For the sake of today’s entry, let us re-conceptualize the campaign season as an extended job interview process. Albeit one with slightly more hand shaking, parade marching and door knocking compared to the amount of each undertaken by your average applicant for a corporate gig.
Howard County has the opportunity to hire a new County Executive this year. With that in mind, the electorate – as the hiring authority – may wish to consider one question above all others: “Of the two candidates for the position, who is best equipped to move Howard County forward over the next four years?”
In my estimation, the answer is Courtney Watson. Here is why:
1) Her background is much stronger for the County Executive position.
Given the specific responsibilities of the office, her experience on the Board of Education and her long – and ongoing – service on the County Council have provided her with the expertise that Howard County needs when Ken Ulman leaves the post. It is my belief that her knowledge of, and involvement with, the issues and solutions that directly impact the lives of Howard County citizens are considerably more extensive compared to her opponent, Senator Allan Kittleman. I am not calling the Senator a slouch. I am simply articulating my perspective that Watson’s record of relevant accomplishments is quite impressive. Our schools and our county are widely respected, and that isn’t by accident. It takes brainpower, hard work and resolve. Watson has all of those attributes. Of course, one can neither credit – nor blame – the state of the County on any one individual. But when it comes time for our next County Executive to sit at the table, tackling serious challenges with community members, business owners, government officials, and others, I have a great deal of confidence in Watson’s ability to find solutions that improve our quality of life in Howard County.
2) Her vision for the County is thoughtful and well attuned to the needs of our residents.
I have read through both of their platforms. Watson’s successes and proposals underscore her readiness for the County Executive post. For example, education is an enormously important matter, and Watson’s ideas on enhanced technology utilization in the schools, support for an International Baccalaureate program, and combatting funding inequities are bold yet realistic…and demonstrate that she fully understands the need to address current challenges while keeping an eye on future.
By comparison (since competitive elections, by their nature, compel them), Kittleman articulates some decent suggestions. However, I wonder about his ability to accomplish what he says he wants to achieve. I think Watson is better positioned to turn her ideas into actual programs and services that benefit Howard County residents. Moreover, he champions a couple of activities on his website that strike me as being a little…off. For example, he mentions his sponsorship of “Right to Work” legislation. I can see that playing better in other parts of Maryland, but not so much in Howard County.
Winding back to the original metaphor, I believe Watson delivers a better answer to the key question, “If hired, what do you want to accomplish?” If I had to grade their replies to that query based on the body of work presented thus far, I would likely assign Kittleman a B or B- with Watson receiving an A (sorry, I don’t give out A+s).
And this is Howard County…why not choose excellent when excellent is an option?
So, I would extend the job offer to Ms. Watson via my vote for her for County Executive. It is my hope that a majority of Howard County voters will do likewise.
Stay tuned, as more will follow.