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Martin O'Malley on the issues

November 02, 2006|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

When Democrat Martin O'Malley visited the United Auto Workers Local 171 office in Washington County on Wednesday, The Herald-Mail asked him a few questions about issues of local interest.

On staffing and safety concerns at Washington County's three state prisons: "We have to hire more officers and pay them more." O'Malley said the state is down an estimated 500 to 700 correctional officers. Asked if he planned to fill all of those positions as governor, O'Malley said he did.

On the state's practice of releasing some paroled inmates by dropping them at a bus station outside Hagerstown and giving them money for a ticket to their home county: O'Malley said the state needs "a re-entry strategy" for parolees. Three ingredients for rehabilitating paroled inmates are "a job, a home address and someone that loves them." The state can help with the first two and can offer counseling before release, he said. Although he said he opposes the bus ticket approach, O'Malley didn't explain how he'd change the practice.

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On the possibility of charging tolls to pay for widening Interstate 81: "I thought we got away from that with Eisenhower," O'Malley said, referring to the national highway system President Eisenhower approved 50 years ago. "I'd consider all things, but America is worth investing in."

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