Bai­ley, Foster re­ceive en­dorse­ments in First Ward race

Kent County News - - FRONT PAGE - By TR­ISH MCGEE pm­cgee@thekent­coun­

CH­ESTER­TOWN — With less than a week to go be­fore the elec­tion that will seat two new coun­cil mem­bers and re­turn in­cum­bent Mayor Chris Cerino to his post, two can­di­dates in the First Ward race have been en­dorsed by some res­i­dents in their ward who wield po­lit­i­cal clout.

Liz Gross, who an­nounced in July that she would not seek a sec­ond term, pub­licly pledged her support of Owen Bai­ley in a get­to­gether Sun­day at JR’s Past-Time Pub. She also sub­mit­ted a letter to the ed­i­tor of the Kent County News en­dors­ing Bai­ley, whose mother Margo Bai­ley was a five-term mayor of Ch­ester­town (1994-2013).

Jim Gatto, who was de­feated by Gross in 2013 in his bid for re-elec­tion, is stump­ing for David Foster.

For­mer mayor Elmer Horsey (1977 to 1993) and his wife Joan and for­mer First Ward coun­cil­man Peter Heller (1977 to 1993) also are sup­port­ing Foster.

Bob Miller is the other chal­lenger in the First Ward, which has the only con­tested race in the Nov. 7 elec­tion.

Cerino is run­ning un­op­posed in his bid for a sec­ond four-year term as mayor. Ellsworth Tol­liver also is un­chal­lenged for the coun­cil seat in the Third Ward.

Tol­liver suc­ceeds Sam Shoge, who an­nounced this sum­mer that he would not seek re-elec­tion be­cause of a po­ten­tial con­flict of in­ter­est with his job as the eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment co­or­di­na­tor for Tal­bot County.

At the same time, Gross said she would step down at the end of her first term due to a fam­ily mem­ber’s health chal­lenges.

In her letter to the ed­i­tor, Gross said she was en­dors­ing Bai­ley, 34, be­cause he has lived in Ch­ester­town for most of his life and has a deep un­der­stand­ing and com­mit­ment to the com­mu­nity. Gross said she be­lieves Bai­ley is some­one who will con­sider all sides of an is­sue and will work as a team player with the other mem­bers of the coun­cil and the Town of Ch­ester­town’s staff.

“I be­lieve that Owen Bai­ley will be open to di­a­logue and com­pro­mise when needed in or­der to serve the in­ter­ests of all of our com­mu­nity, but es­pe­cially those of the First Ward,” Gross wrote in her letter to the ed­i­tor.

Most im­por­tantly to her, Gross said is that there be youth and en­ergy on the town coun­cil.

“In in­ter­views with the press last week, all three can­di­dates men­tioned the im­por­tance of at­tract­ing and keep­ing young fam­i­lies in Ch­ester­town. How bet­ter to do that than in­clud­ing this gen­er­a­tion in the Town Coun­cil? With­out such rep­re­sen­ta­tion, the av­er­age age of the Coun­cil mem­bers will be much closer to 70 than 40 or even 50,” Gross wrote in her letter.

In a tele­phone in­ter­view Tues­day, Gatto, who also is a for­mer chair­man of the town’s plan­ning com­mis­sion, said he was sup­port­ing Foster, 74, be­cause Foster “has done a fair amount of re­search on the com­mu­nity and un­der­stands the gaps in fi­nan­cial plan­ning, the gaps in phys­i­cal plan­ning, the gaps in cap­i­tal im­prove­ments and the gaps in open gov­ern­ment that have been cre­ated over the last cou­ple of years.”

In a joint state­ment Tues­day, Elmer and Joan Horsey said they were en­dors­ing Foster be­cause “we feel he has been ac­tively in­volved in many as­pects of our com­mu­nity and he has the ex­pe­ri­ence in fis­cal mat­ters nec­es­sary for the job. We have found him to be a care­ful lis­tener and he has the time nec­es­sary to rep­re­sent our ward.”

Cam­paign­ing for the First Ward has been di­rected mostly to the Heron Point re­tire­ment com­mu­nity, which is where about half of the ward’s 750 reg­is­tered vot­ers live.

The League of Women Vot­ers spon­sored a fo­rum there Wed­nes­day night.

Gross is a res­i­dent of Heron Point.

Miller, 64, has lived in Ch­ester­town full time since June 2016, when his wife ac­cepted a job as the nurse prac­ti­tioner at Heron Point. He has owned his home here since 2013.

A cer­ti­fied pub­lic ac­coun­tant with an of­fice in Ch­ester­town, he has more than 30 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in national and in­ter­na­tional non­prof­its at the se­nior fi­nan­cial man­age­ment level.

Foster’s ca­reer as an ur­ban plan­ner and civil en­gi­neer has taken him across the coun­try and around the globe, un­til he and his wife re­turned to Ch­ester­town full time in 2011. They have owned their home here for 20 years.

Home-grown can­di­date Owen Bai­ley is the fa­cil­i­ties and ad­min­is­tra­tive co­or­di­na­tor for the East­ern Shore Land Con­ser­vancy’s Con­ser­va­tion Cen­ter in Eas­ton.

Tol­liver, 62, said he de­cided to throw his hat into the ring for the Third Ward seat only after Shoge said he would not run again. He be­lieves it is im­por­tant to have an African Amer­i­can pres­ence on the coun­cil.

Tol­liver grew up in Ch­ester­town and is a grad­u­ate of Kent County High School. Re­tired from a ca­reer in ed­u­ca­tion, he is now the pas­tor of Boardly Chapel AME Church in Pond­town.

Cerino, 49, said the main rea­son he has re-upped is “to try to fin­ish what we started at the wa­ter­front.”

A huge part of the wa­ter­front project is the com­plete over­haul of the town-owned ma­rina and the con­struc­tion of an in­ter­pre­tive cen­ter that will in­clude re­tail space and bath­rooms.

The ma­rina up­grade — dredg­ing of the basin, a new boat ramp, new bulk­heads, fin­ger piers and a raised pedes­trian walk­way — has been the hall­mark of the first term for Cerino, who is vice pres­i­dent of Sul­tana Ed­u­ca­tion Foun­da­tion.

The elec­tion is Tues­day, Nov. 7.

The only polling place is the Ch­ester­town fire­house. Hours are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

All Ch­ester­town reg­is­tered vot­ers will be el­i­gi­ble to vote for mayor. Only reg­is­tered vot­ers in the First Ward will be el­i­gi­ble to vote for the can­di­dates in the First Ward, and only reg­is­tered vot­ers in the Third Ward will be el­i­gi­ble to vote for the Third Ward.

In­for­ma­tion con­cern­ing ward bound­aries can be found on­line at www.townofch­ester­ or by call­ing the town of­fice at 410778-0500.

Forms and in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing emer­gency ab­sen­tee bal­lots may be ob­tained by con­tact­ing the town of­fice.

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