Democrats back unaffiliated Heath for County Exec

The Democratic Club of Wicomico County this week broke with tradition and endorsed Jack Heath, an unaffiliated candidate for Wicomico County Executive, largely because of his commitment to increasing funding for county schools.

Gains Hawkins

The announcement was made by Gains Hawkins, president of the club, who, called the endorsement unprecedented.

About 40 people attended a club meeting Monday and overwhelmingly agreed to support Heath, who serves as president of the Salisbury City Council, Hawkins told the Salisbury Independent.

“There were no arguments. There were a couple people who weren’t completely on board but most of the people were sincere in that group that they do not want to see another four years of Bob Culver,” Hawkins said.

“The club membership overwhelming voted to throw our support behind Mr. Heath, in large part because he has been such a vocal champion for increased funding for the county’s public school system,” he said.

Hawkins also announced his resignation from the Wicomico County Democratic Central Committee, because its members are not permitted to support an Independent or Republican candidate if there was a primary-elected Democrat competing.

The day after the meeting, Heath said he is “very honored and thrilled” by the confirmation.

“I think that certainly, based on my discussions with people I have talked to during this campaign, it is important that we get the right people in this position who can do the most good for the county,” he said.

Funding for schools is his top priority, he said, and many voters he meets when he campaigns door to door agree.

That doesn’t mean taxes will be raised, he said.

“There are mechanisms we are going to use without raising taxes to fund our education needs, including Universal Pre-K,” Heath said.

The Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce and Greater Salisbury Committee are among organizations favoring increased school funding, Hawkins said.

“The current County Executive and members of the Wicomico County Council have not embraced a greater funding commitment to education. Jack Heath has. He has the right vision for Wicomico right now. He works well with another political visionary, Mayor Jake Day. A combination of Mayor Day and County Executive Jack Heath would bode well for the future of our county,” Hawkins said, calling Heath “an active and tireless campaigner.”

“That stands in contrast to the Democratic challenger, John Hamilton, who many local Democrats find invisible in the community. In his few brief public appearances, Democrats have found him uninspiring, not surprising when one considers he only signed up with the Democratic party earlier this year,” Hawkins said.

Reach Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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