EDITOR’S NOTE: The following article is the first in what TheBAYNET.com hopes to become a series of ‘Meet the Candidate” interview articles. To that end, any politician, incumbent or challenger, for any office in the state, may contact news@thebaynet.com and set up a time to be interviewed in order to introduce themselves and their platform(s) to the voting public.

It may not be politics as usual for the 2010 election. On Wednesday, Jan. 6, Calvert resident, retired Majority Whip of Maryland’s House of Delegates, George Owings, III, will formally announce his candidacy for Governor.

In an exclusive interview with TheBAYNET.com, Owings, a long-time Democrat, outlined the reasons he has decided to run against incumbent, Martin O’Malley.

“A lot of people think I have no chance against the political machine that supports our current governor,” said Owings. “I have watched [O’Malley] bring his city style of leadership to Annapolis and felt it was time to return some common sense to the office.”

Owings explained that the first sign he noticed that things were heading in the wrong direction was when the first order of business after the election was for [O’Malley] to take the state to the highest level of taxation since its inception 375 years ago. “He also raised a lot of salaries of higher ranking officials and that makes no fiscal sense,” said Owings.

“Even in the 90’s when we had some significant troubles managing the budget and running the state, we didn’t have to resort to the current level of taxation.”

Owings feels that, while Maryland is experiencing significant revenue shortages as is every other state, to rely on Federal subsidies and moneys to come to the rescue just doesn’t make any sense. “Everything has to be looked at, including taxes,” said Owings. “If it makes sense then it needs to be looked into.”

Owings admitted that additional taxes may be necessary in the long run, but more than just ferreting out new tax revenues needs to be done to balance the state’s budget. “Programs need to be looked at and cuts need to be made, but not at the expense of the dedicated people that make this state run.”

Owings is a staunch supporter of the much maligned state employees who have endured serious financial hardships with the indiscriminant furloughs and firings that have occurred lately in an effort to salvage the state’s revenues. “State employees will not see a full paycheck until the first week of the next budget in July,” said Owings.

He went on to emphasize that he knows what people think about state employees, but that they are the ones that run the state. “Politicians come and go and are temporary, these dedicated professionals make the state run – before each election and after those elected are long gone,” said Owings.

During his tenure as a public servant for the people of 27B and 29A districts, Owings served 17 years, 10 as the Majority Whip until he resigned his position to take the Secretary of Veterans Affairs position. “I did so even though I could have stayed comfortable in my House seat for another 17 years,” said Owings.

Owings feels passionate about the state. He is an advocate for veteran’s affairs and those that cannot help themselves, those that need assistance for their very survival. However, he holds no delusions about the state of the economy, or his chances against O’Malley in the coming election.

“I know I am climbing up the north side of the mountain, but someone has to i