Republican Chris Jahn decided to run for Anne Arundel County executive when he noticed a lack of politicians like him in the local and national fields.
He considers himself a working-class everyman. The Glen Burnie native is a divorced and remarried working father with two kids and a career doing corporate recruiting for a retail franchise. He said too many of the local, state and national representatives are too unlike the constituents they represent.
“None of them are just your average, working-class person who do, in fact, know what it’s like not to have — I don’t know the politically correct way to say it — but a pot to you-know-what in,” Jahn said. “I think a lot of these folks that want to represent you don’t represent the average person because they haven’t been ‘average’ in a very long time.”
He said he started noticing this lack of perspective on local issues when COVID-19 vaccine mandates started to take effect.
“What happened to, ‘It’s my body and I will choose what I do to it?’” Jahn said. “I am not an anti-vaxxer. I’m also not a pro-vaxxer. I am a do your homework, talk to your doctor and make a decision together that works best for you-er. It’s not the government’s place to require anybody to put a drug into their body in order to keep their job.”
Jahn said, if elected, he would get rid of all vaccine mandates in his power, adding that there’s always a way to work around the issue.
“Everybody has rights and you have to try to work everybody’s rights out,” he said. “Perhaps an immunocompromised person can work from home. Perhaps the unvaccinated person can work from home. Perhaps they can work different shifts. The company should be able to work that out.”
Also in the aftermath of some difficult months due to the pandemic, Jahn said he wants to work closely with small businesses to help them get back on their feet and grow again.
“They all got beat up real bad during COVID and a lot of them still are,” he said. “I really want to be able to work with the small businesses. I do have some incentives that my cabinet and I are working on to incentivize companies to continue to grow, to not just survive but to actually expand and to grow.”
These incentive ideas include tax breaks for small businesses that can prove they are meeting certain milestones including hiring more employees.
“The more jobs that are out there, the higher wages go organically, the better benefits happen organically because competition breeds that,” he said.
Jahn said he would also focus on protecting the police while still being open to ideas for reform from communities who feel targeted by officers.
“The Chris Jahn administration will not defund anything from the police,” he said. “On the other side of the coin: If you do not believe there is a problem, you are burying your head in the sand.”
Jahn said it is an issue that can best be solved by getting a diverse group of police officers and people who feel targeted by police together, along with local politicians, both Democrats and Republicans. He would like to sit down and have an “ugly conversation” with the group about what both sides need to feel safe.
“[Let’s] come up with a solution,” he said. “Maybe it’s we need to get the Police Athletic Leagues really back up and running. Maybe we need the police in the communities more. Whatever it is.”
One issue particularly close to Jahn’s heart is the well-being of local rescue animals. He said he’d work to ensure no animals are euthanized in the county if they are not adopted by a certain time.
“I’m a huge pet-friendly kind of guy. I love rescue animals,” he said.
As for an approach, he hasn’t quite worked that out yet.