MEET JON

"To make progress on education, stagnant wages, and healthcare, we must use solutions that are tested in the real world and shown effective. Let’s do what works!"

- JON BARON

A NEW PATH FOR MARYLAND

Hi, I’m Jon Baron. I’m a longtime Maryland resident – I’ve lived in Montgomery County for the past 27 years, and spent most of my childhood here. I actually live two miles down the street from the house where I grew up, and went to the same public schools my kids went to!

Democratic vision:

I’m a lifelong Democrat because I believe strongly in the goals and values of the Democratic party, such as advancing racial and social equality, and expanding opportunity for all – not just the privileged few. I believe in an activist government that seeks to achieve big things, like breaking the cycle of poverty.

But my approach to achieving to these goals is very different from other candidates. It recognizes that, to make progress, it’s not enough to simply roll out yet another unproven plan or program. However well-intentioned, many of these plans and programs just don’t work, as we’ve seen too often when the results are actually measured.

To make progress, we must zero in on solutions that have been tested in the real world and shown to make a real difference in people’s lives, in areas such as education, jobs, healthcare, and public safety. For my specific proposals, check out our home page and our issues page, which we’ll update throughout the campaign.

Career:

My career has focused on government reform, and I’ve has been able to drive real change from both inside and outside government. As a Congressional staffer, I created and worked with members of Congress to enact a new program that now awards $450 million each year to small technology companies to create new products and jobs. Later, as a Clinton Administration official, I headed a nearly billion-dollar technology program and won awards for reinventing government.

In 2001, I founded and ran a nonprofit organization that sparked a movement to advance evidence-based policymaking throughout government, and worked with the Bush and Obama Administrations and Congress to enact major reforms in social spending programs. These reforms led to significant gains in worker earnings, student achievement, and other life outcomes. Most recently, as vice president of a national philanthropy, I headed the largest philanthropic initiative in the country that identifies and expands proven-effective social programs.

I’ve been an appointee of both Democratic and Republican Presidents, and have twice been confirmed by the Senate. I went to Yale Law School, Princeton for graduate school, and Rice for college.

My personal journey:

As a boy growing up in Montgomery County, I often saw my dad shake his head at the latest medical headline (vitamin C prevents cancer) or conventional health wisdom (wear a coat or you’ll catch a cold). “It hasn’t been tested in a controlled study,” he’d tell me. As I got older and shared my thoughts with him on how to tackle social problems like poverty and crime, he’d say, “That’s a very interesting idea. But is there a rigorous study showing it really works?” Dad was a medical researcher at the National Institutes of Health, where he developed treatments for infectious diseases and cancer. He died a few years ago, and the inscription on his grave reads, “He sought truth through science and reason.” It captures him perfectly. 

I inherited my dad’s passion for research and evidence. For over 20 years, it’s driven my work with government, nonprofits, and philanthropy to address society’s major challenges – like improving education, providing pathways to the middle class for people from disadvantaged backgrounds,  expanding access to affordable healthcare, and improving racial equality.

My mom was just as big of an influence in my life. She was a special education teacher in public schools and taught children with reading difficulties. My parents raised their five kids to believe that helping your neighbors and serving your community is one of the most important things you could do with your life. I followed their example and devoted my career to public service.

My wife Jessica and I have lived in Montgomery County since 1994, and raised our family here. We have two grown boys, Nathan and Nick, who are proud graduates of Montgomery County Public Schools. Jessica is an attorney who headed the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission during the Obama Administration. Jessica, Nathan, and Nick have been enormously helpful in the campaign, and I’m grateful for their support and wisdom.