In the race for governor of Maryland, Baron hopes the political context will appeal to voters


Candidate for governor and nonprofit executive Jon Baron has said Maryland’s next top leader should focus on evidence-based policies as the state recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Former Clinton administration official and Democratic 2022 gubernatorial candidate Jon Baron spoke to a forum of gubernatorial candidates in October. (Maryland Matters / Hannah Gaskill)

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Nonprofit gubernatorial candidate and executive Jon Baron, starting his first run for public office, said Maryland’s next top leader should focus on evidence-based policies as the state recovers of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Baron founded and led the Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy, a nonprofit group that “seeks to increase the effectiveness of government through the use of rigorous evidence of what works.” He said he wanted to bring this evidence-based approach to the policies of state governments and institutes that he has seen reduce poverty and improve educational outcomes in other states.

“I’m not focusing on spending or expanding the size of the state government,” Baron said. “I’m not focusing on a bigger government or a smaller government. My main focus is smart government. The money we spend should be spent on programs and policies that actually produce results. “

Baron’s main policy proposals center on public-private partnerships: he said the state should work with businesses to help people applying for unemployment find jobs, and also offer help. free for their CV and other re-employment aids. He said that people who participated in a similar program in Nevada earned more than people who did not participate in the program.

“It’s something simple, inexpensive and easy to do,” Baron said. “Maryland doesn’t.”

He also said the state could boost employment and help low-income Marylanders by providing income supplements to long-term unemployed people when they find full-time employment.

Baron wants the state to partner with businesses in Maryland, fund vocational training and offer paid internships to young adults. He added that he thinks the state should consider whether to reorient existing funding for skills training and workforce development.

“Under my plan, the state would pay for training, businesses would pay for internships, the economy would have skilled workers, everyone would benefit,” Baron said.

On the education side, in addition to the tutoring efforts outlined in the Blueprint for the Future of Maryland, Baron wants to institute a statewide tutoring corps that matches elementary students with members of the the community, who would receive an allowance for tutoring.

“The critical attention I would give to the implementation is to make sure that these additional funds are focused on programs and policies that do not just sound like good ideas, are not only well intentioned, but have been tested in the real world and proven to work, ”said Baron.

Baron hopes to present his political experience, alongside his work on Capitol Hill, to voters as part of his campaign. He worked for the Department of Defense during the Clinton administration and served on boards and commissions under President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama.

In addition to his work with the Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy, Baron also worked as the Vice President of the Policy-Based Philanthropic Organization, founded by billionaires John and Laura Arnold, now called Arnold Ventures. .

As to how he would implement his political goals, Baron said he would work with the Maryland General Assembly, in addition to using executive orders. He said the contribution of community members and local leaders across the state would likely shape his policy proposals.

Baron said he got a “strong response” to these policy proposals from voters he met during the election campaign.

“These are not just ideas,” he said. “They’ve been tested in the real world and shown to make a big difference in education and other areas. “

Baron has said he wants Maryland to have a “militant government” that focuses on tackling racial inequalities and helping low-income residents of Maryland – and argued that its focus on policies based on evidence would help him stand out in the crowded realm of Democratic governors.

“To achieve these goals, it is not enough to simply deploy another unproven plan and program, because no matter how well intentioned they are, many programs just don’t work, as we have seen too often when they are. actually measured, ”Baron said. .

He pledged to only accept contributions from individuals and said he would not take money from “companies or special interests”. Baron has said he supports the state’s public campaign finance system, but has yet to decide whether he will participate.

In addition to Baron, the Democratic candidates for governor are former Prince George County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, Comptroller Peter VR Franchot, former State Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler, l former Obama administration official Ashwani K. Jain, former US Secretary of Education John B. King Jr., author and former CEO of an anti-poverty organization Wes Moore, former US Secretary of Labor Tom Perez and Baltimore tech entrepreneur Michael Rosenbaum.

The primary elections for governors of Maryland are scheduled for June 28, 2022.

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