1. Economic Inclusion

  • Increase the state's MWBE goals by 50%, to bring our goals more in line with the state's demographics. Just as important, I will crack down on the practice of allowing contractors to waive out of MWBE requirements, which is a tactic many currently use. 

    • The Franchot Administration will prioritize the allocation of state contracts to Maryland small businesses wherever possible and work with the Federal Government to explore a broader application of Section 3 of the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968 that requires federal contracts to be allocated to low income members of the community in which the contracts are targeted.

  • Work with Congressional legislators to increase the Small Business Administration 8A cap, which presently limits the ability of minority and women owned businesses to reach their maximum potential. 

  • Create a dashboard that allows subcontractors to see when the state's prime contractor has been paid, in order to prevent subcontractors from getting the runaround on their payments. 

  • Improve access to capital for MWBE and small businesses by depositing state capital into local community banks and credit unions that are geared towards lending to small businesses within the state of Maryland. I will also explore a state-owned bank designed to ensure access to credit for Maryland small businesses, in particular minority and women-owned businesses. 

  • Guarantee employment in the six-week Conservation Jobs Corp Program for all interested Marylanders under the age of 22, expand the program’s purview to include industries of the future, and facilitate placement for participants over the age of 18 in a related field with state or local agencies, or organized labor.

    • Statistics show that youth employment significantly increases the likelihood of long term economic stability. 

  • Pending approval via a ballot initiative, ensure that the legalization of cannabis contributes to economic growth in communities that have disproportionately borne the brunt of enforcement for cannabis related offenses. 

    • This includes setting a floor of 40% participation for MWBEs, to keep participation in line with Maryland’s demographics. We will achieve this, in part, by creating an application process for cannabis licensing that is not unduly cumbersome. Application processes that require a significant amount of institutional access and financial largesse bias the process against small businesses, and MWBEs. Moreover, we will seek to create vertical opportunities within the industry through growing, processing, and dispensing, so that small businesses who invest heavily in securing a license for one aspect of production are not boxed out of the marketplace by larger operations who may choose not to supply or distribute their product.

    • In conjunction with facilitating equitable participation in the cannabis industry, I will implement a strong regulatory framework that ensures revenue from the industry is spent as the public has been promised over the years, so that we do not recreate the need for a “lockbox” as we saw with casino gambling. 

      • I will explore similar opportunities for emerging markets such as sports betting and video lottery terminals.  

  • Establish a fund to assist nonprofit organizations that provide their communities with social services, as institutions like churches play a key role in serving neighborhoods and towns across Maryland.