Posted 20 April 2018
The Riverside Club, Asbury Solomons’s Democratic Club, hosted a well-attended candidate forum last week. Among those who participated were candidates from District 1: Tricia Powell and Ted Haynie; District 2: Susie Hance-Wells; District 3: Holly Budd; Candidates At large: Greg Brown, Joe Johnson, Duwane Rager, and Matt Bennett. Each candidate was given five minutes to introduce themselves and share their priorities for Calvert County.
The event was hosted and moderated by Paula Willoughby, Chair of the Riverside Club Steering Committee. She explained that while commissioners register in their district or at large, all Calvert voters will vote for all commissioners. When you go to the polls on November 6th, you will be voting for five commissioners: one from each district plus two at-large.
Afterwards the candidates and the audience enjoyed refreshments provided by the Club while the candidates made themselves available for a “meet and greet.” Audience members mingled with the candidates and were able to ask them questions and get to know them better.
Tricia Powell is a near-10-year veteran of county government and knows how to work a budget. She has also spent time on a local community board where she gained experience advocating for the people. Tricia believes that she understands what county residents need and knows how to get it done. She is a strong supporter of transparency in government, is concerned about the safety issues with Dominion, and believes our education system needs strong special programs and ample support staff.
Ted Haynie wants an open dialogue with the residents of Calvert. He knows what leadership is and wants to know what you want in a commissioner. He is a life-long Democrat, but wants to be defined by his constituents and not along partisan lines. Ted taught for 35 years, was a principal in Calvert County Public Schools, and now works in the Higher Education Center for Towson University. He believes that transparency is key and wants to see formalized leisure time, like after school programs, for County youth.
Susie Hance-Wells is a fulltime farmer born and raised in Calvert County. She has a love of the land which propelled her to graduate from the University of Delaware with a degree in Agriculture and start the Calvert Farmland Trust. As commissioner, Susie has three main goals: to restore civility and respect for and by elected officials; to rely on facts, not opinions; and to stay in compliance of the Comprehensive Plan for transportation, residential development, natural resources, agriculture, and industry.
Holly Budd was born and raised on the Chesapeake Bay and has raised her family here in Calvert County. She is a member of the Organic Farming Commission and the Calvert Environmental Commission. Being both deeply concerned about the environment and a small business owner makes Holly uniquely qualified
to understand the issues of preservation and development here in Calvert County. Her main concerns are regarding the Comprehensive Plan, transparency in government, education funding, and the significance of farming and fisheries to our community’s economy.
Joe Johnson has been a Chesapeake Beach resident for 18 years and, if elected, will be bringing years of life experience to the office of Commissioner. Joe feels that this election is important because it will determine in what direction Calvert County is going and what we want it to look like in the future. As commissioner, Joe wants to focus on preserving 40,000 acres from development and nurturing high tech and healthcare jobs. He would like to see an expansion of the Calvert Health Network.
Greg Brown teaches history in Prince George’s County and has been interested in politics since JFK’s assassination. He wants to be the “Listener Commissioner.” Greg promises to always keep the best interests of Calvert residents in mind, and though as Commissioner he may not always vote the way you want him to, you can be confident that he heard you and weighed your interests in that decision. Greg’s focuses are on siding with individuals over big business, veterans’ issues, and maintaining core American values.
Duwane Rager grew up in Calvert County and currently works in the Maryland General Assembly as Chief of Staff to a Maryland state delegate. He believes that this election is about the needs of the residents and not about partisan issues. Education and budget are Duwane’s focus. A product of Calvert schools, Duwane is concerned about the funding and ranking of the CCPS system. Teachers’ salary steps need to be re-instated and then followed. Also of concern are county deficits and commissioners being held accountable for their promises.
Matt Bennett grew up here in Calvert County and is a graduate of Northern High School. He’s currently a sophomore at University of Maryland at Baltimore County. He knows that he is young to be running for commissioner, but believes that there is too much work to be done to sit back and wait his turn. Matt is concerned about the opioid crisis and thinks our current commissioners haven’t addressed the problem. He feels that “we deserve much better” and his unique perspective will bring a new direction to the Board of County Commissioners.