Voting is underway for the 2022 midterm elections, and one of the races to watch in Harford County is District F’s County Council seat.
District F council member Curtis Beulah is seeking a third term; he was first elected in 2014. The Republican incumbent is running against Democrat Jacob Bennett, a political newcomer and Harford County kindergarten teacher.
Beulah told The Aegis via email he’s running again to continue serving the citizens of Harford County.
“I have the experience and institutional knowledge that [has] made me a far more effective councilman than when I was elected eight years ago,” Beulah said. “My service in the military taught me leadership and teamwork, and my 35 years in business has provided me significant experience in working with people of all walks of life.”
Beulah said some of the issues he hears about most from citizens are about the economy and crime. He hopes to work in the next term toward goals such as providing more tax relief for county seniors and advocating for each county school to have a deputy there to protect students and staff.
During his time in office, Beulah, who owns the financial services firm Diamond Financial Group, located in Nottingham, has voted for budgets over the past seven years, spearheaded the faith-based nonprofit Hope for the Homeless Alliance, and initiated the cleanup of several Route 40 properties in Havre de Grace, he said, in addition to other accomplishments.
If elected, Bennett knows he’d likely be in the minority for many votes. The most recent council only had one Democrat, Andre Johnson from District A. Johnson is running for a seat in legislative district 34A.
“However, I will be unafraid and unabashed in using my seat on the County Council as a bully pulpit to speak to the issues of our community,” Bennett said. “A vote for me isn’t just getting me in office, but a vote for me is a promise to support the work that needs to be done for our community.”
Bennett hopes to support the unionization of county librarians, an effort that failed earlier this year, and adding social workers to every school in the community.
He also pledged to donate half of every County Council paycheck he would receive to the community. According to County Council administrator Mylia Dixon, the current salary for the council president is $52,158, and for the other six council members, it’s $48,273.
Beulah has faced extensive pushback over the past year, largely from members of the Perryman community in his district opposing the proposed Mitchell property development that, if completed, would build 5.2 million square feet of warehouses.
Beulah declined to comment on Perryman due to the lawsuit against the county brought by multiple Perryman residents.
The citizen-led 3P Protect Perryman Peninsula coalition has endorsed Bennett for the District F council seat.
“It’s really is eye-opening to realize just how under-served and mistaken care of that community is,” Bennett said.
The coalition endorsed candidates for a variety of county and state positions from various parties, including Republican Bob Cassilly for county executive and Democrat Wini Roche for County Council president.
Roche, who is running against incumbent council president Patrick Vincenti, told The Aegis she supports Bennett in his bid for District F.
“Like my opponent, Mr. Beulah has produced very little for his constituents and Harford County taxpayers deserve representation,” she said.
Perryman resident and coalition organizer Ron Stuchinski said county citizens need better representation.
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“We’re looking for a change,” he said.
Stuchinski, a Republican, said he will be voting Democrat to vote for Bennett, and he knows many other Republicans in the community voting for Bennett as well.
“I don’t feel like Curtis Beulah has worked for us,” Stuchinski said.
“They might be a small community, but they hold a huge sway in a swing district like District F,” Bennett said. “And I think they recognize that power, and they’re using it to the best of their ability to take care of their community.
According to the 3P coalition, there are about 1,100 members on their email list.
In this year’s primary, Beulah received 73.1% of the Republican vote, with 2,523 votes, over challenger Fernando Silva. Bennett received 77.1% of the Democratic vote, with 2,617 votes, over Lavy Mammen.