It’s a Wednesday night, and Glen Glass has just hatched a plan to quit his longtime job, move out of town with his dog, and hire his buddy to come along for the ride.
And he’s eager to get going with it.
Watch out Annapolis, here comes the newest delegate-elect representing Harford/Cecil County’s District 34A and he’s looking to shake things up in the Maryland General Assembly – even if he’s not quite sure how.
“I feel like when I was in Basic Training with the Army. A private, running around, not really knowing what’s going on,” said Glass, 45, an Aberdeen resident who was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army and went on to become a public school teacher before becoming interested in politics.
“I feel like that in a way, but not doing as many push-ups,” Glass added.
During an interview last week, while he met with his prospective aide (a “military man” he met during the campaign and who has “done some work for Mike Huckabee”), Glass was relieved to have recently found a house in Annapolis that could temporarily accommodate him, his wife, and his 100-pound pet Akita for the duration of the 90-day legislative session.
And he was downright delighted to learn of the $100 per day per diem that would help him afford the housing because, very shortly, Glass will join the ranks Americans who are no longer employed in a fulltime job.
Glass will be quitting the job he’s had for the last decade – selling recycled oil and antifreeze and occasionally driving a tanker truck for FCC Environmental – and will become a fulltime legislator when the Maryland General Assembly convenes on Jan. 13.
As far as he’s concerned, being a delegate will be his full time job from now on.
“My job as a state delegate will be first and foremost,” Glass said.
Glass conceded he’ll have to pick up a part-time job to make ends meet, whether it’s working in a temporary position for FCC Environmental, returning to the home improvement work he used to do, or finding something else.
“[FCC Environmental] won’t hold my job and benefits for me, but they’ll probably let me come back as a temporary worker,” he added.
While other legislators save up leave time or arrange for leaves of absence with their employers, Glass takes pride in walking away from his career for the sake of public service.
“The people who cast their votes, even if they didn’t vote for me, they’re my boss,” Glass said.
“I want the people to get their money’s worth with me.”
Meet the Mentors
Glass was the longest of shots to win a seat in the Maryland House of Delegates – having run several times prior without having made much of an impact, other than gaining a reputation for being the guy with the purple sign-covered cars parked in local commuter lots.
This go-round, however, Glass made some new friends and it made all the difference.
Glass credits District 7 Republican Dels. Pat McDonough and Rick Impallaria not only with helping him get elected, but as being mentors to him as he prepares for the session.
“Toward the end of the campaign, they decided to help me raise some money and Rick gave me a lot of advice,” Glass said. “I won by 1,000 votes, so they definitely helped me.”
On Tuesday, the Maryland Republican House Caucus met in Annapolis to vote for its leaders. Glass said Impallaria helped him cast his first vote.
“I can call him up and talk to him for whatever I need,” he added.
Reducing Tax and Crime Rates
Glass listed the top three local issues as “economy, economy, and the economy,” and he’s probably right.
“People are hurting and they need jobs. Up and down Route 40, small businesses are in big trouble,” Glass said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a Republican, Democrat, or Independent, if you don’t have a job you don’t have hope.”
Glass said BRAC’s arrival at Aberdeen Proving Ground will bring new economic opportunities to the area, but he thinks there’s much more that should be done.
Specifically, he wants to figure out a way to implement a 5-year phase-out of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s 20 percent sales tax increase.
Glass similarly wants to get tough on crime and help implement legislative measures that will help reduce the crime rate.
“I want to eliminate parole for sex offenders and violent offenders,” he said.
To what effect?
“I think they would spend more time in jail. They did a crime and they’re going to have to serve the time for that,” Glass said. “I want criminals to make little rocks out of big rocks for a long, long time.”
“And I believe in the death penalty, absolutely,” he added.
“I Just Can’t Go for the Hotel Tax”
It’s been well documented that Harford County remains the only jurisdiction in Maryland without the authority to implement a tax on rooms in local hotels and motels – in fact, the man Glass booted from office, Del. Dan Riley, was one of the foremost proponents of the hotel tax.
Glass understands the benefits Harford could reap from such a tax – particularly if the revenue was funneled into local tourism efforts, as some have proposed. Yet he remains philosophically opposed to tax increases of any kind.
“I just can’t go for the hotel tax,” Glass said. “I think we need to create ways to promote tourism without raising taxes on our businesses.”
Glass asserted that, in Aberdeen, many of the motels and hotels are occupied by not by traveling out-of-towners, but by disadvantaged locals who inhabit the rooms on a permanent basis; as their homes. To implement a hotel/motel room tax would make it more difficult for them to afford keeping that roof over their heads.
“Basically, you’re taxing the poor,” Glass said.
And as far as Harford remaining the only jurisdiction in the state without such a hotel tax, Glass said the county has an opportunity to put a positive spin on the situation.
“Harford County tourism could advertise having the lowest hotel rates,” he suggested.