Jesse Colvin hosts town hall in Den­ton

Times-Record - - NEWS - By KAYLA RI­VAS kri­vas@star­dem.com @Kay­la_S­tarDem

DEN­TON — Jesse Colvin, Demo­cratic con­gres­sional can­di­date for Mary­land’s 1st Dis­trict, held a fo­rum Sun­day, Oct. 7, at the Ch­e­sa­peake Culi­nary Cen­ter in Den­ton to fur­ther dis­cuss his plat­form and stance on cru­cial is­sues to about 40 at­ten­dees.

“To be a suc­cess­ful rep­re­sen­ta­tive, I think you have to lis­ten in your dis­trict, build re­la­tion­ships in your dis­trict and build re­la­tion­ships in Congress,” Colvin said.

Top­ics of dis­cus­sion in­cluded the opi­oid epi­demic, taxes, le­gal­iza­tion of mar­i­juana, and Colvin’s rea­son­ing in run­ning for Congress.

“It turns out one in five of us in our dis­trict right now have a cer­ti­fi­able men­tal health chal­lenge,” Colvin said. “There’s a col­lege in our dis­trict where 43 per­cent of the fresh­man class self-re­ported for a men­tal health chal­lenge.”

“The short an­swer to this ques­tion is Andy Har­ris voted against $34 mil­lion in men­tal health fund­ing for our state, a lot of it would’ve gone to the East­ern Shore,” he said.

“If you hear a politi­cian in 2018 talk­ing about health care, you’re go­ing to hear two words right off the bat: qual­ity and af­ford­able. In ru­ral Amer­ica, which is us, the third word needs to be ac­ces­si­bil­ity,” Colvin said.

The can­di­date said bills specif­i­cally for men­tal health fund­ing is the solu- tion to pro­vid­ing more psy­chi­a­trists and health care pre­scribers to the East­ern Shore.

In ask­ing a ques­tion re­gard­ing taxes, one au­di­ence mem­ber said, “peo­ple have come to the con­clu­sion that tax­a­tion is a penalty upon pro­duc­tiv­ity. How do you con­vince them that taxes are an in­vest­ment in the so­cial frag­ment that will sup­port their pro­duc­tiv­ity in the long run?”

“I think we need more mem­bers of Congress on both sides of the aisle who know what a bal­ance sheet (is), and who know that there’s two sides to a bal­ance sheet, and who care about both sides,” Colvin said.

Colvin said there needs to be a new tax bill, and that “there is fat to be cut in the Depart­ment of De­fense (DOD) bud­get.”

“There are a lot of weapon sys­tems in the DOD bud­get and pro­cure­ment pipeline that are 30 years over-sched­uled and $50 bil­lion over bud­get,” Colvin, an Army Ranger who served four tours in Afghanistan, said. “Those pro­grams did not keep me or my Ranger bud­dies any safer in Afghanistan.”

“This new crop of vet­er­ans com­ing will share a sim­i­lar at­ti­tude: we should stop judg­ing politi­cians pa­tri­o­tism on the size of the DOD bud­get that they sup­port.”

Colvin also men­tioned that 37 per­cent of the dis­trict’s work­ing fam­i­lies con­sist of ALICE fam­i­lies, mean­ing As­set Limited In­come Con­strained Em­ployed fam­i­lies.

“It’s the fam­ily for whom the car­bu­re­tor breaks... and the next month it’s the choice between rent and food, or rent and pre­scrip­tion drugs be­cause you can’t do both,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to the can­di­date, in Som­er­set County its more than 50 per­cent, and Caro­line County is above the av­er­age. “Those folks need tax re­lief,” he said.

When a ques­tion re­gard­ing le­gal­iza­tion of mar­i­juana arose, Colvin said, “I would sup­port med­i­cal mar­i­juana, I would sup­port de­crim­i­nal­iza­tion at the fed­eral level, and let the states take it from there.”

One au­di­ence mem­ber questioned why Colvin wanted to run in the first place.

“My dad coached ev­ery one of my Lit­tle League teams and I hope to do the same for my son who is six months old. I served six years in the mil­i­tary, I served four com­bat de­ploy­ments to Afghanistan, I joined the Army be­cause of 9/11. It was never go­ing to be a ca­reer for me, I see this in very sim­i­lar terms,” he said.

Af­ter the event con­cluded, au­di­ence mem­ber Anne High­field of Ch­ester­town said, “By see­ing Jesse speak, he is re­ally good at build­ing re­la­tion­ships. I think what hap­pens when you take the time to build re­la­tion­ships, then that builds loy­alty and he’s got this loyal fol­low­ing across the dis­trict.”

“I’m re­ally ex­cited about that, I see peo­ple knock­ing on doors that would’ve never thought about try­ing to do that ... peo­ple who have never been in­volved with pol­i­tics,” High­field said.

The voter regis­tra­tion dead­line for the Mary­land Gen­eral Elec­tion is 9 p.m. Tues­day, Oct. 16. The gen­eral elec­tion is Tues­day, Nov. 6, with early vot­ing Oct. 25 through Nov. 1.

PHOTO BY KAYLA RI­VAS

Jesse Colvin, the Demo­cratic con­gres­sional can­di­date for Mary­land’s 1st Dis­trict, ad­dresses a Den­ton crowd Sun­day night.

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