Dan O’Hare wants to focus on broadband, mental health
EASTON — elected to represent Maryland’s 37B district as delegate, Democratic candidate Dan O’Hare said he will not run for reelection.
“I’m never going to run again,” O’Hare said. “I’m not interested in being a politician, this is not a career for me . ... I look at public office like jury duty, its something that this time I need to go do it, someone has to, no one else would step up, that’s why I’m doing it.”
O’Hare is originally from Ocean Pines and claims to be the first child born in the town. He attended the University of Notre Dame, but did not graduate; studying philosophy, history, english and government.
O’Hare then moved to Ireland for the better part of a year before moving back to America, where he spent time in New York City volunteering. He then set out to Colorado in a van where his wife, then girlfriend, was going to college.
“I used to drive a dessert van around. I lived in the van for awhile and then found a place in a basement,” O’Hare said. “I spent a period of time homeless, I mean, I had a car, ... I drove across the country seven or eight times.”
O’Hare said he then moved back to New York City where he worked in film and television for close to two decades in different positions including production accounting and producing for Viacom.
O’Hare and his wife then purchased a home on the Eastern Shore and decided to move away from New York City to provide a quieter life for their daughter. O’Hare now works as a real estate agent in the Mid-Shore.
O’Hare is chiefly concerned with mental health and providing services to individuals with mental illnesses. He said one of his main focuses is expanding services, which are already affective locally, to the entire district.
“I met these amazing people in Talbot including Connie Pullen, Michael Pullen’s wife, who embedded therapists in all the schools here,” O’Hare said. “It’s a fantastic program, ... It doesn’t cost anything, that’s the amazing thing. The kid’s insurance pays for it. All the school costs is an actual room. It’s a phenomenal program and it should be everywhere.”
Universal broadband also is an issue, not only in the district, but nationwide, O’Hare said. He said Maryland needs a statewide approach to offering access to fiber-optic internet.
“It won’t work county to county, they don’t have the influence on these companies,” O’Hare said. “It’s got to be a universal service, it’s got to be a public utility.”
Addressing the opioid crisis also is at the forefront of O’Hare’s campaign. He said removing the criminalization of drug use, along with providing more government services is a way to combat the epidemic. O’Hare said at one point in his life, he too was addicted to opioids, after being prescribed pain killers when he injured himself at work.
O’Hare said he’d like to offer fentanyl testing strips to individuals in the district as a way to prevent overdoses, and work with law enforcement to guide addicts to rehabilitation programs instead of giving them jail time.
“We should just offer help, we should be here for somebody who needs help,” O’Hare said. “That should be the goal of all of our policies. It should never be to get people not to do something, it should be to offer them help if they need it. People should be able to live their lives.”