One Salisbury: Forget party and pick the best candidate

 

The late Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill said it best: “All politics is local.” He was SO right about that!

In less than a month, voters all over Salisbury — and across the country — head to the polls. Clearly, as the signs assembled in my front yard prove, I’m staying local — and yelling as loudly as I can to the two-party political system: “Take a hike!”

This year, for the first time EVER, I’m proud to display yard signs from candidates of BOTH parties.

County Council President Matt Holloway is the first Republican candidate I’ve ever stumped for. (That’s assuming, of course, that a sign in the yard can be considered stumping!)

His sign represents a first for me: it’s the only time I’ve ever had a sign from a GOP candidate adorn the yard of any house I’ve lived in. That it’s Matt Holloway who got me to break my “Democrats only” habit is no accident. I think Matt is a smart, decent, caring and dedicated public official. Voting for him is as easy as it gets.

The other four signs in my yard happen to be those of Democrats: Norm Conway; Jim Mathias; Rick Pollitt; and Jimmy Sarbanes. I know all four of these gentlemen, and believe each of them to be, like Holloway, the kind of people I think are capable of holding the office for which they’re running.

I also trust and have confidence in Wicomico State’s Attorney Matt Maciarello and Wicomico Sheriff Mike Lewis- – two more Republican candidates I’ll be casting a vote for in November. Each of them is unopposed, so no yard signs are needed.

So, doing the math, that’s three local Republicans and five local Democrats that I’m supporting. I realize there are far more candidates from both parties on the ballot, and I plan to vote for more than just the eight people I’ve identified here.

I’ve provided these examples of some votes I’ll be casting NOT as a way to ask you to vote for the candidates I happen to like, but to remind you why I believe the opening line of this column — “All politics is local” – is so important to remember.

Have you seen the ridiculous party-first politicking that’s being practiced in Washington? Anyone think it’s working?

That mess is going on for many reasons. One of them though, is obvious: too many voters are putting the party first when they step up to the voting machine. And I don’t think we want to do that here in Salisbury.

If ANY of the above named candidates were members of the opposite party — if Norm Conway was a Republican, or if Matt Holloway was a Democrat, for example — I’d STILL be voting for them.

Why? Because I know them. And I believe them to be of sound character, able to make (mostly) sound decisions. I put “mostly” in parenthesis for a reason: No one ever gets every decision right. No one. Be they parents, teachers, coaches, neighbors, family members – or elected officials.

So, I don’t expect, nor require, the people I vote for to be perfect. On occasion, they’re going to take a position, and make a vote, that I don’t agree with. But so what?

(Case in point: I’m not happy with the recent statement Sheriff Lewis made that went viral – the one about the federal government and guns and civil war. But, I still believe that he has my back, and our back. He’s proven that. Time and time again. That he’s getting caught up in some 2nd Amendment rhetoric that went viral does NOT mean that I have less confidence in him to do his job.)

We have been blessed over the years in Salisbury to have good people in our community step up and serve. This year is no different. This year’s as good a time as any to begin putting the party aside — especially here at the local level.

Find THE PERSON you think can sit at a table and advance reasonable legislation, designed to help us all. And then vote for him or her. Even if he or she is not in YOUR political party. The process works best this way. You’ll see.

Mike Dunn operates OneSalisbury.com.

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