From the True Democratic Club of Harford County:
On April 17 The True Democratic Club of Harford County hosted a forum for Democratic candidates running for the Maryland legislature in 2018.
District 7 House of Delegate , includes parts of Harford and Baltimore Counties:
Allison Berkowitz: A doctoral student and teacher, she said ” lot of people are unhappy” with their representation and “it would be nice to have some diversity. I believe it comes down to working together..” She said gerrymandering problems are especially acute in the 7th district. She supports the $15 per hour minimum wage, legalization of recreational cannabis and leveraging a tax on heavy polluters. Criminal justice reform “is a biggy.” (She had to leave early to take an exam for a graduate course.)
Gordon Koerner moved from Virginia seven years ago and now lives in Joppatowne, Maryland. He spent many of his adult years working for Bethlehem Steel. He says he has a lot of experience in politics. He ran for county supervisor in Nelson County, Virginia and with Beth Steel he rose through the ranks and supervised a budget of $15 million. He stated that “guns are not the answer to our problems. I want more education. I am against students being expelled from school. We need special programs. We don’t need a school-to-prison pipeline. ” He wants to get teacher pensions up and to raise teachers’ pay, to repair dilapidated school buildings. “Everyone has an addiction in their personalities, from chocolate to coffee and alcohol…”
District 7 Maryland Senate:
Donna Hines: “The talk of many teachers is very upsetting. Don’t arm a teacher with a gun, arm them with a raise so teachers can give our children a great education. There are other alternatives for school safety. They (teachers) don’t get enough credit or respect. Their incomes don’t match their importance or responsibility.” She is opposing incumbent Senator John Jennings “who was running unopposed. It’s not healthy. We need a different person. I would pretty much vote in the opposite direction. ” She said greater attention needs to be paid to the Chesapeake Bay and she is upset with repeals to EPA laws.”It’s extremely upsetting to me to give money to the fossil (fuels) industry. Why don’t people get this?” With health care, “Every Maryland person should be able to keep health care.” She said with Trump’s tax bill, only one percent of the taxpayers in Maryland got a deal.
District 34A House of Delegates:
Sarahia Benn grew up in New York and eventually moved to Los Angeles where she was a professional musician who played the bass, keyboard, guitars and sang. “Artists are the most sensitive people,” she says. She came to Maryland to take care of her father who was ill, now she is caring for her mother.”Financially our economy has stopped. The Route 40 corridor is stuck in time–transportation, wages, most people can’t take out a loan.” She favors having vocational technical education in Edgewood “to tap into the talent in this area. Somebody has to be a new voice for the people.”
Steve Johnson: Did not respond to invitation and did not appear at the forum.
Mary Ann Lisanti: Incumbent Democratic delegate from District 34, appeared late after attending several meetings earlier the same evening. The legislative session in Annapolis just concluded. She said she is proud ten of her bills passed and she was also able to capture significant funds for the district. She said she has had a very lonely time as the sole Democrat in Annapolis from Harford County during the last four years. She said she was impressed by one elderly constituent who is frightened by today’s politics that remind her of Nazi Germany, an era the constituent lived through but is afraid she might be repeating.
District 34B House of Delegates:
Jeff Dinger: Did not respond to invitation and did not appear at the forum.
District 34A Maryland Senate:
Barbara O. Kreamer: Long-time Democratic Central Committee member and current vice chair, she served one term on the Harford County Council and two terms as a delegate in Annapolis. She is a native of Aberdeen. She said she was “galvanized by the women’s march. We just can’t rest, retire. We’ve got to save the county. We’ve got to surge out of our homes and work together.” She worked hard for Donna Edwards for U.S. Senate in 2016, ran for county council in 2014 and for an Aberdeen town office in 2015. “I’ve worked to help other Democrats. Read the fundraising reports. Some are very mysterious. We need to change some habits. We need a wider base of fundraising. I have a record of being responsive. What do you choose to work on?”
Mary-Dulany James: Served four terms as Harford delegate then ran as Senate District 34 nominee but lost to Republican Robert Cassilly in 2014. Looking for re-match with Cassilly but must get past former Delegate Kreamer in the June primary for this to happen this year. She grew up in Havre de Grace and is the daughter of the late Sen. William S. James. She served on the House Appropriations Committee. “The budget is the only thing you have to pass in Maryland each year. It’s the policy document setting the state’s priorities…we are a citizen legislature. I practice law full time. I was the only person whose third child was born on the last day of (my) last session. People don’t know a lot of what we do. Unfortunately local papers don’t cover what happens in Annapolis. There’s a decline newspapers.” She said her major concerns are economic development, taxes and the opioid epidemic.
Note: Former Delegate Kreamer has challenged former Delegate James to three one-on-one debates to be held before the June primary. To date Ms. James has not responded to the challenge.
District 35B House of Delegates:
Ronnie Davis: “My father said you have to vote. That plays in my head every day. You better vote or you cannot complain.” She was chair of the Commission for Woman and is a former educator. She wants the Equal Rights Amendment passed. She said she was “overwhelmed” by the mass shootings in the Florida high school.”It’s okay to harden our schools. We had active shooter drills. These kids are terrified. I have grandchildren in school. I am so upset. We cannot live in a country like this. Guns kill people. We had a shooter in this state. We can’t allow this to happen. We should be protecting our kids. There is no reason (for anyone) to have a semi-automatic.”
The next meeting and forum of the True Democratic Club of Harford County will be held Wednesday May 16 at the Southern Precinct of the Harford Sheriff’s Office on Pulaski Highway in Edgewood. Democratic candidates for Harford County Council and Harford County Democratic Central Committee will be invited to speak. The general public is invited to attend. Information: 410-679-6704.
Chris Boardman, Chair