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 Delegate District 35B, representing northern Harford and Cecil County.
With Del. Wayne Norman’s run for state senate and Del. Donna Stifler’s decision not to seek re-election, both seats in District 35B are guaranteed new representation. Jeffrey Elliott of Bel Air and Daniel Lamey of Pylesville will be the Democratic candidates and will meet in the General Election against the top two vote-getters of Republicans Andrew Cassilly of Havre de Grace, Jason Gallion of Churchville, and Teresa Reilly of Whiteford. Their answers to The Dagger’s three questions appear below.
Dagger: State delegates 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 House of Delegates and how you make decisions in areas outside your expertise.
Cassilly: I have a diverse background rooted in common sense, dedication, integrity, conservative values, and public service. I’m a veteran of Maryland Army National Guard’s 29th Infantry Division. I earned a Masters Degree from Loyal University in Administrative Management, a B.S. from Millersville University, in Industrial Technology, and graduated from Bel Air High. My wife, Amy, and I are both lifelong resident of Harford County. We are raising our three children in the home we renovated in Churchville. The children attend Harford County Public Schools and I’ve worked in the public school system for the past 20 years as a Teacher, Coach, Administrator, and Assistant Supervisor. In my current position I’m responsible for reducing energy inefficiency in our schools and my efforts to upgrade electrical systems have already saved taxpayers millions of dollars in utility costs. I have always found that the best approach to any task is: listening to what other people have to say, taking the time to understand all of the complex details, applying common sense solutions, and working with all others interested to get things done honestly and effectively. I plan to take the same approach in Annapolis.
Gallion: The experience I would bring to the House of Delegates is from being a small business owner and a community leader. I started a farm business in 1999 right out of college and built it into a successful operation. I have been an active member of the Level Volunteer Fire Company for over 20 years and have served as the Chief (2004-2009) and President (2011-2013). I am also a member of the Farm Bureau, Steppingstone Farm Museum, Rock Run Cemetery Committee, and Smith’s Chapel United Methodist Church in Churchville. In 2011 I was appointed by the Harford County Council to serve on the Council Redistricting Commission. The main skill I learned serving in these different capacities is how to build consensus and get things done. I will make decisions outside of my expertise by thoroughly researching those issues and by talking to experts in those areas.
Reilly: As a mother, business owner, wife, Legislative Chief of Staff, Republican Central Committee member and taxpaying citizen of Maryland I’ve recognized firsthand what the liberal establishment has done to Maryland. With my experience and knowledge of the Maryland General Assembly I believe I am the best candidate to hit the ground running on day one. I’m very familiar with the legislative process and the structure of the Maryland General Assembly and how a law is enacted. I’ve built relationships with fellow legislators from both parties which is extremely important and beneficial in getting anything done in Annapolis. I’m no stranger to constituent services. I can assist constituents with their issues and concerns effectively and in a timely manner. I have the knowledge of which state agency or organization could best assist to remedy the situation whether on a federal, state, or local level. I’ve been in the trenches. As an elected member of the Republican Central Committee for Harford County for the past 11 years, I’ve been a leader in voter registration efforts and was instrumental in making Harford County the largest jurisdiction in Maryland where registered Republicans outnumber Democrats. I have devoted my life to championing conservative values and responsible government. I will be accessible and accountable to the residents of Cecil and Harford Counties. I have the skills to challenge the political status quo. For areas outside of my expertise I will consult experts, be attentive in committee hearings, review committee testimony, and listen to constituent concerns. In all decisions, I will use common sense conservative values and principles.
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.
Cassilly: The Harford County delegation has generally been a strong advocate for increasing employment through a more business and job friendly environment, public safety, good schools, and personal responsibility. Going forward, our Delegation needs to move to the next level of implementing more of the policies we have been advocating. That means working with other delegations throughout the State to hold government accountable, reduce spending, cut taxes, grown the economy, and stop runaway government.
Gallion: Historically the Harford County delegation has put the best interests of their constituents above personal differences. As a delegate I will work with the rest of the Harford delegation to make sure our citizens and constituent service is the priority.
Reilly: I strongly agree with the Harford County Delegation bill from 2009 – SB692/HB639 Harford County – Board of Education – Selection of Members
I was privileged to be working for the Maryland General Assembly during that time period. I recognized exceptional leadership when I saw legislators collaborating with concerned parents as they devised a good plan to achieve the bill’s passage.
Of the nine voting members of the County Board of Education:
One member shall be elected from each of the six councilmanic districts only by the voters of that conncilmanic district; and three shall be appointed by the Governor. A member of the County Board shall be a registered voter of the county for at least 3 years prior to the date of the beginning of the term of office of the member. A voting member will serve a 4 year term and may not serve for more than two consecutive terms as a voting member. http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frmMain.aspx?ys=2009rs%2fbillfile%2fhb0639.htm. An elected school board makes the members accountable to the citizens of Harford County.
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.
Taxes and Inequitable Fees
Maryland families and businesses are struggling with new and increased taxes imposed by the current administration. In all, 40 additional tax, fee and toll increases have been enacted since 2007. These fees now remove an additional $3.1 billion every year out of our citizens pay checks. This is over and above the existing tax burden. In 2007, the State budget was $29 billion and now, just seven years later, we are spending $37 billon. I will work to put an end to tax increases by reducing entitlement programs, identifying governmental waste, cutting the pork, and insuring that the highway trust funds and similar supposedly dedicated funds are actually spent on rebuilding our infrastructure and not wasted on yet another government give away.
Unrealistic regulatory restrictions cripple our agriculture industry and driving good businesses out of our State. Agriculture and other small businesses that have been the backbone of our economy for generations are too often forgotten by a legislature mesmerized by smooth talking lobbyists for crony capitalists and other special interests looking for tax handouts and other favored treatment. I understand the unique challenges and complexities that face our agricultural and small business communities. I will work to eliminate unnecessary regulations, provide realistic avenues for compliance, and to provide support and assistance, not “gotcha” fines, to enable compliance.
Gallion: The first issue will be working with my fellow legislators and the new Governor to reduce taxes and ease burdensome regulations that have been driving families and businesses out of the state. The second issue will be making sure that local highway user funds from the gas tax are returned to Harford County. The current administration has been raiding funds such as these to balance the budget and that practice must be stopped.
Reilly: Taxes have become overburdening and unrestrained as have government spending and control. First, it is essential to start balancing the budget by reducing and eliminating wasteful spending. Cutting taxes and stopping the overregulation of our farmers and small businesses are more productive means of helping our economy grow. Government will always work best for the people, when it is LIMITED. I believe the citizens of Maryland are the job creators and the community builders; they are the ones to turn our state around. Government needs to let the private sector do what it does best and that is to create jobs and opportunity for Marylanders.