Ben Jealous: the Leader of Vision Maryland Needs
Democrat Ben Jealous is running for governor on a platform of clear, progressive, and achievable goals that include universal health care and full-day kindergarten, Medicare-for-all, a statewide $15 minimum wage, a 29 percent salary increase for teachers, and, eventually, debt-free college. Jealous plans to pay for these initiatives using revenue saved by eliminating the costs associated with mass incarceration and a growing economy that incorporates his "Innovate Maryland" small business and entrepreneurship plan, as well as an effort to develop an inclusive economy that leaves no worker, family, or young person behind.
The contrast between Jealous and incumbent governor Larry Hogan couldn't be more clear. During the four years of Hogan's governorship, Maryland schools have dropped from #1 to #6 in national rankings and he vetoed the addition of parents to Maryland's State Board of Education. In addition, he has reduced restrictions on power plant pollution, stalled funding for a badly-needed new hospital center in Prince George's County, and vetoed a bill to regulate prescription drug prices. Hogan also helped pass new mandatory minimum sentences, vetoed a bill to stop the confiscation of property by police, and vetoed a bill that would restore voting rights to citizens returning from incarceration.
Jealous doesn't just stand in opposition to Hogan; he has the credentials to right the wrongs of the past several years. During the primaries, The Baltimore Sun said that his background demonstrated his ability to lead large organizations, and helped make him the clear choice. Jealous served as a community organizer, journalist, and non-profit executive; he built diverse coalitions for change and held government leaders accountable for their actions. In 2013, The Baltimore Sun named Jealous Marylander of the Year because of the role he played leading the effort to abolish the death penalty, assure the successful effort to pass marriage equality, chairing the effort to pass the DREAM Act, and expanding voting rights.
Jealous is also known for his managerial skill and business acumen. While National President and CEO of the NAACP, the organization nearly doubled its revenue in five years, online activists tripled, and individual donors increased by a factor of 10. The NAACP opened national programs focused on education, health, and environmental justice, and worked on issues related to the economy and voting rights. Jealous also led the Rosenberg Foundation and served as the founding director of Amnesty International's US Domestic Human Rights Program. Currently, Jealous works as an investor and the manager of Kapor Capital, investing in companies working to create progressive social change, and investing in several Maryland companies working to make our state stronger.