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Kefalas: here's why I endorse Szeliga

Michele Murphy, left, and Travis Murphy, center, Baltimore city residents, chat with state Del. Kathy Szeliga, the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate.
Michele Murphy, left, and Travis Murphy, center, Baltimore city residents, chat with state Del. Kathy Szeliga, the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate. (Amy Davis / Baltimore Sun)

Over the past year, I had the opportunity to travel the state of Maryland as a candidate for U.S. Senate and hear the concerns of my fellow citizens. Their message was consistent that we cannot afford more of the same in Washington, D.C. That is why I will be supporting Del. Kathy Szeliga for U.S. Senate.

To win in November, we must continue to expand the tent of the Republican Party and unite Marylanders of all political stripes. Rather than close doors and put up walls, we must welcome anyone who is willing to roll up their sleeves and join our fight. These are things I know Delegate Szeliga can do.

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Getting Maryland back on track for everyone is going to take all of our best efforts, and I pledge to continue to do my part.

While the state is experiencing economic growth, under the surface there are ominous signs. Last year, every single one of Maryland's largest jurisdictions, including Baltimore City, Montgomery, Prince George's and Anne Arundel counties saw more people depart for other U.S. cities than moved here. The cause? The state's burdensome tax and regulatory environment is clearly a major part of the picture.

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We can see the cost of taxes and regulations in businesses not started in the Old Line State. Jobs not created by people because they can't afford to operate here — or because they have to jump through too many hoops to sell things they make. Small businesses not expanded because getting the relevant permits and administrative reviews done would take years. These are the real barriers to the entrepreneurial dreams of all Marylanders.

And while new business must be a goal, we can't forget about the businesses we've lost. Just down the street from my family's restaurant, Costas Inn, stood Sparrows Point steel mill, which was once the largest steel mill in the world, employing tens of thousands of workers. Yet after decades of high taxes and burdensome regulations, the plant closed — and those jobs have left.

Like so many Marylanders who grew up around manufacturing, I've seen what happens when government punishes businesses with high taxes and burdensome regulation: We lose jobs — 95,000 in manufacturing since 1990. But we also begin to lose something even more important: faith.

A little over one year ago, the family of Freddie Gray buried their son. And the circumstances surrounding his death forced us as Marylanders to confront what's been percolating under the surface for generations: that too many of us have been fundamentally betrayed by government.

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After decades of neglect, thousands of good jobs have packed up and left. Entire neighborhoods have emptied. Failing schools have left the next generation without opportunities. And our friends and neighbors feel they've been left behind without hope, without a chance and without a future.

That's the legacy of the status quo. That's why we need real change

As we confront the problems that face our state, we must remember that we're all in this together as Marylanders. More unites us than divides us — and the only way to reach the future we deserve is by fighting back together.

For Republicans, including myself and other candidates who ran for U.S. Senate, that means coming together around Delegate Szeliga's campaign for U.S. Senate. She's a reformer in Annapolis, and, given her own business background, she knows what job creators need to grow, invest and succeed.

We won't change Washington — and give every one a chance at prosperity — with the same old tired playbook. Maryland must choose a new way forward.

Chrys Kefalas (cpkefalas@chrysformaryland.com) is a former Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, and an executive at the largest manufacturing association in the United States.

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