Thomp­son files to run for pres­i­dent of board

Demo­crat is now chair­man of plan­ning com­mis­sion

The Enterprise - - News - By JA­SON BAB­COCK jbab­cock@somd­ Thomp­son Twit­ter: @Ja­sonEn­tNews

The chair­man of the St. Mary’s County Plan­ning Com­mis­sion filed last week as a can­di­date for the pres­i­dent of the county com­mis­sion­ers.

J. Howard Thomp­son of Hol­ly­wood filed as Demo­crat last Wed­nes­day — the first to file for the pres­i­dent seat in the 2018 elec­tion. Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent Randy Guy (R) has said he in­tends to run for a sec­ond term, but hasn’t yet filed.

“Randy Guy is a nice guy,” Thomp­son, 58, said in an in­ter­view, “but there’s just some things he hasn’t pressed hard enough on.” While all five of the county com­mis­sion­ers are Repub­li­cans, “they just don’t seem to work to­gether well to get to the fi­nal goal point,” Thomp­son said.

“I don’t know if I’ll be able to straighten that out or not,” he said. But with 28 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in work­ing and co­or­di­nat­ing hun­dreds of peo­ple in Christ­mas in April, Thomp­son said he feels that he has the abil­ity to get peo­ple to work well to­gether.

And while he is a life­long Demo­crat, “Demo­cratic and Repub­li­can pol­i­tics are state and na­tional,” he said, and should not be a fac­tor at the county level.

Be­tween the all-Repub­li­can board of com­mis­sion­ers and all-Repub­li­can St. Mary’s County state delegation, “not one of them is will­ing to work to­gether,” Thomp­son noted.

Thomp­son has worked at the Sea­far­ers Harry Lun­de­berg School of Sea­man­ship in Piney Point for 32 years. Start­ing as an elec­tri­cian’s helper, he is now man­ager of the Paul

Hall Cen­ter Train­ing and Conference Cen­ter.

Thomp­son has served on both the St. Mary’s County Plan­ning Com­mis­sion and zon­ing board of ap­peals. “I learned a great deal about how to work with the county,” he said.

Plan­ning and zon­ing, he said, “it’s tough stuff.”

Grow­ing up in Hol­ly­wood, Thomp­son said he learned a lot about pub­lic ser­vice from his grand­fa­ther, M. Chap­man Thomp­son, known as “Chap,” who was the long­time state roads en­gi­neer for St. Mary’s County. He died in 1971.

“He showed me you have to take care of your county,” Thomp­son said. “You have to lis­ten to peo­ple, fig­ure out a prob­lem and take care of it. He was al­ways tak­ing care of some­body.”

As a com­mis­sioner can­di­date, Thomp­son said his fo­cus would be lo­cal roads and trans­porta­tion. He said he wants to see FDR Boule­vard com­pleted and wants more state gov­ern­ment at­ten­tion paid to the re­place­ment of the Gov. Thomas John­son Bridge be­tween Calvert and St. Mary’s coun­ties.

He said he wants to work to­ward the county “hav­ing a bet­ter work­ing re­la­tion­ship with state high­way.”

Thomp­son and his wife, Ker­rie, have two grown chil­dren.

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