Now that state Sen. Brian Frosh is seeking the job of attorney general, voters in Maryland’s 16th District will be looking for a new legislator to represent them in Annapolis. They also will be choosing three members of the House of Delegates from a field that includes two incumbents and lots of new faces.
In the upcoming June primary, four candidates — three Democrats and one Republican — are running for Frosh’s seat, while eight Democrats and three Republicans are hoping to be seated in the House of Delegates; the district covers parts of Chevy Chase, Bethesda, Potomac, Kensington and Rockville.
Incumbency usually is an enormous plus and that could help Delegate Bill Frick, a Democrat and attorney who began representing the district in 2007 and has been the lower house’s majority parliamentarian for the past year.
But, initially, Frick said he didn’t want to run for re-election and instead announced his candidacy for attorney general. Then, just a few hours before the filing deadline for the June 24 primary, Frick changed his mind and announced he would seek re-election.
Some voters have taken notice, saying that they’ve taken to heart Frick’s comments during the past two years that he didn’t want to serve as a delegate any longer; one person went so far as to call him “selfish” for throwing his hat back into a ring whose contenders include other qualified candidates.
Delegate Ariana Kelly is the other incumbent. She has held the seat since 2011 and previously was the national campaign director for momsrising.org.
Among the Democratic newcomers, in alphabetical order, are Jordan Cooper, Peter Denis, Hrant Jamgochian, Marc Korman, Karen Kuker-Kihl and Gareth Murray.
The Republican ticket for the House of Delegates consists of three people. They are John Andrews, who is running on the slogan, “Make Maryland the Free State again”; Lynda del Castillo; and businesswoman Rose Li.
An automated telephone poll has been making the rounds in the district, telling voters a little bit about only a handful of the Democratic candidates and then asking whom they support. The poll listed some campaign issues including Pepco and the Metro, health care, reproductive rights and bringing in business to the area, recalled one poll recipient.
Korman attended Montgomery County public schools and then went on to become an attorney. He worked for two Democratic members of Congress on Capitol Hill and has served as the 16th District’s representative to the Montgomery County Central Committee. He is a past chair of the Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board.
If elected, he would like Maryland to have a larger oversight role in the running of the Metro and would work to obtain a dedicated funding source for it, he said. He also would like to get a better handle on school construction. Most of the area’s schools are overcrowded, he said, with even the newer schools built in the last two years already exceeding capacity. To Korman, that points to the need for better planning.
Korman, who is Jewish, has a young son who attends preschool at Congregation Beth El of Montgomery County in Bethesda.
Cooper, who has a master’s degree in public health, also is a graduate of the county school system. He is a technology integration specialist at Kaiser Permanente and has volunteered on numerous political campaigns in Maryland in the past.
He described his big concerns as health care reform, school construction, keeping the arts in the schools as well as expanding the foreign language program to all elementary schools and improving infrastructure. He said he would work to bring down health care costs and make sure there would be “no water pipes bursting, no power outages and no Metro shutdowns.”
Cooper, who is Jewish, said he does “support Israel, and that is very much an issue for the state legislature.” If elected, he would work to get more funding for Israeli goods here, which he called, “the right thing for Maryland’s economy.”
Jamgochian, who ran in 2010, is an attorney with nearly 20 years of public policy experience at both the state and federal levels. He has spent his professional career in the nonprofit sector.
Kuker-Kihl is a retired teacher who described her special interest as “children first.”
Murray previously was a delegate in the 20th District but moved to Potomac in 2008. He is an associate pastor for senior ministries at the First Baptist Church of Silver Spring.
Dennis is an attorney and social entrepreneur from Potomac who skydives and lived in India for several months. While in India, he worked at the Little Angels Orphanage.
Susan Lee, who has been a member of the House of Delegates in the district since 2002 and is the chamber’s deputy majority whip, hopes to move on to the state Senate. The race is hers to lose, according to several Democratic activists.
The other two Democratic candidates are J’aime Drayton and Hugh Hill. Drayton describes herself as an independent education management consultant; Hill is a doctor.
Meyer Marks is the lone Republican vying for Frosh’s seat. He is running to “get Maryland’s fiscal house in order,” he said, and to work on health care reform.