WCRC meeting – July 2012
There is rarely a dull moment when Delegate Mike McDermott is around, and tonight’s Wicomico County Republican Club meeting was no different.
Once we got through the Lord’s Prayer, Pledge of Allegiance, my usual reading of the minutes, and the treasurer’s report, we also received a nice note from WCRC scholarship winner Jonathan Hurst that we shared with the membership.
But the folks were there to hear Mike McDermott speak, and that he did. After noting that he wanted to hear our concerns, he made sure to thank those who ran for office – I’m “thankful for the roads you paved,” said Mike. Both Wicomico and Worcester counties have been successful in advancing GOP candidates, with two exceptions: Delegate Norm Conway and Senator Jim Mathias. In 2010, “we had opportunity that was there,” said McDermott. And while we came up a little short, “we have a great foundation,” McDermott said.
Still, Mike contended that we needed to do a little better at “painting the picture,” reminding people that the GOP is “about people being allowed to be all they can be.” On the other hand, Democrats in Annapolis were overly restrictive and created “punitive” policies: case in point, restrictions which added up to $25,000 to the cost of building a home in certain areas of the state. It echoed a theme he brought up at the end of the regular General Assembly session. “Don’t you make a mistake,” said Mike, “that (regulating development) is their goal.”
Michael also spoke briefly on the possible upcoming Special Session for expanding gambling, predicting they’ll be “back up in Annapolis in the next two weeks.” But he did assess that Democrats are “standing in the way of their own voters” with their entrenched positions on many issues. Yet Republicans had “core values (which) need to be untouchable” in order to represent the best interests of their constituents, McDermott concluded.
In the absence of Dave Parker, Ann Suthowski gave an abbreviated Central Committee report. She spoke about our upcoming August meeting and having a presence at the upcoming Wicomico Farm and Home Show.
Shawn Jester also gave a short Lower Shore Young Republican report, saying the group had gone dormant over the last few months but the state YRs had promised them assistance over the next few months to kickstart the group once again.
Bonnie Luna was multitasking this evening, handling reports for the Andy Harris and Mitt Romney campaigns as well as updating us on the new party headquarters, which I’ll get to momentarily. She first thanked the WCRC and the Central Committee for all their support and praised McDermott for his “exciting and encouraging message.”
The 2012 headquarters will be at 800 South Salisbury Boulevard, which is a former Blockbuster video store. It will have a “soft opening” on August 1st, with the grand opening set for Saturday, August 18. Another event likely to be held at headquarters will be a Romney watch party on August 30, once he accepts the GOP nomination.
Jackie Wellfonder chimed in for Dan Bongino’s campaign, saying she has campaign materials but looking for 4×8 sign location.
Woody Willing spoke about getting the 9,000 or so unaffiliated voters to our side, but more formally revealed that election judge training will happen “soon.”
Representing Election Integrity Maryland, Cathy Keim mentioned the total number of registration challenges levied by the group passed the 9,000 mark because voter rolls aren’t being kept up to date. These challenges are only from Baltimore, Montgomery, and Prince George’s counties. She also mentioned that the EIM poll watcher training will soon be available in webinar format on July 31-August 1 and August 14-15. But even after that training, Keim cautioned that poll watchers need authorization from a candidate or Central Committee to operate.
I gave a very quick assessment of the Tawes Crab and Clam Bake (much shorter than this) and pointed out there was a signup sheet for the Farm and Home Show – we will have a presence there.
One other announcement: tickets are also on sale for the club’s Crab Feast.
County Council member Gail Bartkovich then took the floor, updating us on progress from both the county’s Redistricting Committee and Charter Review Committee, both of which are proposing “drastic changes.” One interesting Charter provision is term limits for the County Executive, something which we were told was in the original proposal which created the position a decade ago but excised by the then-Democrat controlled County Council.
The plan is for public hearings to be scheduled, with the final decision made in mid-August. I will have more on the subject as the time draws closer.