Primary candidates take the stage ahead of primary elections

VIENNA, Md. - Primary races on the eastern shore are starting to heat up with the weather, and it was a big night for for candidates in Vienna Thursday. Three incumbents are facing challengers in their primaries in Districts 37A and 37B, and they took their place front and center before the people to explain what they can bring to the table for their constituents. "I'm one of a handful of business owners in Annapolis quite literally out of 141 delegates who know what it takes to create jobs and that is to get government off our backs and that's my fight up and I'd like to continue it," said Delegate Chris Adams. Delegate Adams is one of two GOP incumbents in District 37B, he's running on a record of creating jobs, lowering taxes and lighter regulations in his work in Annapolis. But there are two new comers to the primary. Mimi Gedamu says continuing the fight against the opioid epidemic is the biggest issue facing her district. "The economy is really where the root of all of these issues are stemming from.  But as long as this opioid epidemic is paramount in the community we can't build our economy because we can't find viable employment." Keith Graffius is also challenging for 37B and has held a seat on the county chamber of commerce as well as hosted countless fundraisers for local watermen.  He is hoping to help those watermen as a delegate. "We have H2B, which is a federal issue, on a state level we can help there too.  Helping with our watermen, and help bridging the gap between our traditional watermen and aquaculture which is a new economy." At the forum, incumbent Delegate Johnny Mautz stood up to voice concerns surrounding the environment. "We're having these thousand year rains on a yearly basis, ten year rain on a yearly basis.  But we're not talking about that in Annapolis, we're fighting over who can catch an oyster and where." Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes is the democratic incumbent in 37A, and prides herself on her ability to continue to listen to constituents on hot button issues such as the effects regulations have on local businesses. "They have had regulations that have been placed on them, some that I have been very much in favor of, but some that are of concern that I have stood up and fought against." When the topic of minimum wage came up the four republican candidates voiced concerns for business, all standing against a hike in pay, citing economic differences for the eastern shore compared to across the bridge. But both democrats running in 37A agreed, saying workers deserve a raise. "Go with me, take a walk to the communities that's suffering because we have folks that don't believe after all these years that they should be able to make a decent living wage," said Charles Cephas, Sr., democratic candidate for District 37A. The candidates for the general election will be decided in the primary on June 26th. Four other candidates were on hand, but are running unopposed in their primaries.  District 37 incumbent Republican Senator Addie Eckhardt and her democratic challenger Holly Wright.  District 37A Republican Frank Cooke and District 37B Democrat Dan O'Hare were also on hand. Continue reading

Home Spotlight SHA shifts Easton Parkway construction schedule

EASTON — Calling the latest traffic snarl "unacceptable," Del. Johnny Mautz, R-37B-Talbot, called the Maryland Department of Transportation and the State Highway Administration (SHA) District Engineer on Thursday, June 7, after fielding numerous calls about the morning rush hour gridlock at the intersection of Easton Parkway (State Route 322) and Peachblossom Road.  Construction crews are conducting daytime patching and microsurfacing repairs, and therein lies the problem, Mautz said.  "We need to have a meeting about daytime work," Mautz said. "One-lane (closures don't) work on the main arteries." At 9:30 a.m., Mautz said that he had explained the problem to SHA, which agreed to change the roadwork schedule to 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. instead of the original 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. schedule. SHA was not willing to change to a night work schedule, but "I'm grateful they're willing to work with us," Mautz said. "Kids are on school buses with 20- to 30-minute delays."  Last month, Mautz worked with the SHA to switch the Route 33 construction project from Pea Neck Road in St. Michaels to Route 322 from day to night work because of traffic congestion that caused hour-long waits for commuters and students.  One commuter on Peachblossom Road said it took 30 minutes to get through the intersection. She said she saw other drivers making dangerous U-turns to avoid the tie-up. "I'm not sure this will resolve the issue, but I think it will help improve the situation," Mautz said. "I'm going to keep watching and listening to see how it goes."   Continue reading

Home Spotlight Country School breaks ground for new building

EASTON — Another page of history at the Country School was written on May 30 during the groundbreaking for the school’s new building. Students were joined by parents, members of the Board of Trustees and local government officials to kick off the second phase of the Country School’s three-phase improvement project. The short ceremony started off with remarks from Country School Headmaster Neil Mufson. He spoke about all the people who have been involved in the project and why everyone has been working so hard to make this dream a reality. “All of you kids are what this is all about. This is why over the last two years, we’ve been working hard on plans to make possible, the best possible education spaces for you. We will start today ... and finish August 2019,” Mufson said. “We embarked on this program many months ago because we wanted to make sure that the spaces we have for learning are as excellent and as high and good quality as the high aspirations that we have for all of you kids.” Plans for the new building have been in the works for more than four years. A group of trustees and faculty members joined together to discuss the future of the school and what they would like to see it become. Mufson said the changes to the school wouldn’t have been possible without the fundraising efforts. “One of the key reasons we are able to be here today is about 250 donors decided to put into action the Country School value of generosity,” Mufson said. “Because of the generosity of more than 250 people, we’re here today. I can announce that these people have made gifts and pledges to the school totaling more than $9 million.” There are three phases to the Country School project. The first is a parking lot adjacent to the school. Construction on this has already started and is currently on track, despite the rainy weather. The new lot will be available when school starts again this fall for parents and teachers to use. The second phase is the upper school that will start construction in June. It will be a 12-15 month project and should be completed in time for school to start in 2019. The third phase of the project is the renovation of the current building that will take place during summer break next year. Everything will be ready for the 2019/2020 school year, said Board of Trustees President Justin Nonemaker. “We wouldn’t be here today without the hundreds of donors that have stepped forward and made significant personal financial decisions to see this project through,” Nonemaker said. “Once this project is finished, we will have a new building, a renovated existing building and a new parking lot. This is all for the kids standing here and for the future generations of kids that will come through this school.”

Political Insider Legislative Special: Del. Johnny Mautz

Delegate Johnny Mautz sits down with Ryan Eldredge to talk about the budget, a bill to tackle the deer population, and legislation designed to help local wineries. "It's a busy, busy time. Bills are flying, negotiations are happening and I've had a pretty good year. And I have had some bills and things. Personally we had a venison bill that will be heading to the governor, it helps our food banks and helps manage our deer population," said Mautz. Mautz has also been working on a bill regarding tasting rooms for wineries. "We have a bill that I have been working on for the past three years. It creates a new tasting room permit for class four limited wineries, most are in remote parts of MD. And in our district, they are prohibited from having another location where they can sell their products. We had a tough time because of 518, dealing with craft breweries, and a lot of what they're dealing with I've been dealing with for three years. Finally, we've been able to get this bill through and something that has reached the governor's desk. And it's a small step but it is an important one for these wineries." Mautz also talked about the $44 billion budget that was passed by the General Assembly. "The budget is in good shape. It's balanced, it's setup, there's rainy day money, there's everything, so it's good. My concern, and we don't know how it's going to be resolved yet, but when the federal tax law was changed that has a big implication on Maryland taxes. And there were assurances that Maryland taxpayers would be held harmless and there would be changes to the tax code. And I understand they are still negotiating how we come up with that remedy. If we don't come up with a remedy and a tax windfall is what funds the budget, we've got problems because there won't be a reset button. So I'm holding my breath and I'm watching to see how that develops in the last days of session." Continue reading

Mautz to Run for House of Delegates

Johnny Mautz, a St. Michaels native, has officially announced his intention to run on the republican ticket for the Maryland House of Delegates on 2014. He seeks to represent District 37B, which includes: Talbot, Dorchester, Caroline, and Wicomico counties. The seat is currently held by Jeannie Haddaway who, in July of this year, was tapped to run alongside David Craig in his bid for governor. Continue reading

Republican Enters Race for Md Delegate District 37B

St. Michaels businessman and congressional aide Johnny Mautz has entered the race for the House of Delegates for one of the two seats in District 37B on the Mid-Shore…and part of Wicomico County. Continue reading

Talbot man enters Mid-Shore delegate race

SALISBURY — A St. Michaels business owner and U.S. congressional aide Johnny Mautz has entered the Delegate race on the Mid-Shore. The first person to officially file, Mautz made the decision to seek one of the two seats in District 37B, which covers much of the Mid-Shore and half of Wicomico County, after learning incumbent delegate Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio was running for lieutenant governor. Continue reading