Culver pledges that he’ll restore Wicomico County

Culver Swear Horiz

With the governor-elect’s blessing, and a standing-room-only crowd supporting him, Bob Culver began his first term as Wicomico County executive on Tuesday.

“Bob is truly a salt of the earth guy. He always says if you want to do something right, go after it 100 percent. That sums up what he does,” said Larry Hogan, Maryland’s newly elected governor, who spoke at Culver’s swearing in ceremony at Wor-Wic Community College.

Culver, in a dark suit, took the oath of office with his hand on his late mother’s Bible.

His sister, Susan Culver Dunsten, held the Bible. Standing with them were Culver’s children, Courtney and Chris. Afterward, his son shook his hand and his sister and daughter hugged him.

He was sworn in by Mark Bowen, clerk of the county Circuit Court.

“Wow. What a day in Wicomico County,” Culver said softly, in an understated manner, after he was formally introduced by Dr. Ray Hoy, Wor-Wic’s president.

“We’ve reached our goal and now we’re ready to start. I am very humbled and honored to be the Wicomico County executive,” he said.

Constituents, by their votes, proved they wanted change, he said, because of the county’s financial problems and because the “social fabric has deteriorated also,” Culver said.

Declaring it’s possible to come from opposite sides of an issue and work together, he asked for ideas and suggestions from county residents.

“I want to see proactive people” help the county protect agriculture and assist with small business growth, he said.

“These are exciting times. Please come see me and we’ll talk, and thank you very much for today,” he concluded as the audience stood and clapped.

Hogan took a moment to thank departing county executive Rick Pollitt, the first to hold the position in an Eastern Shore county.

Culver Cover Inset

Hogan said the state now has five Republican county executives.

“I am very happy to have Bob joining them today,” he said.

In his first public visit to Salisbury since his own stunning election victory, Hogan used the event to make several comments.

“I stand here this morning before you full of hope,” Hogan said, calling for a better future and promising to work with county officials “to accomplish great things.”

“The Eastern Shore will no longer be ignored or taken for granted. You’ll have a seat at the table and you’ll have a tireless advocate,” he said to enthusiastic listeners.

Hogan vowed to work against phosphorus management regulations, and the crowd clapped again.

“Farmers, watermen and I are not opposed to environmental regulations, but these regulations must be grounded in science,” he said.

His election, and Culver’s, were part of a wave that swept the state, he said, an indication voters “want us to work together and get government off our backs, out of our pockets and put people back to work. How’s that sound?” he said, as more applause erupted.

Among those in attendance were state Sen. Jim Mathias, Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis, members of the county and city councils, law enforcement officers, state Sen. Rich Colburn and State’s Attorney Matt Maciarello.

The Rev. George Patterson of Trinity United Methodist Church in Salisbury gave the invocation and benediction, praying that Culver would be guided by God’s spirit.

Dr. John Wesley Wright sang The National Anthem and led “God Bless America.”

Hogan praised Culver for being “admirable because he’s not a politician” and said he’s pleased voters had the wisdom to elect him.

Both he and Culver are small businessmen who never before held and elective-administrative office, he said.

“We both know what it takes to balance a budget and make a payroll,” Hogan said. “Together we will change Maryland for the better.”

 Culver Jump

Reach Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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