Huntingtown’s Thomas runs for delegate
Seeks to rein in Democrats, spending
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.