WASHINTON - With weeks to go till Election Day, the heat is on in Maryland for the governor's race. While Governor Larry Hogan continues to have high approval ratings, Democratic Challenger Ben Jealous knows it will be a tough election.
Governor Hogan is currently one of the most popular governors in the country. Even as a Republican in a Democratic state, many polls are putting him ahead in this race by double-digit margins.
Jealous, who served as leader of the NAACP, says he has what it takes to lead Maryland.
"I've been a CEO or partner in small business, as I am now, since I was 26 years old. And fundamentally, being a CEO of a complex non-profit, a complex state requires that you have the ability to pull people together, get things done to manage it well," he says to FOX 5's Steve Chenevey.
Jealous says he is particularly looking to revamp and bolster schools in the state and says his opponent, Hogan has not done enough for schools.
Several schools in Maryland had to close, or adjust their day due to heat on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Jealous say Hogan's leadership and budget management in the state has not prioritized updating school facilities.
"Our governor says we have a $504 million surplus. State's own consultants say the state is underfunding our public schools by $2 billion. We actually need investment across the board. Again, we can get there just by frankly making this our top priority," he said.
Jealous sites the funding from casino revenue to revamp schools.
"We need a governor who will actually lead who has the courage to use the power of his office to make sure that our schools are finally fully f funded. We were all made a promise that this casino money would be used to significantly increase funding for our schools. That promise has been broken year after year."
Jealous also says if elected he would want to work towards legalizing marijuana in the state, saying that it would help bring down crime rates.
"I've had two family members shot in our state in the last two years. One in Prince George's, one in Howard County. The second anniversary of the uprising. I asked a retired member of BPD to go talk to the police commanders across the city about the violence in the city. He said the one thing they could all agree on was in the last ten years half the shootings were one set of pot dealers shooting another set of pot dealers. That's what pushed me over the edge. This would fundamentally help us bring down violence you look at Washington state and you look at Denver, Colorado and violence has come down because they legalized cannabis for adult use. So we have to look at the totality of it. What we know is that if we legalize it, we take money out of the pockets of cartels. Hundreds of millions of dollars a year. It makes us safer."
To hear Jealous' full interview with Steve Chenevey, watch the video player above.
You can also check out the candidate give us the weather with Tucker Barnes.
Governor Hogan was at FOX 5 last week and spoke to Chenevery on his plans for the future in Maryland -- including education, transportation projects, gun control, and the passing of Senator John McCain. He also took a crack at giving us the day's weather forecast.