‘New Day for La Plata’ sweeps gen­eral elec­tion

James first woman to be­come mayor of town

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By TIF­FANY WATSON twat­son@somd­news.com

Res­i­dents in La Plata woke up to “A New Day for La Plata” af­ter the Gen­eral Elec­tion on May 2, with the en­tire slate of can­di­dates touted by the La Plata Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion win­ning seats on the town coun­cil.

May­oral can­di­date Jean­nine E. James is the first woman to be­come mayor of La Plata, gar­ner­ing 563 votes, de­feat­ing coun­cil­man Lynn D. Gil­roy who had 440 votes.

The New Day for La Plata slate was spon­sored by the La Plata Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion and the five can­di­dates were an­nounced in early 2017. Now for the first time, three women will be­come coun­cil mem­bers in the Town of La Plata: Emily Mudd Hen­dricks, Paddy Mudd and James. They will

serve along­side two lawyers, Brent Fi­na­gin and Matt Simp­son, to guide the town for the next four years.

“It was a long jour­ney to get here and I was very pleased with the pos­i­tive cam­paign that I ran,” James said. “It was kind of sur­real for sure. It was long, hard work to get but it paid off. Now let’s see what we can get done for the town.”

Coun­cil­man Lynn D. Gil­roy said the vot­ers have spo­ken.

“My cur­rent coun­cil has been the ut­most pro­fes­sion­als and have done their job ad­mirably. I’m go­ing to miss their lead­er­ship and coun­cil,” Gil­roy said.

James said she looks for­ward to fin­ish­ing the town’s FY2018 bud­get, as well as ad­dress­ing is­sues and con­cerns of the res­i­dents and the busi­nesses.

“It’s go­ing to be over­whelm­ing for a cou­ple of months but I hope that the cur­rent coun­cil is gra­cious enough to help us with our tran­si­tion. I’m will­ing to work with them be­cause they have the knowl­edge and they have been serv­ing on the coun­cil for many years. I hope that we can build on what they have al­ready laid the foun­da­tion for,” James said.

Af­ter many months of hard work to bring more vot­ers out, this year’s Gen­eral Elec­tion in the Town of La Plata showed a huge in­crease in turnout with 1,009 vot­ers.

“I was pleased by the turnout in this elec­tion ... while still not be­ing high enough, it cer­tainly is re­fresh­ing to see such a dra­matic in­crease over four years ago,” said Ward 1 can­di­date Matthew T. Simp­son.

Simp­son won the Ward 1 seat from the in­cum­bent Wayne Win­kler with 621 votes. Win­kler had 369 votes.

“I felt that Coun­cil­man Win­kler and I ran a clean and spir­ited race, the kind that La Plata should ex­pect from its lead­ers,” Simp­son said. “I look for­ward to call­ing on him for his knowl­edge, and more specif­i­cally, to help uti­lize the town’s prize train sta­tion in ev­ery way pos­si­ble. I look for­ward to work­ing on the is­sues in­clud­ing the en­croach­ment of sprawl, an in­fra­struc­ture in need of up­grad­ing and a down­town core wait­ing to re­al­ize its full po­ten­tial.”

Brent Fi­na­gin (567 votes) won against in­cum­bent Clyde Keith Back (415 votes) for the Ward 2 seat and can­di­date Ti­mothy Giles (353 votes) lost to Emily Mudd Hen­dricks (622 votes) for Ward 3.

“I am hum­bled and truly hon­ored to have been elected to serve the res­i­dents and busi­nesses of the Town of La Plata as coun­cil­man,” Fi­na­gin said. “Most im­por­tantly, I want to thank the vot­ers for their en­thu­si­as­tic par­tic­i­pa­tion in our cam­paign and their re­mark­able turnout on Elec­tion Day. I also want to thank my op­po­nents for a hard-fought chal­lenge.”

Ward 4 in­cum­bent Joseph W. Nor­ris had 448 votes — the most votes for the in­cum­bents — but still lost to Paddy Mudd (Paretta D. Mudd) who had 548 votes.

Nor­ris said at first he was dis­ap­pointed when he heard the elec­tion re­sults but it didn’t last long.

“I’ve had the priv­i­lege of serv­ing for eight years and I wish them well. They clearly ran a bet­ter cam­paign than we did so they deser ve it. I’m ready to get on with the next stage of my life. I’m grate­ful I had the op­por­tu­nity to do what I did,” Nor­ris said.

Paddy Mudd said she is thank­ful to the Town of La Plata for their sup­port and confidence.

“Let’s work to­gether with a spirit of co­op­er­a­tion and op­ti­mism for the fu­ture while re­mem­ber­ing and hon­or­ing our past,” Mudd said.

Mudd Hen­dricks, with 622 votes, had the most votes out of all the can­di­dates in the gen­eral elec­tion. She said she is hum­bled by the out­pour­ing of sup­port and will work hard to see La Plata thrive.

“I’m not sur­prised by the re­sults of the elec­tion be­cause many of the res­i­dents I spoke with were ready for new lead­er­ship and liked the di­verse skill set of the New Day for La Plata can­di­dates,” Mudd Hen­dricks said. “Also, I’m very happy to be serv­ing with two in­tel­li­gent and ac­com­plished women.”

STAFF PHOTO BY TIF­FANY WATSON

The “A New Day For La Plata” slate of can­di­dates won the Town of La Plata Gen­eral Elec­tion on May 2. From left are Jean­nine E. James, Paddy Mudd, Matthew T. Simp­son, Emily Mudd Hen­dricks and Brent Fi­na­gin.

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