Social Action Committee to Interview Kent County Candidates

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A meeting of the Social Action Committee at Sumner Hall

The Social Action Committee (SAC), a group of over 100 community members that came together in 2017 to address racism in our community, has invited candidates running in the Kent County elections to be interviewed by members of the SAC. The SAC is comprised of a number of subcommittees, each with a specific focus to actively dismantle racism in the community in areas such as education, jobs/employment, politics, and community social events/observances.

The SAC has invited each of the candidates running in 2018 for the Board of the Kent County Commissioners, the Board of Education, and the State’s Attorney’s Office to be interviewed this October. Each interview will be conducted by two members of the Social Action Committee, using a list of questions related to the topic of racism in Kent County, and specific to each elected office. The questions were developed jointly by the SAC and the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)—Kent Branch. In order to document the candidates’ responses to the interview questions, members of the media have been invited, and youth members of the SAC will videotape the interviews.

When asked to comment on the importance of the Social Action Committee’s work and its interview questions to the candidates, Wayne Gilchrest and Airlee Johnson, members of the SAC, said the following:

The Social Action Committee, a group of citizens with diverse backgrounds, a wide range in ages and ethnicity, has come together for a dialogue with Kent County residents to bring a brighter future for our children. We would like to start that conversation with you. –Wayne Gilchrest

All information we receive from the candidates is very important as we make our voting decisions. Our community has a historical system of racism and community exclusion of our different groups of citizens. It’s important for the Social Action Committee and the public to understand how the candidates will work to dismantle this system. We chose a more informal approach to our candidate interviews in a very relaxed atmosphere. Our hope is to receive more relaxed and thought-provoking answers. The candidates will be talking to 2 or 3 people as compared to rooms in excess of 50 people. –Airlee Johnson

Sumner Hall

The Social Action Committee holds its meetings on the second Tuesday of each month, 6:00 PM, at Sumner Hall: 206 S Queen St., Chestertown. The next meeting of the SAC is Tuesday, October 9th. Meetings of the SAC are open to all members of our community and are sponsored by the Kent County Local Management Board (LMB). Contact Rosemary Ramsey Granillo, Director of the Kent County LMB, for more information: Office: 410-810-2673; Cell: 410-490-6168; email: rramseygranillo@kentgov.org. You are also invited to visit the SAC’s Facebook page.

Andy Harris Receives NFIB Guardian of Small Business Award

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On Thursday, September 13, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) awarded Congressman Andy Harris (MD-01) with the NFIB Guardian of Small Business Award for the 115th Congress.

Jon Kurrle, Vice President of Federal Government Relations, awarded Congressman Harris with the NFIB Guardian of Small Business Award on behalf of the congressman’s “strong small business voting record in the 115th Congress” and his “support of small business and free enterprise.” The Congressman received the NFIB Guardian of Small Business Award three times previously during the 112th, 113th, and 114th Congressional Terms. This will be his fourth consecutive Congressional term receiving the award.

Congressman Harris issued the following statement upon receiving the award:

“I am honored to receive the NFIB Guardian of Small Business Award from the National Federation of Independent Business. The NFIB is a strong advocate for small businesses across America. Small businesses, entrepreneurs, and innovators are the backbone of our country and employ the majority of our workforce.  For many people, owning their own business is part of the American Dream.  I will continue to support efforts to reduce the tax and regulatory burdens faced by our small employers.”

Kent County Democratic Candidates on September 20

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The public is invited to hear from the Democratic candidates running for office in Kent County, on the evening of Thursday, September 20, at BAD Alfred’s, 323 High St., Chestertown.  Doors open at 5:30 for a social time and conversation with the candidates; food and beverages available for purchase.  The main program starts at 7:00 pm – candidates for Congress, the MD General Assembly, County Commissioner, State’s Attorney and court positions have been invited.

For more information about the club and many of the candidates, visit the DCKC website:  dckcmd.com.

NAACP Kent Branch to Host Ben Jealous September 29

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The Kent Branch of the NAACP is proud to announce that Ben Jealous, former CEO of the national NAACP and Democratic candidate for Maryland Governor, will be the guest speaker at its annual Scholarship Banquet. The theme of this year’s banquet is “Rooted in the Past, Growing into the Future.” The banquet raises funds for scholarships for minority students who are pursuing higher education; two scholarships will be awarded during this event.

The public is invited to attend. Tickets are $40 per adult, $15 per child under age 15, and must be purchased in advance – no tickets will be sold at the door. For tickets contact the NAACP Kent Branch: kentnaacp7021@yahoo.com.

Kent & Queen Anne’s Indivisible Endorses Colvin for Congress

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In what they believe to be a crucial mid-term election, the citizens of Kent & Queen Anne’s Indivisible have endorsed Jesse Colvin for Maryland’s First Congressional District. The District covers all nine counties of the Eastern Shore, and parts of Baltimore, Carroll, and Harford counties on the West side of the Bay.

“Our group is honored to support Jesse Colvin for Congress. We are convinced that Jesse is far and away the best candidate for the Eastern Shore. He has distinguished himself as a person of integrity who will stand up for what is right and protect our democracy,” said Thomas Sinnott, a member of the Indivisible administrative team.

Colvin, a fourth generation Marylander, was a high school senior when America was attacked on 9/11 2001, and instantly vowed to serve his country. Instead of immediately enlisting, he went to college and studied Arabic. After graduation, he increased his knowledge of the Middle East by teaching English in Syria to Syrian and Iraqi refugees who would seek a better life in the United States.

Then Colvin felt ready to come home and join the military. He went through rugged Army Ranger training and was commissioned an intelligence officer who served four combat tours in Afghanistan.

After the military, he obtained a master’s degree with the G.I. Bill and became a business consultant to help prevent the same recklessness that caused the near financial collapse of the Great Recession of 2007. Now, after marrying his wife Jordan, a Republican, and welcoming his first child last April, he saw the future of our country in peril again and decided to run for Congress.

Speaking for the local Indivisible chapter, Sinnott explained that Colvin’s outstanding resume of service to his country, his progressive politics, and willingness to pursue bi-partisan solutions led to the group’s members choosing the candidate. “Jesse is focused on growing our economy, taking us forward instead of backward, by investing in emerging industries and education,” Sinnott said, adding: “He has demonstrated a willingness to work across the aisle to find the best solutions for his future constituents. His opponent, incumbent Republican Andy Harris, a member of the extreme right Freedom Caucus, refuses to work even with the members within his own party to find common sense solutions to problems such as immigration and healthcare.”

As Colvin has said, “Our campaign is focused on building relationships with folks across the district and pursuing practical solutions to local problems. In the military, it didn’t matter where you came from or where you fell on the political spectrum, it was about getting the job done.”

The Indivisible endorsement of Colvin follows that of former nine-term First District Congressman Wayne Gilchrest, a moderate Republican who went into the Marine Corps after high school, became a platoon leader in Viet Nam, used to G.I. Bill to get a college degree, and taught at Kent County High School before leaping into the political arena.

“Jesse Colvin is an honest man, who sees America through the eyes of someone rooted in the soil of our history,” Gilchrest said. “The integration of integrity between all of us, is the foundation of the words, ‘We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’ Jesse will continue those ideals, by taking his turn to knit our communities together.”

Among Colvin’s other endorsements is that of the largest progressive organization of military veterans in the country, VoteVets.

Founded in 2017, Kent and Queen Anne’s Indivisible is part of the national Indivisible grassroots network. KQAI strives to ensure that the actions of our local and state Representatives are fact-based, science-based and data-driven and that our Representatives vote in the people’s interests, not for sp

District One in 2018: A Spy Goes to Harford County to Meet Barry Glassman

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This Election 2018 profile is the third of a six-part series on the intricate makeup and character of the 1st Congressional District of Maryland. Each month, the Spy will be interviewing different 1st District residents from the Western Shore to the Lower Shore, both Democrats and Republicans, to discuss their unique sub-region of one of the largest congressional districts in the country, and the issues and political climate of those communities.

When Barry Glassman was attending Washington College in the early 1980s, he mirrored a world that ranged from the unbridled optimism of Ronald Reagan on one end and the cultural acceptance of TV’s right wing teen idol, Alex P. Keaton, on the other. Not burdened with memories of Watergate or the violence of the 1960s, Glassman, and his contemporaries, eagerly welcomed the Reagan era’s full throttle patriotism and America’s new, and much more hip, form of political conservatism.

From those early beginnings in Chestertown, where he sought his first political office as the president of WC’s Student Government Association, Glassman made politics a career choice that has taken him to become a Maryland state delegate, senator, and now the County Executive of Harford County.

A few weeks ago, the Spy drove over to Bel Air to talk the County Executive Glassman about his native Harford County, its role in the 1st District, as well as the increasingly polarized nature of national politics and what it means to be a Reagan Republican in the era of Donald Trump.

This video is approximately seven minutes in length. 

Kent County Primary Results : Short, Jacob, Mason Lead Commissioner Race on Republican Side

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Primary candidates & supporters hold signs today near the Fire House voting location at the corner of Maple Ave (Rt 213) & Cross St. in Chestertown. Kent County Commissioner incumbent and candidate for re-election Billy Short is on right (in shades and white shirt & shorts)     Photo by Jane Jewell

THIS ARTICLE UPDATED Wed. June 27 to include more election information.

Tuesday, June 26, was the primary election day in Maryland. Kent County primary election results are in, with all 10 of 10 precincts reporting. According to the Kent County Board of Elections,  1,637 Republicans and 1,977 Democrats took part in the primary, both in early voting and on election day, for a total of 3,614. That represents just over 33 percent of the county’s eligible voters in the two parties. Unaffiliated voters are not eligible to vote in the Maryland primary as the purpose of a primary is to select the party nominees thus only registered members of the parties may vote in the primary.

The numbers were probably increased by strong interest in several contests, including the Republican race for county commissioner and the Democratic primary for the District 1 Representative to the US Congress.  The results below include early ballots plus election day votes but not any absentee or provisional ballots.

In the most hotly contested local race, five candidates entered the contest for three Republican ballot slots in the race for Kent County Commissioners. Voters chose incumbent Billy Short and newcomers Bob Jacob and Tom Mason over Aaron Bramble and Jim Luff. However, the final margin was close enough – Bramble trailed by only 16 votes – that absentee and provisional ballots could change the result. The official totals may not be known until as late as next Friday, July 6, when final absentee ballots are counted and the Board of Elections certifies the election results. As of June 25, there were 42 absentee ballot requests from Kent Republicans, of which 23 had been returned. The Board of Elections did not have provisional ballot figures as of press time.

In the Democratic primary, incumbent Kent County Commissioners William Pickrum and Ron Fithian were joined by newcomer Tom Timberman to make up the Democratic slate for November. The three were uncontested for the three November ballot slots.

The other contested race in Kent pitted Andrew Meehan against Bryan DiGregory for the Democratic slot for the position of the State’s Attorney. In a close race, DiGregory was ahead by 130 votes with all 10 wards reporting. The winner will face former State’s Attorney Robert Strong, who ran uncontested on the Republican side, in November. With only 96 Democrats having requested absentee ballots, DiGregory’s lead appears to be safe.

Another closely-watched race was for the Democratic slot for the First District representative to the U.S. Congress. As of midnight on election day, 292 of the 294 precincts in District 1 had reported their totals. At that point, political newcomer Jesse Colvin led a field of six contenders with 38 percent of the vote district-wide and a lead of some 3,500 votes over Allison Galbraith, who finished a respectable second with nearly 10,000 votes, or just under 29 percent. Three candidates shared the remaining 33%–Michael Brown (15%), Michael Pullen (12.8%), Steven Worton (3.9%), and Erik Lane (2.2% ). Colvin’s margins were considerably higher in Kent, where, with all ten precincts reporting, he garnered over 55.2 percent of the votes to second-place Galbraith’s 17.9 percent.

On the Republican side, incumbent Andrew Harris easily won the primary over two rivals, both from the Eastern Shore. Harris received 82.7% of the votes cast by Kent County Republicans and 85.8% of Republican voters throughout the district which includes all of the Eastern Shore counties plus parts of Baltimore, Harford, and Carroll counties.

Look for a fuller election report in the Chestertown Spy soon.  For the complete state, county, and local election results in all races both state-wide and in the individual counties and districts see the list at Maryland Board of Elections websiteFor Kent County totals click here.

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Grassroots Progressive Groups in MD 1st District to Protest Family Separation

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Members of Together We Will Harford County/Upper Chesapeake, Talbot Rising, Kent and Queen Anne’s Indivisible, Worcester Indivisible, Queen Anne’s County Democratic Club, Harford Indivisible, Together We Will – Delmarva and Lower Shore Progressive Caucus will gather on Thursday in a coordinated effort to protest the treatment of asylum seekers and their families at the U.S. border, including the separation of parents and children and the placement of these children in internment camps.

Rallies will take place at Representative Andy Harris’s offices in Bel Air (15 East Churchville Rd.) and Salisbury (100 E. Main St.) at 5:00 pm and Kent Island (100 Olde Point Village, Chester) at 6:30 pm. Harris supports the inhumane immigration policies of the Trump administration.

For further information contact: talbotrising@gmail.org

Early Voting Open through Thursday

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Candidates’ signs outside the Kent County Public Library, the polling place for early voting — Photo by Peter Heck

Do you plan to vote in this year’s primary elections? You can avoid lines and that last-minute rush to vote before the polls close by taking part in early voting at the Chestertown branch of the Kent County Public Library. Early voting is open through Thursday, June 21, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Polls are in the meeting room near the High Street entrance to the library; voters may enter from High Street or by the side entrance after regular library hours.

Voters can choose their party’s candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor, Comptroller, Attorney General, U. S. Senate and House of Representatives, Maryland state Senate and House of Delegates, and a slate of local offices including County Commissioner and State’s Attorney. For the primary election, voters may only vote for candidates of the party they are registered in. Unaffiliated voters, often called “independent” voters, meaning those who have registered to vote but have chosen not to affiliate themselves as either Democrats or Republicans, cannot vote in the primary, whose purpose is to select party candidates. Other political parties, such as the Libertarian or Green parties, do not currently hold primaries.  These voters can vote in the general election on November 6.

What if you’re not registered to vote at all?  You can do that at early voting, too, and then cast your ballot the same day.  To register to vote, you will need to bring ID and proof of address. According to the Maryland Board of Elections, “To register and vote during early voting, go to an early voting center in the county where you live and bring a document that proves where you live. This document can be your MVA-issued license, ID card, or change of address card, or your paycheck, bank statement, utility bill, or other government document with your name and new address. You will be able to register to vote and vote.”  So your Maryland driver’s license should do it.

US citizens who are residents of Maryland can register to vote as early as age 16 though they must be 18 before they can vote in a general election.  However, seventeen-year-olds may vote in this June primary to help chose their party’s candidate as long as they will be 18 before November 6 and thus eligible to vote in the General Election.

The date for regular voting in the primary election is Tuesday, June 26, when polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. You must be registered before June 26 in order to vote in the Primary Election on June 26. For a complete list of polling places and other information, see the Maryland Board of Elections website.

The general election takes place Nov. 6. The Chestertown Spy will bring you more election news and analysis throughout the election season.