Senator Jim Brochin announces his candidacy for Baltimore County executive. (Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun video)
As a progressive Democrat in favor of the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act who has vehemently argued its merits with my state senator, Jim Brochin, I take issue with aspersions commentator Pat Murray cast on Senator Brochin in a recent op-ed (“Jim Brochin’s political conversion,” Dec. 1).
Mr. Brochin is not “more comfortable in country clubs in northern Baltimore County” as Mr. Murray claims. It is ironic that Mr. Murray cites Mr. Brochin’s actions as profane when in fact Mr. Murray was integral to the redistricting of Mr. Brochin’s seat into northern Baltimore County while serving as one of Senate PResident Thomas V. Mike Miller’s top aides, thus making the district more Republican in 2012.
It was not a conversion that prompted Mr. Brochin to vote consistently in favor of a woman’s right to choose during his career, or for NARAL to endorse him.
Democratic principles led Mr. Brochin to vote for same-sex marriage in 2012. And it wasn’t based on a conversion, it was based on courage and principle when Mr. Brochin voted for gun regulation in 2013, despite facing a re-election bid in a predominately Republican district.
As the former executive director of the Maryland Democratic Party, Mr. Murray should be asking how Baltimore County recovers from losing every elected seat in Dundalk to Republicans in 2014. How did we lose the governorship to the Republican Party in 2014? There are lessons to be learned from Mr. Brochin’s success, particularly in light of Mr. Murray’s own failed campaign for state delegate in Harford County’s 2014 Democratic primary.
I am not sure it is beneficial to the Maryland Democratic Party to refer to a Democratic colleague’s legislation as the “posturing of an opportunist following his polling in order to grab headlines.” It wasn’t posturing when Mr. Brochin made key votes with the Democrats over gun control, same sex marriage and protecting the environment over the past decade. And Mr. Brochin’s proposal to bridge payments to insurance companies has precedent in Annapolis. He voted for similar legislation to cover costs to Planned Parenthood when those insured payments were at risk.
Mr. Brochin is a moderate Democrat who has disagreed with party leaders and managed to win his seat because of his incredible tenacity, excellent constituent services and standing with his communities that stretch from the Baltimore City line to the Pennsylvania border. As a progressive Democrat in Baltimore County, I have squared off with my state senator on issues, but I have never questioned his fundamentally democratic principles.
Mr. Brochin’s campaign platform for county executive addresses the needs of our increasing numbers of homeless and poor residents in the county, our rising rates of opioid addiction, and the need for safe and rigorous schools throughout the county.
Personally, I will continue to push Mr. Brochin to vote to overturn the governor’s veto of the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act, and I will relay my disappointment should he vote against it. As Democrats, we must strive not to cast vapid generalizations and accusations, but rather work with our colleagues to advocate for meaningful change in Baltimore County and the state.
Mr. Murray cites the story of St. Paul’s sacred conversion to Christianity. In Christian tradition, the story told of St. Paul’s death is equally illuminating. A Roman citizen, St. Paul is imprisoned in Rome under Nero and killed by his fellow Romans. As Democrats, we must welcome a myriad of voices to our party or face our own annihilation.