Brochin teases Executive run at the Riverside Democratic Club
Senator Jim Brochin (D-42) spoke to the Riverside Democratic Club in Essex on Thursday, April 13, to discuss his upcoming run for Baltimore County Executive.
Although his prospective run is not much of a secret, Brochin, a member of the Senate since 2003, said he will make the official announcement this fall.
“I have watched pay-to-play politics in Baltimore County for development projects in my 15 years in the Senate and it’s driving me crazy,” he said.
He discussed a bill that he entered into the Maryland General Assembly this year that he said would’ve targeted and reduced these “pay-to-play” policies in Baltimore County.
The bill, if passed, stated that starting in 2019, developers who want to change a master plan through zoning or variance changes, cannot have given money to a county councilman or the County Executive in previous 3 years.
“It’s my impetus to change Baltimore County, it’s something I know all of you have experienced and felt in your neighborhoods. It’s just not in Essex, it’s not just in Dundalk, it’s on the Liberty Road corridor, it’s in the Towson corridor, it’s in Pikesville and it has gotten people really really angry.”
He said that the developers who give the most money to politicians have the most influence and often get what they want, even if that conflicts with the needs of the residents.
“Communities and community associations are holding their hands out and saying ‘what about us? what about our voice’?”
The bill ultimately was killed in committee by a 6-2 vote. However, Brochin said he will bring it back for next year’s assembly and have it be the main point of his County Executive campaign.
He said that developments should get approved based on their “merit” and that the citizens should be the ones making the ultimate decision.
“What we’re doing is we’re extracting developer money out of the system.”
Saying that he would “turn the place upside down,” Brochin said that during his 15 years in the Senate and General Assembly he has seen corruption first hand and has advocated for campaign finance reform, a problem he believes stretches back far before the current legislators in power were elected.
“It’s systematic in Baltimore County, it’s been going on since Dale Anderson, Spiro Agnew, straight down the line. There’s this system that’s never ending.”
Speaking to the room of local Democrats, Brochin explained that he can only do so much in the Senate and hopes that the issues he presented can be resolved under his leadership.
He said that he, a Democrat, won the primarily Republican District 42 because he was able to listen to the people through town halls and public meetings and then put their concerns before developers.
“If you think the system is really good and fair and that the average person has an equal shot with the developers then I am not your guy, don’t vote for me.”
He encouraged the room to check his campaign finances saying that the majority of his donations are small and come from local residents, not developers, that are frustrated with how the county is being led.
“At the end of the day, I think all of us, myself included as a citizen of Baltimore County, deserve better. It’s just not fair. All of us work too hard and I find it insulting, it insults the process. This may be the only chance we’re going to get to get our county back,” Brochin concluded.
Sen. Jim Brochin spoke to the Riverside Democratic Club in Essex during the club’s monthly meeting.