Upper Marlboro, Prince George’s County
Member of Congress
Harvard College, 1984, BA (Government); Harvard Law School, 1992, JD
Congress, 2017-present; Lieutenant Governor, 2007-2015; House of Delegates, 1999-2007
What is the most pressing issue facing the state of Maryland?
The state of Maryland is the 4th most diverse state in the nation, and the challenges and issues facing our families, communities, and small businesses are as numerous as we are diverse. As I listen to voters across Maryland, a common concern is the rising cost of living, and the question I get is how the Attorney General can help keep the cost of living down. As Attorney General, I’ll fight to protect Marylanders’ hard-earned money. I’ll use the authorities of the office to lower health insurance premiums, hold corporations accountable and prevent price fixing, stop price-gouging at the gas pumps and online sales, protect students and home buyers from predatory lenders, prosecute those who prey on seniors’ retirement income and savings, help keep renters in their homes, and protect workers whose employers try to deprive them of their hard-earned wages.
What do you believe is the appropriate role of the AG’s office regarding ongoing violence in Baltimore?
The Attorney General must address violence in Baltimore. First, the AG must actively partner with the State’s Attorney, Mayor, and the BCPD. The AG should dedicate the necessary criminal investigatory and prosecutorial resources to implement a local crime-fighting strategy, focusing first on our most violent crimes and offenders, as well as gun trafficking. The AG must enlist the support of the US Attorney and federal law enforcement. Second, the AG must advocate for policy that will reduce the prevalence of guns, like banning ghost guns which I testified in support of, and consider the efficacy and feasibility of a gun court. The AG must be a juvenile justice reform advocate so that children are steered toward productive lives and not hardened criminals. Finally, the AG must promote police accountability, including pattern or practice investigation authority where there are signs of persistent misconduct. Police accountability improves public confidence which improves policing.
Attorney General Brian Frosh and Gov. Larry Hogan clashed publicly several times, with Frosh once recusing himself from representing the governor after he ended enhanced unemployment benefits early. What responsibility does the AG’s office have…
The Attorney General represents the State of Maryland in all matters where the interests of the State are involved and is the legal adviser and representative of most state agencies and officials when acting in their official capacity. The AG has a legal responsibility to defend gubernatorial executive orders and the actions taken, decisions made, contracts awarded, and regulations promulgated by state agencies and officials. However, the AG is elected by and works for the people. The AG has a unique opportunity to advise and counsel agencies and officials on both the law and the AG’s understanding of the will of the people. If the AG and the agency or official fundamentally disagree and cannot find a mutually acceptable resolution to the disagreement, then the AG should assist the state agency or official in seeking outside representation. This should rarely occur and should be considered an uncommon practice.
What are your top three priorities regarding the environment?
My top priorities include protecting clean air and water, particularly the Chesapeake Bay. The Chesapeake is a national treasure that has helped shape Maryland’s culture and economy for centuries. There are 110,000 miles of creeks, rivers, and streams flowing into the Chesapeake, which means that nearly every Marylander encounters its waterways, and we all have a stake in making sure our waters are clean. Pursuing environmental justice for all Marylanders is another priority. We must focus on repairing the harms done by environmental hazards such as air pollution, lead exposure, improper waste disposal that impact tens of thousands of Marylanders every year and most often impact minority communities. Third, addressing the existential threat of climate change. I believe that climate change is one of the gravest global threats we face. We need to invest in renewable energy, cut greenhouse emissions, and build 21st-century infrastructure that prioritizes green transportation now.
How equitably do police officers treat people of color?
Most men and women who swear to protect and serve our communities in law enforcement are honorable and treat people of color equitably. However, the consequences of just one incident of racially motivated police misconduct can have a devastating impact on the community and a harmful or deadly outcome for the person involved. We must support police with the best training, resources, leadership, and public confidence that they need to do a very difficult and often dangerous job that few are willing to do. However, like every profession — lawyers, doctors, educators, soldiers — we must hold all police officers accountable for fair treatment of all. There are far too many incidents of mistreatment against people of color — from Baltimore to NYC, from Minneapolis to Louisville — that can only be explained by race. Until we eliminate racial bias in the treatment of people of color, we cannot ignore the racial inequities in policing.