Bai­ley, Brewer square off at can­di­date fo­rum

State Se­nate can­di­dates for St. Mary’s, Calvert talk school safety, econ­omy, guns

The Calvert Recorder - - Front Page - By JAC­QUI ATKIELSKI jatkiel­ski@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @Jac­quiEn­tNews

Re­pub­li­can Jack Bai­ley and Demo­crat Thomas Brewer, both vy­ing for the Dis­trict 29 state Se­nate seat, de­bated Tues­day night at the Lex­ing­ton Park li­brary about school safety, im­prov­ing the lo­cal econ­omy, a pro­posed pub­lic gun owner registry and other top­ics.

At­ten­dees filled the seats, stood in the aisles or watched on­line as the two can­di­dates shared their ideas at the fo­rum spon­sored by the St. Mary’s League of Women Vot­ers and the lo­cal branch of the NAACP.

When asked what could be done to make schools safer other than hir­ing more school re­source of­fi­cers, Brewer said school staff should iden­tify and stop stu­dents who ex­hibit “toxic mas­culin­ity,” in­stead of let­ting their be­hav­iors “go to a dan­ger­ous place.”

Bai­ley said com­mu­nity part­ners from lo­cal pub­lic schools, the sher­iff’s of­fice and the county com­mis­sion­ers should work to­gether to solve lo­cal is­sues. State law­mak­ers shouldn’t “dic­tate to” pub­lic school of­fi­cials about how to make school sites safer, he said. His wife, Karen Bai­ley, is the chair­woman of the St. Mary’s school board.

He said school rep­re­sen­ta­tives “should come to us” to re­quire more fund­ing or re­sources.

When asked about how to com­bat the clo­sure of busi­nesses on Three Notch Road, Brewer said the county can pre­vent a po­ten­tial base re­align­ment and clo­sure, or BRAC, of Naval Air Sta­tion Patux­ent River by prov­ing to the fed­eral gov­ern­ment “how well the lo­cal and state gov­ern­ments sup­ported” those who work and live on base.

He said ways to en­sure the fu­ture of the base in­clude mak­ing sure that small busi­nesses “are strong and sus­tain­able,” as well as push­ing for in­fra­struc­ture projects like a new bridge to con­nect St. Mary’s and Calvert coun­ties, and widen­ing the in­ter­sec­tion at Route 5 and Great Mills Road to bet­ter ac­com­mo­date base traf­fic.

Bai­ley said there is a need to in­crease the county’s eco­nomic di­ver­sity by “in­creas­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing” in the county and to be­gin con­struc­tion of the third build­ing at the South­ern Mary­land Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­ter in Cal­i­for­nia to of­fer more ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Brewer and Bai­ley seemed to dif­fer on how dif­fi­cult it is to pro­vide peo­ple work­ing in small busi­nesses a liv­ing wage and health in­sur­ance.

Brewer, who said he worked formerly as a phar­ma­cist for lo­cal and cor­po­rate busi­nesses, said “it was a com­pli­cated ques­tion” about how to pro­vide for those work­ing in small busi­nesses.

He said he would like to see taxes drop for smaller busi­nesses. He said the state is “doom­ing them to fail­ure” by not giv­ing smaller busi­nesses the same ad­van­tages of larger busi­nesses.

Brewer said the cor­po­rate phar­macy he worked for re­port­edly treats em­ploy­ees “like a baby treats a di­a­per,” and he’s “seen how much bet­ter small busi­nesses treat their em­ploy­ees — with wages and with re­spect.”

Bai­ley, who worked for 30 years with Mary­land Nat­u­ral Re­sources Po­lice, said the lead­er­ship of Gov. Larry Ho­gan (R) has pro­vided re­duced taxes and more jobs.

“We have done the things that are im­por­tant for our econ­omy to thrive,” Bai­ley said, adding that there is a con­tin­ued need to “re­duce taxes for the peo­ple who cre­ate jobs … it’s very easy.”

When asked about the cre­ation of a pub­licly avail­able gun registry, Bai­ley said he was op­posed. “We don’t need it,” he said, adding that peo­ple who “want to get our guns” could po­ten­tially abuse the in­for­ma­tion.

He ar­gued that state law en­force­ment al­ready has a data­base, and can ad­dress po­ten­tial threats in­volv­ing gun own­ers or their firearms.

Brewer said Bai­ley al­ready has “an A-plus rat­ing” with the Na­tional Ri­fle As­so­ci­a­tion, and would most likely vote against leg­is­la­tion that “might hin­der any­body’s Sec­ond Amend­ment rights.”

He said there could be mul­ti­ple op­por­tu­ni­ties through leg­is­la­tion “that is not in­fring­ing on any­one’s rights but sim­ply pro­vid­ing a pro­tec­tive buf­fer for those” who may want to harm them­selves or oth­ers.

The can­di­dates dis­agreed about “sanc­tu­ary states,” or a state that lim­its de­port­ing peo­ple who aren’t le­gal cit­i­zens.

Bai­ley said he is op­posed to al­low­ing Mary­land to be a sanc­tu­ary state.

Brewer said if some­one is al­ready in the coun­try but has yet to be a le­gal ci­ti­zen, there should be a process that is “not so in­sen­si­tive” to those who may be try­ing to es­cape some­thing worse in their na­tive coun­try. He said some of the lo­cal agri­cul­ture in­dus­try is “propped up on over­look­ing” the le­gal sta­tus of em­ploy­ees.

He said peo­ple shouldn’t adopt the at­ti­tude of “you do not be­long here be­cause you don’t fit a cer­tain mold.”

Both can­di­dates said they were pre­pared to rep­re­sent the Se­nate based on their past job ex­pe­ri­ences.

Brewer, who worked in a va­ri­ety of jobs from bar­tend­ing to phar­macy, said he knew “phar­macy lingo” but may not un­der­stand some “leg­isla­tive lingo.” He said he has a friend in the state depart­ment of leg­isla­tive ser­vices who can help him once he gets the job.

Bai­ley said he tes­ti­fied and helped draft Se­nate bills while work­ing with DNR, in­clud­ing the re­cently passed Se­nate Bill 793, a law re­lated to health in­sur­ance re­quire­ments for peo­ple with cer­tain tick-borne ill­nesses.

STAFF PHOTO BY JAC­QUI ATKIELSKI

Mary­land Se­nate can­di­dates Thomas Brewer, left, and Jack Bai­ley share their views Tues­day on school safety, the lo­cal econ­omy and other top­ics at a can­di­date fo­rum in Lex­ing­ton Park.

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