David Sgambellone is not new to running for local office. He ran eight years ago as a Libertarian for the Anne Arundel County Council District 2 seat, lost his election, then took the next election cycle off to start a family.
The Hanover local is now running again for the same office and feeling hopeful, saying it’s seeming like support for the Libertarian party has grown in the county over the past several years.
“I’m already getting way more support than I did eight years ago,” Sgambellone said. “The party has grown significantly. It’s on its way. Libertarians get more votes every time, and it’s only a matter of time before we start winning. We’ve already won a few local offices in Maryland.”
Sgambellone said, if elected to replace incumbent Democrat Allison Pickard, he would work to fight for parents’ rights to choose the schools their kids attend and lower taxes while on the council.
He said the COVID-19 pandemic gave the community a taste of what it would be like to have school choice, as some families changed schools to best meet their needs after schools stopped in-person learning last March.
“School choice is, I think, what we need more than anything,” Sgambellone said. “Everything this year with COVID has really shown that with people shutting down and some not and with the mask mandates, people were able to choose which school they wanted to go to. Everyone could take the level of risk that they wanted to, that was best for themselves.”
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He said he also supports school vouchers, which enable families to send their kids to schools other than the public schools in their district, arguing vouchers would benefit both the public schools and the students.
The county pays thousands for each student that goes to Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Sgambellone said, and then schools get state funding, too. “So if we refund just the county portion, the per student funding of public schools will actually go up as people take advantage of these vouchers. It’ll also force the public schools to be more competitive and be more attractive to parents to stay there instead of going somewhere else,” he said.
He said it’s important to incentivize public schools to be competitive at this time in the county’s growth because some schools are overcrowded and don’t have to uphold certain standards to retain students.
Maryland Policy & Politics
On the issue of development, Sgambellone said he would also eliminate some zoning laws to make it easier for residents to use their property the way they want to use it.
“We’ve had a lot of growth in Glen Burnie, and Anne Arundel County in general, which has caused some problems. A lot of it has to do with zoning laws that don’t allow people to use a property the way it was best suited for. So it’s just repealing regulations, getting government out of the way of people being able to utilize their property the best way possible. That’s how we help the economy and help people move forward,” Sgambellone said.
Some regulations he said he would get rid of include banning people from running businesses out of their homes and opening businesses in residential areas.
Sgambellone said school choice and limiting restrictions on development go hand-in-hand, as a growing population resulting from development wouldn’t necessarily lead to overcrowding schools if families had options about where to send their kids to school.
He said he thinks voters will be excited to see someone on the ballot who isn’t a Republican or Democrat.
“[Libertarianism] is the only consistent party of freedom. In a very general sense, Republicans talk about economic freedom but not personal freedom and the Democrats talk about personal freedom but not economic freedom. We’re the only consistent party of freedom,” Sgambellone said.