County Councilman Chad Shrodes is asking voters to give him a fourth term representing District D on the Harford County Council, although the Republican is facing a general election challenge from Democrat Jean Salvatore.
If re-elected, Shrodes would be the senior member of a body he has served on since first being elected in 2006. Three members, including long-serving veterans Jim McMahan and Richard Slutzky, the council’s respective vice president and president, are stepping down when their terms end this year.
Councilman Mike Perrone, who has served one term, did not seek re-election to the council. He was defeated by Republican Harford County Executive Barry Glassman in the GOP primary earlier this year.
Shrodes, 44, grew up in Norrisville, where he still lives, and is a graduate of North Harford High School in Pylesville. His wife, Amber, is Harford County’s director of community services; they have one daughter, Maddie.
While most of his time is spent on council matters, Shrodes also works as a Realtor and is involved in community organizations such as the Jarrettsville Lions Club.
“I grew up here and it’s awesome, really, that so many people come to me to resolve issues, and that’s what a great deal of my time is spent doing,” Shrodes said.
Before being elected to the council, Shrodes worked full time in the Maryland Department of Planning and the Harford County Department of Planning and Zoning, in areas such as forest conservation stewardship, development review and land preservation. He started working in the planning field full time in 1997 after graduating from college, but he spent four years in the profession prior to that as an intern while in school.
“I was passionate about Harford County and land use and wanted to have more of a role in Harford County’s future, and I decided to run for office,” he said.
Shrodes noted he was part of an effort by county officials to cut property taxes in 2009 — he estimated taxpayers have saved more than $100 million in nearly a decade — and the tax rate has not increased since then.
Issues of concern for him include protecting the county’s agricultural preservation program, land use, property rights, the ongoing opioid crisis, supporting mental health treatment programs, improving Internet service for northern Harford residents, greater county funding for volunteer fire and EMS companies and recruiting and retaining volunteers for those companies.
“I think I’m the strongest voice and advocate for northern Harford County, and I think I can do that the best,” he said.
Salvatore, 63, lives near Hickory. She has lived in Harford County for 31 years and was a civilian worker at Aberdeen Proving Ground.
She retired in 2012 as the director of logistics for the Joint Program, Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense. She is an adjunct instructor at Harford Community College, a position she has held since 1985, teaching English and technical writing.
Salvatore founded the nonprofit Best Friends in Harford County in 2015, an animal rescue organization that supports stray, fetal and abandoned cats, plus those that cannot be adopted out of an animal shelter. Volunteers ensure they are spayed, neutered and vaccinated, she said.
She is single with no children, but she has 14 nieces and nephews and many grand-nieces and nephews. Salvatore served one term on the Harford County Democratic Central Committee but did not seek re-election after this year because of her campaign for council.
Issues of concern for her include local funding for education, competitive pay for teachers, job growth, preserving the environment, local investments in renewable energy and protecting the waterways that feed the Chesapeake Bay.
“We have to do our part [for the environment], and at the same time protect homeowners, so where we develop and how we develop is critical,” she said.
Salvatore stressed her personal attributes such as integrity and hard work.
“I will bring integrity, and I will bring hard work to the position if I’m elected,” she said. “I’m one of those people that doesn’t give up easily; I will meet a challenge.”