From the New Harford Democratic Club:
MONTHLY MEETING MINUTES
MINUTES OF THE March 2, 2016, MEETING AT THE ABERDEEN HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS.
President Steve Johnson called the meeting to order at 7:04 p.m.
Johnson led the club in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
Johnson thanked everyone for coming out tonight.
Johnson then asked those present to identify themselves. He introduced Jason Robertson who will be discussing his candidacy for Havre de Grace Council tonight and Ann Helton who will review a book she believes will be of interest to club members.
Treasurer George Harrison present the financial report, noting the operating account currently holds $10,786.74. He reported that the dues mailing and the special mailing to Super Dems cost about $1,600 for printing and mailing, plus another $300 for printing additional brochures for new members. Johnson asked and received unanimous approval of the treasurer’s report.
Art Helton moved to approve the minutes of the previous month’s meeting. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved by the members present.
President Johnson introduced Jason Robertson who is running for council in Havre de Grace.
Robertson said he and his wife moved to Havre de Grace from Edgewood a few years ago. He was born and raised in Baltimore. He enlisted in the Army and was positioned to Iraq. After returning home he enrolled in the University of Baltimore, graduating with a BA in public policy. He went to work for the Center for Medical Services, dealing with veteran’s affairs. He later joined the White House staff working on veterans affairs.
That led to his experience with the city of Baltimore where he now works as a budget analysis, managing parts of the city’s $2.4 billion budget. He has a strong interest in public service and believes he would be able to help Havre de Grace do a better job of managing its affairs. He said he wants to make sure that his 3 year old son Colt has an opportunity to have a great future.
A question and answer session followed. He was asked what he thought were the biggest problems in Havre de Grace. He said he didn’t see enough support for local businesses from the city. He would like to see that change. He was asked about the current deficit in the water and sewer budget. He responded that it is important that local governments must budget adequately to provide proper services and he feels Havre de Grace has fallen very far behind and needs to make substantial changes in the way they deal with the situation. He was asked if he felt he was strong enough to challenge the current administration while confronting these issues. He said he believes he has the people skills and the expertise to do the job and make a difference in the city.
President Johnson thanked Jason for stepping up and running for office.
President Johnson asked for Committee reports:
Membership- Art Helton reported that the special mailer to prime Democrats was the major effort and later there will be a registration drive when the weather improves.
Fundraising- Steve, speaking for Andy Powell, said the club is still planning for a fundraiser later this spring and hopes to have a prominent Democrat as the main speaker.
Website-Jack Barham reported that the website is being regularly updated on current issues with a tie-in to our Facebook page. He has created a video urging membership in the club and has posted the letter to Super Dems. One of the items he recently posted involved Republican efforts to force a voter ID law in Maryland, which some pointed out is just a Republican effort to restrict Democratic turnout.
Issues- George Harrison noted that he is working with Jack on posting discussions on the issues. He noted one issue posted on Facebook is legislation proposed by Democrats to set up a point system for prioritizing transportation in the state. Currently, projects are decided upon by the administration without any set criteria. The administration opposes this.
President Johnson introduced Ann Helton, former club president, who ran for Harford County Executive against David Craig.
Ann noted she belongs to a book club that has been active for 60 years. She reviewed the book “Between the World and Me,” by Baltimore native Ta-Nehisi Coates, which is written as a letter to his son. “It is as current to the world we live in as can be,” she said. “I didn’t” want to read this book at first, but then I decided that I needed to read it to get a better understanding of what it is like for a black child to grow up in our society.” She said Coates grew up in a family that encouraged the reading of books. For punishment when he was bad, his mother required him to write essays. He became a journalist and currently writes for the Atlantic magazine and other publications. Throughout the book he is writing to his 15 year old son following the events of Ferguson, Missouri, and other cities. It is meant to answer two questions: What is it like to inhabit a black body in these times and what do you do about it? He weaves his personal history with the events of today to provide his son with insight on how to deal with life from the perspective of the African-American experience in America. Ann calls this a “powerful, powerful book, and you should read it.”
President Johnson thanked Ann for her report.
President Johnson adjourned the meeting at 8:44pm.
Minutes courtesy of George Harrison, acting secretary.