Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Maryland's District 12 - The Incumbents

[Editor’s Note/Prologue:  Slats is fine.  Apparently just a bit jet-lagged from trying to race the storm to the East Coast.  He won…but at what cost?]

[Second Editor’s Note: there may be a constructive “venting” post coming up soon.  The key in that sentence is the modifier. I could write the mere venting essay right F’ing now.]

This post will cover three candidates:  Delegates Dr. Clarence Lam, Dr. Terri Hill, and Eric Ebersole. 

For the full, completed candidate questionnaires, please visit Scott E's Blog here: District 12 Completed Questionnaires

As noted (sparingly) in what still passes for traditional media in these parts, but is covered (extensively) in the local and dedicated blogosphere, Lam is facing off against County Councilperson Mary Kay Sigaty for the 12th State Senate District Democratic nomination.

I already provided a couple of excerpts from Lam’s questionnaire as part of my previous post. The completed questionnaires will provide the full picture of what was said by each candidate for each question.  You will probably want to have them in front of you as you read, or re-read, certain parts of this (and the previous) post.

As noted earlier, Sigaty opted to not respond.  With that in mind, Spartan Considerations, Howard County’s most translucent public affairs blog, is delighted to endorse Delegate Clarence Lam for the State Senate seat.  I will limit my commentary on Lam to the following:

1)    While he and I do not agree on every issue (his Social Democracy response being one example where space exists between my position and his), he was thoughtful, he grounded his responses with on-point, real-world examples, he offered sound policy prescriptions, and he took the time to engage authentically with the material…even in the midst of a hectic General Assembly schedule.  It is that elevated level of constituent care (and superior communications skills) which demonstrates why he is the best candidate for State Senate in Maryland’s 12th.   
2)    All media and policy attentive voters in the 12th should read his completed questionnaire.  I believe it provides a very useful window into his worldview on several critical issues.

Turning now to the Delegates who are running for re-election, I would also like to thank Mr. Ebersole and Dr. Hill for responding to my questionnaire, recognizing the time constraints and demands which they were both facing.

As is the case with incumbents, a fundamental question is, “Does X deserve another term?”  This contains multiple levels.  Have they engaged in any actions that would disqualify them?  No, not to my knowledge.  Have they served well?  Yes, quite so in my opinion.  Would the 12th District benefit if they were re-elected?  Yes, no reservations there. Are other candidates in the field better options?  Tough question, I believe there are two challengers that would be excellent Delegates, but they are not proven, in that role, in that way that the incumbents have been tested.  If all four of these candidates were running as challengers, I believe I have my top three, the fact that two are and two aren’t…well, it makes the decision a bit more daunting, but it is a good problem to have. 

I will say this, if the primary election were being held tomorrow, I would vote once again for Dr. Terri Hill.  From this author’s point-of-view, her questionnaire responses serve to ratify the fundamental soundness of that choice.

Her direct response to the Concentration of Wealth question captures the spirit of where the progressive movement stands today on economic issues. Would I have liked more detail here and in a couple of other places?  Sure, but I am disinclined to “ding” her questionnaire for that.

Her Social Democracy response is good insofar as it reveals a practical approach that transcends mere syncretism. Frankly, it brought to mind FDR, who she quotes later on in her responses.  No, I am not saying that Dr. Hill is FDR. I am saying that there are echoes, and that my readers would probably enjoy perusing Cass Sunstein’s book, “The Second Bill of Rights:  FDR’s Unfinished Revolution and Why We Need It More Than Ever.”

Rhetorically, and bear with me as I always wear a Communicator hat, her replies on the Race, Gender, and LGBTQIA questions were measured…they read as middle-ground progressive views. I think she showed more “edge” on the Concentration of Wealth and Class Warfare questions.  How will this work with the electorate of the 12th in 2018?...always a fundamental question… I believe rather well, bearing in mind context, audience, and purpose.

Regarding Mr. Ebersole, overall, I think he did an excellent job weaving Big Picture thesis statements with supporting details, this was most notable on the Concentration of Wealth and Racial Discrimination questions.

He, as others did, punted on the social democracy question, re-framing it as a query on social justice.  Related…but different.

I would have liked to have read an overarching statement of principle on the Liberty/Equality question, he went straight into cases here.

His response on Gender Equality utilized the helpful “prospective employer past pay inquiry” example.  His reply on the LGBTQIA question was quite similar, in spirit, to Dr. Hill’s.

So, am I endorsing Mr. Ebersole today? No.  Why? Because Howard and Feldmark are also running and I can only pick three.  Mr. Ebersole passes most of the standard “re-elect” tests and is a capable legislator, but we are not hurting for talent in this Democratic field.  More time is needed to consider the possibilities.

Today is two-for Tuesday, so you get both closings…

Stay tuned, as more will follow.

In solidarity.

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