Hunt­ing­town’s Thomas runs for del­e­gate

Seeks to rein in Democrats, spend­ing

The Calvert Recorder - - Front Page - By TA­MARA WARD tward@somd­ Twit­ter: @CalRecTAMARA

Cer­ti­fied res­i­den­tial ap­praiser Michael A. Thomas knows his way around Calvert and Prince Ge­orge’s coun­ties, as well as sur­round­ing ar­eas.

The Hunt­ing­town res­i­dent of 33 years is seek­ing to be the voice in An­napo­lis of con­stituents re­sid­ing in District 27B, a seat cur­rently held by Del. Michael Jack­son (D–Calvert, Prince Ge­orge’s), in the 2018 elec­tion.

“I came to Calvert County when the num­ber of Democrats out­weighed the Repub­li­cans by 9 to 1,” chuck­led Thomas, the 63-year-old life­long Repub­li­can. “We’ve seen the lean times.”

No stranger to pol­i­tics, Thomas said he worked on two U.S. con­gres­sional cam­paigns for Repub­li­can can­di­date Har­ley Wil­liams, who sought to un­seat for­mer demo­cratic con­gress­man Roy Dyson in 1984 and 1986. Twelve years later in 1998, Thomas ran un­suc­cess­fully for Calver t County or­phan’s court judge.

While not cur­rently ac­tive in the Calvert County Repub­li­can Cen­tral Com­mit­tee, Thomas said he oc­ca­sion­ally at­tends the cam­paign events of his long­time ac­quain­tance of 25 years, Del. Mark Fisher (R-Calvert).

“We are run­ning in ad­ja­cent dis­tricts so we share a lot of com­mon in­ter­ests and con­cerns for the county and the district,” said Thomas. “Now, the time is right for me to get more ac­tive again.”

In the three decades Thomas has been an ap­praiser, now self-em­ployed, he said he has heard first­hand the woes of res­i­dents of homes he has ap­praised, which spurred him into ac­tion.

“More times than I can count peo­ple said ‘we’re leav­ing Mary­land. We have to get out. The taxes are too high … we can’t af­ford to re­tire here,’” mim­icked Thomas, who once was pres­i­dent of the Calvert County Hous­ing Author­ity.

If elected del­e­gate, Thomas’ top leg­isla­tive pri­or­i­ties are eco­nomic free­dom, cut­ting spend­ing and low­er­ing taxes.

“Eco­nomic free­dom would come along the lines of reign­ing in the cur­rent state govern­ment, which is al­most ab­so­lutely con­trolled by the Democrats,” Thomas said.

“One of the spe­cific things I would pro­pose and sup­port would be to elim­i­nate taxes on re­tire­ment in­come for all Mary­lan­ders. That’s crit­i­cal,” he said.

Thomas said 82 per­cent of the state bud­get is on au­topi­lot, au­to­mat­i­cally re­newed due to leg­is­la­tion passed by Democrats. He would like to sub­ject those com­po­nents of the bud­get to scru­tiny with the goal to cut spend­ing.

Thomas also be­lieves there is no in­cen­tive for busi­nesses to stay in Mary­land be­cause it is a high tax state.

A sup­porter of Gov. Larry Ho­gan (R), Thomas ap­plauds the cur­rent gov­er­nor’s ini­tia­tives to im­prove the econ­omy for busi­nesses, to in­clude cut­ting mil­lions of dol­lars in fees and taxes levied on busi­nesses in his nearly three years in of­fice.

If elected, Thomas said he will sup­port the gov­er­nor in those ac­tions and look for other ar­eas where the state can con­tinue to do more.

“The tax reg­u­la­tory bur­den, which af­fects the en­tire state — it just sti­fles eco­nomic growth and op­por­tu­nity,” said Thomas of an­other is­sue af­fect­ing both ju­ris­dic­tions that he wants to elim­i­nate. “Mary­land is no­to­ri­ous for mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to start a busi­ness and stay in busi­ness.”

Thomas said Mary­land should be mind­ful of the pub­lic good and the en­vi­ron­ment, but the high tax­a­tion dur­ing the prior ad­min­is­tra­tion was too much for busi­nesses to get started.

Thomas said leg­isla­tively the gov­er­nor has gone as far as he can, and in or­der to fur­ther his agenda Repub­li­cans need to gain five more seats in the Se­nate or seven more seats in the House of Del­e­gates. Hop­ing to be one of the seven Repub­li­can del­e­gates, Thomas wants to take part in the bud­get de­lib­er­a­tions to im­prove Mary­land’s eco­nomic cli­mate to ben­e­fit all Mary­lan­ders.

Rec­og­niz­ing that 27B is very di­verse, Thomas finds an area of com­mon ground with both Calvert and Prince Ge­orge’s in crime and the opi­oid cri­sis that needs to be ad­dressed. Work­ing with the pros­e­cu­tors and law en­force­ment, Thomas said he would see if there is any pos­si­ble leg­is­la­tion that could be in­tro­duced.

“Per­haps stiffer penal­ties for deal­ers, es­pe­cially those who deal drugs that re­sult in deaths. I think we need to put some teeth in this,” he said. “On the other side, con­tinue to sup­port re­hab ef­forts.”

An­other crime com­po­nent Thomas wants to tackle is MS13 and for­eign gangs, which he be­lieves have a pres­ence in Prince Ge­orge’s.

Thomas noted there’s a big di­chotomy be­tween Calvert and Prince Ge­orge’s schools that needs to be ad­dressed. Be­liev­ing qual­ity of ed­u­ca­tion in each county is de­ter­mined by “re­mark­ably au­ton­o­mous” school boards, Thomas said he would look to­ward a leg­isla­tive rem­edy.

Thomas said he dis­agreed with Jack­son, a for­mer Prince Ge­orge’s County sher­iff, vot­ing in fa­vor of a “sanc­tu­ary state” bill that sets pa­ram­e­ters on state and lo­cal law en­force­ment’s abil­ity to co­op­er­ate with fed­eral au­thor­i­ties on is­sues deal­ing with im­mi­gra­tion.

Thomas feels he is in touch with the con­stituents of 27B and is not swayed by the fact that Democrats out­weigh Repub­li­cans in the district nearly 2 to 1, with Prince Ge­orge’s hav­ing the lion’s share of lib­er­als and pro­gres­sives.

“I’ve in­spected hun­dreds of houses in Prince Ge­orge’s County in the part of 27B … I know the peo­ple,” said Thomas, who plans to con­tinue his “fully funded” grass­roots cam­paign of door knock­ing and com­mu­nity out­reach.


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