Food & Water Action, Friends of the Earth Action Unveil New Maryland Food & Climate Voter’s Guide

New voter’s guide outlines candidate positions on energy; factory farming; healthy & sustainable diets; food & farmworker protection; and pesticides

For Immediate Release

Today, Food & Water Action and Friends of the Earth Action unveiled the Maryland Food & Climate Voter’s Guide. The guide outlines Maryland gubernatorial candidates’ stances on critical food and climate issues, and is based on responses from the eight gubernatorial candidates who responded to a survey: Rushern Baker (D), Peter Franchot (D), Doug Gansler (D), Ashwani Jain (D), John B. King (D), Tom Perez (D), Jerome Segal (D) and Robin Ficker (R).

Key findings include:

  • Energy: All seven Democratic survey respondents pledge to halt all new development of fossil fuel infrastructure. Five out of eight respondents oppose dirty energy sources that Maryland currently counts as renewable, including burning waste from trash, biomass, and waste from factory farms.
  • Factory Farms: Six out of eight respondents support a moratorium on factory farms. All support holding poultry companies responsible for disposing poultry waste created by contract growers, and all support monitoring and enforcement of the Clean Water Act for factory farms.
  • Healthy & Sustainable Diets: All Democratic respondents support shifting the state’s food purchases away from industrially-produced animal products. All respondents support funding sustainably and conscientiously sourced universal free school meals.
  • Food & Farmworker Protection: All respondents except for Ficker (R) support ending the minimum wage and paid sick leave exemptions for agricultural workers.
  • Pesticides: All respondents but Ficker (R) support requiring that any mosquito pesticide sprayed in Maryland be tested for PFAS.

As Maryland voters head to the ballot box for the July 19 gubernatorial primary, food and climate issues are more relevant than ever. In its most recent climate report, the United Nations warned it is “now or never” to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Maryland, in particular, is critically at risk – without bold policy change in the next governor’s term, the state can expect to see anywhere from two to four feet of sea level rise this century.

Maryland’s fossil fuel and factory farming industries are wreaking havoc on people and the environment. Fossil fuels continue to dominate Maryland’s energy use, fueling catastrophic climate change. Meanwhile, the explosive growth of factory farms on the Eastern Shore has contributed to a water quality crisis of massive proportions and harmed neighboring communities.

“Maryland’s next governor must take unprecedented and bold action to avert climate chaos and transform our broken agricultural sector,” said Food & Water Action Maryland Organizer Lily Hawkins. “Leadership in 2022 must mean taking on the consolidated corporate power of the fossil fuel and factory farming industries and moving our state to real clean energy. Maryland’s next governor must ban new fossil fuel infrastructure and new factory farms.”

“We are heartened to see that Maryland’s Democratic gubernatorial candidates broadly support policies that reign in the harms of fossil fuels, pesticides, and factory farms,” said Chloë Waterman, Senior Program Manager for Friends of the Earth Action. “Maryland desperately needs a governor who will stand up to corporate industrial agriculture and fossil fuel interests, fight for climate justice, and support a fair, sustainable food system. We urge Maryland voters to consider candidates’ positions on food and climate issues when they cast their votes and to hold our next governor accountable.”

Contact: Phoebe Galt, [email protected]