NAACP hosts candidate forum
— 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.