In our May edition, we featured a Meet the Candidates segment with bios on the people running for office. With early voting for the primary election starting on July 7 and Election Day scheduled for July 19, we asked the candidates about their priorities and experience.
While not every candidate could respond, we hope the responses we collected will inform voters headed to the polls this month. Some responses have been edited due to space limitations.
County Council, District 5
What would be your three priorities if re-elected?
My three priorities for a second term, in no particular order, are (a) improving our economy, (b) increasing our safety and (c) education.
I have also sponsored and supported legislation to create and expand job opportunities. Supporting our businesses includes having a prepared workforce and strengthening job opportunities. To foster a better business climate and respond to the changes in the business sector in recent years, I see the need to modernize our zoning code. Our small businesses are the economic backbone of our county, and I will continue to cut the red tape that hinders their success.
I have supported increased pay for law enforcement, the introduction of body-worn cameras, funding for a new joint 9-1-1 call center that brings dispatchers for police and fire into one center for an improved and streamlined response, and additional public safety measures. I will continue to work with law enforcement and first responders to ensure that they have the financial support and equipment they need to properly protect us. I will support more police on our streets and in our communities, and particularly work to promote policies that can prevent Baltimore City crime from spilling over into Anne Arundel neighborhoods.
But public safety isn’t just about crime and the police. It also means safer streets from the perspective of drivers and pedestrians, as we address infrastructure, congestion and development, and having reliable transit within our communities. We have critical infrastructure needs that have not been met by our partners at the state level.
Earlier this year, I testified for the refunding of highway user revenue fees from the state to counties. Since 2007, Anne Arundel County has lost a cumulative $370 million in state funding for infrastructure maintenance and repairs. Our state needs to return to the table on infrastructure projects, and I will work with our partners in the General Assembly to do so. I will also continue to work on community projects that make walking and biking safer for you and your family, by funding the completion of the Broadneck Trail, and securing funds for sidewalks and crosswalks within school communities.
In 2020, the Anne Arundel County Council declared suicide a mental health crisis on the heels of a death-by-suicide of a Broadneck area middle-schooler. I supported an amendment that added more school counselors and psychologists to the school budget by shifting money away from books and materials, which are less necessary with the use of technology devices, and redirecting the increase toward mental health needs in our schools. I will continue to push for adequate mental health providers within our education system and within the community to identify those who may be in crisis and help them get the services they need.
What is the greatest challenge you would face in the next four years?
As we face tremendous economic uncertainty in the coming years, due to inflation and other federal decisions, we have to provide fiscally sound policies and greater economic stability for our families, businesses and communities in Anne Arundel County. I will work with Republican candidates to increase our representation on the county council, so we can promote conservative fiscal approaches and be responsible stewards of your hard-earned money.
What sets you apart from others running for this office?
My experience sets me apart from my opponent in the county council race. I promised to give this part-time job my full-time attention, and I have done just that. In my job on the council, when I am not working on legislation or constituent issues, I am in the community, advocating for local residents, businesses and nonprofits.
I came into this position with my sleeves rolled up, ready to work, and the results show that I have worked hard. Four multi-billion-dollar budgets, responding to thousands of constituent cases, and passing dozens of pieces of legislation with bipartisan support require an understanding of the job and the needs of our residents. Yet more work needs to be done.
I also brought experience in being a community liaison and advocacy to the county council. This enabled me to easily develop relationships with the local business community and other sectors in my district. With four years on the county council behind me when I start my second term, I will bring voters government experience that will enable me to hit the ground running in January, without having to learn the county council and legislative process. This is critical to being responsive to the district and being a voice on the issues that matter to our community.
What would be your three priorities upon taking office?
What would be the greatest challenge you would face in this office?
Brevity and clarity in communications. While I do well with technical and legal communications, I tend to talk too much and go on long tangents, which often obscures rather than clarifies my thoughts. I know that will be annoying and burdensome to busy constituents who just want to get to the point so they can evaluate and get along with their lives. It will be very challenging, but I will put in the work to do better because I want to serve my constituents well in all respects.
What aspect of your background or your experience sets you apart from others running for this office?
My entire professional experience makes me exceptionally qualified for the job of councilman. As a business owner, I have poured through all the aspects of budgeting, staffing, projections, staffing, zoning and other regulations that make up the majority of work on council.
Also, I have pertinent experience in the public sector. As a Naval officer in the Civil Engineer Corps, I was involved in aspects of federal contracting, labor law, and oversaw millions of dollars in public projects — everything from repaving roads to the organ restoration at the U.S. Naval Academy! I led thousands of servicemembers and public employees during my military service, and today, I lead my Small Business Administration award-winning small business of over 75 employees.
I serve as a trustee on multiple boards and have served District 5 specifically as a Broadneck Baseball and Softball Club coach, building committee chairman of St. John the Evangelist, and still serve as Scouts BSA merit badge counselor and cubmaster.
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