Baltimore Fishbowl asked candidates running in this year’s election to share their views on the three most important challenges facing Baltimore and the region, and solutions they support to make progress. We asked candidates to submit a video answering that question, so you can hear their ideas and goals in their own words. Brooke Lierman, a state delegate from Baltimore running for comptroller, named gun violence, public schools and addressing the racial wealth divide as the three most important issues she would address as comptroller.
Hey, I’m Brooke Lierman. I’m a civil rights and disability rights attorney. I’m a public-school mom here in Baltimore City. I’m a state delegate representing District 46 here in Baltimore City, and I’m thrilled to be running to be our next state comptroller. You asked what are the top three issues facing the city and what can the office I’m running for do to impact them?
Well, first, I want to start with gun violence. We have to make sure that we are building safe and thriving communities around the state and here in Baltimore City. And we know that there’s too much gun violence in our city and around the state. Deaths and injuries associated with gun violence impose a massive social and economic burden on the state, in addition to being huge tragedies. We know that gun violence is preventable and can be driven down with the expansion of proven evidence-based public health and community-based strategies.
And I was proud to lead the effort to create the state’s first violence intervention and prevention program while in the House of Delegates. And we now have that program investing in safe streets and Roca and more.
We know that violence-reduction initiatives in other states actually saved their state’s taxpayers up to $7.35 for every dollar invested. So as the next state comptroller, I’ll be a voice for ensuring that we are working to truly prevent gun violence before it happens, using evidence-based programming.
Number two, we also have to be working on public schools. I’m a public-school mom, I have a rising fourth grader and a pre-Ker and understand how essential it is to build strong public schools.
I was proud to help lead the charge on the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, ensuring that we passed record funding to invest in the capital infrastructure of our public schools as well. And as the next state comptroller I’ll be the voice for our public schools, ensuring that we fulfill the promise of the Blueprint and provide equitable funding for Baltimore City Public Schools, so that our kids get what they need, and our educators get what they need, to really ensure that we’re building a great school system that’s worthy of the kids who are going there.
Racial Wealth Divide
And that brings me to one of the biggest economic challenges facing the state of Maryland. And that’s the racial wealth divide. You know, Maryland is not immune from the persistent racial wealth gap that exists in this country, and holds back our communities from being as prosperous and thriving as they could be. It has a persistent negative effect, not just on some communities, but on our economy as a whole. And we have to confront it head on. The effects on households are staggering. You know, median household wealth for Black, Latino and white households is $25,000, $36,000 and $188,000, respectively. We can do better than that. And the comptroller as the elected CFO of the state must lead that effort. I will be a voice and somebody bringing people together to ensure that we’re collaborating on expanding housing and homeownership opportunities, supporting Black-owned and immigrant-owned and women-owned businesses here in the state of Maryland with our procurement dollars from the Board of Public Works, ensuring that we are investing in transit. I’ve been a transit leader in the state. And I look forward to ensuring that we are building the transit that our region needs.
These are all ways that we can make sure that we’re creating a more equitable and prosperous state. In every community. We need a comptroller who’s a leader who embraces creative ideas and has the courage to put those ideas into action. From big ideas on wealth-building policies, to the little details that make it easier for families and businesses to pay taxes and access to programs and benefits, I’m excited to work with you because I know that Maryland can never be a truly great state until Baltimore City reaches its full potential.
Name: Brooke Lierman
Political Party: Democratic
Professional Background: Lierman has represented District 46 in the Maryland House of Delegates since 2015, and is the chair of the land use and ethics subcommittee of the House Environment and Transportation Committee. She is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the University of Texas School of Law, and completed a clerkship at the U.S. Federal District Court in Baltimore and Greenbelt. She then joined the civil law firm, Brown Goldstein and Levy LLP, where she represents clients including workers whose wages have been unfairly withheld, disabled citizens seeking access to public facilities and wrongfully convicted Marylanders in pursuit of an equal education.