Ron Fithian eyes sixth term as com­mis­sioner

Kent County News - - NEWS - By JACK RODGERS jrodgers@thekent­coun­tynews.com

CH­ESTER­TOWN — Look­ing to serve a sixth term, in­cum­bent Kent County Com­mis­sioner Ron Fithian said his cam­paign comes with­out sur­prises. “Look, it’s go­ing to be re­ally hard for me to go out and change any­body’s mind about me in this up­com­ing cam­paign,” said Fithian, a Demo­crat. “The peo­ple know who I am, they know what I’m go­ing to stand for, they know what I’m go­ing to put up with.” Fithian will have 20 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in Novem­ber as a com­mis­sioner, los­ing only one elec­tion in 2002. For Fithian, the po­si­tion is more about help­ing peo­ple than pol­i­tics. “I re­ally like serv­ing the pub­lic, and when peo­ple come to you with a prob­lem I have a ten­dency to make a game out of it,” Fithian said. “If I can help those peo­ple, I win the game.” Fithian also serves as the town man­ager for Rock Hall, a po­si­tion he be­gan af­ter his first term as com­mis­sioner. Fithian said ini­tially he re­ceived push­back for tak­ing both po­si­tions, as some in­di­vid­u­als thought he would be bias to­ward Rock Hall in his role as com­mis­sioner. “I don’t think there’s ever been any ev­i­dence of that ever tak­ing place,” Fithian said. “And be­cause that was raised, I’m al­ways very con­scious of that.” Fithian is a life­long Kent County res­i­dent, grad­u­at­ing from Rock Hall High School in 1969. Fithian worked as a water­man for 30 years. Fithian said he was pres­i­dent of the Mary­land Water­man’s As­so­ci­a­tion’s Kent County chap­ter for 10 years, af­ter founder Larry Simms ac­cepted a po­si­tion as pres­i­dent for the statewide as­so­ci­a­tion. Fithian said this is where he got his first taste of how the po­lit­i­cal sys­tem worked, tes­ti­fy­ing against leg­is­la­tion to re­strict wa­ter­men. “That kind of got me, I guess, in­volved in pol­i­tics be­cause we would, ev­ery year, have to go to Annapolis and try and save our way of life,” Fithian said. Al­though Fithian is run­ning as a Demo­crat, he said he tries not to get caught up in pick­ing a side. He said his de­ci­sion to be­come a Demo­crat came af­ter R. Clay­ton Mitchell, a for­mer Kent County com­mis­sioner, be­came speaker of the Mary­land House of Del­e­gates in 1987. Fithian said he filed as a Demo­crat to sup­port Mitchell, as Mitchell had been an ally to the seafood in­dus­try in the past. “I’m prob­a­bly more con­ser­va­tive than a lot of peo­ple that call them­selves Repub­li­cans. I’m prob­a­bly more con­ser­va­tive than most,” Fithian said. “I hope I’m down the mid­dle of the road, and I hope that’s what’s kept me in of­fice for 20 years.” Fithian said that while the county is fac­ing some is­sues, such as the opi­oid epi­demic, eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment is­sues and com­bat­ting the pos­si­bil­ity of a Ch­e­sa­peake Bay bridge to the county, the prob­lems aren’t iso­lated to here. He said as com­mis­sioner one is­sue he’d like to im­prove upon is the lack of a pub­lic trans­porta­tion sys­tem within the county. Fithian said over­all, he’s happy to be part of the rea­son why Kent County has been a won­der­ful place to live for him for his whole life. He said ev­ery day he wakes up, he feels lucky to live and work in the town he grew up in. Fithian said any­one could “throw the bums out of of­fice,” but he would cau­tion res­i­dents of the county that the her­itage and his­tory has been pre­served be­cause of the cur­rent com­mis­sion­ers. “Ev­ery day I wake up and look at Kent County, I just feel blessed that I’m liv­ing here,” Fithian said. “In some small way, I hope I’ve had a part of that.”

RON FITHIAN

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