Cannon, McCain, Kilmer, Dodd, Hastings win contests

Incumbent Wicomico County Council President John Cannon and Bill McCain won the two at-large seats on the Council, with Cannon, a Republican, receiving the most votes, with 14,602.

McCain, a Democrat, who formerly served on the council and decided to run again, had 13,189 votes.

The two challengers, Julie Brewington and Jamaad Gould, received 12,702 and 10,311 votes respectively.

“I would like to thank everybody for their support,” Cannon said, after results were announced.

“The council as a whole is doing a great job this year in protecting the interest of all the citizens of Wicomico County and we will continue to do that,” he said.

McCain, too, thanked supporters and said Council members have “a responsibility to the voters to move our county forward.”

He said he isn’t concerned about serving on a predominately Republican council because, as he has observed, decisions are not based on partisanship but on the well-being of residents.

“During the campaign I focused on three major issues, the first one being education, education, education. That is, by far, our biggest responsibility as a council and other people running also kept saying how important education is,” he said.

“We need to show that support and the way we show that support is to provide full funding to the superintendent’s strategic plan,” he said.

He wants to see the county develop public sewer within the metro core and develop a long-term strategic plan with “vision, goals and specific strategies to accomplish those goals with education being at the top of the list of those goals.”

Cannon said he enjoys serving on the council and wants to continue as president if his colleagues choose him.

Committed to seeing the socio-economic level of residents increase and developing a highly educated workforce, he would like the county to develop a technology program to train professionals such as plumbers and technicians, possibly through a public-private partnership.

That educated workforce begins with children, and Cannon is now embracing universal pre-K.

Among major issues Cannon, with the council, has tackled is mega-poultry farms.

“It was one of the most contentious. We pulled through it very well. We handled it in a very structured format and it was a good outcome … we came to the best outcome for everyone. You can’t allow the emotional aspect to take control,” he said.

During his two terms on the council, taxes were cut, a move that is “almost unheard of,” Cannon said.

The budget increased by $17 million during the past few years, “and it was time to send some of it back to the community,” Cannon said.

“The cut was done with property taxes. It was a symbolic move but it was also sincere,” he said.

District 2

Incumbent Republican Marc Kilmer brushed back a Democratic challenge from Salisbury pub owner Alexander Scott.

In ballots cast through Tuesday, Kilmer collected 5,301 votes to Scott’s 2,968 votes. The win marks a second term for the Nanticoke Road resident.

Kilmer’s District 2, which encompasses the western and southern portions of the county, is both rural and well-heeled, as it includes neighborhoods such as Centennial Village, the Nithsdales and Deer Harbor.

Politically, Kilmer came out of nowhere in 2014, capitalizing on his advocacy for an elected school board and winning the seat held for many years by Stevie Prettyman.

He has proven himself a vocal and important member of the County Council.

He lists among council successes the cutting the property tax rate, working with the state legislature to give voters a choice about how school board members are chosen and remaining true to his reputation as a fiscal watchdog.

During council meetings, Kilmer is sometimes the only member voting no, something his challenger Scott made issue of in the campaign.

“I have been on the losing end of a lot of 6-1 votes,” Kilmer conceded. “I stand for what I believe in and I vote for what I believe is in the best interest of the people of District 2. My vote belongs to the voters in District 2. It’s my duty to do the right thing for the voters of District 2.”

A first-time candidate, Scott decided to file for a seat on the County Council after talking to customers at his business, The Brick Room, and hearing their complaints and concerns.

District 3

Republican incumbent Larry W. Dodd was re-elected to a second-consecutive term on Tuesday, turning back a spirited challenge from Democrat Michele Gregory.

When the numbers were counted Tuesday night, Dodd had won 4,315 votes to Gregory’s 2,819 votes.

The County Council Vice President, who was defeated for re-election 12 years ago and then resurrected political career after gaining a seat on the school board, made a council comeback four years ago.

Newcomer Gregory had attacked both Dodd and the council’s Republican majority, declaring she was “not happy with the way this county is going. … I feel it could be better. I feel we deserve better. We don’t have a county that is effective,” she said.

Gregory was perhaps the most direct of all the council challengeres, raising issues such as fully funding the Board of Education, improving air quality around poultry farms and expecting Wicomico and Salisbury elected leaders to get along well.

Dodd, a retired fire captain, worked for the Salisbury Fire Department 25 years, starting his career as a paramedic.

He said his goal is to see the county “get into the water and sewer business,” especially since some constituents in his district have failing septic systems.

District 3 covers the southeast quadrant of the county including areas toward Parsonsburg, Powellville, Mount Hermon Road, Rustic Acres, Fruitland and Fox Chase.

District 4

Going into Tuesday’s voting, one of the least predictable outcomes was in the county’s District 4. The jurisdiction has seen more than its share of close election outcomes in the past two decades, being held by both Republicans and Democrats and with the occasional recount needed to add to the drama.

It turned out that no drama would be in the offing this year as Democrat Josh Hastings easily defeated newcomer Suzanah Cane, 2,466 votes to 1,701 votes.

An emotional Hastings said he was elated to have won.

“The community has responded to me with education being vitally important to them. They don’t feel Wicomico is doing  a good enough job funding education,” he said.

“Overall, it was a great day at the polls. There was a really high turnout of individuals.

“I spoke to one gentleman who is 38 but he never voted in his life and he came out to vote,” Hastings said. “Spoke to another individual today who hadn’t been out in 17 years to vote, but she came out today, so I’m glad these people are voting.”

The district is comprised of the heart of Salisbury, extending from Carroll Street south through Tony Tank and down to Morris Mill Road. It encompasses the Camden and Princeton homes neighborhoods, as well as Riverside Drive, Pinehurst and the university and Canal Woods.

Cain had joked there are too many men on the Wicomico County Council.

“Maybe there needs to be a woman to moderate a little bit,” she had said in an interview.

 

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