Harford voters in District 34A, which covers most of the area east of I-95, will get a chance to pick two delegates in the race for the House of Delegates this upcoming election. One incumbent is running for re-election and the other seat is open.
The Republican candidates are Del. Glen Glass, who was elected to the House four years ago, and Mike Blizzard. The Democratic candidates are Marla Posey Moss and Mary Ann Lisanti, who served the past eight years on the Harford County Council.
The open seat in the subdistrict results from the decision of 16-year delegate Mary-Dulany James to run for the district's State Senate seat.
The biggest challenge for all of them might be just staying visible in what has been a very low-key election season. Voter turnout for the primary election was extremely low, both in Harford County and statewide.
"There's a lot of people that don't even know there's an election coming up," Lisanti noted.
Lisanti, 46, of Havre de Grace, has been a prominent Democrat in local and county politics for years and is hoping to capitalize on her success with the County Council, where she has been since 2006.
Lisanti called her campaign for the House "incredibly busy," but said she believes she is the "most qualified person" to bring benefits to Harford back from Annapolis.
Lisanti has already signaled her intention to build dorms at Harford Community College, and she also said she wants to focus on road projects, as too many have been focused on other parts of the state.
Lisanti would focus on bringing more high-tech companies into Harford, such as Smiths Detection, which moved its U.S. headquarters to Edgewood in 2012.
She said it was her network of relationships that would help her get things done in Annapolis.
"That is the one positive thing about serving this long in Harford County," Lisanti said. "I don't believe in party politics. I believe the key to good government is good relationships."
Lisanti added that she has "a tremendous amount of experience in both local and county government," which she thinks has been a void in Annapolis.
"The concerns that I have heard across the board is, Harford County generally has not gotten the infrastructure piece," she said.
Glass, 49, said, however, that he has brought back a lot to the county from Annapolis and would continue focusing on what Harford residents really want.
He noted he has passed bills giving tax breaks for disabled veterans and provided Harford residents with the possibility of opting out of BGE Smart Meters, an innovation Glass has been vocal in opposing.
Glass added he believes he is the only delegate "who is standing up to BGE" and, if re-elected, would repeal the stormwater fee, or so-called "rain tax."
Glass also said he would encourage Harford's new county executive to take the money from the fee and give it to teachers, custodians, bus drivers and other local school employees.
"I want to make Exelon pay to clean up the sludge," he said in reference to the Conowingo Dam owner, which is seeking relicensing of the dam and power plant on the Susquehanna River. Environmental groups have raised the issue of the silt and debris backed-up behind the 86-year-old dam.
Glass has been visible around the county for his frequent town hall meetings, among other appearances. He has another coming up Saturday at the Edgewood library branch.
Glass said his campaign is "doing great" and he has called more than 1,000 people.
"I have the relationships with the leadership in Annapolis," Glass added about why he can get things done. He said he has people like State Comptroller Peter Franchot, a Democrat, "just a phone call away."
"It takes a while to work on relationships and I have proven to be a bipartisan delegate," he said. "I think that gives me an edge."
Glass, who works two part-time jobs for a bus shuttle company and for Kohl's warehouse, is very confident about his campaign.
"I know I am going to win," he said Sunday.
Posey-Moss, 39, is giving the election season another try. She made an unsuccessful bid for a House seat in 2010, knocking off an incumbent in her own party in the primary, but then finishing fourth in the general election behind James and Glass, a defeat she attributed primarily to lack of resources.
Posey-Moss said she would be able to make change because "I keep my ear to the ground."
She said she talks about issues that are important to regular people and is not a status-quo politician or "a party puppet," noting she originally came to Harford County in 1998 as an unaffiliated voter.
Posey-Moss teaches Spanish in Baltimore County Public Schools and said she thinks voters are regretting choosing a "Tea Party candidate," Glass.
"We have a primarily Republican delegation and a Democrat majority [in the state], and unfortunately, our delegation is proposing things that are not going to be conducive to the state, so that's why they have trouble getting things done," she said.
She added she has very good relationships with elected officials, while "clearly our delegation doesn't work well together."
If elected, Posey-Moss wants a state constitutional amendment requiring candidates to live in their district at least six months before the primary election, not just the general one.
She also said she is focused on making sure teacher salaries are commensurate with experience and noted she did not support the County Council's proposal to raise the future county executive's salaries while teacher salaries have gone stagnant and firefighters need additional equipment.
"I am not your status-quo candidate. You are going to see me consistently," Posey-Moss said. "I am the people's candidate, more or less."
Blizzard, of Havre de Grace, said he will be focused on ways to hold government accountable, if he is elected.
The 51-year-old Harford Community College employee has created a smartphone app, available at VoterPowerMD.com, that he said provides information on pending legislation, ringing users when an important or controversial bill is in Annapolis.
Blizzard also hopes the app gets funding for his campaign, which he said has been "gaining momentum."
Blizzard said he believes he can bring back results to Harford County because he is willing to work across party lines.
"I think it's a matter of building relationships and that your word and your integrity and your character mean something," he said. "As you go down there and build relationships, people have to trust you."
Blizzard said people feel their voice is not heard by government at all, and "apathy is the enemy."