Demo­cratic Club hosts 1st District can­di­dates

Times-Record - - News - By DUSTIN HOLT dholt@ches­pub.com Fol­low Caro­line/ Dorch­ester Ed­i­tor Dustin Holt on Twit­ter @Dustin_ StarDem.

DEN­TON — The Demo­cratic Club of Caro­line County hosted U.S. 1st Con­gres­sional District can­di­dates Jesse Colvin, Al­li­son Galbraith and Michael Pullen at its an­nual break­fast Satur­day, March 3.

The three can­di­dates, along with Steve Wor­ton will be vy­ing for a spot in the pri­mary to chal­lenge the seat oc­cu­pied by Repub­li­can in­cum­bent Andy Har­ris.

The trio’s main mes­sage cen­tered around de­feat­ing Har­ris be­cause he did not rep­re­sent the best in­ter­ests of the Eastern Shore.

Jesse Colvin

Colvin is a fourth gen­er­a­tion Mary­lan­der who stud­ied Ara­bic, worked in Egypt and taught English in Syria to Iraqi refugees in 2006. He then joined the mil­i­tary as an in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cer and worked for a year in the de­mil­i­ta­rized zone on the Korean Penin­sula.

“You do not need to be the in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cer like me to un­der­stand a nu­clear war or a full-scale con­ven­tional con­flict on the Korean Penin­sula would be an ab­so­lute, un­mit­i­gated dis­as­ter,” he said. “I will hap­pily shoul­der that man­tle if that is all I’m talk­ing about in six months.”

He then be­came a U.S. Army Ranger in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cer and did four com­bat de­ploy­ments in Afghanistan.

“I learned lead­er­ship,” he said. “If we made mis­takes, we got peo­ple killed. You get re­sults. It doesn’t mat­ter if you like the peo­ple you have to work with. You just have to get it done.”

Colvin said his plat­form is health care, jobs for the fu­ture and help­ing the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay.

“There are 54,000 peo­ple in this Con­gres­sional District who de­pend on the Af­ford­able Care Act,” he said. “Andy Har­ris wants to re­peal it with no backup plan. Heath care is a right — plain and sim­ple.

On the job front, Colvin wants to ex­pand so­lar and cy­ber se­cu­rity pro­grams at Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege.

“There is no rea­son Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege can­not have one of the best so­lar pro­grams or cy­ber se­cu­rity pro­grams in the state or the countr y,” he said. “You come out in two years and sell so­lar pan­els and fix them. You can main­tain them. It is one of the fastest grow­ing in­dus­tries in the state and the countr y.

“For cy­ber se­cu­rity, Aberdeen Prov­ing Grounds is in this Con­gres­sional District, and Fort Meade is in this state,” Colvin added. “These are great jobs. These are go­ing to be the next gen­er­a­tion of en­trepreneurs. We can’t do any of that with­out high-speed in­ter­net.

Colvin said he wants 10 bil­lion oys­ters in the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay by 2030.

“We have to fig­ure out Conowingo Dam,” he said. “We have to fig­ure out chicken lit­ter. We have to scale up these oys­ter farms and tell wa­ter­men that you have a place in this econ­omy you are tr ying to build.”

Al­li­son Galbraith

Galbraith is a sin­gle mother from Harford County. She is a part-time care­giver for her fa­ther and was the reg­u­lar care­giver for her late mother.

“Who wants to re­peal and re­place Andy Har­ris? Af­ter the elec­tion, I went to Andy Har­ris and asked him for help,” she said. “I told him I was not able to pur­chase health in­surance be­fore ACA be­cause of gen­der-rate hikes, which were 30 to 80 per­cent. I was de­nied, or the prices were jacked up even more be­cause I had preg­nancy com­pli­ca­tions like C-Sec­tions and post­par­tum de­pres­sion. Those are con­sid­ered pre-ex­ist­ing con­di­tions.”

Af­ter four months of writ­ing let­ters and call­ing his of­fice, Galbraith said she fi­nally met Har­ris and asked him one ques­tion.

“Will you vote against any­thing that al­lows for gen­der­rate hikes,” she asked. “He looked at me and he said, ‘I don’t think most peo­ple would mind if women paid a lit­tle more for health in­surance.’ I still can’t be­lieve he said that to me.

“I de­cided Andy Har­ris had to go,” she said. “What I spe­cial­ize in is fed­eral ac­qui­si­tion stream­lin­ing. What it means is when the fed­eral gov­ern­ment is run­ning a pro­gram, I am the type of per­son that you would bring in to fig­ure out how to stream­line it. Whether it is to de­velop some­thing faster or more cheaply, or a bet­ter qual­ity prod­uct for a shorter time­line.

Galbraith said ev­ery per­son and fam­ily de­serves to have the tools and re­sources they need to reach their max­i­mum po­ten­tial.

“It could be care­giver as­sis­tance,” she said. “It could be af­ford­able child­care. It could be uni­ver­sal health care that in­cludes not just all the things cov­ered in the ACA but also vi­sion and den­tal, which are things that are not cov­ered in medi­care. It could be broad­band. It could be ac­cess to get free higher ed­u­ca­tion or free trade schools.

“Any of those things can be that one thread that could break a fam­ily,” Galbraith said. “I want to make sure that out fam­i­lies are pro­vided for. I will not give up ev­ery­thing that I’ve worked for, over some of the worst and try­ing years of my life, just be­cause my con­gress­man doesn’t want to do his job.” Michael Pullen

Pullen of Eas­ton served as the Tal­bot County Coun­cil at­tor­ney for 25 years. He said he marched in Wash­ing­ton D.C. in op­po­si­tion of Don­ald Trump dur­ing Trump’s Pres­i­den­tial In­au­gu­ra­tion.

“We marched in sol­i­dar­ity for women’s rights and to show this ad­min­is­tra­tion that they are go­ing to be held ac­count­able, that no one, not even the pres­i­dent of the United States, is above the law,” he said. “I want to be your rep­re­sen­ta­tive in Congress, so when I’m in the room, you are in the room. When I’m on the floor, you are on the floor.”

Pullen said he has ex­pe­ri­ence draft­ing leg­is­la­tion to solve pub­lic prob­lems, lis­ten­ing to con­stituent through his years work­ing as the Tal­bot County at­tor­ney.

Pullen ref­er­ence John F. Kennedy for why he is run­ning for Congress.

“I’m un­will­ing to ei­ther wit­ness or per­mit the slow un­do­ing of those hu­man rights to which this na­tion has al­ways been com­mit­ted, and to which we are com­mit­ted today at home and around the world,” he said. “I’m just not will­ing to sit this out. I am not will­ing to see our democ­racy un­done by Rus­sian interference in our elec­tion.

“I am un­will­ing to sit by and watch the racial ha­tred, elim­i­na­tion of health care, the elim­i­na­tion of Medi­care, the elim­i­na­tion of So­cial Se­cu­rity, the elim­i­na­tion of vot­ing rights, the elim­i­na­tion of all the things the peo­ple in this room have worked so hard to achieve, and the peo­ple in this coun­try worked so hard to achieve.”

Pullen said he is in fa­vor of uni­ver­sal health care, up­grad­ing job train­ing pro­grams and rais­ing the fed­eral min­i­mum wage.

“We have 5.4 mil­lion jobs un­filled be­cause em­ploy­ers can’t find qual­i­fied work­ers,” he said. “This ad­min­is­tra­tion pro­poses to cut job train­ing pro­grams by 40 per­cent.”

He also wants free tuition at pub­lic univer­sity.

“Li­braries are an Amer­i­can in­sti­tu­tion de­signed ex­clu­sively for spread­ing knowl­edge freely — pub­lic knowl­edge,” he said. “That helps ev­ery­one. The more peo­ple with more knowl­edge, we all ben­e­fit.”

PHOTO BY DUSTIN HOLT

The Demo­cratic Club of Caro­line County hosted 1st Con­gres­sional District can­di­date Jesse Colvin, left, Mary­land District 36 can­di­date Kierien Tay­lor, District 37 can­di­date Holly Wright, Caro­line com­mis­sioner can­di­date Nevin Crouse, 1st Con­gres­sional...

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