Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Marc Korman on "Why I Voted for Al Carr"

Given how opaque the central committee process can seem to those who are not on the committee, I thought I would share with you why I chose to vote for Al Carr in last night's election. First, I just want to point out that the sole purpose of the central committee is not to fill vacancies. We are Montgomery County's Democratic Party and we work year in and year out to keep the local party strong to ensure that Democrats keep getting elected to pass and support progressive policies. If you are not already involved in our precinct organization and other activities and would like to be, please contact me.

That said, last night our major task was to nominate an individual to fill Delegate Jane Lawton's seat. This was a task none of us wanted, but the rules dictated that we address it last night all the same. I think we can all agree that there were many good candidates and each would have brought admirable qualities to the job of delegate. I am optimistic that those who did not win will stay as engaged and active as they always have been. For me, who to vote for was not an easy decision and I did not know for certain which candidate I would pick until the ballot was in my hand. This was after attending a portion of the D18 Forum on Sunday (I had to leave early to study for law school exams), meeting for an interview with each candidate on Saturday, hearing the candidates' answer a few questions before we voted, and reading a flood of emails and blog postings about the candidates. I also spoke to a few of the candidates and their supporters on the phone, though not as many as I expected. I know for many of my colleagues, even more work was done in coming to their individual decisions.

Al Carr did not get my vote for any one, specific reason. In fact, many of the reasons I supported him were not qualities unique to him. Al Carr, in my view, offered the best package of the qualities I was looking for. These include progressive values, knowledge of the district and the issues it faces, a history of local community engagement both politically and civically, a willingness to engage in the hard work required of a delegate as shown by his past experience, and the support of many members of the community including people I know and respect.

Just as all the candidates had attractive qualities, none were perfect either. During last night's process, I asked a question about the Purple Line and the gas tax. None of the five candidates gave the answer I would have liked. But Al Carr gave an answer offering a realistic alternative to the gas tax that showed he was knowledgeable about the issues and had thought about them before. With the General Session starting next month, this demonstrated to me that Al Carr could hit the ground running for District 18. Normally, candidates for office have a year long election to learn their communities and the issues facing them. With an appointment, this is not the case so I felt the district would be best served by picking someone who already had that ability. That belief and the qualities listed above convinced me to cast my vote for Al Carr.

Many will poke holes in my specific reasons for supporting Al Carr. Others will say that Al Carr was the pick of this powerful politician, or that powerful politician, and that is why he won (if this were the case, all of these powerful people forgot to call me to try and sway my vote). Others will simply express outrage at the entire appointment process, as opposed to a special election. I cannot, nor do I want, to stop people from expressing their views. All I can say is that for me, my decision was made by myself, sitting in the central committee offices, listening to the candidates and trying to come to the best decision I could. Time will tell if my decision was the right one, but for now I wish Delegate-elect Al Carr good luck in his new position and hope he serves his constituents well.

Thank you,

Marc Korman
District 16
Montgomery County
Democratic Central Committee