Colvin brings to board ‘ma­tu­rity ... youth­ful­ness’

Rookie com­mis­sioner joins all-GOP col­leagues

The Enterprise - - Front Page - By TAY­LOR DEVILLE tdev­[email protected]­news.com

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.”

STAFF PHOTO BY TAY­LOR DEVILLE

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.

STAFF PHOTO BY TAY­LOR DEVILLE

Com­mis­sioner Mike He­witt (R), left, and newly elected Com­mis­sioner Eric Colvin (R) lis­ten dur­ing Colvin’s first St. Mary’s com­mis­sion­ers’ meet­ing Tues­day morn­ing.

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