Candidate Survey: John Distel for House of Delegates, District 3B
TheDuckpin.com Primary Election Survey
John A. Distel
Office Sought *
House of Delegates
Political Party *
B.S. Criminal Justice (University of Maryland-University College), J.D./MPA University of Baltimore
Dual Career--Police Sergeant-Montgomery County Police Associate Attorney-Ashcraft and Gerel, LLP (Worker's Compensation)
Political Experience *
None-However, I am on the Frederick County Redistricting Committee
Social Media Accounts *
I have a personal Facebook page and Instagram Page (I do not post to my Instagram page). I use Facebook as my main source of social media. The campaign has a Facebook page (@jdfordelegate). We set up a Twitter account for the campaign, but deactivated it at the end of last month.
Why are you running for office? *
After the last legislative session, I felt called to action. Democratic legislation waged a full-scale war on police officers and individual taxpayers. These legislative decisions were made behind the comfortable impregnable walls of Zoom which shut out Maryland voter’s ability to truly voice their dissent over these actions. I still argue to this day that a Zoom meeting does not meet the requirements of a public forum when the persons in charge have total control of who speaks. Legislation passed last session will not keep Maryland or Frederick County residents safe. I will work tirelessly to support our law enforcement officers across the state. Supporting our law enforcement officers is the best way to keep our streets safe! Last session with the adoption of Kirwin, Digital Download Tax, and a host of other legislation, these legislative measures will forcibly raise taxes and take money out of the pockets of hard-working residents. Raising taxes on citizens dealing with the fallout of the COVID pandemic was unconscionable. I will tirelessly fight to defeat legislation that will enact any new taxes or fee increases. I am committed to stop reckless spending. I plan to bring fiscal responsibility and accountability to our state!
Who do you consider your political role model, and why? *
My mother. My mother was a member of the Board of Education in the late 1990's in our small town in New York. She believed that school administrators should not just be granted tenure. Tenure should be earned. She scrutinized the school budget and sought out wasteful spending. She balanced educational curriculum. She was a pragmatist. When she was right and knew she was right, she was prepared to show why her decision was correct. She stood her ground on her principles and unfortunately it cost her a second term. As she would not participate in maligning her opponents. I always admired her for putting others before herself. We come from a small town where no secrets are ever secret. She had a strength that I cannot describe. I hope to be half the elected official she was in her short time.
What is your favorite book about politics and policy, and why? *
The Liberty Amendments-Mark R. Levin. This is basically a how-to-guide for the states to fix the runaway train that is the Congress. It requires action by state legislatures to invoke Article V powers as granted to the states by the Constitution. It is the framework for the Convention of States project which is beginning to gain momentum across the nation.
What will be your top priority in office? *
My top priority is to ensure law enforcement is properly funded. Last session, there was an unequivocal legislative war waged against police officers and police departments. Over the past several sessions, we have seen a seismic shift in legislation that is more pro-criminal offender and discounts the rights of victims.
What is the biggest issue facing your area? *
Lack of critical infrastructure due to extremely rapid growth in Frederick County. Frederick County had the highest growth rate in the state the past ten years. We were ten years behind when the discussions began to widen I-270 and US-15. If we wait much longer, the daily gridlock will only worsen.
What are the three biggest issues facing Maryland? *
(1) Public Safety Funding; (2) Fiscal Accountability with recent implements of the recommendations of the Kirwin Commission and other large legislative spending packages; and (3) The inevitable rise of taxes in order to fund prior legislative measures.
What is your position on life issues? (abortion, assisted suicide) *
If elected, I have no intention of introducing legislation regarding life issues such as abortion and assisted suicide. These are topics outside my area of knowledge and I have done little to no research on these issues.
What is your position on taxes and spending? *
Maryland does not have a revenue problem. Maryland has a spending problem. There is also a lack of accountability for spending. To that end, strict legislative oversight of the state budget is required. Agencies or entities that are receiving state tax revenue, should be Tax rates in general need to be decreased in order to stimulate our state economy.
What is your position on gun rights? *
I will not support any bill that will infringe on the rights to legally acquire and possess a firearm. However, we must ensure that we enforce current laws to keep firearms out of the hands of the seriously mentally ill, violent criminals, and those convicted of prohibiting offenses.
What is your position on the legalization of marijuana? *
I do not support an outright legalization of marijuana. Even if legalized, there will always be an underground trade of this substance. When the day arrives that criminal drug dealers stop committing violent acts to facilitate their criminal enterprise, then a conversation can be had over the legalization of this controlled dangerous substance.
What is your position on the current three-tiered system for the sale and distribution of alcohol? *
I have limited knowledge on this issue and would prefer to see government entities be removed from the retail/wholesale process.
What is your position on land use, growth, and development? *
Growth and development cannot outpace each other. Which is what is occurring in Maryland now. Overdevelopment and uncontrolled growth lead to massive traffic congestion, over-crowded schools, and in some extreme cases major flooding. We must strive to protect agricultural zones.
What is your position on crime and public safety? *
First, we need to unequivocally support our law enforcement officers. Without the men and women in law enforcement, our society would tumble into chaotic anarchy. As we are witnessing rising rates of violent crime across the nation, legislators believed it was a wise idea to handcuff police agencies and make law enforcement officials fearful to do their jobs. I imagine these crime rates will increase as law enforcement officers are becoming hesitant to proactively enforce laws. Second, we are told that police officers need 'better' training in Maryland. This statement becomes a platitude when legislators cut funding to police agencies. When funding is cut, the first area agencies slash their own budgets in an effort to conform is training. The second major cut is equipment. Police need modern equipment to remain safe and combat crime. Legislation over the past several sessions has focused on lessening criminal responsibility, criminalizing police officers split-second decision making processes, law enforcement officers employment rights, and making law enforcement officers the only government employees who's personnel files are now public records. We all want good law enforcement officers and accountability within their ranks, however, legislation passed last session was unbalanced and created unease within the law enforcement community. These measure could lead to a rise in violent crime across the state.
What is your position on county tax caps? *
Tax caps would not be necessary if county legislatures/commissioners would curb excessive discretionary spending and take the time to accurately project tax revenues. I would not support a state law that mandates a unilateral county tax cap. Each county grows at a separate pace. I would urge county legislators to justify raising taxes above the costs of inflation in an extremely transparent manner.
Legislators can receive $101 per day for lodging and $47 per day for meals during the 90-day General Assembly session. If elected, do you plan to accept these benefits? Why or why not?
Being a member of the House of Delegates is not a 9-5 job for ninety days. I recognize that there will be times I may need to stay overnight in Annapolis as a practical manner. Early committee hearings, late nights preparing for the next day session, preparing my arguments for committee meetings and floor debates, and reading and understanding the legislation being sent out on the floor. I live seventy-five miles from the State House in Annapolis. This equates to at least one hour or more without any traffic. I am not clear on whether there are shower facilities on-site at the State House. So there will be times I will use this stipend. I will not use it daily.
Was Joe Biden legitimately elected President of the United States in the November 2020 Election? *
Do you pledge to accept the results of your election? *