date that best represents you.”
Rey reminded attendees that she’s been endorsed by Hogan and “the money needs to go back to you.” She clarified later that she voted against Hogan’s budgets because “they took the building out,” referring to the state funding for the proposed third building at the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center in California. She said working cooperatively with people in and out of her party “is already happening with your current delegation.”
Clark, addressing the issues alone in the absence of his District 29C opponent, Nichols, said the money should go back to the people “because you earned it.” If there are enough Republicans, approximately five delegates or seven state senators, he said they could block legislation that could possibly hurt the county. “They would have to work with us” so the county “can get our fair share of the money,” he said.
Brewer said state representatives having the additional money would “increase the power of the state.” He said it was disingenuous to give Hogan credit for the jobs created after the 2008 recession. “We’re still rebounding from the recession,” he said, adding that people are continuing to “protect ourselves for the next recession.” He said there was no point in giving the money “back to the wealthy.”
Del. Matt Morgan (RSt. Mary’s), speaking without rebuttal from an opponent in Loker’s absence, said he knows that voters are thinking the money would “be better off in my pocket” than in the state coffers. He said the people elected Republican representatives “to cut taxes.”
Brewer claimed that “we got a lot done when we were led by” Democrats, like the first two buildings at the higher-ed center. He said he thought “some things were bigger than politics” like offering additional educational opportunities at the higher-ed center. “A bipartisan government: What a novelty,” he said.
Rey said she’s trying to find “anywhere we can cut taxes” for a legislator’s so-called “good idea” that could hurt St. Mary’s voters and their wallets. “We need to do a better job of cutting spending,” she said, adding she wants “to give you your money back.”
Morgan, who represents District 29A in northern St. Mary’s, said he would support tax credits for waterfront property owners who have water columns, or cafes filled with oysters to filter water, installed close to their property. “We want a clean bay,” he said, adding that state leaders should use more state-owned property to install water columns.
As a member of the state’s oyster advisory commission, Rey said she suggested that DNR should “map the bay” and designate specific areas for public fishing, crabbing and aquaculture off of state owned property rather than private property.
Crosby said waterfront property owners should be given “first right of refusal” to having water columns, and instead pay an additional fee for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s continuing efforts to clean up the bay. He said DNR should improve their communication process with the public about water column installation and maintenance.
Clark said DNR recently announced an instant notification process to inform potential waterfront property owners that the state wants to install water columns off of their land. He said the new industry is continuing to grow and will have problems while improving.
Brewer said he thought St. Mary’s proposed 18-month moratorium on new water column leases was “a bone-headed idea.” Although 13 people shared their concerns at August county commissioner public hearing, Brewer said a potential “30 to 40 other property owners have no problem with oyster aquaculture in their backyard.”
Loker said in a phone interview Wednesday that she would not attend an event that endorses candidates. She said she believes that organizations who host candidate debates “should be nonpartisan” like the St. Mary’s chapter of the League of Women Voters, the county branch of the NAACP or the county’s chamber of commerce. She said she teaches continuing education classes for the SMAR and is “an affiliate member.”
Morgan said Tuesday if Loker couldn’t come to an event in Leonardtown, “how can she represent us in Annapolis?”
Theresa Kuhns, the SMAR’s government affairs director, said during a phone interview Tuesday the local organization doesn’t endorse state or national level candidates. However, the state and national parent groups of the Realtors association do make such endorsements, according to a release from the Maryland Association of Realtors.
Bailey, who is running against Brewer for the state Senate seat, said in an email Wednesday that he was teaching a class for the DNR’s hunter safety education program. He said he “committed to teach this program several months ago before this evening was planned.”
Nichols said in an email Wednesday that she let the organizers know via email on Sept. 19 she wasn’t able to attend because “I had family commitments that I could not rearrange.”