By Abby Biesman
News & Features Editor
The upcoming primary elections feature two candidates who call Baltimore home: Republican Ben Carson, an esteemed Johns Hopkins pediatric neurosurgeon and Democrat Martin O’Malley, the former Governor of Maryland.
Ben Carson attended Yale University and later graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School. Carson moved to Baltimore to complete his residency at the Johns Hopkins Hospital where he directed pediatric neurosurgery for 29 years. During his tenure at Hopkins, he performed the first successful separation of conjoined twins.
In 2001 Carson was recognized by the Library of Congress as a “Living Legend.”
In educational policy, Carson supports “school choice” versus “federally-determined standards.” This policy allows teachers, principals and engaged parents to choose where they send their children to school and decentralizes educational standards.
Regarding federal healthcare funding, Carson supports “health savings accounts,” which act as a tax free savings account that can only be used for medical expenditures.
Carson cites his religious beliefs when speaking about abortion and has helped several faith-based organizations provide resources to people to maintain pro-life initiatives. Carson believes that abortion should not be performed after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
“I am unabashedly and entirely pro-life,” his website states. “Human life begins at conception and innocent life must be protected.”
After sharing some of his anti-marriage equality views in an interview, Carson withdrew from speaking at the 2013 Hopkins graduation due to student protest and disapproval.
In an email to Paul Rothman, CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine, he talked about how his political views should not detract from the celebratory nature of commencement.
“Someday in the future, it is my hope and prayer that the emphasis on political correctness will decrease and we will start emphasizing rational discussion of differences so we can actually resolve problems and chart a course that is inclusive of everyone,” Carson wrote.
Between Aug. 7 and Aug. 11, Carson held 11 percent of the Iowa Republican Presidential polls, right behind Donald Trump. Because the Iowa Caucus is the first caucus, it is important for candidates to receive recognition in gaining votes here.
Senior Nitin Nainani, College Republicans president, spoke about Carson.
“Dr. Ben Carson has definitely seen an improvement in his poll numbers after his performance in the first debate,” Nainani wrote in an email to The News-Letter. “However, it’s still very early in the process and with such a large, fluid field, it’s probably too early to read into things or make assumptions about his potential staying power.”
Nainani also commented on Ben Carson’s background.
“I realize that political experience may not be such a big asset in this current environment. Some Republican voters are clearly looking for an ‘outsider.’ But considering Dr. Carson’s inexperience and lack of specifics on several key issues, especially foreign policy, I personally do believe Republicans would be better served looking elsewhere,” Nainani wrote.
Martin O’Malley was raised in Bethesda, Md. He attended Catholic University and later received his law degree from the University of Maryland. He has spent the majority of his life in public office, beginning with the Baltimore City Council at the age of 28.
He was then elected Baltimore mayor. While in office he created CitiStat, a program that tracked the efficiency of government programs. TIME Magazine named him one of the top five big city mayors.
During his time as Baltimore mayor, allegations arose about the possibility of fudged numbers about crime rates, which O’Malley denies.
O’Malley was Governor of Maryland until January 2015, serving two terms.
Maryland’s public schools were rated best in the country for five consecutive years under him. He legalized gay marriage and abolished the death penalty. He also passed an act enabling undocumented workers to attend university.
A key part of O’Malley’s platform is raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour. He hopes to increase access to maternity and paternity leave, equal pay and affordable child care. He is pro-immigration and believes anti-trust laws should be reinforced, government should be more transparent and programs such as Social Security should be expanded. These efforts are designed to create equality while supporting a thriving middle class.
O’Malley attracts low numbers in polls and is considered to be a long shot winner of the presidential election.
College Democrats Communications Chair Emma Cook commented on O’Malley’s candidacy.
“I think O’Malley does well with local politics and reaching local audiences. I think that’s really key in a presidency,” Cook said. “As much as I like Hillary Clinton… I feel like she may not have had to reach local voters in a long time. Although I’m not sure he’ll be able to put up a fight against Bernie and Hillary.”