The next installment of The Dagger’s Q & A with candidates in the 2014 Gubernatorial Primary Election features the Republican candidates running for the Maryland State Senate District 35, representing northern Harford and Cecil County.
With Sen. Barry Glassman running for Harford County Executive, the race to fill his District 35 seat pits incumbent Del. Wayne Norman of Bel Air against former Cecil County Republican Central Committee member Thomas Wilson of Rising Sun in the Republican Primary Election, with the winner advancing to face Democrat Bridget Kelly of Perryville in the General Election. Their answers to The Dagger’s three questions appear below.
Dagger: State senators often make decisions in areas where they may not have expertise, such as decriminalizing marijuana, legalizing same-sex marriage, or approving a stormwater runoff fee. Briefly describe the experience/skills you would bring to the State Senate and how you make decisions in areas outside your expertise.
Norman: There are thousands of bills introduced in the legislature each year and it is impossible for a legislator to read each and every one of them. It would also be an extreme waste of time for a legislator to read each and every bill that might be introduced. That is because most bills die in their Committee. There are six (6) standing committees in the House of Delegates. All Delegates are a member of one of those Committees and the bills assigned to them becomes their area of specialty. A Delegate such as myself, who serves on the Environmental Matters Committee, should become knowledgeable on all the bills that come before that particular Committee and then share information on the bills that advance, with other Delegates who serve on the other Committees. Deference is given to a Committee member who had a bill in Committee when a bill comes out to the floor. I believe I have done a good job doing exactly that, for the last seven years. I was made the Ranking Republican Member of my assigned Committee, which is a fact I am quite proud of. If I have not done a good job, the Republican Caucus would never have given me this responsibility. Because of my committee work, I was asked to head up the Bill calling for the Repeal of the Rain Tax. (H.B. 50) I was able to get numerous co-sponsors on the bill and even though it failed in 2014, I intend to reintroduce it in the Senate. I believe I will continue in a similar tradition of service if elected to the Senate.
Wilson: First I must say I am a person who has studied our founding principles and understand the original intent of our foundational documents. Government was intended to be limited in scope and areas that do not infringe upon the Liberties of a free people. Many of the issues we struggle with today are a result of over reach of government authority beyond its limitations. I would seek to limit the over extension of government’s authority. In situations where I would need to deal with issues on the many subjects the state legislature deals with I would first test its constitutionality, Second I would seek input from professionals who deal with the subject matter. Politicians far too many times seek political gain on an emotional or critical subject to gain prominence in spite of the facts.
Dagger: Please cite a previous decision by the Harford County delegation to the Maryland General Assembly with which you either strongly agree or disagree, and why.
Norman: I strongly opposed the imposition of a hotel tax in Harford County. I have opposed new or expanded taxation during my seven years in the House of Delegates. In 2013, two Harford County Delegates introduced H.B. 1395 in the last days of session. This called for a new tax on lodging in Harford County. The majority of the Delegation opposed this new tax and I believe I single handedly killed the tax by arguing against it from the floor, even though it had gotten out of committee.
Wilson: As a past member of a County Republican Central Committee and the State Republican GOP I am very displeased with the actions of the Harford county Delegation on HB1513 and my opponent, Delegate Norman is the Vice Chair of that Delegation. This legislation was designed to place themselves on the Harford County Republican Central Committee (HCRCC) with the sole purpose of voting publicly elected members on or off the committee at their discretion. This action to destroy the autonomy of the HCRCC and nullify the desires of the voters in their selection of committee members was unanimously condemned at this year’s spring convention for the Maryland State Republican GOP. In a state that struggles with voter fraud I feel it’s critical to send a clear message to those members of the Harford County Republican Delegation who are seeking reelection that this is unacceptable behavior. A vote for reelection of any of these delegates will be a condoning of this recently condemned behavior.
Dagger: The Maryland General Assembly is charged with certain responsibilities. Among them are: Enacting legislation, proposing amendments to the state Constitution, reviewing redistricting plans, and levying taxes. Looking ahead, what issues within the delegation’s purview are of specific interest or concern to you and why? Please cite two issues.
Norman: As a private citizen, I was very upset with the redistricing process and the way it was implemented in Maryland by Governor O’Malley. In 2013 I was the lead sponsor of H.B. 832 which called for a non partisan commission to study Congressional Redistricting in Maryland. This bill had bi-partisan support but failed under the pressure of the “gerrymanderers”. I plan to introduce this bill again from the Senate.
The repeal of the “Rain Tax” is another example of a bill of great interest to me. I fought against the bill in my Committee and on the floor. Councilman Joe Woods gave me a lot of information as to how this law hurts Harford Countian’s and gave me a lot of information I used against it. I intend to work further against the Rain Tax and its effects on Harford County from the Senate side of the legislature.
Wilson: I mentioned in the first question my view of limited government and protection of rights and freedoms so I will select additional issues of equal importance.
Education: Our children are not receiving the level of education we as citizens are paying for. It is the duty of Maryland legislature to take back the reigns of education oversight. Education is a local issue and we must put education back into the hands of the parents so they are being served responsibly and efficiently. I support school choice because I believe competition raises the bar on standards and efficiencies. I believe that a good education and a promising future for our children will help solve many of the social issues we deal with in society like drugs abuse and crime.
Opportunity is also a key component. I am a strong supporter of the American dream where children can truly believe they can be anything they want if they work hard and never give up. Today, sadly children are taught that capitalism is evil and the rich are the enemy. We have allowed this teaching that steals the future of our children and the price is too high. We need government out of the business of business. We need to reinstate the American dream and provide private sector economic opportunity. We need to cut government handouts and demand government efficiency so we can reduce taxes drastically and allow potential customers of those businesses to drive the economy upward and promote success in the private sector. I was once told that government was a wealth absorber and business was a wealth producer. If our economy suffers it’s because government is too large.