04.03.16 Can money buy MD-8?
Political activist and neighbor, Esther Siegel, shared with me her letter to Washington Post reporter Bill Turque and gave me permission to reprint it. Here it is, unedited.
Dear Mr. Turque,
Ever since your article (March 7, 2016, Maryland candidates debate whether Congress is entry-level job) was printed, I have been thinking a lot about the District 8 Congressional election. At the time we spoke in Thurmont, I was leaning toward Jamie Raskin but felt I owed it to myself to be open minded and listen to why each of the other candidates believed they should represent me in Congress. One of the reasons I went to Thurmont was to listen to the questions from constituents not in my district.
I have now read enough and witnessed each of the candidates at several forums and I have made a conclusive decision. But it was one sentence in particular in Keith Berner’s Left-Hand View blog, of 3/12 that struck me as the most convincing reason District 8 ought to be represented by Jamie Raskin.
Berner lists what Raskin, Matthews and Throne, the three top contenders, as defined by the media, offer us based on their resumes.
Keith wrote, While Jamie Raskin has been serving the public good, the others have been serving themselves.
It is painfully rare that a politician comes along who is honorable, with unwavering integrity, that we are witness to his actions and who works tirelessly for his constituents.
The two other front runners are only so because they have brought to our primary something most of hoped would never happen to us that is become an election about money. Trone will spend whatever it takes to win, and Matthews is relying on her wealth and wealthy friends.
The reason, the only reason they have brought this dimension into our District primary is because they have no resume of service. They can only hope to win through money not through their service in our community.
If one of them wins, they will be bringing to our community, what the Republican Presidential primary is bringing, the sad reality that money can buy anything.
Why they are not suited to represent us is exactly for that reason, that they care more about themselves and their status then what is best for our District. We deserve to be represented in Congress not by the elite and entitled class, but by a person who has demonstrated passion for us, as constituents. (As an example, there is an issue with Amendment to SB198 (Pollinator Protection bill) and Jamie called us at 11:44pm the night before the bill was due in the Senate because he was called and wanted to respond to his constituents. Several calls later, into the early morning, he had reached all of the constituents who had been frantically trying to contact him).
I knew that constituents call Jamie at all hours in need of help. But I was witness to his responses. He devotes his time to participating in meetings with constituents who are dealing with what might be considered mundane issues (stop signs, pot holes, navigating bureaucracy), time the other front runner candidates have not done. So we know Jamie will continue in the service he has demonstrated and bring his energy, capacity to work with his colleagues to ensure that our lives and needs are supported and well cared for. We cannot say that about the other two.
In all fairness to the other candidates. None of the other candidates who have not held office locally before have been able to convince me they are prepared for Congress. I stand by my assertion that Congress should not be an entry level position for public service. I just think people dont really know, no matter how close they think they have been to Congress, what being an elected official is really about. I would so prefer some of them who have passion and good ideas would run for local office before asking us to consider them for higher office. And the other two elected officials just dont seem strong enough to me.
If you are inclined, please allow my response to your question about who I support and why as a follow up in one of your columns. I think it would be helpful for folks to go through a process of really understanding each candidate make informed and thoughtful decisions. I hope this piece will encourage them to do so.