Jesse Colvin will get things done for Mary­land

Sunday Star - - OPINION - By RICHARD J. DUMAIS

Is Mary­land truly Blue? Of­ten viewed as a “Blue” state, the record in Mary­land tells a very dif­fer­ent story. In spite of a 2-1 ad­van­tage of reg­is­tered Democrats over Repub­li­cans, Mary­land vot­ers fa­vored Rea­gan over Mon­dale in 1984 and Bush over Dukakis in 1988. Even within the Demo­cratic Party, Mary­lan­ders trend to­wards mod­er­a­tion as re­flected in the strong show­ing of pro-busi­ness Demo­crat Paul Tsongas who soundly de­feated lib­eral Bill Clin­ton in the

1992 Demo­cratic pri­mar y. Since

1994, we have elected four gover­nors — two Democrats and two Repub­li­cans. Not sur­pris­ingly, the Bal­ti­more Sun re­cently en­dorsed Larry Ho­gan, cit­ing his abil­ity to get things done and re­flect Mary­land’s “Mid­dle Tem­per­a­ment.”

While the Demo­cratic candidates have been suc­cess­ful at all lev­els, it has not stopped Mar ylan­ders from elect­ing a long list of cen­trist Repub­li­cans to nu­mer­ous of­fices, both lo­cal and na­tional, in­clud­ing, over the past sev­eral decades: Mac Mathias, Mar­jorie Holt, He­len Bent­ley and Wayne Gilchrest (from Mary­land’s 1st). We con­sis­tently refuse to fol­low a fixed pat­tern of party pol­i­tics. When given a vi­able choice, we fa­vor the can­di­date most likely to get the job done — Demo­crat or Repub­li­can. Mary­lan­ders pre­fer suc­cess­ful, prag­matic, co­op­er­a­tive “Do­ers.” Wil­liam Don­ald Schae­fer, the ul­ti­mate at get­ting it done on nu­mer­ous eco­nomic ex­pan­sion projects, even bor­rowed Nike’s slo­gan, “Just Do It.”

This is what we need now in Mary­land’s 1st — some­one who can think and act in­de­pen­dently and not be be­holden to a team of radicals, ei­ther on the left or the right. For nearly a decade, Andy Har­ris has rep­re­sented the 1st and op­er­ated within the ex­treme of the so called Free­dom Cau­cus. We had two shots at com­pre­hen­sive im­mi­gra­tion re­form that would have fully re­solved one of to­day’s most press­ing is­sues in 2005-06. That bi­par­ti­san ef­fort in the Se­nate, led by John McCain and Ted Kennedy, was blocked by ex­trem­ists in the House in­clud­ing the Tea Party Cau­cus, fore­run­ner to the Free­dom Cau­cus. As a re­sult of ex­trem­ist ob­struc­tion, the coun­try trag­i­cally con­tin­ues to strug­gle with this key is­sue over a decade later.

Eco­nom­i­cally, Har­ris and his fis­cally conser va­tive cau­cus claim that their pri­mary ob­jec­tive is to re­strict spend­ing and dra­mat­i­cally re­duce or elim­i­nate the fed­eral deficit. But in 2016, go­ing against their deep­est con­vic­tions, they in­ex­pli­ca­bly voted for a huge tax cut, strongly fa­vor­ing the ul­tra­wealthy, while fully aware that the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s pend­ing bud­get would dra­mat­i­cally in­crease fed­eral spend­ing. The re­sult: an enor­mous in­crease in the fed­eral deficit they claimed to de­test; a bur­den likely to be placed upon the shoul­ders of our chil­dren and grand­chil­dren.

In spite of his physi­cian, Har­ris ex­per­tise as a proudly voted to wreck the Af­ford­able Care Act, in­clud­ing the pro­vi­sion pro­tect­ing those with pre-ex­ist­ing con­di­tions, with­out any ef­fort to pro­vide a vi­able al­ter­na­tive. While the ACA is cer­tainly not per­fect, it pro­vides crit­i­cal ben­e­fits to thou­sands in our District. Why not pro­pose ways to im­prove the law rather than de­stroy it out of po­lit­i­cal pet­ti­ness? On so many is­sues di­rectly im­pact­ing the 1st, the opi­oid cri­sis, the wel­fare of the Bay, weak job cre­ation, un­der­per­form­ing schools and in­ad­e­quate tech­nol­ogy, Har­ris has failed to de­liver in a mean­ing­ful way.

It is time for a change. It is time for the 1st to fol­low Mary­land tra­di­tion and elect a “Doer.” We now have that op­tion in Jesse Colvin. As a young man, Jesse acted on his call­ing to serve af­ter 9/11, study­ing Ara­bic and the Mid­dle East to pre­pare to face the grow­ing ter­ror cri­sis, join­ing the Army and be­com­ing a Ranger of­fi­cer to serve his coun­try, in­clud­ing four ac­tive com­bat tours, and then launch­ing his pro­fes­sional ca­reer as an ex­pert in bat­tling cor­po­rate fraud. Yet fac­ing the ex­treme dys­func­tion and fail­ures in Congress — of­ten caused di­rectly by Har­ris and his col­leagues in the Free­dom Cau­cus — Jesse set aside his ca­reer and worked tire­lessly to earn our votes. Along with dozens of vet­er­ans run­ning for Congress around the coun­try, both Democrats and Repub­li­cans, he joined the group With Honor and has vowed to serve with the ut­most in­tegrity and in a fully bi­par­ti­san ef­fort to be part of the so­lu­tion. Jesse Colvin is suc­cess­ful, prag­matic and co­op­er­a­tive, and he will “Get It Done.”

All that is at stake is the fu­ture for our fam­i­lies. We must vote in the tra­di­tion of Mary­lan­ders and se­lect the best in­di­vid­u­als in each race from the gover­nor to Congress and all the way through the bal­lot — let’s all set aside po­lit­i­cal par­ties and la­bels and vote for the Do­ers.

Richard J. Dumais writes from St. Michaels.

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