What my platform is really a question of what the residents of Calvert County care about. By and large I believe that is money, traffic, and transparency. That’s why I’m running with an agenda focusing on common sense investment, reasonable growth, and government accessibility. I want to make your tax dollars and your voice go as far as possible. We deserve so much better out of our local government.
Common sense Investment
Above all, we want our taxes to be spent effectively. We want the best possible deal: great services at a low cost. Here’s several areas we need to invest in to ensure Calvert is the best possible community to live in:
- Teacher Pay: Over 100 CCPS teachers have left the school system in the last three years (not including retirement). We have to compete with neighboring counties so that Calvert attracts the great teachers and keeps the best educators in the county. The Board has routinely shoved aside the needs of teachers so much so that they are drastically behind their steps. CCPS teachers are not asking for a raise. They are only asking for the money promised to them. Our kids are the future. This is a no-brainer.
- School Safety: With the recent shooting at Great Mills High School, Southern Maryland realized that the threat of a school shooter isn’t a distant threat. The threat is in every town. We need to take steps to ensure that our students can comfortably learn even if our federal government won’t. There are costs and benefits to many potential solutions. The important thing to keep in mind is that there is no one solution to a mad-man with a gun. In an ideal world the mad-man never gets a gun in the first place. Mass shootings are distinctly an American phenomena and they are happening in all places including schools. I applaud the program put in place by the Sheriff’s Department to place a deputy in every school in the county.
- Opioid Crisis: Maryland is one of the top four states in growth of opioid overdose deaths. In 2016, Calvert led Southern Maryland in drug deaths. We have a quarter of a billion dollar budget and not even $200,000 is going towards treatment funding. The Calvert Alliance Against Substance Abuse (CAASA) is grossly underfunded. We need to properly attack this public health crisis through smarter education and treatment, not punishment.
- Rural Preservation: Calvert’s identity revolves around being a bayside, rural county. Agriculture and fishing have, are, and will always be an integral part of our economy. We need to preserve the health of the Bay and protect our land. Protecting 40,000 acres at 1% of the budget is a reasonable request.
The Commissioners are turning Calvert County into more like the rest of the metropolitan region. They are dramatically increasing the size of our town centers, not preserving enough land, and attempting to increase the build out of the county. We do want Calvert to be a beacon for business but our local government has created an imbalance between the interests of the people and interests of the developers. We don’t want more traffic which is what increasing the build out will do. Every expansion should come with a traffic study to analyze the effects of commercial growth. As for incoming businesses, let’s do all we can to promote local businesses over national chains so commercial profits stay in the county.
The commissioners’ meetings are held on Tuesdays at 10am. The meetings last but a few hours, often less than that. Every meeting they open up for public comment. I question who can make these meetings, besides retirees. Calvert County citizens want their voice to be heard. It’s our money after all. But who can be expected to take a day off from work to testify in front of our local officials? There is no reason these meetings cannot be held in the evening, after so many Calvert residents get off work. Your commissioners are hiding from you as they cater to the interests of the developers.I want to hear from you. I want to hear your input on how to make Calvert County better.
The recent batch of commissioners disallowed Q&A at their public hearings. You may testify in front of them but they won’t answer your questions. Again, your commissioners are hiding from you as they cater to the interests of the developers. I want to hear from you.
Calvert Shores Incorporation
On July 11th, I attended a public hearing regarding whether the Chesapeake Ranch Estates would become the third municipality in Calvert. I listened to all public comments and decided that the pros of incorporation outweighed the cons. Over 25% of proposed residents signed a petition to have a referendum vote on becoming a municipality. The commissioners denied the petition. Regardless of the commissioners’ personal opinions on the matter, they should let the residents of CRE decide their future. By denying them the right to a vote, they are declaring their voices meaningless. In this country the people control the government, not the other way around. The CRE earned a vote. They deserve one.”