MARYLAND – Less than a day after announcing he’s running for Governor, 47 ABC got a chance to speak with Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot. Franchot often jokes that some people wouldn’t recognize him on the street because he says some people don’t even know what he does for the state. But that’s all about to change because he’s the first to formally announce a bid to lead the state.
Franchot has quite a few ideas and he’s very confident in his ability to win. “I have a great connection with the voters around the state and so I’m throwing my hat in. I’m going to run for governor and I’m going to win,” says Franchot.
Even though the election for Maryland’s new governor won’t be until 2022 the state’s Comptroller is already guaranteeing that he’s the man for the job. On Friday, Peter Franchot wasn’t shy about sharing his priorities. “Fundamentally reform the states economic situation, the fiscal policies of the state and the politics of the state where we don’t let independents vote in primaries.”
Officials tell 47 ABC they aren’t shocked about his bid but they’re looking forward to seeing how Franchot plans to support local entrepreneurs. “I think they need to remember that small businesses make up 82% of the Maryland economy. Any future governor needs to be in tune with that as a prime responsibility to maintain that edge,” says Bill Chambers with the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce.
While the Montgomery County resident has big goals, he admits he wants to start with the little things first. “We have to pick up the trash around the state. We have to fix the potholes. We have to air-conditioned classrooms where they aren’t. We have to make sure that state government answers the phone and that’s something I would concentrate on for this first six months to make sure that we can do the little things then people can say oh okay we get it the government can be competent.”
Local officials hope whoever the new governor is that they prioritize farmers. “Agriculture is number one on the shore. It’s the number two industry in Maryland. We can’t forget it. We can’t over regulate it. We can’t out legislate it,” says Chambers.
Franchot is in his 14th year as the State’s Tax Collector. So he’s looking to find economic policies that all Marylanders can get behind including taxes. “I don’t support higher taxes. I think you need to work things out within the existing budget,” says Franchot.
Above all else, the Comptroller says he wants to govern in an inclusive way. “That’s going to be something that I go to people and say look this is something regardless of where you are coming from on different issues this is something you can support as a Marylander. Maryland first party second.”
47 ABC also asked Franchot about hot topics this legislative session. When it comes to the Kirwan Commission, he says he supports education reform but says it shouldn’t be paid for through an increase in taxes. As for recreational marijuana, he says he wants more medical research done on its effects. Lastly, the Comptroller doesn’t think sports gambling would create much revenue for the state but supported legal fantasy sports gambling because so many people participate.
The Comptroller says he’s so confident that he’ll win because of how supportive voters have been. He was reelected in 2018 with about 72 percent of the vote.