This is an election year. While it is great fun debating national issues, if you are a registered Republican in Carroll County the real impact you have is how you vote in the primary. Our new commissioners will be chosen there. It has been decades since the last time a Democrat achieved countywide office. If you are a Democrat, the primary is less important. It is not likely that there will be any serious Democratic candidates for local offices in the general election.

There is a "blue wave" in the offing nationally for the Congress. Here in Carroll, we have two congressmen, Republican Andy Harris at the northern part of the county and Democrat Jamie Raskin in the southern part. Thanks to our gerrymandered Maryland electoral map, both are likely to be re-elected.

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With the two-term limit on our commissioners, two are scheduled to be replaced, Richard Rothschild in District 4 and Doug Howard in District 5. So I am concentrating my attention on their likely replacements.

Retired dentist Dr. Paul Burkett is making his first run for public office by running for Commissioner in District 4. He agreed to be interviewed by me last Friday.

My daughter, and sometimes chauffeur, Margo Miller, set up the meeting at Liberatore's Ristorante on Liberty Road in Eldersburg. She met Burkett through membership in Rotary. Burkett was a founding member of that chapter and was formerly a president of the Carroll County Dental Society.

Burkett first ventured into public activity when there were attempts to rezone his neighborhood from residential to some form of employment campus rezoning. He and his neighbors beat back two such attempts in recent years. Rothschild was helpful in defending that community. Now there is a state-mandated rezoning on the horizon. With Rothschild's impending retirement the neighbors look to Burkett to take over that role.

Burkett is concerned with the loss of younger deputy sheriffs to other jurisdictions because of low pay and poor provisions for disability support for Carroll County Sheriff’s Office deputies in Carroll County. In his view they are inadequate. He is busy doing his homework on other issues. We discussed the options of charter or county executive forms of government for Carroll County. All of adjacent counties have county executives.

A conservative Republican, Dr. Burkett is concerned with the continued growth of our national debt.

Additional Commissioner candidates (other than current incumbents) who have filed for election for commissioner include:

District 3: Tom Gordon

District 4: Bret D. Grosnickle and Sean Shaffer

District 5: Ed Rothstein and Frank Robert

If any of those listed above would like to meet with me for a discussion my email address is below.

On the national scene, the rate of turnover in both the White House and the Department of Justice continues to amaze. In the White House, most of the fallen are men who have allegedly abused their wives. Overall, the Trump administration has had 30 resignations of appointees and another 40 cannot pass their security investigations.

As of this writing the second White House Chief of Staff, General John Kelly, may also be in danger.

The president continues to step on his own toes. He gave a decent report on the State of the Union and then claimed that it had the highest viewership in history. No, it ranks No. 5 in this regard. He also claimed that the Democrats had erred in not applauding his speech. In recent years the opposite party has not applauded the president's address. Indeed one Republican yelled "you lie" at President Obama.

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President Trump and his supporters also use the term "treason" carelessly. According to the U.S. Constitution it is defined thus: "Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort."

If we view Russia as an enemy (I do), then Trump and his buddies fit that definition better than his critics.

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