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Robert Ehrlich Jr.

May 20, 2002

Q: What are your thoughts about the Hagerstown Education Center?

A: I think the dollars are going to be there. All dollar questions, though, get little caveats given the dire situation (the state is) in.

The location by the expressway (Allegheny Power's Friendship Technology Park off Interstate 70) makes a lot of sense. Now, I understand with Smart Growth and some of the bullying tactics from the (current) administration, that's not necessarily (going to happen), but it's an interesting issue for us to watch.

Q: Do you think the location could still change?

A: Yes.

Q: Would you support that?

A: Well, I would take a long look at it. There's some people here for whom I have great respect who want us to look at that this year - I'll put it that way.

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Q: How do you feel about granting parole?

A: With regard to long-termers, you have to use your discretion. If you have an elderly person, even a lifer, and there are humane considerations, I would certainly look at the case. It would not be a blanket policy.

It's the same point I've made on capital punishment. This is an enormous burden and enormous responsibility a governor has.

I support capital punishment. I oppose a moratorium.

I would have a process to review in a comprehensive fashion every case that reached my desk regarding a capital offense.

Q: What do you think about Gov. Glendening imposing a moratorium after previously not supporting it?

A: And so did (Townsend). Clearly, it's a change of position by both of them.

The moratorium got footing in Illinois because there were a series of high-profile cases that went to the bottom-line issue of guilt or innocence. That's not the case (in Maryland).

And that's one of the reasons people are questioning, by the way, the timing. There's no new evidence that's come to light. So, we get down right to the end, a couple of days before a scheduled execution date, and, boom, the governor does this. I think it's particularly cruel for the victim's family. I simply think the governor is wrong and I think the lieutenant governor's wrong.

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Q: What is your position on legalizing slot machines?

A: I've always represented horse farms in my legislative career. I've gotten to know the industry.

I believe slots at our tracks are an appropriate thing, particularly given the competition we face from surrounding states. I believe the money should be directed to public education, K through 12 - in this case, now, the Thornton Commission, its recommendations (for increased education funding).

My original support for slot machines years ago was as a function of saving racing as an industry. The fiscal issue here wasn't even relevant. Now, it's also a way to fund public education.

Q: Is this a Maryland issue only or a reaction to slots in other states, such as at Charles Town Races in Jefferson County, W.Va.?

A: It all revolves around competition. In fact, we're getting our brains beat out right now.

Q: Are you concerned that gambling creates other problems?

A: Of course. I want to make it very clear that I do not support casinos. It's not the first step to casinos. It's another form of gambling at a gambling venue. And that does not outrage most people. Most people also do not support casinos, by the way. Particularly around the tracks, the thought right now is you put slots at the tracks, you will help (other) businesses, not hurt them.




Q: What is your assessment of the state's boot camps?

A: We're going to have a comprehensive plan to reform juvenile justice in this state. This was a program without supervision, without leadership, without mental health services, without drug treatment, without after-care. This was guaranteed to fail.

So, we're looking - particularly at Florida, by the way - at why juvenile camps have had some success down there. We understand why they failed here. This was just negligence, gross negligence, and we're going to end up paying for it.

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