LEONARDTOWN, Md. – On September 20, 2021, Senator Jack Bailey addressed the Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission to express his opposition to draft redistricting maps that would move 15,000 St. Mary’s County residents, placing them into a Senate district that encompasses parts of Anne Arundel County and all of Calvert County. The Senator, along with Delegate Matt Morgan addressed the need to keep St. Mary’s County together and represented by a single Senate district and the importance of accessible and available representation to the citizens of St. Mary’s County and the County’s economic future.
A copy of Senator Bailey’s remarks as prepared for delivery to the Commission can be found below:
“Thank you for the opportunity to address you today and for the work that you are doing to bring fair Congressional and legislative districts to Maryland. It is imperative that you keep St. Mary’s County together.
I am here today to express my concern, and a concern that I have heard from many St. Mary’s County residents in recent days, regarding the draft Senate map proposal that has been published by this Commission.
For decades, the entirety of St. Mary’s County has been represented by one Senator in Annapolis. Because St. Mary’s alone does not have enough population to be entitled to its own Senatorial district, the district that I currently represent also includes a part of Calvert County, and at times has included a part of Charles County. It has been an honor to represent the residents of Southern Calvert County as well as St. Mary’s County for the past three years, and it would be the same honor to represent residents from Charles County as well if given that opportunity. The Southern Maryland Delegation works together on a variety of issues that affect all three counties, but St. Mary’s County has its own unique set of issues that are best addressed by having one Senator representing the entire county.
This plan, as presently constructed, would sever portions of Mechanicsville, Oakville, Hollywood, and California from the rest of St. Mary’s County. The area being carved out includes part of the St. Mary’s County Innovation District, including St. Mary’s County Regional Airport and the University of Maryland at Southern Maryland. The St. Mary’s Delegation has worked hard to help support the growth of this area, and separating parts of it from the rest of the county would make future State support for the tremendous economic opportunities offered by this region more difficult.
With Naval Air Station Patuxent River and the associated businesses and contractors, we are now home to one of the largest employers in the State of Maryland. This split of St. Mary’s County has the potential to create a variety of obstacles for the military base and the related businesses that are the backbone of the economy of St. Mary’s County. Almost 80% of our workforce is associated with NAS Patuxent River and we need to maintain cohesive government representation to continue to support this large economic driver for the State of Maryland.
Our constituents who, for several decades, have known who their state Senator is simply because they live in St. Mary’s County will now have to know which side of this arbitrary district line they live on to find their representative. For those living in the carved-out portion of the County, they will go from having a Senator focused on the entire county to one representing a part of St. Mary’s County, Anne Arundel, and Calvert Counties. This will work against the interests of St. Mary’s County residents having access to approachable and available representation, which I believe should be a priority of State government.
This objection is not partisan in nature, it is only about ensuring that the residents of St. Mary’s County have the representation that they deserve in Annapolis. While I know that some splitting of counties is inevitable in any plan, I firmly believe that St. Mary’s County should continue to remain together at the state Senate level, a model that has worked to the benefit of the county and our residents for decades. Thank you for your time and your attention to our concerns.”