I have spent the past year campaigning throughout the state of Maryland. I have talked to countless families, small business owners, farmers, teachers, factory and office workers and people who have no jobs at all.
In each person, I sensed a feeling of being forgotten by their state government; not that they want government to do everything for them, but quite the opposite.
They want government to stop getting in the way. Enough with the out-of-control spending and enough with the regulations that stifle businesses large and small.
They are looking for someone to stop the endless rise in taxes that are keeping families from getting ahead. And they want a governor who will make Maryland a place people want to move to instead of leave.
So what does all this have to do with the Jewish community?
Usually, when people running for office write like this for a specific audience, or in this case the Jewish community, it usually turns into a rundown of how many times they have been to Israel, or how many Passover seders they attended, or how they were honored by a certain Jewish organization, as if each person is exactly the same.
In all honesty, it soon becomes one of those “some of my best friends are …” stories. Well, I do not believe in pandering to one group over another or reinventing myself just to say something that I think people want to hear. Not only would I be kidding myself, I would be kidding you.
I have been a city councilman, a small town mayor, a state delegate, a state senator and for 10 years, Harford County executive.
And, I have also been a career school teacher and middle school principal.
I am a family man and a man with a deep faith in God. I am proud to be pro-life and I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman.
I believe in being honest, forthright and respectful of each person’s concerns.
I did not win elections by kidding people or telling them what they want to hear. I did it by bringing different people with opposing views together. And that is what I intend to do as governor.
People’s everyday lives will matter. The future of our state will matter.
What it all comes down to is this: We should all take a lesson from God’s directive to the Jewish people, the practice of tikkun olam, of “repairing the world.”
In my case, I am being a little more provincial. I am running for governor to “repair Maryland.”
That is why I have proposed the phasing out of the state personal income tax, which if we cut enough waste in government spending will give more money to people who are trying to make ends meet.
That would mean in one year after my being elected, a majority of Maryland families would enjoy a tax savings of $1,400 and single Marylanders a tax savings of $700.
I also will “repair” our state’s job market by cutting corporate taxes in half so more businesses will want to move and stay here.
Also, I do not believe that anyone’s pension should be taxed. There are other states that do not tax pensions. Why can’t Maryland?
As a lifelong educator, I believe education is the best poverty and crime fighter around. As governor, I will see that all of our schools – public, private and religious – will be fairly supported.
Maryland is a great state. But it has forgotten the very people who make it great.
We see a culture in Annapolis that is more committed to helping so-called leaders stay in public office than actually finding ways to help families stay out of debt.
We see a government mind-set that solves every problem with nonsensical taxes or fees. (There have been over 40 new ones in the last eight years). Instead, we should be solving those same problems with common-sense solutions.
So it should be no surprise that Maryland citizens and businesses are leaving in droves to safer tax havens in other states, taking their jobs and tax dollars with them. This exodus has cost Maryland over $8 billion.
Now, we have the opportunity to turn Maryland around.
And the day after I am sworn in, I guarantee you that I will put a sign up in Annapolis that says, “Maryland Government Now Under Repair.”
The writer, the Harford County executive, is a Republican candidate for governor.