Luff wants to move county for­ward as com­mis­sioner

Kent County News - - NEWS - By JACK RODGERS jrodgers@thekent­coun­tynews.com This ar­ti­cle is part of a con­tin­u­ing se­ries of in­ter­views with the 2018 can­di­dates for Kent County com­mis­sioner. The pri­mary is June 26; the gen­eral elec­tion is Nov. 6.

CHESTERTOWN — Re­pub­li­can can­di­date for Kent County com­mis­sioner Jim Luff said it’s easy for him to nar­row down his three most im­por­tant is­sues for a cam­paign plat­form. “It’s quite sim­ple,” Luff said. “Jobs, ed­u­ca­tion, hous­ing.” Luff, who has lived in Chestertown the ma­jor­ity of his adult life, said these are the three big­gest is­sues fac­ing Kent County at this time. Luff said that the hard­est part of solv­ing these prob­lems is fix­ing them in­di­vid­u­ally, as the ma­jor­ity of the is­sues in­volved are in­ter­twined. “It’s kind of like peel­ing an onion. You have to keep peel­ing un­til you get down to your core,” Luff said, not­ing that the econ­omy here is still work­ing its way out of the great re­ces­sion. Luff has prior ex­pe­ri­ence in a lead­er­ship role, and has been the chair­man of the Kent County Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion since 2014. He also was a past pres­i­dent of the Kent and Queen Anne’s coun­ties’ cham­bers of com­merce. Luff also has ex­pe­ri­ence as a civil en­gi­neer work­ing for McCrone Inc. in Cen­tre­ville. Luff sees the sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween deal­ing with county prob­lems in his role as eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment chair­man, and those he would solve as a com­mis- sioner as a no-brainer. “The things that we have worked so hard on in the last three years, the up­dated strate­gic plan and those things, are a blueprint for a county com­mis­sioner on how to move the county for­ward,” Luff said. Luff said the county needs to sup­port ed­u­ca­tion, so that it will have a work­force to draw from in the fu­ture. He said that one of the main is­sues in Kent County is not job avail­abil­ity, but peo­ple com­mut­ing from other coun­ties to work here. Luff said that Kent County is one of the six ju­ris­dic­tions in the state that has more work­ers com­mut­ing to it for work, than from here to other places. “What that says is that peo­ple, for one rea­son or an­other, don’t want to live in Kent County,” Luff said. “We need to change that. We need those folks to be liv­ing in Kent County.” Luff said one of the ways to fix this is­sue is to sup­port ed­u­ca­tion. He said im­prov­ing the school sys­tem will spur ac­tiv­ity in the county. Luff also said the new fiber-op­tic in­ter­net back­bone in the county would help at­tract busi­nesses to the area. As a com­mis­sioner, Luff would be in­ter­ested in look­ing at shar­ing county ser­vices to ben­e­fit the school sys­tem. Luff said with the re­cent is­sue of adding a so­cial worker to the school sys­tem, he would like to talk to the De­part­ment of So­cial Ser­vices to see if they can pro­vide a pro­fes­sional. Luff said es­sen­tially, he wants to im­ple­ment more in­no­va­tive ideas if elected. “We need to be able to think out of the box,” Luff said. “We just can’t keep do­ing things the same way we’ve done in the past, and as­sume it’s go­ing to be OK.” Luff said that one thing he would like to see stay the same in Kent County is the his­tor­i­cal na­ture of the county. He said that be­cause busi­nesses would build closer to other in­cor­po­rated ar­eas, Kent County is free to ex­pand with­out dras­ti­cally chang­ing the land­scape. “We need to get back ... to a com­mu­nity that has vi­tal­ity,” Luff said. “And that vi­tal­ity comes from a lot of dif­fer­ent things that are mov­ing for­ward, not back­wards.”

JIM LUFF

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