On the note that it was a “sign of enthusiasm that so many were running,” in the words of club president Marc Kilmer, we began our September meeting. Certainly it was much more orderly than the August edition I missed.
We did have a brief departure from normal as two people who wanted to be heard spoke before our normal business was concluded, for they had other pressing obligations. Charles Otto, winner of the District 38A nod, said that “we can’t take this election for granted” while his District 37A counterpart Dustin Mills spoke of the “great response” his effort was receiving and pushed his upcoming small business fundraiser October 4th.
At that point we went over the minutes and treasurer’s report, with Kilmer alerting the club we had made our candidate donations to a number of quality people throughout the county, as well as state and federal races. Toward that effort, it was revealed that the Crab Feast in particular swelled our coffers as one of the more profitable recently.
Our speaker was State’s Attorney candidate Matt Maciarello.
He detailed an early background of working his way through Wor-Wic Community College and Salisbury University before landing a civilian job with the Navy. There he learned about Organizational Change Management, to which he opined, “I believe my management ability…will serve Wicomico County well.”
After going to law school at the University of Maryland, Matt cut his legal teeth as a law clerk in Worcester County before securing his current employment at the local law firm of Hearne and Bailey. The partners there were examples of integrity, honor, and diligence, according to Maciarello – to him, law is “an honorable profession…I love the law.”
Describing himself further as “a very competitive person,” Matt began to spell out his vision for the State’s Attorney office; one he said could be more efficient and more effective given increased communication and collaboration. Matt spoke of being a “proactive community prosecutor…I’m a ‘broken windows’ kind of guy.” He also wanted to adopt the High Point Initiative to combat the drug problem, and spoke of combatting a surge in white-collar crime by educating businesses on what to look out for.
Matt also claimed that he had the support of the law enforcement community and considered himself, “goal oriented…I’m gonna get the job done.”
Regarding his recent decision to ask current SA Davis Ruark to remain for the Sarah Foxwell case, as the Foxwell family desires, Matt termed it his “Plan A” but also had plans B and C in mind if Ruark turned down the request. But Matt related that people who work on a case from start to finish develop a “sixth sense” about it and he thought this would assist the prosecution of Thomas Leggs. As for naysayers about the decision, Matt’s broadside was, “the minute I start doing things for Matt Maciarello is the minute I fail the community.”
A question asked by a club member about recidivism elicited this statement from Matt. “I want that fear (of punishment) to be out there in the criminal’s mind.”
“I’m in favor of ‘one strike and you’re out’, depending on what the crime is,” continued Maciarello.
But another question about the nolle pros and stet docket turned Matt into an educator. He has to be both an advocate for and administrator of justice, and there’s a difference between the “probable cause” required to bring charges and the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard for conviction. By doing a constant triage on cases based on the progress of the investigation and whether the best punishment is conviction or the conditions usually associated with a nolle pros or probation before judgement, the amount of time wasted for law enforcement officers to wait around in court or testify on losing cases can be reduced. Matt sympathized with officers who come off overnight road duty only to find themselves stuck in court for hours on end. These outcomes would be used “when it’s in the interest of justice.”
We then heard a number of brief reports.
Addie Eckardt spoke about some confusion regarding “agency” of absentee ballots that may need to be clarified in next year’s General Assembly. A few races have turned when an extraordinarily high number of absentee ballots are returned favoring one candidate. We should be mindful of both that and the early voting process.
Both Patrick Hefflinger of the local GOP Victory Center and Mark McIver, representing the local Ehrlich campaign, spoke about particular GOTV efforts and volunteering – each Saturday morning we were invited to walk local neighborhoods. Mark Biehl of the Lower Shore Young Republicans told us they were doing their part each Wednesday at the Victory Center and they had “a good turnout…we made a profit” at their Hog Roast.
Speaking for the Republican Central Committee, John Bartkovich bemoaned the 26 percent turnout locally and said, “we have a lot of work to do…don’t rely on the Republican wave” spoken of in the national media. We need to have all Republican hands on deck to carry our local candidates to victory.
Delegate Carolyn Elmore piped up to remind us that we need to support the primary winners – “we cannot circle the wagons and fire inward.”
Joe Ollinger announced he’d had a “great” fundraiser and promoted future campaign efforts in his bid to replace Rick Pollitt.
Judge Bill Smith allowed us to vote for two Democrats; “I’d like to keep the two I have” as fellow members of the Orphan’s Court. Those two would be Norma Lee Barkley and Melissa Bright Pollitt.
Matt Holloway chimed in that he was “blown away” by the support he had in his County Council at-large primary.
Bob Caldwell, Sean Jester (representing Mike McDermott), Ann Suthowski (who is coordinating the Eric Wargotz for Senate campaign here in Wicomico County), and Mark McIver (for the Ehrlich campaign) all updated us briefly on progress.
Joe Holloway is unopposed for his District 5 seat but opined, “we need new management in this county (and) a good, conservative County Council.”
Notably absent was a report on the Andy Harris campaign.
The last word belonged to Marc Kilmer, who told us the October meeting would feature Joe Ollinger, Bob Culver, and Joe Holloway, and our Christmas Party will be held Sunday, December 12.
That October meeting is slated for October 25.