Democratic Club hosts 1st District candidates
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.
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.”
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.”
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...