Thompson files to run for president of board
Democrat is now chairman of planning commission
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.