It’s not about party here

The Calvert Recorder - - Community Forum -

Fifty years liv­ing in Calvert County has taught me a few things. Whether a can­di­date for county com­mis­sioner or even for state of­fice is Repub­li­can or Demo­crat mat­ters much less than his or her ac­tual pri­or­i­ties and plat­form. We have had good and bad from each party. What mat­ters is how much they (and we the vot­ers) care for our unique county, our bil­lion-dol­lar bay, traf­fic con­ges­tion and what we leave for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

I will vote for both Earl “Buddy” Hance (Repub­li­can com­mis­sioner’s can­di­date at large) and Ja­son Fowler (Demo­crat for del­e­gate in District 27C) be­cause of their plat­forms, not their party. Hance and Fowler both care about our county and qual­ity of life. Leave party pol­i­tics to other coun­ties and states. Be­fore vot­ing, look care­fully on­line at the other can­di­dates on the bal­lot, and not their party.

In Fowler’s cam­paign mail, he touts his Calvert-ori­ented plat­form, while the in­cum­bent, as in pre­vi­ous elec­tions, smears his op­po­nent. Come on, Mr. Fisher, you know Fowler is not the “ex­treme par­ti­san” your glossy cam­paign ad claims. Rated by the Mary­land League of Con­ser­va­tion Vot­ers, Fisher (8 per­cent life­time vot­ing score and 0 per­cent for 2018) is tied for last place among 141 mem­bers of the House of Del­e­gates. That’s not ex­treme? Your Repub­li­can col­league Del. Ger­ald W. “Jerry” Clark (R-Calvert, St. Mary’s) could, in my opin­ion, rate higher, but at 38 per­cent life­time and 50 per­cent for 2018, his vot­ing record is much dif­fer­ent from Fisher’s. OK, sure, I re­al­ize elected of­fi­cials have to make pri­or­ity trade­offs and few would score 100. Fisher also rated an “F” from Food and Wa­ter Watch, partly be­cause he voted against HB 270, which nev­er­the­less passed in 2017 with a bi­par­ti­san ma­jor­ity, in­clud­ing Clark. This bill re­quires all Mary­land schools be tested for lead in drink­ing wa­ter.

How does Gov. Larry Ho­gan (R) rate on mat­ters like clean­ing up the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay? Ho­gan is a busi­ness­man and clean­ing up our wa­ters is sim­ple good busi­ness. The Mary­land League of Con­ser­va­tion Vot­ers praises Ho­gan es­pe­cially for land preser­va­tion, such as the vol­un­tary Ru­ral Legacy Pro­gram, which funds price­less for­est and farm­land preser­va­tion in Calvert. While Fisher poses next to Ho­gan in cam­paign ads, in fact many of their po­si­tions are far apart.

When those many of you, as I also did for decades, com­mute back to your home in Calvert, please leave your po­lit­i­cal party be­hind at the county line. When I re­call our ear­lier county, poor in ma­te­rial wealth, but dig­ni­fied and civil in pub­lic dis­course, I am sad­dened by the nasty par­ti­san so­cial me­dia posts and smear cam­paign lit­er­a­ture of re­cent years. They have no place in our spe­cial county.

The real Calvert party is not about “R” ver­sus “D,” but about bar­be­cues and beer, fish­ing on the bay, sa­vor­ing lo­cally grown pro­duce and com­ing to­gether to save what we love about liv­ing here — yes, our re­main­ing ru­ral char­ac­ter, Calvert’s “curb ap­peal” and the tide­wa­ters that nearly sur­round us. And about re­vers­ing ver­sus ex­ac­er­bat­ing con­ges­tion. Th­ese all help main­tain Calvert’s high av­er­age house­hold in­come, which in turn means higher dis­cre­tionary in­come on which lo­cal busi­nesses de­pend.

Peter Vogt, Port Repub­lic

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