The Bay Net continues the tradition we started in the primary of endorsing candidates in the November 4th General Election. Early voting runs through October 30th.

Your vote is your voice. When we vote, we are actually telling elected officials and lawmakers how we feel about education, public safety, Social Security, health care, and other important issues. One voice, one vote really does count! There is power in numbers and when we vote and get our family and friends to vote, we can truly make a difference. If you don’t vote for what you believe in, others will and you may not like the outcome.

Voting changes communities! Do you ever wonder why one neighborhood gets passed over for the things it needs, while another seems to get it all? One big reason is voting. When we vote, we can get results that we can actually see. Vote to effect change. Voting is our chance to make a difference in our own lives and within the world.

This election doesn’t appear to be generating much interest, portending a low turnout. We hope that doesn’t turn out to be true. There are not only many opportunities to vote before the polls close on November 4th, but there are also many opportunities to find out about the candidates.

For this election The Bay Net has taken a giant step of conducting a series of video interviews with the candidates. These interviews will be appearing on our Elections page and You Tube Channel. We encourage you to watch them and become an informed voter.

Now more than ever

There are two crucial contests in Calvert County that we would like to call special attention to because of their importance to our economic future. We are supporting Larry Hogan (R) for governor and the return of Steny Hoyer (D) to Congress.

The administration of Martin O’Malley hasn’t played very well in Calvert County. The most recent dagger was the veto by the governor of the wind turbine bill. That veto could seriously impact the survival of the base that provides so many jobs to Calvert County residents. To pick a marginally economic activity over one of the largest in the state (Pax River) for what appears to be catering to environmental groups for a presidential bid is the worst kind of politics.

Anthony Brown has many fine qualities and his service to his country is particularly laudable. Brown spent five years on active duty after college, flying helicopters with the 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division in Europe. He remained in the Army Reserves and in 2004, while serving his second term in the House of Delegates, he received orders for mobilization to Iraq. He deployed to Baghdad with the 353rd Civil Affairs Command on September 11, 2004, and served a 10-month tour of duty working with military and civilian officials to deliver humanitarian assistance to the people of the war-torn country.  Brown’s distinguished service in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom earned him the Bronze Star, the fourth-highest combat award of the U.S. Armed Forces.

We, however, see very little difference between O’Malley’s right hand man and the last eight years of governance and that’s the problem with electing Anthony Brown as governor.

The issue that will propel Hogan into the governor’s chair is the economy and jobs. Maryland has failed miserably in that regard, largely because of its tax policies that put us at a competitive disadvantage with other states. Hogan has the qualifications and experience and is by far the best candidate to get us out of the mess the state is in.

Steny Hoyer has been a leader in making sure that the Patuxent River Naval Air and Webster Field not only survive but prosper. If not for Hoyer we would not have Webster Field and we also would not have NAVAIR at Pax River.  He is a highly regarded leader who deserves another term and an opportunity to continue his successes on behalf of all of Southern Maryland.

Chris Chaffee, Hoyer’s Republican opponent, has run an energetic, well intentioned campaign, but he clearly does not have the experience that Hoyer has.

Calvert at a crossroads

Politically, Calvert County finds itself at a crossroads. In county government, at least two new commissioners will be sworn in before the year ends. The board will be dealing with the effects of arguably the most monumental construction project in the region’s history. While there are many laborers excited to have the work, there is plenty of pushback from residents living in proximity to Cove Point Liquefied Natural Gas Plant in Lusby and their ranks are joined by outside environmentalists who have vowed to fight on despite federal and state regulatory approval for the expansion plan. The five commissioners will be floating in the soup—with citizens who are frustrated with the traffic and noise issues sounding off. Additionally, the demands for pay raises for educators, law enforcement and the county government workforce will continue as Calvert seeks to emerge from the past six years’ economic doldrums. Add to that the ongoing efforts to remove the “unfriendly to business” brand that has been burned into Calvert County’s hide, keeping growth at a manageable level, plus addressing some onerous state mandates and the next board has a challenging four years ahead. Five capable individuals—regardless of party affiliation—must be selected.

Here are the five who have earned The Bay Net’s endorsement.

County Commissioners

First Election District – Local businessman Mike Hart, who emerged as the winner from a hotly contested Republican Primary in June is the clear choice. The longtime county resident is a young, reputable businessman who speaks passionately about bringing the now-divided community of Lusby together and committing resources to ending Calvert’s recent rise in drug abuse. His opponent, Democratic candidate Emad Dides, has diligently participated in the various candidates’ forums. However, Hart has clearly demonstrated he is the better candidate.

Second Election District – Incumbent Pat Nutter got our endorsement for the Republican Primary and also earns our nod for the General Election. Nutter is a calming voice in a storm and his demeanor and vast experience in crisis management will be much needed over the next four years. We commend his challengers, Democrat Michael Moore and Libertarian Peggy O’Donnell for raising some important issues during the campaign. We hope both will continue their activism.

Third Election District – While Democrat Kelly McConkey has done a commendable job in his first two years as a member of the Board of Education, Republican incumbent Evan K. Slaughenhoupt Jr. has made strides, too, in his first term as county commissioner. While Slaughenhoupt withheld support for two balanced operating budgets, the nay votes were registered in disagreement with the process. And the process seems to have improved. Slaughenhoupt also played a role in the county’s response to a serious situation at a local mobile home park. The Dunkirk resident has also worked well with elected county officials from across the state through his participation in the Maryland Association of Counties. His and McConkey’s leadership will be needed in the upcoming years but we feel that McConkey’s leadership role, for now, is as a member of the board of education, the job the voters gave him two years ago. 

At-large seats – Two candidates from a field of five will emerge as commissioners at-large. The hopefuls are a most interesting group—Democrats George W. Owings III and Joyce Stinnett Baki, Republicans Steve Weems and Tom Hejl, and Independent Paul Harrison.

The Bay Net sustains its endorsement of Steve Weems from the Primary. Like Nutter, Weems has been a calming force in the commissioners’ hearing room the last four years. He also understands the challenges and concerns of small business owners and parents of school-age children. That perspective is needed on the board.

While Owings has an impressive resume, is a local legend and works well with individuals of all political persuasions; although Hejl has administrative acumen as the longtime assistant sheriff, and despite Harrison’s engaging, populist approach to local politics; The Bay Net feels Joyce Stinnett Baki would be a better choice and would be a change agent. The county government’s tourism specialist, Baki exudes enthusiasm about Calvert’s potential as a destination for travelers and visitors. It’s a vision that makes sense for a small, rural county rich in history and surrounded by water. She will also bring a measure of gender balance and party balance to the board.

State legislature

Republican Steve Waugh is making his second attempt to unseat four-term State Senator Roy Dyson for the District 29 Senate seat that includes all of St. Mary’s County and the lower half of Calvert. While Waugh has an impressive military career and has done important work since his retirement, those accomplishments don’t trump Dyson’s record on behalf of the people of his district. Dyson is a conservative Democrat who often votes like a Republican. Yet his tenure has put him in a position of being able to accomplish much for Southern Maryland. Waugh is a conservative Republican. There is very little difference between Dyson and Waugh on the issues. The Bay Net can see very little reason to make a change just for change sake.  We wholeheartedly endorse the re-election of Roy Dyson to the Maryland Senate.

The District 27C is an extremely difficult race to call. Incumbent Republican Mark Fisher and his Democrat challenger, former delegate Sue Kullen, both have legislative experience. How an individual feels about the measures they have advocated for and opposed will probably be the deciding factor for that voter. One high-profile Democrat has frequently proclaimed that “Calvert County made a mistake” in 2010 when Kullen was voted out of office. However, voters collectively don’t make mistakes. The newly drawn district remains moderate to conservative in its prevailing ideology. Both Kullen and Fisher deserve much credit for taking their campaigns to the voters’ front doors. Whoever wins will certainly take that courage, intrepidness and work ethic to Annapolis. With Maryland’s General Assembly traditionally unbalanced and in desperate need of parity, The Bay Net gives its endorsement to Delegate Mark Fisher.

In the District 29C House of Delegates race, incumbent Republican Tony O’Donnell is vying for his fifth consecutive four-year term. He is challenged by Calvert County resident Len Zuza, a Democrat who has been a leader in a very successful oyster cultivation project. O’Donnell is a seasoned legislator who showed leadership by meeting with opponents of the Cove Point LNG Exportation project. Although O’Donnell steadfastly maintained his support for the controversial project, he impressed the project opponents with his willingness to listen and answer all of their questions. Although Zuza has government experience and a good reputation on environmental issues, Tony O’Donnell’s experience, we feel, makes him the preferred choice.

To present the voters of Southern Maryland the opportunity to make the most informed choice this election, we’ve conducted a series of interviews with all local candidates who would agree to sit with us.

These videos give you an opportunity to hear each candidate as they express their views and plans for the various issues in a one-on-one interview setting.
To view these interviews, please click