Dan O’Hare wants to fo­cus on broad­band, men­tal health

Dorchester Star - - REGIONAL - By JACK RODGERS jrodgers@ches­pub.com @ad­dieeckardt­fors­e­n­ate

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.

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“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.”

DAN O’HARE

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