Water­man to step down as Repub­li­can Party chair­man

Record Observer - - News - By CHRISTO­PHER KERSEY

CH­ESTER — Queen Anne’s County res­i­dent Diana Water­man will leave her job as chair­man of the Mary­land Repub­li­can Party next month af­ter suc­cess­fully pulling the or­ga­ni­za­tion out of debt, adding Repub­li­cans to the state leg­is­la­ture and elect­ing a Repub­li­can gov­er­nor.

And Repub­li­cans in gen­eral have cap­tured the White House with the elec­tion of Don­ald Trump.

Be­sides pol­i­tics, Water­man has been suc­cess­ful in her pri­vate life, too. She pub­licly bat­tled breast can­cer while chair­ing the state Repub­li­can Party at the same time. She is now can­cer free and will con­tinue to work at the fam­ily busi­ness, Cold­well Banker Water­man Re­alty, in Ch­ester.

Water­man, who lives north of Cen­tre­ville, sat down to an in­ter­view on Wed­nes­day, Dec. 7, at her of­fice. She’s been chair­man, an elected po­si­tion, of the Mary­land Repub­li­can Party for a lit­tle more than three and a half years.

Dirk Haire, an at­tor­ney from Edge­wa­ter, was elected to re­place her, ef­fec­tive Jan. 3. All the of­fices for the statewide or­ga­ni­za­tion were elected dur­ing a re­cent con­ven­tion the party held.

Water­man de­cided to not seek an­other term. She said in the in­ter­view that her battle with can­cer was not the rea­son she didn’t run. But her choice ful­fills a prom­ise with her hus­band, Barry.

“I promised him I wouldn’t run again. It’s such a time de­mand­ing job,” she said. “It’s also good to have new blood.”

There is no salary for the chair­man, yet it’s a full-time job. The chair­man is ex­pected to at­tend meet­ings and events through­out the state and the big pri­or­i­ties of the job are fundrais­ing and get­ting Repub­li­can elected at the many dif­fer­ent lev­els of gov­ern­ment.

Water­man was di­ag­nosed with breast can­cer in Novem­ber 2015, un­der went chemo­ther­apy, and had dou­ble mas­tec­tomy surger y last April and then fin­ished up with ra­di­a­tion this past sum­mer. She’s now can­cer free.

“I was able to con­tinue to serve as chair­man while go­ing through treat­ment. I had to cut back my ac­tiv­i­ties a lot. But my staff and other of­fi­cers helped out,” she said.

Water­man de­cided to talk about her can­cer pub­licly, which is what Gov. Larry Ho­gan did about his suc­cess­ful can­cer battle. “I wanted to help oth­ers,” Water­man said. “He helped so many peo­ple through­out his treat­ment. If I could do any­thing to help any­one like he did, I wanted to.”

While chair­man of the Mary­land Repub­li­can Party, Water­man was suc­cess­ful at im­prov­ing its fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion.

In Oc­to­ber 2013, the state party was $150,000 in debt with $10,000 cash on hand, but when Water­man leaves of­fice, the or­ga­ni­za­tion will have $250,000 in cash on hand with no debt, said Joe Clus­ter, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Mary­land Repub­li­can Party.

Also, two Repub­li­cans were added to the state Se­nate and seven more in the House of Del­e­gates, mean­ing the Repub­li­can Party won’t be in a su­per mi­nor­ity, Clus­ter said. Also more than 50 Repub­li­cans were elected in lo­cal of­fices, Water­man said.

Clus­ter de­scribes Water­man as a “work­horse” in the party over the last three and a half years and one of the most suc­cess­ful chair­man in the party in the past 50 years.

The Mary­land Repub­li­can Party was in­stru­men­tal in get­ting Repub­li­can Larry Ho­gan elected gov­er­nor be­cause it raised $1.8 mil­lion for his cam­paign, which when added to state fi­nanc­ing, meant there was $4.2 mil­lion to spend on his cam­paign, Clus­ter said.

Fundrais­ing is a big part of Water­man’s job. Water­man said she was able to raise money by se­cur­ing large do­na­tions in the $10,000 to $20,000 range. Trump spoke in Mary­land in June 2015, which raised more money. Peo­ple will more will­ing to do­nate money sim­ply be­cause the state party also se­cured do­na­tions sim­ply be­cause more peo­ple were more will­ing to give be­cause a Repub­li­can was gov­er­nor, she said.

“And we were fis­cally con­ser­va­tive in our ex­pen­di­tures. We got our over­head costs down as low as pos­si­ble,” Water­man said.

Dur­ing the in­ter­view, Water­man also com­mented about Trump’s vic­tory. “The state party was fully sup­port­ive of the nom­i­nee once that was de­cided,” she said.

In the pri­mary, there were 17 Repub­li­can can­di­dates and, for some, Trump was not their first choice, she said, “but he was def­i­nitely the best choice in the gen­eral elec­tion. I don’t be­lieve Hil­lary Clin­ton was fit to lead our coun­try.”

She be­lieves Trump the pres­i­dent will be very dif­fer­ent from the Trump, the can­di­date. “He is a mar­ket­ing ex­pert and was mar­ket­ing him­self. If you don’t get elected, you don’t get to serve. He truly wants to make Amer­ica the best she can be. And I be­lieve that his goals and how he will serve will re­flect that,” Water­man said.

Also dur­ing the in­ter­view, Water­man talked about her fu­ture plans. She’s not ex­actly sure what role she will take, but she will likely vol­un­teer for some­thing po­lit­i­cal since she’s been “liv­ing and breath­ing” po­lit­i­cal ac­tivism for so long.

“I don’t have a de­fined role yet, but I’m sure I’ll be do­ing some­thing to get Repub­li­cans elected in our state,” Water­man said.

Through­out her life, Water­man has val­ued ser vice to oth­ers even in roles that aren’t po­lit­i­cal. She was a Girl Scout from Brown­ies through Troop lead­er­ship and in other com­mu­nity ser­vice or­ga­ni­za­tions both in and out of school.

As a par­ent, she served as a Cub Scout den mother, Girl Scout leader, and as a mem­ber and of­fi­cer of the Par­ents As­so­ci­a­tion of her chil­dren’s schools.

When her chil­dren came close to fin­ish­ing high school, she turned her vol­un­teer hours to­ward the world of Mar yland pol­i­tics, join­ing the Ch­e­sa­peake Repub­li­can Women in the fall of 2005. Since then, she served as pres­i­dent of of Ch­e­sa­peake Repub­li­can Women, East­ern Shore re­gional chair for the Mar yland Fed­er­a­tion of Repub­li­can Women (MFRW), and the first vice-pres­i­dent of the MFRW.


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