Candidates discuss siding across the aisle

Maryland's most populous districts lean liberal, while some smaller counties sway conservative. Thus, reaching across the aisle is essential in Maryland politics in order to get laws passed.

Seven Republicans for the District 5 House of Delegates are seeking to move on to November's general election. Voters can select up to three candidates in the June 24 primary election, who will then move on to the general election.

The two House Democrat candidates will automatically move on to the general election. In the District 5 Senate race, both the Republican and Democrat candidates are running unopposed.

The Times asked candidates to name one issue they agree with that's mainly supported by legislators from another party.

District 5 House of Delegates Republican candidates

Carmen Amedori: As a delegate, I supported Gov. Ehrlich's proposal for slots at the race tracks. This was critical to save Maryland's long tradition of horse racing. Unfortunately, the Democrats blocked the initiative only to support it with Martin O'Malley as governor. The revenues that have been generated have been successful in protecting our horse farms and horse related agriculture. This is an area where I would work with the Democrats to ensure the state gaming program has continued success. Carroll's delegates were stridently opposed to the statewide gaming bill and thus were unable to get a local gaming bill through when they requested support of other legislators. It is because of the inability of the current House delegates to work with the other side of the aisle that our local gaming bill was killed each year.

Donald Elliott: As a member of the legislature I have noted there is bipartisan support on issues of public safety and animal protection bills. As a member of the Health and Government Operations Committee with the exception of legislation pertaining to the Affordable Care Act, many legislative proposals dedicated to improving the health of Marylanders receive universal support.

Susan Krebs: There are many issues of agreement with my colleagues and we work together to reach consensus. One I am particularly proud of is my efforts working with a Baltimore city delegate and senator to sponsor and pass a licensure bill for Naturopathic Doctors. We received the Legislative Champion Award for 2014 by the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians for our efforts. We collaborated on this effort for three years in order to bring more options to Marylanders for health care providers. The focus on wellness and prevention of chronic disease by these professionals is the way of the future for our health care system. We agree that our current health care path is unsustainable. We worked against great resistance from the established medical profession and high paid lobbyists, but focused on doing the right thing and were successful in our efforts. The bill passed unanimously in both Houses.

Justin Ready: I've been able to work across the aisle with some Democrats on issues like government transparency -- where we created a bi-partisan commission on open government -- reforming state spending practices in procurement and contracting to be sure that Maryland small businesses can have the ability to bid on state contracts without onerous restrictions, and perhaps the best thing that we were able to work together in the past year was passing death tax relief. This re-coupled our estate tax rate with the federal rate of $5 million. This is something that will really help our agricultural community as well as small business owners and improve our chances of keeping retirees in Maryland.

Haven Shoemaker: I think that the other side's emphasis on adequate funding for education is important. Unfortunately, Carroll County hasn't benefited from that to the extent I would like. I hope to make the case for a fairer allocation of resources to Carroll County.

Joshua Stonko: One issue that we agree on is that we must adequately fund public safety. First responders throughout our county and state must be provided with proper equipment to protect themselves and our residents. The only way to ensure that police, fire, and EMS are given this protection is to allocate the appropriate funds so that they have the most state-of-the-art, high-tech equipment. Our delegation, led by Del. Krebs, voted against high tech police equipment in SB171 that would lead to safer streets.

Kevin Utz: I'm proud that both sides agreed that re-funding of local municipalities Highway User Revenues and state aid to police was important. Municipalities struggled for several years with decreasing funds and deteriorating roads when the state removed these line items from the budget. I will find other issues that I can see as positive and bi-partisan to support in my tenure as a legislator.


District 5 House of Delegates Democratic candidates

Zachary Hands: I agree that we need to afford parents the choice of where they want to send their child to school.

Dorothy Scanlan: I will offer two examples: one is a bill that was passed in the 2014 legislative session, and one is a bill that needs to be passed during the next session. The bill that needs to be passed is the one that will allow the Carroll County Volunteer Emergency Services Association to host card game and casino night fundraisers. A bill that I would have voted in favor of, had I been a delegate in the session just ended, was SB 0602, the Maryland Estate Tax -- Unified Credit. Under current state law, estates worth $1 million or more are taxed after their owner dies. SB 0602 allows Maryland's estate tax to match the federal estate tax exemptions. The state's estate tax ceiling will now increase incrementally and cap at the federal exclusion level of $5.3 million by 2019.

District 5 Senate Republican candidate

Sen. Joe Getty: When I served on the Judicial Proceedings Committee, there were hundreds of issues that we worked on in a nonpartisan manner to protect Maryland's citizens and improve our civil and criminal laws. One specific area where I have been involved with broad bipartisan support is developmental disabilities. As policy director for Gov. Bob Ehrlich, we created a new cabinet level department for disabilities and worked to improve pay rates for direct care workers. This year, I led support in the Senate for a legislative bond bill for The Arc of Carroll County to renovate the existing facility with state-of-the-art accessibility equipment and a new adult autism center.


District 5 Senate Democratic candidate

Anita Riley: I supported the request asking for additional money for education. Unfortunately, we did not receive it due to our delegation in the House voting against the Governor's budget as stated by Sen. Getty in his letter to the Commissioners -- basically saying it was the fault of the delegates. I disagree. It was the fault of all seven of our delegation. The State of Maryland is run by Democrats. We have an all-Republican delegation representing us in Annapolis. It seems only logical and sensible to elect some Democrats to include in the mix of our delegation. That can only help Carroll County receive more than what it has received from Annapolis for almost 25 years.

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