Sen. Ad­die Eckardt seeks re-elec­tion

Times-Record - - NEWS - By KAYLA RI­VAS kri­vas@star­ @Kay­la_S­tarDem

— Sen. Ad­die Eckardt of Cam­bridge is run­ning for re-elec­tion for Mary­land’s Se­nate Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict 37.

For the past 32 years as an elected of­fi­cial, Eckardt’s ar­eas of fo­cus were eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, health care, work­force prepa­ra­tion and ed­u­ca­tion, and planned de­vel­op­ment to pre­serve the en­vi­ron­ment and his­tory of the Eastern Shore.

As Sen­a­tor, Eckardt passed leg­is­la­tion ad­dress­ing aban­doned prop­er­ties in lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties through the work of the Task Force to Study Tax Sales in Mary­land. She es­tab­lished the Task Force on Ru­ral In­ter­net, Broad­band, Wire­less, and Cel­lu­lar Ser­vice to con­nect ev­ery last mile of Mary­land, and also pro­vided greater safety through new im­prove­ments on state Route 404.

“I want to fin­ish the work we’ve started,” said Eckardt.

She was in­flu­en­tial in the re­con­struc­tion of the Dover Bridge, pro­tected lo­cal phar­ma­cies from un­nec­es­sar­ily high re­im­burse­ment costs, se­cured fund­ing for com­mu­nity part­ners such as Del­marva Com­mu­nity Ser­vices, the YMCA of the Ch­e­sa­peake, and more.

“See­ing leg­is­la­tion and pol­icy in place and know­ing that it works at the lo­cal level is re­ally im­por­tant to me.”

As a Del­e­gate, Ad­die worked on the Hy­att Project, the re­lo­ca­tion of the Eastern Shore Hospi­tal Cen­ter, the Vis­i­tors Cen­ter at Sail­winds, the Eastern Shore Area Health Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­ter, ex­pan­sion of the his­toric tax credit pro­gram, leg­is­la­tion that es­tab­lished her­itage ar­eas, Arts and Entertainment Dis­tricts, the Re­gional Coun­cils, Chil­dren’s Health Care, the Se­nior med­i­ca­tion pro­gram, Med­bank and the in­te­gra­tion of Men­tal Ill­ness and Ad­dic­tion ser­vices.

“We’re in a high anx­i­ety so­ci­ety,” she said, elab­o­rat­ing on the cru­cial role fam­i­lies play in in­still­ing a sense of self in young peo­ple, along­side strong will and as­sertive at­ti­tudes.

In 1986, she served two terms as Chair of the Dorch­ester County Cen­tral Com­mit­tee be­fore her 1994 elec­tion to the Mary­land House of Del­e­gates 37B.

Her Se­nate Leg­isla­tive Com­mit­tee as­sign­ments on the Se­nate Bud­get & Tax­a­tion Com­mit­tee in­cluded work­ing on the State bud­get over­see­ing the Health and Hu­man Ser­vices, ed­u­ca­tion fund­ing, per­son­nel and pen­sion is­sues, and low­er­ing tax rates for all Mar ylan­ders.

“From a leg­isla­tive per­spec­tive, we work re­ally hard to make sure chil­dren come to school ready to learn,” she said, speak­ing to the im­por­tance of preschool. “We’ve of­fered in­cen­tives for com­mu­ni­ties to do that.”

Since hold­ing of­fice, Eckardt said the big­gest les­son she learned was en­gag­ing the pri­vate sec­tor to pro­vide re­sources like skills and funds to the in­di­vid­u­als who need it, with just a lit­tle help from the gov­ern­ment in com­par­i­son.

“Gov­ern­ment money can’t pro­vide ser­vices for ev­ery­body and every­thing,” she said, em­pha­siz­ing the im­por­tance of know­ing how to fundraise.

Eckardt also cur­rently serves on the fol­low­ing com­mit­tees: the Mary­land State Be­hav­ioral Health Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee, Task Force to Study Tax Sales in Mary­land, Task Force on Ru­ral In­ter­net, Broad­band, Wire­less, and Cel­lu­lar Ser­vice, Mary­land Com­mis­sion on Sui­cide Preven­tion, Two Gen­er­a­tion Fam­ily Eco­nomic Se­cu­rity Com­mis­sion, the Mary­land En­vi­ron­men­tal Trust, MidShore Re­gional Coun­cil, the Tri-County Coun­cil for the Lower Eastern Shore of Mary­land, and Women Leg­is­la­tors of Mary­land.

Since her elec­tion to Se­nate, Eckardt re­ceived nu­mer­ous awards and recog­ni­tions in­clud­ing the Award for School Fund­ing and Pub­lic Health from the Mary­land As­so­ci­a­tion of Coun­ties and the Pres­i­dent’s Award from the Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment Net­work of Mary­land and the Ru­ral Leg­is­la­tor Award from the Mary­land Ru­ral Health As­so­ci­a­tion.

She was also en­dorsed by Gov. Ho­gan, the Mary­land Farm Bureau, the Mary­land Re­al­tors and re­ceived 100 per­cent busi­ness rat­ing by Mary­land Busi­ness for Re­spon­si­ble Gov­ern­ment.

“I have been im­pressed with the ac­com­plish­ments of Gov. Ho­gan over the past four years,” said Eckardt. “His cabi­net has been most re­spon­sive to the Eastern Shore and our is­sues and I am proud to serve with him.”

“We are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing chal­leng­ing eco­nomic times and I be­lieve the fo­cus dur­ing th­ese next four years will be to iden­tify clearly the role and re­spon­si­bil­ity of state gov­ern­ment and that of lo­cal gov­ern­ment. Es­sen­tial ser­vices and how to fi­nance th­ese will be the chal­lenge,” she said.

“While in­di­vid­ual fam­i­lies are strug­gling fi­nan­cially gov­ern­ment can­not con­tinue to bal­ance the bud­get on the backs of the lo­cal ju­ris­dic­tions and cit­i­zens. I will work to con­tinue to bal­ance both en­vi­ron­men­tal and eco­nomic con­cerns while re­tain­ing lo­cal con­trol.”

“We must im­prove our busi­ness cli­mate in our re­gion and at­tract new busi­ness while re­tain­ing and grow­ing cur­rent busi­ness so that our coun­ties are less de­pen­dent on gov­ern­ment re­sources,” she said.

Eckardt said pro­mot­ing job cre­ation and bring­ing in more busi­nesses is one of the best ways to keep a com­mu­nity safe.

She also re­cently said, “When ev­ery­body comes to­gether for an ini­tia­tive, then it makes it eas­ier for ev­ery one to achieve that goal,” point­ing to ef­forts be­hind the St. Michaels Fam­ily YMCA/Se­nior Cen­ter as an ex­am­ple.

Eckardt is a Masters pre­pared Clin­i­cal Nurse Spe­cial­ist in Psy­chi­atric Nurs­ing with over 30 years at Eastern Shore Hospi­tal Cen­ter, and past part time as a School Health Nurse with the Dorch­ester County Health Depart­ment.

“My nurs­ing back­ground has helped me more than I ever en­vi­sioned in be­ing able to iden­tity a prob­lem, look­ing at al­ter­na­tives and bring­ing peo­ple to­gether,” she said.

She cur­rently lives in Cam­bridge with her hus­band, Dick. They have been mar­ried for 54 years and have three sons and nine grand­chil­dren.

Eckardt and her hus­band are ac­tive mem­bers of Christ Church, the Dorch­ester County YMCA, and sing with the Cho­rus of Dorch­ester.


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