By: Cody Campbell, Columnist
Professor Richard Vatz played host to gubernatorial candidate Peter Franchot on April 5.
Franchot has spent the last 35 years as a politician representing the state of Maryland, beginning his tenure in 1987 as a state legislator, followed by his running and subsequent 2007 election as Maryland’s Comptroller. The position of Comptroller is a largely unknown one, with Franchot describing it as “the tax collector.”
Franchot began his seminar by detailing his life, from growing up in Connecticut during the 1950s, to getting drafted in the Vietnam War, to his eventual political career in the Maryland legislature.
Concerning his drafting, which he was vehemently opposed to, he was surprised when his parents informed him of his drafting and said, “How did that happen? I’m like a privileged prep school kid.”
It wasn’t until he realized that in his dropping out of law school, he forfeited his student deferment, thus making him eligible for the draft. His time in the service was largely beneficial to him.
“It was a great lesson to me,” Franchot said.
Franchot mentioned the biggest accomplishment of his career: the Maryland Gas Tax Holiday.
He was responsible for a very large surplus in the Maryland budget of about $7.5 billion, so after the surplus was finalized, he “threw [the gas tax holiday] out there.” An hour after his flick-of-the-wrist proposal, Governor Larry Hogan affirmed his support of the legislation, and within eight days the tax cut was put into effect.
He wanted to “give people something bright, and good, positive…and allow folks that are pro-Ukraine to be freely pro-Ukraine without worrying [about] their gas prices going way up.” His gas tax holiday has been largely supported and appreciated by Marylanders.
Concerning the swift bipartisan support of Franchot’s gas tax holiday, he is quick to point out that he and sitting Maryland governor Larry Hogan have a great working relationship.
It is extremely beneficial to foster a wholesome relationship between two politicians that are each of different parties. Despite the relationship between them, Hogan has not stood behind Franchot as a gubernatorial candidate. Hogan has given his support to fellow Republican candidate Kelly Schulz.
The focusing point of the seminar was that Franchot, if elected governor, will forgive all student loans for those who live in Maryland.
He states that to be eligible for student loan forgiveness, one “must live [in Maryland] for five years, work and pay taxes.” This was met with applause from the attendants of the seminar.
With this, Franchot’s ideas for Maryland’s future come to the forefront.
It seems that the biggest thing to this candidate is his desire to see Maryland become a flourishing community and to see the state foster and maintain a prosperous economy. He remarks by saying that in a “post-Ukraine economy…Maryland’s going to be tremendously prosperous.”
He doesn’t quite explain how “Maryland is going to be an international, global, and logistics center known all around the world” besides offering the fact that we own a large port and airport.
All of the points Franchot offered up paint a great picture of future Maryland, a picture of Maryland that anyone would be happy to see. The only issue with this proposition is that Franchot offers no real method of enacting his ideas.
Franchot’s visit is just one of many of Dr. Vatz’s speakers throughout the semester. The next one will be May 3, when Baltimore Sun sports columnist Mike Preston visits.