Colvin brings to board ‘maturity ... youthfulness’
Rookie commissioner joins all-GOP colleagues
The newest St. Mary’s County commissioner impressed the board — and a majority of voters — from the get-go.
Commissioner Eric Colvin (R), sworn in Monday night at his alma mater, Leonardtown High School, had all the markings of a county commissioner — he was born and raised in Leonardtown, works with defense contractors and govern- ment employees at Webster Field, and most importantly, he “can think on his own,” Commissioner Mike Hewitt (R) said.
Colvin, who represents District 1 including Ridge, Piney Point, Valley Lee and St. Inigoes, swept the votes in the midterm primary and general election, handily defeating his Republican, Democratic and un-
affiliated opponents. He racked up endorsements from a variety of groups, including the St. Mary’s County Fraternal Order of Police and Southern Maryland Realtors Association. He was also the only local Republican to receive endorsements from the Sierra Club of Maryland and the Education Association of St. Mary’s County.
“I wanted to at least go talk to people even if I didn’t agree with them,” Colvin said shortly after taking his oath of office. “I wanted to at least have a conversation.”
“Even in areas where it seems like there wouldn’t be a lot of overlap, there’s definitely areas where we agree,” he added. “The environmental issues with the Sierra Club, they coexist perfectly with fiscally conservative issues like solar panels. It just makes sense.”
Although Colvin was never “super-involved” with the local Republican central committee, he was sure of his political ideology early on, at one time serving as president of the College Republicans at Salisbury University.
He’d say he’s “a moderate conservative,” but “there are definite reasons I’m a Republican,” Colvin said with a laugh.
No stranger to local government, Colvin previously served as the chair of the county’s commission of people with disabilities, and was technically a county employee around the time he was in high school, working part-time during summers with kids with special needs at camp New Horizons. Colvin’s said his role as chair of that commission has prepared him for his new role as commissioner in “several ways.”
“When I was chair of the commission, one of the things I always valued was having as many voices at the table as pos- sible,” he said. “I want to ensure that we have as many voices at the table, we hear as many different points that we can.”
Before throwing his hat in the ring, Colvin met with Tom Jarboe (R), who left room for Colvin’s bid when he announced this past election cycle that he would not run for a second term on the board of commissioners.
“I was impressed with him from the beginning,” Jarboe said. He sat down with most of the commissioner candidates to brief them on the duties and expectations of the job.
Colvin is “well schooled on what’s going on at” Na- val Air Station Patuxent River, which is “important because that’s a large part of our economy,” Jarboe said.
“He’ll fit in fine” with the rest of the board, Jarboe said, but added, “my biggest concern is that Eric is the new guy and that people will treat him like that guy instead of embracing him.”
“It wasn’t like any Republican would have won,” Hewitt said. “He brings a maturity, but also a youthfulness. That’s what you need.”
With Colvin’s election and the re-election of four incumbents, the board remains all Republican for the next four years.
Colvin, 36, is now the youngest commissioner on the board, behind Commissioner John O’Connor (R), who’s 37.
His age “does bring balance to the board,” Hewitt said. “I would like more diversity [on the board], and diversity is also youth. Those kinds of things make a board better, because you get the perspective of someone dealing with life at a different point [than you.]”
Perhaps telling of Colvin’s political acumen and his “good heart,” as Jarboe said, are the endorsements he earned from his predecessor Jarboe and even his Republican primary opponent, Mike Daras, who submitted a glowing endorsement of Colvin as a “hidden gem in local politics” in a letter to the editor this fall in The Enterprise.
Commissioner Todd Morgan (R) knew Colvin as a “good, level-headed guy … fair and reasonable” when he was chair of the commission for people with disabilities.
“He knew what he was talking about,” Morgan added. “He’ll fit in fine. I don’t see him to be an antagonist, I see him doing his homework and being a team player.”
With each commissioner “gravitating toward [a niche] where we know we have skills,” as Morgan said, Colvin is unsure of what his role will be at this point.
“I hope that my role will be asking good questions and helping to foster communication,” Colvin said.
Moving forward, Colvin has said he, like the rest of the board, is committed to see FDR Boulevard completed, as well as lowering the homestead tax credit to 3 percent.
In his district, Colvin said water column aquaculture leasing “is going to be one of the big issues going forward,” and he intends to “work with the state,” and hopes “to make as many people happy as we can.”
Commissioner Eric Colvin (R), left, holds his son, Sidney Colvin, as his wife, Joanna Colvin, looks on at Leonardtown High School on Monday night after taking his oath of office.
Commissioner Mike Hewitt (R), left, and newly elected Commissioner Eric Colvin (R) listen during Colvin’s first St. Mary’s commissioners’ meeting Tuesday morning.