Jon Baron, a former government employee and nonprofit executive, announced Monday that he is running for governor of Maryland, entering an already crowded field of Democrats vying for the 2022 nomination.
Baron, a Montgomery County resident, said he wants to use his work experiences to fund “evidence-based” programs that will improve education and health care in the state. The lifelong Democrat has not previously held a public office and has spent a large part of his career working for nonprofit organizations, including as the founder and president of the Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy for 14 years.
“What I am proposing is a fundamental change in the approach to governing in Maryland, where evidence of effectiveness and what actually works is the central principle behind what gets funded,” Baron said in an interview in advance of his announcement. “That is very different than how government currently functions.”
High on his agenda as governor would be creating a program pairing struggling first- and second-graders with retirees and recent college graduates for one-on-one tutoring. Baron said studies have shown such interventions can dramatically improve outcomes at that age.
Baron, 58, said he also wants to add funding for workforce training programs shown to be most effective. He said he would focus on growing sectors, such as information technology and health care and would have the government pay for training while the businesses pay for internships.
Baron most recently served as the vice president of evidence-based policy at Arnold Ventures, a philanthropy based in Houston. He worked for the Defense Department during the Clinton administration and said he was proud to be appointed to various boards and commissions by Republicans and Democrats in subsequent years.
The Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy “wound down its operations in the spring of 2015,” according to its website.
Baron said he plans to take no money from corporations or special interests during the gubernatorial campaign. He lives with his wife, Jessica. They have two sons.