In­cum­bent Md. se­na­tor lis­tens to con­stituents and asks for their in­put

The Enterprise - - Community Forum - Bar­bara Thomp­son, Hol­ly­wood The writer is a for­mer St. Mary’s County com­mis­sion pres­i­dent

While serv­ing on the Ed­u­ca­tion, Health and En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs Com­mit­tee in the Mary­land Se­nate, Sen. Steve Waugh (R-St. Mary’s, Calvert), rec­og­niz­ing his lack of ex­per­tise in the many of the ar­eas cov­ered by the com­mit­tee, held pub­lic fo­rums to so­licit in­put from con­stituents with knowl­edge in those ar­eas.

In 2015, when I served as chair of the MedS­tar St. Mary’s Hospi­tal board of di­rec­tors, I at­tended Sen. Waugh’s first fo­rum on health care is­sues at the Lex­ing­ton Park li­brary. The fo­rum was open to the pub­lic and was at­tended by a cross-sec­tion of the med­i­cal com­mu­nity in­clud­ing hospi­tal ex­ec­u­tives, doc­tors, a phar­ma­cist and nurses.

Sen. Waugh made a brief pre­sen­ta­tion high­light­ing the bills that had come through his com­mit­tee that per­tained to health care — what had passed, what hadn’t and what he thought would come back the next year. He asked those in at­ten­dance to share their thoughts and con­cerns on each bill, and he di­rected his staff to take notes. Sen. Waugh used the fo­rum’s sign-in sheets to de­velop a list of con­tacts that he could call on for in­put on leg­is­la­tion in­tro­duced in his com­mit­tee in fu­ture years.

Ad­di­tional fo­rums held that year and each year since cov­ered these topics: veter­ans, al­co­hol/liquor laws, agri­cul­ture/farm­ing, watermen’s and out­doors is­sues (fish­eries/hunt­ing) and ed­u­ca­tion.

That health care fo­rum is just one ex­am­ple of how Sen. Waugh has reached out to his con­stituents, asked for our in­put, lis­tened to our con­cerns and worked to­gether with us to rep­re­sent us in An­napo­lis.

I be­lieve it is to our ad­van­tage to al­low Sen. Waugh to build on what he has learned and the re­la­tion­ships he has de­vel­oped by serv­ing St. Mary’s and Calvert coun­ties for an­other four years. He has my vote in the Repub­li­can pri­mary.

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