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Jesse Colvin would make a great congressman

About 30 people came out Monday afternoon for a protest march through Bel Air to express their concerns over healthcare & other issues ending at Congressman Andy Harris' office.

I am a lifelong Republican, as was my father before me, but I am now working hard to elect Jesse Colvin, the Democratic candidate for Congress in Maryland’s 1st Congressional District.

I have decided it is time to place country before political party. For nearly eight years, I have been baffled and disillusioned by the policy positions, votes, behavior and affiliations of Rep. Andy Harris. The list is endless: His membership in the Freedom Caucus that has been obstructionist rather than helpful, his support for foreign leaders who are not America’s friends, and his positions and statements on the Chesapeake Bay, the environment, health care reform, the truthfulness of the media, trade, immigration, aid for natural catastrophes and gun violence. And then there’s his lack of leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives where he is held in such lack of regard that no one has made him a committee leader and he has failed to produce any major legislative initiative during his entire tenure.

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I am bothered by Mr. Harris’ invisibility to his constituents, either in person or in communications. He seems scared of us. I have met, seen or spoken to eight American presidents – Democrats and Republicans — in my public affairs career. But I never seen Congressman Harris who seems almost never to leave his office, particularly to visit the Eastern Shore. And his communications to his constituents are either non-existent or baffling.

So I have now decided it is time to put country before party as far as my congressman is concerned. I have also decided it is time to begin to vote for individuals who are committed to public service, rather than their own self-interest, regardless of what race, gender, background and political party they belong to.

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Which brings me to Jesse Colvin, with whom I have spent several hours, in person, in give and take sessions with his future constituents, and on the telephone chatting about policy and issues. I like what I see.

First, I like Jesse’s background. He graduated from a top and tough school — Duke University — which is a very competitive place in which to succeed. He decided not to chase the big corporate dollars and did what few Duke graduates do — entered the U.S. Army and a life of service to his country, doing four tours in Afghanistan as an Army Ranger officer fighting al-Qaida and the Taliban. He returned to Columbia University to learn how policies are made and then investigated fraud and other illegal activity on Wall Street.

Second, I like Jesse’s innate and ingrained leadership traits and his sense of service. As an Army veteran, I understand what serving with others from all backgrounds in sometimes dangerous situations is like. It is a transforming experience that builds leaders. We need more young veterans in Congress. They have “the right stuff.”

Third, I like Jesse’s attributes. He is modest with a self-deprecating sense of humor. He is smart as a whip, incisive in his thinking. He listens to you before he talks. He cares about your problems and issues. He is a moderate person, as are most of my Republican, Democratic and Independent friends in the district. He believes in compromise and getting things done. While he is running as a Democrat, he is really running as a non-partisan American.

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Fourth, I like Jesse’s values. He has learned to run at the problem, not away from it. He is action- and results-oriented. He is not focused on criticism or ideology, but on finding solutions that help his constituents and help his country. He will lead with strength and compassion, something you learn when you are at war. He is honest and truthful. He is a family man, smart enough to marry a Republican woman who is a leader in her own right, and he’s now a young father with a big stake in assuring the next generation enjoys America’s freedoms and opportunities.

I am finding many disenchanted Republicans and independents who are joining me in supporting Jesse Colvin, a candidate many have called a “servant leader,” one who will serve his constituents and his country through enlightened non-partisan leadership, not self-interest. I encourage my neighbors to join us.

Philip J. Webster, St. Michaels

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