GOP in­cum­bents win in 36

Times-Record - - NEWS/CLASSIFIEDS - By JA­COB OWENS [email protected]­cil­whig.com

— In­cum­bent Repub­li­can Dels. Steve Arentz (Queen Anne’s), Jeff Ghrist (Caro­line) and Jay Ja­cobs (Kent) won re-elec­tion Tues­day in District 36, de­feat­ing three Demo­cratic chal­lengers.

The Repub­li­cans each won about 21 to 23 per­cent of the vote in District 36, while Democrats Keirien Tay­lor (Caro­line), Michael Welker (Ce­cil) and Crys­tal Wood­ward (Queen Anne’s) earned be­tween 10 and 12 per­cent.

Arentz was the top voteget­ter with 28,711 votes, fol­lowed by Ja­cobs (28,515) and Ghrist (26,751). Among Democrats, Wood­ward had 15,670 votes, Welker had 13,892 and Tay­lor gar­nered 12,948.

Each of the six can­di­dates com­pleted a League of Women Vot­ers ques­tion­naire on their po­si­tions on is­sues likely to be dealt with by the next Gen­eral Assem­bly, which the Whig drew from.

Arentz, a for­mer Queen Anne’s County Com­mis­sion pres­i­dent and restau­rant owner, called for re­form to state ed­u­ca­tion fund­ing, health care costs and lo­cal trans­porta­tion fund­ing, among other po­si­tions.

“Main­te­nance of ef­fort is no longer work­ing, it needs to be looked at and re­placed with a sys­tem that makes sense for all. More dol­lars need to be chan­neled into the early years of de­vel­op­ment,” he said, re­fer­ring to the state-man­dated min­i­mum spend­ing for­mula for pub­lic schools.

On the en­vi­ron­ment, Arentz wants to make im­prove­ments on re­new­able en­ergy while con­tin­u­ing to mon­i­tor and pro­tect the health of the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay.

“I would fo­cus on the Conowingo Dam, Bal­ti­more Har­bor and other pol­lu­tants to the bay,” he said.

Ghrist, a for­mer Caro­line County com­mis­sioner who built a ca­reer in re­tail man­age­ment and real es­tate sales, stressed a fo­cus on in­creas­ing ac­count­abil­ity of school fund­ing, in­creas­ing ac­cess to health care and drug treat­ment, and boost­ing cleaner en­ergy to pro­tect the bay, among other is­sues.

“Serv­ing on the House Ap­pro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee, I have al­ways sup­ported ed­u­ca­tion fund­ing but we need more ac­count­abil­ity in our schools. It’s not how much we spend that mat­ters, it’s how we spend it,” he said. “In some coun­ties we need to spend smarter so that the dol­lars go to the class­rooms to give ev­ery stu­dent the tools to suc­ceed in life.”

Ghrist said health out­comes on the Eastern Shore are among the worst in the state, in part be­cause ac­cess to care in ru­ral ar­eas is lim­ited.

“A ru­ral health care work­group was formed two years ago and led by your District 36 team to ad­dress these is­sues. My role on the Ap­pro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee will be to en­sure that we sup­port our stake­hold­ers and lo­cal providers,” he said.

Ja­cobs, a for­mer mayor of Rock Hall and small busi­ness owner, em­pha­sized a need to ad­dress the de­bris buildup at the Conowingo Dam, re­duc­ing the reach of the fed­eral and state gov­ern­ments on lo­cal schools and low­er­ing health care costs.

“I am a strong sup­porter for al­low­ing lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties to set the stan­dards for their school sys­tem,” he said. “I am also op­posed to the Eastern Shore be­ing a net ex­porter of cash to other school dis­tricts. Our money should stay on the Eastern Shore where it ben­e­fits our stu­dents.”

Es­ti­mat­ing 90 per­cent of the pol­lu­tion risk to the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay comes from Penn­syl­va­nia via the Susque­hanna River, Ja­cobs called for the Conowingo Dam to be dredged to re­duce that pol­lu­tion load.

He also said “no par­ent should have to choose be­tween pay­ing for health care and pay­ing the mort­gage.”

“We must bring com­pe­ti­tion to the mar­ket place to drive prices down,” he said. “I sup­port a state sys­tem that cre­ates com­pe­ti­tion in the mar­ket­place as a way to bring down the price of health care.”

Tay­lor, a grad­u­ate stu­dent at Sal­is­bury Univer­sity and an ac­tivist, voiced his sup­port for the ex­pan­sion of re­new­able en­ergy, pur­su­ing laws that sup­port equal­ity, and mov­ing Mary­land to­ward a sin­gle-payer health care sys­tem, among other is­sues.

“Health care must be rec­og­nized as a right, not a priv­i­lege. Ev­ery man, woman and child in our state should be able to ac­cess the health care they need re­gard­less of their in­come,” he said.

With re­gard to leg­is­la­tion ad­dress­ing dis­crim­i­na­tion, Tay­lor said he backs all leg­is­la­tion that sup­ports equal­ity, in­clud­ing ideas like bail re­form.

“We must pur­sue poli­cies to trans­form this state into a place that af­firms the value of its peo­ple of color, LGBT, and women. That starts with ad­dress­ing the five cen­tral types of vi­o­lence waged against marginal­ized com­mu­ni­ties: phys­i­cal, po­lit­i­cal, le­gal, eco­nomic and en­vi­ron­men­tal,” he said.

Welker, the pres­i­dent of the Ce­cil County Demo­crat Club, stressed work­ing with farm­ers to ad­dress the health of the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay, sup­port­ing uni­ver­sal health care and le­gal­iz­ing mar­i­juana to fund trans­porta­tion projects, among other ideas.

“Ac­cess to af­ford­able, qual­ity health care is cur­rently the big­gest is­sue fac­ing Mary­land over­all. We need to make sure that our neigh­bors don’t have to fall be­hind on their bills just to be able to go to the doc­tor’s of­fice or pay for ba­sic nec­es­sary medicine like in­sulin,” he said. “Mary­land has the ca­pa­bil­ity to pro­vide a state­funded uni­ver­sal health care pro­gram. It’s time we did that.”

In tout­ing the tax rev­enue ben­e­fits of mar­i­juana le­gal­iza­tion, Welker sug­gested those funds could be put to use to mod­ern­ize Mary­land’s trans­porta­tion sys­tem.

“We should rein­vest in a light rail ma­glev sys­tem for the en­tire state — an af­ford­able, ef­fi­cient means of trans­porta­tion that will ease the con­ges­tion on our free­ways,” he said.

Fi­nally Wood­ward, the di­rec­tor of the Amer­i­can Di­a­betes As­so­ci­a­tion’s Gov­ern­ment Af­fairs & Ad­vo­cacy divi­sion, em­pha­sized aid­ing farm­ers to meet in­creas­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal man­dates, low­er­ing health care and sup­port­ing school fund­ing.

“Mary­land has made re­mark­able progress in de­creas­ing the amount of ni­tro­gen and nu­tri­ent pol­lu­tion. We need to con­tinue to help farm­ers man­age ma­nure, sup­port the ex­ten­sion and up­grad­ing of sep­tic sys­tems, re­duce plas­tics, pro­mote smart growth and de­vel­op­ment, and tran­si­tion to re­new­able en­ergy sources to pro­tect our en­vi­ron­ment and to pro­mote eco­nomic pros­per­ity and job growth,” she said.

Wood­ward be­lieves ev­ery Mary­lan­der has the right to ac­cess af­ford­able qual­ity health care and med­i­ca­tions re­gard­less of their em­ploy­ment, eco­nomic sta­tus or age.

“I will fight to lower the cost of qual­ity health care for all Mary­lan­ders in­clud­ing se­niors and pa­tients with pre-ex­ist­ing con­di­tions and ex­plore state-funded den­tal in­sur­ance op­tions for se­niors,” she said.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

The In­cum­bents in the District 36 Gen­eral Assem­bly del­e­ga­tion won re-elec­tion Tues­day. From left are Del. Jay Ja­cobs, R-36-Kent; Del. Steve Arentz, R-36-Queen Anne’s; state Sen. Steve Her­shey, R-36-Up­per-Shore; and Del. Jeff Ghrist, R36-Caro­line.

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