HORN­BERGER

Cecil Whig - - LO­CAL -

I do think that our su­per­in­ten­dent, and our school boards have re­ally re­sponded, in my opin­ion, in the sit­u­a­tion that we have, pretty darn fan­tas­ti­cally, be­cause I think that we are ag­gres­sively try­ing to get kids back into school. And that’s fan­tas­tic. I met with Dr. Law­son last week, and he said that we look to have about 50 per­cent, I think he said back in by Oc­to­ber. If there is an out­break — let’s say there’s not an out­break. Let’s say there’s two kids in North East High School — they’re not shut­ting it down. Let’s say there’s an out­break of 35 kids in North East High School. We’re not shut­ting the en­tire school sys­tem down, but that school will be closed for two weeks. I think that makes sense in the world that we live in, in the county that we live in. So I’m re­ally happy with that.

CW: How have your meet­ings and con­ver­sa­tions with lo­cal busi­ness lead­ers in­formed your ideas about how to bring or shape eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment in Ce­cil County?

DH: That is one thing that I pride my­self on, that I’ve done a lot of. I’ve cer­tainly had a ver y grass­roots cam­paign. I have met with a lot of con­stituents, and a lot of those con­stituents are small busi­ness own­ers. I kind of just drove up and down 40 and all of the mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and knocked on doors. And so a lot of those small busi­ness own­ers, they ba­si­cally say taxes are too high. Prop­erty taxes are too high, the same clas­sic things that you hear and that I have talked about. Those things are cer­tainly im­por­tant to them. Build­ing and giv­ing def­er­ence to small busi­nesses, small busi­ness own­ers and their fam­i­lies, rather than nec­es­sar­ily a lot of the ware­houses that we’ve been see­ing. I am not 100 per­cent anti-ware­house. I’m cer­tainly not anti-eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment. But I think we need to, and the busi­ness own­ers that I’ve spo­ken to have re­ally prompted me to look more at putting into small busi­nesses in the area, let­ting them build, be­cause they’re re­ally go­ing to give back be­cause they live here, for the most part. Their fam­i­lies go to school here with my son, who goes to school here. So those things are im­por­tant. ac­count­abil­ity is im­por­tant.

I think that a lot of peo­ple in Ce­cil County

feel like there’s been a lack of ac­count­abil­ity, trans­parency, that maybe the same cer­tain few who are wealthy de­vel­op­ers or wealthy busi­ness own­ers are get­ting more at­ten­tion than just your av­er­age busi­ness owner, your av­er­age cit­i­zen. So like, we need to be ac­count­able to ev­ery­one, not just a cer­tain con­stituency, not just Repub­li­cans, not just — and I’m not say­ing that’s what’s hap­pened — but not just a cer­tain group, not just cer­tain folks who have been large donors or could be pos­si­bly large donors. We re­ally need to re­spect ev­ery­body in the county.

CW: Does that for you start with the go­ing up and down knock­ing on doors on 40?

DH: Yeah, it does. And that’s I think one of the things that re­ally helped my cam­paign and helped me garner 61 per­cent of the vote — it was be­cause COVID hit right in early spring. Most, I don’t know if the other can­di­dates were even plan­ning on door knock­ing, but I know that they didn’t up un­til that point, at least for county ex­ec­u­tive. And I def­i­nitely was door knock­ing in the cold, in the rain. We need to talk to peo­ple, we need to hear what peo­ple want to see county ex­ec­u­tive Danielle Horn­berger do­ing dif­fer­ently.

CW: In a re­cent county coun­cil meet­ing, they stated that the county may lose as much as $12 mil­lion in in­come tax re­ceipts. How would you plan to ac­com­mo­date a bud­get hit that size?

DH: Th­ese are pre­dic­tions right now. Also, I’ll say we’re also pre­dict­ing to see an $8 mil­lion sur­plus. So we can’t just look at the pos­i­tive side of things, we can just look at the neg­a­tive side of things. We have to look at ev­ery­thing holis­ti­cally. I al­ways like to take a holis­tic ap­proach to ev­ery­thing. I mean, even with eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment — if you look at eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment as just, we’re gonna go out there and make sure that we pull in th­ese great com­pa­nies to come and build here. Well, if you don’t have the work­force, if you don’t have great schools, if you have an opi­oid epi­demic, all of th­ese things feed into your eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and how well that’s go­ing to ac­tu­ally go for you. So it’s the same thing. You need to look at it holis­ti­cally.

CW: Do you have ideas about where you would want to take money now that’s be­ing cur­rently distribute­d in a way that you would say is un­even?

DH: I have seen some things that stand out. I think that it needs to be looked into much deeper, be­cause we re­ally aren’t gonna know what the full sit­u­a­tion is. I can look through the bud­get and high­light, and I see things that jumped out at me.

One of the things that jumped out at me and we talked about back in the spring, I think, was there are all th­ese po­si­tions that just stay empty. They’re al­ways empty. Right, so why? Why do we leave them there? And one of the rea­sons is be­cause gov­ern­ment hates to say, ‘Well, if you take that away...’ They feel like they’re never go­ing to get that back. And it’s like, ‘We need

those jobs. We may need those jobs.’ That’s fine, but right now, in­stead of hav­ing 15 of those po­si­tions open, let’s say, let’s keep four of them in the bud­get. Let’s use this money to prop up the work­force that we do need to help. You know what I mean? Lit­tle things like that, I think, can make a big dif­fer­ence.

CW: In light of na­tional demon­stra­tions against racism and bru­tal­ity in polic­ing, what do you think about groups in Ce­cil County call­ing for police re­forms?

DH: Well first of all, I think that ev­ery­one should have the right to as­sem­ble. I be­lieve in free speech. So th­ese things are all pos­i­tive, right? But what I also think is that right now, we have this group on this side of the street scream­ing, and an­other group on that side of the street scream­ing, and no­body’s ac­tu­ally lis­ten­ing. And that’s a hor­ri­ble thing. I’m sad­dened by that sit­u­a­tion right now. I think that real ac­tion and suc­cess takes place when peo­ple come to the ta­ble and see each other as hu­man be­ings and are will­ing to lis­ten to each other as hu­man be­ings. So I hope that mov­ing for­ward, that can hap­pen. Re­cently, I read in your pa­per the ‘Black Lives Mat­ter’ scream­ing, and then the ‘Trump Four More Years’ scream­ing and I’m like, no. No, no, no, no, no.

I just think that ev­ery­body needs to be heard. That be­ing said, peo­ple need to not come to the ta­ble with de­mands. Does that ever work, in any re­la­tion­ship? It doesn’t work. So how do we build a re­la­tion­ship so that we re­spect each other so that we go ‘Oh, you know what? You’re kind of mak­ing sense now.’ You know what I mean? That’s what I think needs to be worked on.

CW: One thing th­ese groups are call­ing for is to ban the use of choke­holds in the Elk­ton Police De­part­ment. An­other thing that they’re push­ing for is to have a voice in the se­lec­tion of the next police chief in Elk­ton. To what de­gree would you sup­port ei­ther of those?

DH: First of all, I haven’t seen or heard of a sit­u­a­tion in Ce­cil County police, where it’s anything like what has hap­pened on the na­tional level. Thank God. But it re­ally is — I’ve sat with Sher­iff Adams — it’s a strin­gent process that can­di­dates go through. I think they get — I can’t re­mem­ber his ex­act num­bers, but it’s ba­si­cally like, af­ter go­ing through ev­ery­thing, they get one per­son a year or some­thing that’s ac­tu­ally a vi­able can­di­date, that be­comes some­one that works for our police force. So look, I am not in law en­force­ment. I can’t imag­ine be­ing one of the fam­i­lies that has had to deal with their loved one go­ing through one of th­ese hor­rific sit­u­a­tions with a bad cop or mul­ti­ple bad cops. That be­ing said, I can’t imag­ine be­ing a good cop in law en­force­ment in a life or death sit­u­a­tion, and not be­ing able to do some­thing that is meant to be safe. It’s meant to be a safe pro­ce­dure to save my life if it comes down to it.

CW: Do you think too par­ti­san?

DH: Yeah, I do.

Like I was say­ing be­fore, it needs to not be where we, where we judge each other as — that’s a Repub­li­can, that’s a Demo­crat, that’s a fe­male, that’s a male, that’s a young whip­per­snap­per that doesn’t know anything, that’s an old lady that doesn’t have any busi­ness be­ing here any­more. I mean, th­ese are the things that we re­ally still hear. And it blows my mind. One thing that I can say that I’ve learned in my years of pol­i­tics, be­cause I know I have a his­tory in pol­i­tics. I not only have govern­men­tal his­tory, but work­ing for Con­gress­man [Andy] Har­ris for the past cou­ple years, for the past seven or so years be­ing heav­ily in­volved in our party, but also wit­ness­ing my hus­band and his col­leagues down pol­i­tics have be­come at the state leg­is­la­ture — it is all about re­la­tion­ships. It just is. And I see work get­ting done across the aisle for the good of ev­ery­one. And I used to be one of those peo­ple who judged, ‘They’re down there spend­ing our money go­ing out to eat or what have you.’ And the re­al­ity is, they are down there work­ing for us. And when we break bread to­gether, you turn into a real per­son to me. We start talk­ing about your kids or your sib­lings, and then I have some­thing in com­mon with you, and then we’re go­ing, ‘I kind of like this per­son, and I want to work with him. I want to help him get that bill through when he calls me and asks me, if it’s not some­thing com­pletely against my morals and what­ever, or my con­stituents’ re­quests.’

CW: Is there some­thing that you think most Democrats or lib­er­als do agree with or be­lieve in that you are in­ter­ested in learn­ing more about or reach­ing across the aisle to work on?

DH: It’s hard, be­cause it’s also al­most go­ing, ‘Well, lib­er­als think this way, and con­ser­va­tives think that way.’ So I hate to do that. But be­cause I re­ally do think we are also — I mean, we get th­ese snap­shots of peo­ple, in­clud­ing my­self, on Face­book, and yes, it is what we put out there. But there’s so much more to us. That’s two di­men­sional. I think some­thing that I’ll say con­ser­va­tives and lib­er­als I be­lieve re­ally have in com­mon is want­ing to help peo­ple. I re­ally do. So, is that some­thing I’ll look more into? That’s some­thing I’m work­ing on all the time. And I think that’s a good thing.

CW: Do you have anything you would want to fol­low up on from what we’ve been say­ing, or any fi­nal thoughts?

DH: I am work­ing on a con­tract with Ce­cil County. So in essence, what this is, is an out­line of my goals, my agenda that Ce­cil County res­i­dents can hold my feet to the fire on for the next four years of my administra­tion, God will­ing. So, there’s that. I think that that’s im­por­tant. I think a lot of us have been dis­heart­ened over the years with politi­cians who have slick ads and don’t fol­low through. So

I feel like if I pro­vide this con­tract, it’s some­thing more mean­ing­ful. I want it to be taken as mean­ing­ful and se­ri­ous, and I like I said — hold my feet to the fire on it. One more thing — the cur­rent administra­tion has pro­posed ba­si­cally a tax in­crease in the guise of sav­ing us money. In the last cou­ple months of the administra­tion here, and it’s go­ing to be brought forth for the pub­lic hearing on Oc­to­ber 6, at the county coun­cil meet­ing. I re­ally hope that oth­ers take a look. I will be putting that bill out. What this bill does is it al­lows or pro­vides more ex­ec­u­tive pow­ers. Some in my po­si­tion, who would pos­si­bly be in this seat would say, ‘Great, more power.’ I don’t agree with that. I think that we have checks and bal­ances for a rea­son. I think that from what I have heard, what I feel is that we need trans­parency. And there’s a rea­son why 77 per­cent of the vot­ers voted the way that they did. They don’t nec­es­sar­ily like that power grab. And they def­i­nitely don’t like an in­crease in taxes.

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