Originally I was going to write today's post about the Republican "litmus test" in the County Executive's race in Anne Arundel County. But, I really hate litmus tests in politics in general. So much of politics is situational. And sometimes situations happen to align in politics where the right person comes along at the right time, supply meets demand in the political marketplace, and opportunity meets availability.
And this train of thought led me to a better place for today's post. It's after April 15 after all, and I promised to start endorsements! And for my first endorsement, I'm going to a place in the county where a candidate has been placed through a litmus test of sorts, and also, where a candidate has availed himself to the community who is uniquely qualified to take advantage of the opportunities within that community.
And so my first endorsement of the 2014 primary cycle is Tom Coale for Delegate in District 9B.
District 9B is Howard County's newest legislative district and one that is near and dear to my heart. And it is one who has, over decades, realized very few benefits from the State of Maryland. Sure, school construction funds, and sure, Patapsco State Park, and sure, highways. But very little else. This is a condition due to 28 years of representation on the Delegate level, and for 24 years on the State Senate level, by members of the minority party.
But the needs in Ellicott City are real. The environmental, economic, and most importantly, public safety danger that another massive flood presents to Ellicott City is very real and the state is best positioned to address this danger. The 7 day a week traffic jam on US40 at rush hours, and on weekend mornings, is ridiculous. Ellicott City is one part of the county that is home to a very economically diverse population, and a true representative of Ellicott City has to be concerned about bringing jobs to town. Ellicott City also boasts a highly educated, highly talented, affluent population and I have found its residents to be wanting value for their tax dollars.
There are very few people in all of Howard County who understand the flooding issue in Ellicott City like Tom Coale does. Not just among the candidates for this office-- I mean people in the entire community. Sending him to Annapolis is the strongest possible message someone concerned about this issue could make.
And that's the cool thing about sending someone to Annapolis who will represent the majority in Annapolis: that person can actually represent the people. That person can work to get things done, not complain about why things aren't. Finding solutions to alleviate traffic issues, working to bring business to Ellicott City-- these are issues central to not just Tom's campaign, but his convictions as to what public service should be. About helping, about solving problems and serving the public good. Not about blocking and complaining.
And here is the particularly interesting thing about what I see about a Delegate Coale's service to the people of 9B. Given his background as a CA Board member and as a leader in the local blogocracy, I believe we can be treated to a peek under the State House dome the likes of which we have never seen in this state. Will all secrets be revealed? Even public service has a private side so I doubt we'd see transcripts of one-on-one meetings with the Speaker. But I do think we will get an up close and personal view of the Annapolis process and product than could ever be presented in any other way. And for that matter, by anyone else!
Tom's opponent, Rich Corkran, is a nice man and a stalwart Democrat. He has a long history of public service as a retired teacher and former member of the local Democratic Central Committee. I maintain that his presence in this campaign represents a pale attempt by some Democratic leaders to force Tom to tack to the left ideologically. While I believe the primary challenge has forced him to work harder, in the long run a good thing, I believe the original justification for the primary challenge is superfluous.
And last, in full disclosure, I have known Tom now for a few years, especially so over about the last year and a half and I consider him a friend. In that time I have seen his taste for public service grow from a pastime to a commitment to a passion. Howard County will send a lot of freshman Delegates to Annapolis in 2014. We will be hard pressed to send a more passionate, committed individual to Annapolis than Tom Coale. It is my pleasure to endorse him for this office.
Tomorrow: the 9B Republican primary and the remainder of District 9!
Today is Ford Mustang Day! I have written previously of Tom's awesome red Mustang.
Let's be careful out there.