In Baltimore County executive race, McDonough pushes English as official language

State Del. Pat McDonough is pledging to make English the official language of Baltimore County government in his bid for county executive.

The longtime Republican lawmaker has previously advocated the idea of making English the state’s official language. Now he is pushing the idea locally in the GOP primary campaign for county executive. He recently issued a news release saying he would use an executive order or an ordinance to accomplish his goal.

McDonough claimed county taxpayers are spending “millions” to produce multi-language publications — but he did not provide evidence of that. He also said he would create a commission “to study the amount of taxpayers money spent in the education system on non-English speaking students.”

“We’re trying to save money, and one of the ways we can save it is to not become multi-cultural government,” McDonough said. “It’s an economic initiative. It has nothing to do with their culture or their country of origin.”

Gustavo Torres, executive director of the immigrant rights group CASA, called McDonough’s idea “discriminatory and anti-American.”

“We join county residents in squashing policies that are rooted in nothing but racism and xenophobia,” Torres said. “This pathetic attempt to implement racist policies will be snuffed out in this county.”

McDonough faces state Insurance Commission Al Redmer Jr. in the June 26 primary.

Redmer called McDonough’s focus on the issue a waste of time.

“We have a lot of needs in Baltimore County. We have a lot of issues in Baltimore County,” Redmer said. “And I think to focus on that … is a waste of time, effort and resources.”

Three leading Democratic candidates are also running for county executive: Councilwoman Vicki Almond, state Sen. Jim Brochin and Johnny Olszewski Jr., a former state delegate.

alisonk@baltsun.com

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