As a candidate, I do not consider myself to be an expert on every issue. I listen, learn and apply my best judgment before drawing a conclusion. I have been blessed with a lifetime of friendships and experiences living, working and enjoying the splendors of the Eastern Shore. Including working in and around our family restaurant of more than 30 years, Carpenter Street Saloon, and working as a legislative lawyer for 17 years, three of which were spent in Governor Ehrlich’s office.
In my view, knowing and understanding the community is as important as understanding the issue itself. I am a fiscal conservative. I firmly believe that less government is better government and that local matters are best handled by local governments. I also believe there should be limits to the government’s power.
When asked about my “platform,” my patent answer is the Eastern Shore, Eastern Shore, Eastern Shore.
Our volunteer firefighters and emergency responders are the safety net in rural communities throughout the Eastern Shore. They are staffed with dedicated professionals, who use their time to help others in the community out of sense of responsibility and duty. Our state must continue to support volunteer firefighters and emergency responders wherever and whenever possible.
I am opposed to the recently enacted “gun ban” because it does little to reduce gun violence and it restricts the ability of law-abiding residents to purchase a firearm for self-defense. Our gun laws should focus on criminals, not law-abiding citizens.
Crime is a growing problem throughout Maryland and on the Eastern Shore. My public safety priorities are to keep drugs out of the hands of our children; reform our state penitentiary system and work with law enforcement to implement an effective plan to address the proliferation of gangs.
I have extensive experience working on prison overcrowding by addressing the issue of recidivism. I helped craft the Second Chance Act, a law aimed at preparing inmates for reentry to society so that they do not wind up returning to prison. The Second Chance Act also focuses on rehabilitating nonviolent offenders. Part of reforming our penitentiary system should include focusing on curbing the tide of recidivism, which saves money, lives and helps heal communities.
Education is very personal to me because I struggled as a student. I overcame a number of challenges in the classroom because of support from teachers and my parents.
I have serious concerns about Common Core, and while it has overtaken our education system, we must work closely with school boards, teachers, students, and parents to ensure that our students are prepared when they leave school. While our schools adjust, we must continue to emphasize the fundamentals of education and evaluate whether or not our children are adequately prepared when they graduate.
I support our public and private schools and locally elected school boards. I also support locally approved charter schools because I believe they can give parents, students and teachers an option.
I am a firm believer of respect in the classroom. Students should learn the value of discipline at an early age because it will help prepare them for life.
I also support vocational training in high school.
Over the past eight years, state spending has increased by approximately $9 billion. This increase is the result of countless new fees and taxes, which have inhibited economic growth. The result is astounding and we are now facing another structural budget deficit.
The Eastern Shore has had to cope with difficult economic times by making tough decisions on how to get by with less. If working men and women, along with small businesses can make these decisions, our government should do the same. I am opposed to any new fees or taxes because they will only worsen our current economic situation.
The most significant issue facing the Eastern Shore is our economy. The Eastern Shore’s economy is rooted in working men and women, along with small businesses, which includes those who work on the water and on our farms. These are the people who have been hit the hardest by new taxes, fees and the multitude of regulations that have been handed down by Annapolis. In addition, the Eastern Shore cannot rely on the federal government as a steady stream of revenue to help keep local businesses afloat.
The Eastern Shore needs tax reforms to generate long-term economic growth and hopefully end the migration of so many to less-costly states.
We need to reevaluate many of the new fee increases, reduce or eliminate new fees that are not justified, and we need to implement safeguards to prevent new arbitrary, unjustified fee increases.
We need to inject common sense into our regulatory process. The multitude of regulations in Maryland has helped make us one of the most unfriendly business states in America. A classic example of how this affects the Eastern Shore is that two of our strongest industries, seafood and agriculture, cite government regulations as their greatest economic challenge.