Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Who I Support in District 4

By Kevin Gillogly.

I was a strong Don Praisner supporter in the last election. As an activist in District 4, I could not sit on the sidelines while our county is faced with a fiscal situation that grows with each passing week.

I have spent the past month talking with friends and colleagues about this race. I also listened to the candidates. I talked with most of them. In fact, I was sitting down with former candidate Chris Paladino in Rockville the day his mother-in-law fell ill. Our conversation was interrupted by calls from his wife from the hospital in Florida. I talked to union members. I talked to council members and staff. I spent time with folks that are active voters but not as involved as me (and you) are in this process. I went to last week’s Audubon Debate undecided. I did not want to make this decision lightly. This will be the fifth and possibly deciding vote on many key issues facing our County. So I wanted to be sure in my choice.

I am supporting Ben Kramer. When we recently spoke as well as when he spoke at the first debate, he held a strong command of the issues facing MoCo. He obviously understands the state issues. He showed depth on the county concerns as well. That link between state and county will be important.

But the primary reason I am supporting Ben Kramer is that we are faced with unprecedented fiscal issues in the county. The budget is now projected at $620 million. It was just over $400 million last fall when we elected Barack Obama as our next President. And it was just over $200 million when we had the special election a year ago. We need someone who has the independence, background and fiscal responsibility to deal with something county has never seen.

Ben Kramer is the fiscally responsible Democrat who is ready to make the tough choices. He is respected by his peers. He has deep roots in the community, having been born and raised in District 4. He also has an excellent working relationship with the County Executive. And as a supporter of Ike Leggett in 2006 I want to see Ike succeed.

I wish the other candidates well. I hope my civic friends who are supporting Cary Lamari will respect my choice as I respect theirs. The same goes for my labor and progressive friends that have gone for Nancy Navarro. It is a testament to quality of people we have in District 4 that we will have a fine successor to the Praisners. For me, the person who embodies finest qualities of Marilyn and Don – independence, deep roots in the community, hard working, constituent service, a voice for everyman (woman) and fiscal responsibility – is Ben Kramer.

I will be working for his election on Tuesday April 21, and I ask you to please come join me.