NAACP hosts can­di­date fo­rum

Cecil Whig - - & - By CH­ERYL MAT­TIX


— Fif­teen can­di­dates for county and U.S. of­fices shared their ideas and an­swered ques­tions Fri­day from an au­di­ence of about 50 peo­ple at a can­di­date’s fo­rum in Weldin Hall of Elk­ton United Methodist Church.

The slightly more than two-hour event was spon­sored by the Ce­cil County Chap­ter of the NAACP.

“It was ex­tremely in­for­ma­tive,” said Chap­ter Pres­i­dent El­yse Mur­ray.

She said the lo­cal chap­ter of the NAACP de­cided to host the fo­rum to in­form and ex­cite vot­ers. “We hear a lot of ‘my vote won’t mat­ter,’” Mur­ray told those at­tend­ing. “Well, our lives do mat­ter and our votes count.”

Elk­ton Town Com­mis­sioner Charles Givens mod­er­ated the fo­rum, which al­lowed each can­di­date to ex­plain their back­ground, why they are seek­ing of­fice and what they’d like to do. That fol­lowed with a se­ries of ques­tions from the au­di­ence, some aimed at a spe­cific can­di­date and some di­rected to all can­di­dates for a spe­cific of­fice.

The NAACP fo­rum fea­tured a freestyle for­mat, al­low­ing di­verse ques­tions.

Erin Do­or­dan, Jim Fazz­ino and Ron Lo­bos are run­ning against one another to rep­re­sent the school board from Dis­trict 2. Only two can­di­dates can move ahead from each school board dis­trict to the gen­eral elec­tion in Novem­ber.

Fri­day’s for­mat al­lowed in­cum­bent can­di­date for school board from Dis­trict 1 Bill Manlove to par­tic­i­pate, as well as his op­po­nent Kevin Em­merich.

Manlove said his main fo­cus is to tackle the school sys­tem’s long list of de­ferred main­te­nance projects, while Em­merich de­scribed him­self as a “con­ser­va­tive voice” who is against com­mon core pol­icy for schools.

Lo­bos wants to in­volve more vet­er­ans in the schools and he also op­poses com­mon core, Fazz­ino is vis­it­ing all schools in the sys­tem to lis­ten to their needs and Do­or­dan wants to at­tract and main­tain top teach­ers and sup­port com­mu­nity in­volve­ment in the school sys­tem.

County Coun­cil can­di­dates Paul Tra­pani and Jackie Gre­gory are vy­ing in the pri­mary to rep­re­sent coun­cil Dis­trict 5. Since there is no Demo­crat to face them in Novem­ber, the win­ner of the pri­mary will be­come the next county coun­cil mem­ber.

Gre­gory, who is a for­mer teacher, touts her lis­ten­ing and re­search­ing skills and says she will work to­ward tax re­lief and more jobs, if elected. Tra­pani, a ma­rina owner, wants to im­prove qual­ity of life and stream­line per­mit­ting process.

Nei­ther of the county coun­cil can­di­dates for Dis­trict 1, Bob Mef­fley, a busi­ness owner, and Tom Cole, a re­tired busi­ness­man, at-


tended the fo­rum.

How­ever, Mef­fley, asked Elk­ton Com­mis­sioner Earl Piner to speak on his be­half.

“I sup­port him and be­lieve in his val­ues,” Piner said, not­ing that Mef­fley want to im­prove transportation and cre­ate jobs in Ce­cil County.

All four Repub­li­can can­di­dates for county ex­ec­u­tive, as well as Wayne Tome, the only Demo­crat can­di­date, par­tic­i­pated in the NAACP fo­rum Fri­day.

County Coun­cil­men Alan McCarthy, in his fourth year on the coun­cil, and Coun­cil­man Dan Sch­neck­en­burger, in his sec­ond year on the coun­cil, squared off against Repub­li­can chal­lengers Joe Cara­betta, re­cently re­tired from APG, and Greg Mac­Don­ald, a for­mer W.L. Gore em­ployee.

Tome’s name is on the pri­mary bal­lot, but he has no op­po­si­tion, so he will move onto the Gen­eral Elec­tion in Novem­ber where he will face the win­ner of the Repub­li­can pri­mary.

McCarthy, who has suc­cess­fully helped a Pearce Creek res­i­dent get potable wa­ter, helped the YMCA con­nect to Elk­ton sewer and helped North East Mayor Robert McKnight ne­go­ti­ate an agree­ment for nat­u­ral gas, said he will fol­low the county’s strate­gic plan if elected to im­prove the econ­omy and re­build fam­i­lies.

Sch­neck­en­burger, who has been an ac­tive mem­ber of the county’s cham­ber of com­merce, touted his busi­ness ex­per­tise and his pas­sion for eco­nomic devel­op­ment as top rea­sons to pick him. He is a fis­cal con­ser­va­tive who be­lieves in the sec­ond amend­ment.

Cara­betta, who has a lengthy re­sume of vol­un­teer ef­forts as well as his work ex­pe­ri­ence, be­lieves he has the lead­er­ship to run the county. He wants to phase out the county’s busi­ness per­sonal prop­erty tax and sup­ports land preser­va­tion.

Mac­Don­ald has a growth vi­sion, in­clud­ing cut­ting reg­u­la­tions to make the county more busi­ness friendly. He sup­ports the sec­ond amend­ment and would im­prove roads, if elected.

Matt Beers, a po­lit­i­cal new­comer and Elk­ton na­tive, spoke at the fo­rum, even though he is not on the pri­mary bal­lot.

Beers is run­ning as a Lib­er­tar­ian can­di­date for U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive to Congress from Mary­land’s 1st Dis­trict, which is cur­rently held by Repub­li­can Con­gress­man Andy Harris.

U.S. Rep. Donna Ed­wards, 4th Dis­trict, was rep­re­sented at the fo­rum by vol­un­teer or­ga­nizer Rose Marie O’Brian, a res­i­dent of Port De­posit.

Ed­wards faces U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen of the 8th Dis­trict on the pri­mary bal­lot in a race for the Demo­crat nom­i­nee for the U.S. Se­nate seat cur­rently held by Sen. Bar­bara Mikul­ski.

O’Brian de­scribed Ed­wards as a strong ad­vo­cate for women’s rights, a sin­gle par­ent and a lawyer.

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