The next installment of The Dagger’s Q & A with candidates in the 2014 Gubernatorial Primary Election features the Democratic candidates running for the Maryland State Delegate District 34B seat, representing central Harford County.
In District 34B, Board of Education member Cassandra Beverley of Abingdon and Jeff Dinger of Bel Air meet in the Democratic Primary Election to determine which candidate will advance to face incumbent Republican Del. Susan McComas of Bel Air in the General Election. Their answers to The Dagger’s three questions appear below. (Note: Dinger did not respond to numerous attempts to contact him.)
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.
Beverley: My name is Cassandra Beverley. Attorney-Private General Practice , Bel Air.
I’m an attorney and have been in practice for 29 years. I have handled a variety of criminal and civil cases in my years of practice. I’m trained in gathering relevant information in preparation for representing clients, reviewing and analyzing large quantities of data, researching the applicable law and presenting my client’s case to a judge or jury. In many instances it is necessary to consult and sometimes employ people with expertise in areas unrelated to the law, i.e., a real estate appraiser, forensic accountant or vocational expert in a divorce case, a social worker or psychologist in a custody case, a medical examiner in a criminal case. Often I must review non-legal resource material in order to present or cross-examine a fact or expert witness involved in a case. In these instances I must first identify reliable primary source material to review and/or identify individuals who have the requisite knowledge, training or skills to assist me to acquire a sufficient understanding of the subject matter in order to present my case.
As a member of the Board of Education for the past 3 years, I‘ve learned a great deal about the operation of the school system and the budget process. My ability to review and analyze large quantities of information has been very helpful. We examine many documents as we review policy, make decisions about the capital and operating budgets and conduct student and employee appeals. At every juncture, we receive input from stakeholders and interface with elected officials. I would bring the knowledge and skills from these experiences to the position of delegate.
Dinger: No response.
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.
Beverley: In reviewing recent decisions by the Harford County delegation, what most concerns me is the stance on voting against the budget. The citizens of the District deserve a representative who is going to participate and fight for much needed funds to address the county’s needs. We have needs in the areas of education, transportation infrastructure and preservation of our natural resources, namely the Chesapeake Bay and the watershed. Failing to be engaged in this important aspect of being a legislator is incomprehensible. We can’t afford legislators whose lack of involvement in budgetary decisions makes them irrelevant. We also need legislators who can interact with their peers in a manner that engenders respect and a willingness to collaborate on legislative efforts.
Dinger: No response.
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.
Beverley: I’m interested in working on legislation that addresses my concerns about the state of education in our county and our inadequate transportation infrastructure. I want to bring back revenue to improve our roads and to improve inter-county transit. Traffic fatalities are significantly higher on rural roads than on Interstate roads due to the poor road conditions. Traffic congestion on our roadways negatively impacts the quality of life in our communities. Improvements in our roads, highways and bridges will result in reduced vehicle maintenance costs, reduced delays, reduced fuel consumption, and improved safety.
Dinger: No response.