The weather cleared for State Sen. Barry Glassman Saturday, and as expected the Harford village of Level saw its native son announce his candidacy for Harford County Executive before an estimated 1,000 supporters.
Many attendees said it was the largest and most unique political kickoff they had ever attended, with demand so high that the campaign had to stop selling tickets the week before.
The Level Volunteer Fire Company was transformed into a festival venue decked out in the campaign's colors of blue and green, with Glassman's bio video shown on a huge LED screen alongside a stage with 30-foot banners. The colors were presented by the Harford County Volunteer Fire & EMS Association Honor Guard.
Northern Harford Del. Wayne Norman said, "It was like being at a rock concert. Barry's speech was great, the food was good and the company was awesome."
Realtor Carole Bowen added, "What an event. Has to be the best campaign announcement event I've ever attended and I been to quite a few in my day."
In announcing his bid for county executive, the Republican Glassman laid out his thoughts on bringing smartphone efficiency to local government – a government that is "smaller, quicker and more efficient, yet provides improved service."
Glassman discussed keeping law enforcement as a top priority, and relying on his experience as a volunteer firefighter and as co-chair of the state Fire & EMS Caucus, he will "work to transition through the county's growing pains to maintain its history as the premier volunteer provider system in the state of Maryland."
Regarding education, Glassman spoke of partnering with the Board of Education to share services to save money in an effort to offset new state mandates and further cuts in state K-12 education funding.
"The board and county must come together to use technology to streamline and share duplicative services so we can invest in the future of Harford County education," he said. "But make no mistake; technology will never substitute for having a quality teacher in the classroom."
Glassman stated that his administration will push for local job creation and promotion of local businesses, and will focus not only on attracting new businesses, but more importantly, on protecting existing businesses and supporting their continued growth.
Perhaps the loudest applause came when he talked about protecting Harford's agricultural community, saying that his first directive to the county's law department would be to assign a deputy attorney to file suit in state and federal court "to begin challenging these state mandates, whether it's this crazy Rain Tax or new regs that threaten our farmers or our children's dreams of building a home."
Glassman, who was born and raised in Level, discussed his humble upbringing in which his family "didn't have everything, but we had everything we needed." He also spoke of his journey from the Republican Central Committee to the Harford County Council, then on to Annapolis in the House of Delegates and finally the seat of his mentor the late Sen. Bob Hooper. He thanked his wife of 25 years, Debi ,and son, Jordan, for all of their love and support over his years of public service.
As he closed, Glassman made reference to the flock of sheep that he and his family raise on their Darlington farm, saying, "A good shepherd, like a public servant, should keep his flock first in mind, guide it and let it prosper and multiply. I am ready to shepherd Harford County. Join me as we make history for this tiny village and for Harford County."
For more information about Glassman's campaign for county executive, visit http://www.barryglassman.com.