Can­di­dates dis­cuss is­sues as pri­mary elec­tion ap­proaches

The Dundalk Eagle - - FRONT PAGE - By GIANNA DECARLO gde­carlo@ches­

With Pri­mary Elec­tions just a few weeks away, the White Marsh-Cowen­ton Com­mu­nity As­so­ci­a­tion hosted a tightly-packed com­mu­nity fo­rum where those com­pet­ing for var­i­ous lo­cal of­fices worked to gather some last minute votes on June 7.

Heather Patti, the sec­re­tary of the as­so­ci­a­tion, ex­plained that there are, in to­tal, 49 can­di­dates run­ning for elec­tion

to rep­re­sent the com­mu­nity in var­i­ous ca­pac­i­ties and that the meet­ing couldn’t ac­com­mo­date them all. She said the or­ga­ni­za­tion sat down re­viewed the can­di­date list and chose “the most pop­u­lar can­di­dates in the area that had name recog­ni­tion.”

Repub­li­can Al Red­mer was the first to dis­cuss his County Ex­ec­u­tive can­di­dacy, calling his cam­paign an “out­reach of com­mu­nity ac­tiv­ity.”

Ref­er­enc­ing his cur­rent po­si­tion as the Mar yland In­sur­ance Com­mis­sioner, he said he has most ex­ec­u­tive level ex­pe­ri­ence of any of the other can­di­dates.

“For years, the County has failed to in­vest in ba­sic in­fra­struc­ture. But equally as con­cern­ing, there is no long-term plan in Bal­ti­more County, there is no mul­ti­year bud­get to ad­dress all of the un­met needs that we have.”

As County Ex­ec­u­tive, Red­mer said he would go around County, work­ing col­lab­o­ra­tively with the County Coun­cil, leg­is­la­tors and stake­hold­ers in order to iden­tify needs and put to­gether a “wish list” of pro­grams or ser­vices that need fund­ing and sup­port. He also said he would create an Office of In­spec­tor Gen­eral to look at all de­part­ments, search­ing for cost-ef­fec­tive and money-sav­ing so­lu­tions.

“We’re never go­ing to add jobs, we’re never go­ing to sus­tain growth un­til we fix crime, ed­u­ca­tion, and trans­porta­tion,” he con­cluded.

Demo­crat John Ol­szewski Jr. said he was the only County Ex­ec­u­tive can­di­date ad­vo­cat­ing for univer­sal prek, free com­mu­nity col­lege, rais­ing the min­i­mum wage, and cam­paign fi­nance re­form.

“I ran for office be­cause I wanted to re­verse the decades of de­cline I saw grow­ing up over in eastern Bal­ti­more County,” he said, ref­er­enc­ing grow­ing up in Dun­dalk.

He called for an in­vest­ment in in­fra­struc­ture and peo­ple, in­clud­ing $2 bil­lion, to be split with the state, to al­le­vi­ate over­crowd­ing in schools and fund­ing ini­tia­tives to hire more teachers and sup­port per­son­nel for smaller class sizes.

He would also en­act a full au­dit iden­ti­fy­ing “waste, fraud, abuse, and in­ef­fi­cien­cies” in the govern­ment and school sys­tem and be­gin de­vel­op­ment plans for every main street in the County along with cre­at­ing arts and en­ter­tain­ment dis­tricts.

Pat McDonough, Repub­li­can, de­scribed Bal­ti­more County as a “run­away train go­ing off a bridge.”

“The dif­fer­ence be­tween them [other can­di­dates] and me, is they want to slow that train. I want to stop it,” said McDonough.

To do that, he said he would com­bat vi­o­lence and bul­ly­ing in schools by cre­at­ing leg­is­la­tion to have the po­lice de­part­ment take over stu­dent con­duct en­force­ment and have them make the fi­nal de­ci­sion on con­se­quences

stu­dents will face.

Also on ed­u­ca­tion, he said he would phase out the Com­mon Core cur­ricu­lum and the STAT pro­gram, us­ing the money saved from the lat­ter to build new high schools that would com­bat over­crowd­ed­ness dur­ing his first term.

On crime, McDonough called for “zero tol­er­ance” polic­ing that mim­icked the New York po­lice de­part­ment’s model and dou­bling the num­ber on po­lice cen­ters in the County.

Democrats Jim Brochin and Vicki Al­mond were both sched­uled to ap­pear at the fo­rum but did not show up.

Sev­eral can­di­dates vy­ing the House of Del­e­gates, Congress, Board of Ed­u­ca­tion, Bal­ti­more County Cir­cuit Court, and Sher­iff po­si­tions also were at­ten­dance.

The 2018 pri­mary elec­tion will be held on Tues­day, June 26, with a gen­eral elec­tion on Tues­day, Nov. 6.

Res­i­dents gath­ered at the Perry Hall Li­brary to lis­ten to over 20 can­di­dates dis­cuss their cam­paigns and the is­sues af­fect­ing Bal­ti­more County.

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