COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and Attorney General Doug Gansler clashed over Maryland’s rocky health care exchange rollout in a Democratic primary debate Wednesday night in the state’s governor’s race.
Del. Heather Mizeur stayed out of the fray, standing in the middle of the two men and focusing on her own plans.
Gansler kicked off the debate by criticizing Brown, who led the state’s health care reform rollout that was plagued with problems.
“I think the lieutenant governor is the only person that believes it’s been a success,” Gansler said. “We’re actually 45th in the country in terms of people enrolled, so that’s relatively delusional.”
Brown said everyone involved with the exchange is responsible for its problems, including him. He also said action was taken to change leadership and vendors were fired who didn’t perform as promised. He also said many have enrolled despite the problems, and steps have been taken to use technology from Connecticut for the next signup period.
Mizeur avoided taking a shot at Brown’s leadership over the health exchange problems.
“I’m not about casting blame,” she said. “I’m about fixing the problem and making sure that families get access to the health care that they deserve.”
Later, it was Brown’s chance to pounce on Gansler, highlighting an embarrassing photo of him at a party he attended to talk to his son where underage drinking was occurring. Gansler has been criticized for not taking action.
“I would have stopped the party and made sure that every child got home safe,” Brown said.
The candidates also were asked about whether they support legalizing marijuana. Mizeur supports full legalization and using tax revenue to expand pre-kindergarten. Gansler and Brown oppose full legalization now.
All three candidates said they support changing the name of the Washington Redskins football team because some are offended by the name.
The candidates also were asked what they would like their legacy to be, if they are elected governor.
Gansler said he would like to bring more jobs to Maryland and make improvements to better help prisoners re-enter society to become productive citizens.
Brown said he would like to be successful at addressing economic inequities and better educating the future workforce.
Mizeur said she wants to go beyond increases in the state’s minimum wage approved this session to create a living wage.
The debate was held at the University of Maryland College Park and was hosted by NBC 4.