A Republican’s View of Jesse Colvin and His Candidate For Congress by Philip Webster

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I am a lifelong Republican, as was my father before me, but I am now working hard to elect Jesse Colvin, the Democratic candidate for Congress in the First Congressional District of Maryland.

I have decided it is time to place Country before Party in the First District race. For nearly eight years, I have been baffled and disillusioned by the policy positions, votes, behavior and affiliations of Rep. Harris. The list is endless: His membership in the Freedom Caucus that has been obstructionist rather than helpful; his support for foreign leaders who are not America’s friends; his positions and statements on the Bay, the environment, healthcare reform, the truthfulness of the media, trade, immigration, aid for natural catastrophes and gun violence; his lack of leadership in the Congress, where he is held in such lack of regard that no one has made him a Committee leader; and his lack of any major legislative initiative during his entire tenure.

I am bothered by Rep. Harris’ invisibility to his constituents, either in person or in communications. He seems scared of us. I have met, seen or spoken to eight American presidents – Democrats and Republicans – in my public affairs career. But I never see Rep. Harris, who seems almost never to leave his office, particularly to visit the Eastern Shore. And his communications to his constituents is either non-existent or baffling.

So I have now decided it is time to put Country before Party as far as my Congressman is concerned. I have also decided it is time to begin to vote for individuals who are committed to public service, rather than their own self-interest, regardless of what race, gender, background and political party they belong to.

Which brings me to Jesse Colvin, with whom I have spent several hours, in person, in give and take sessions with his future constituents, and on the telephone chatting about policy and issues. I like what I see.

First, I like Jesse’s background. He graduated from a top and tough school – Duke University – which is a very competitive place in which to succeed. He decided not to chase the big corporate dollars and did what few Duke graduates do, entering the U.S. Army and a life of service to his country, doing four tours in Afghanistan as an Army Ranger officer fighting al Qaeda and the Taliban. He returned to Columbia University to learn how policies are made, and then investigated fraud and other illegal activity on Wall Street.

Second, I like Jesse’s innate and engrained leadership traits and his sense of service. As an Army veteran, I understand what serving with others from all backgrounds in sometimes dangerous situations is like. It is a transforming experience that builds leaders. We need more young veterans in Congress. They have “the right stuff”.

Third, I like Jesse’s attributes. He is modest with self-deprecating humor. He is smart as a whip, incisive in his thinking. He listens to you before he talks. He cares about your problems and issues. He is a moderate person, as are most of my Republican, Democratic and Independent friends in the First District. He believes in compromise and getting things done. While he is running as a Democrat, he is really running as a non-partisan American.

Fourth, I like Jesse’s values. He has learned to run at the problem, not away from it. He is action- and results-oriented. He is not focused on criticism or ideology, but on finding solutions that help his constituents and help his country. He will lead with strength and compassion, something you learn when you are at war. He is honest and truthful. He is a family man, smart enough to marry a Republican woman who is a leader in her own right, and now a young father, with a big stake in assuring the next generation enjoys America’s freedoms and opportunities.

I am finding many disenchanted Republicans and Independents, who are joining me in supporting Jesse Colvin, a candidate many have called a Servant Leader, one who will serve his constituents and his country through enlightened non-partisan leadership, not self-interest. I encourage my First District neighbors to join us.

Philip J. Webster of St. Michaels has been the Eastern Shore Chairman, Trustee or Committee Chair of the Avalon Foundation, Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, Mid-Shore Community Foundation, Sultana Education Foundation, Aspen Wye Fellows, Christ Church – St. Michaels, Aspen Institute Wye River Campus, Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, Miles River Yacht Club Foundation, Chesapeake Music and ShoreRivers. He was an officer of three New York Stock Exchange-listed companies and two international consulting firms.

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Letters to Editor

  1. George Hardy says:

    This is an excellent summary of Jesse Colvin’s “pros” and Andy Harris’s “cons.” I hope it is widely broadcast and read.

  2. Deirdre LaMotte says:

    This is such a refreshing piece, thank you so much for writing it! As a former Republican (I switched 2 months ago), who worked in the Reagan and Bush administrations, this mirrors the sentiment of many people I formally worked with. People who have always been a part of the Party are stunned at the hijacking; perhaps they never saw the unsavory aspects lingering in the wings? I don’t know. But I do know how upsetting a recent discussion was: I and a friend (Republican) were telling a dear friend about Jesse: “What’s his Party?” he asked. “Democrat” we answered. His response: “Oh, I could NEVER vote for a Democrat”.

    Is this the result of 20 years of Fox News? Or is this the result of a person not really understanding how limited and out of touch one is?
    I do not know. But I will say, the Blue wave is coming and these people who refuse to accommodate what our nation is will be in the minority, rightfully.

  3. Beryl Smith says:

    The most important statement that Mr. Webster made is that he is putting country ahead of party! All too many of the voting population seem to be driven by party first, forgetting that government should benefit the people–all the people–not just the party. Thank you Mr. Webster for stating your position so clearly and forcefully.

  4. Carolyn Ewing says:

    Be careful what you pray for because he will be controlled by his liberal leadership. A vote for Colvin is also a vote for universal healthcare, higher taxes, no borders, and expanded regulations which choked the economy. Look at the voting records of freshmen Dems and you will see that dissension, despite personal opinions, is not allowed. If the person persists, he is simply sidetracked and ignored. Harris needs feedback from his constituents. I am not especially happy with his responsiveness either, but I would rather hold him accountable for another two years and groom a Republican who will vote for a reasonable immigration policy, low taxes, and a robust free economy. Party at the national level does matter because the socialists have hijacked the Democrat party. At the local level, it is the integrity of the individual rather than party politics, but the federal level is a different story entirely.

    • Philip Webster says:

      Carolyn Ewing: Thank you for your thoughtful response. I am not worried because that is not who Jesse Colvin is. He is a moderate thoughtful American who will vote his conscience and experience, just like the majority of us. He also is smart enough to know that, in a Republican majority district, if he votes as you say, he will be one-term Congressman. He knows he must earn our votes – Republicans, Democrats, Independents, veterans, mothers, fathers, seniors – every day he is in office. Thank you again. Phil Webster

      • Charles Hawkins says:

        Mr. Webster, I hope you are correct in Colvin’s ability to not be swept into the liberal branch of the Democratic Party. As a veteran of the Vietnam War I have been disappointed in Maryland’s elected Democrats constituent service. If not a registered D they do not respond. After two face to face meetings with Harris’s predecessor and a number of communications with Senators’ Offices nothing happened. Andy Harris’s office got involved on my behalf and now I have been recognized by the Veterans Administration for the problems I have had a result of exposure to Agent Orange. If Colvin is elected I hope that he will pay attention to constituents and truly represent more moderate and fiscally conservative proposals.

  5. I couldn’t agree with you more. Colvin has my vote.

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